When I examined my body in the mirror this morning, I felt a rare surge of confidence. I thought to myself, “You know what? I don’t look that bad. I look alright!” I still haven’t lost any of the weight I put on from binging (in fact, I’m still gaining weight), but since I’ve been exercising 2 to 3 times per week for a few months now and I’ve stopped having frequent binges, I thought I looked a bit less flabby.
I carried my newfound confidence into the office. I was feeling good, and it’s been a long time since I’ve felt good about my body. Then it happened.
I was asked to upload some photos from an alumni event online, and there was a picture of me. I looked fat. There was no way around it. That was not how I thought I looked when I looked in the mirror this morning. We’ve all heard that the camera supposedly adds 10 lbs. but this didn’t even look like me. My legs, which I had deemed my favourite feature earlier today, looked like giant ham hocks. My body and face looked like a marshmallow: puffy and round.
I was upset. My self-esteem plummeted. I hated what I saw. And then, after eating lunch, I binged.
To people unfamiliar with BED, it may not make sense why someone who hated how fat she looked would then devour way too much food in way too little time. But that’s the vicious cycle binge eaters are trapped in: our disgust with ourselves leads to binge eating for comfort or out of hopelessness, which leads to even greater shame and self-loathing, which leads to more binge eating, and so forth.
What happened has happened, so the only thing I can do is move forward and renew my commitment towards recovery. I feel beyond uncomfortably full right now and extremely disappointed in myself. I hope that the rest of the week will be better, but ultimately, that’s up to me. Recovery is up to me. It is up to me to make my life better. The thought of this is tiring, but liberating.