Nov. 17, 2017, 6:41 p.m.
Since I was a teenager, my relationship with my body has always been problematic. In high school, I was taunted and called fat for having larger thighs and a bigger bottom. From an early age, I was taught that my worthiness was deemed based on my appearance. And then there was food. Food was there for me when I needed comfort, it was there to ease the pain. I used it to numb the bullying, the feelings of inadequacy and my dysfunctional home life.
My earliest memory of binge eating was when I was 16. I developed a friendship with food. It comforted me when no one else could, it numbed my feelings of hopelessness and unworthiness.
For years I rode the waves of my eating disorder without even knowing it. There would be periods of binging and then I would go into restriction mode. Desperate to lose weight I tried dieting, shakes, pills, meal plans, gym regimes and even hypnotherapy. But nothing worked, it was a vicious cycle.
I’d always known what I was doing wasn’t right but I didn’t know exactly what was wrong. Years of countless doctors’ appointments and counselling sessions, no one recognised my disordered eating. Each time I hopped on the dreaded scales in the doctor’s office, I was told to “exercise more and eat healthier”.
For 12 years, my binges were my deepest and darkest secret. I spent 12 years of my life feeling absolutely disgusted at myself and my habit. I felt like I couldn’t control myself or be trusted around food. Society created a name for people like me, I was a so called “fat pig”.
It wasn’t until earlier this year when I reluctantly hopped on the scales at the doctor’s office. I’d noticed that my clothes were feeling a little tighter but didn’t think much of it until the digits flashed before my eyes. I’d hit figures I’d never seen before. It was now no longer a matter of being what society had stereotyped fat, lazy and unmotivated, something was not right and I needed help.
My binges were taking over my life, I was struggling with my mental health and relieving the pain with food on a daily basis. I confided in my psychologist and she referred me to a dietitian that specialised in disordered eating. That was my lightbulb moment – it finally made sense.
A diagnosis was the best thing that has happened to me. Putting a name to my biggest secret has changed my life. Not only am I now receiving treatment for binge eating disorder, knowing I’m not the only one has helped remove the guilt and the shame I have felt so deeply for 12 years.
And for the first time in my life, my weight is not a priority, recovery is.
Sarah is a mental health blogger who lives in Melbourne, Australia with her partner and their four (very spoiled), cats and bunnies. Having lived with depression, anxiety and an eating disorder for most of her adult life, Sarah is extremely passionate about sharing her experiences to help and inspire others. As a body positive advocate, one of her dreams is for everyone to feel comfortable in the bodies they have been given. You can read more of Sarah's inspiring stories on her blog.