Eating Disorders (1/2) : my experience

Influenced by social media, society and advertising, I have long believed in the myth of the perfect body. Which led to an unhealthy relationship with my body and eating disorders. 

 I went through different disorders, including orthorexia and binge-eating. These behaviors haunted me for more than three endless years and it is today with more hindsight and acceptance that I can talk about it.

 The purpose of this article is not to take me as a victim. NO DRAMA!
The goal is to share my story, to understand the reasons for these crises and to draw a positive message, to change attitudes and society.

 Today I am convinced that our inner ecology is primordial, that it passes by the fact of accepting oneself and loving oneself as one is and above all by pleasure.
 There is no ideal weight, no ideal size, so if you want to eat a chocolate brownie, treat yourself. Give peace to your body once and for all, listen to yourself, enjoy the food, choose the one that makes you feel good and enjoy the chance to eat. 

Life is too short not to appreciate a GOOD CHOCOLATE BROWNIE 🙂 

If you are a victim of these eating disorders, I hope that this article will enlighten your day and will make you understand, that no, you are not alone and that yes, you can leave it.

My Eating Disorder

When we think of eating disorders, we mainly think of anorexia and bulimia. However, other pathological reports to food exist.
Personally I went through two phases:
I presented an obsessive disorder for my diet, my weight and my physical appearance (orthorexia).
I restricted myself a lot, which gave rise to seizures or food drives, associated with inappropriate compensatory behaviors (hyperphagia).

My experience

When I was younger, I never had a problem or complex with my body. I was very thin, while I ate all the time. But as I grew up, my relationship with my body and food changed completely. I developed two eating disorders, without even knowing it.

In high school, three years ago, I started what is known as orthorexia: an obsessive desire to ingest healthy food and the systematic rejection of foods perceived as unhealthy. Add to that, the obsession to be skinny, influenced by social networks where I saw thin girls, muscular and tall, tanned all year and who smiled on each of their photo. I told myself that to be happy and to please others, I had to be the same, physically. The perfect world of these networks has accentuated the birth of my complexes: nose too big, thighs not thin enough, too much cellulite, not enough abs. I spent my time telling myself that to be accepted into society and to be successful in life, I had to make a 6, have a gap between my thighs and not have a bead sitting down, like the models on Instagram. I make no judgments about thin people: we all have a different morphology, a stable and healthy weight for us. However, with my 46kg, I was not in my normal weight: I was underweight. At the same time, I became interested in the impact of food on the environment and mental and physical health. I then developed a food phobia, which pushed me to stop junk food, meat, industrial sugar, fat and gluten. I ate practically only vegetables and fruit and I counted every single calorie. I found myself very quickly underweight and without energy.

It was from this moment that I began to have hyperphagia attacks: I deprived my body so much that I had to eat a huge amount of food once a month.
Then, last year, for my studies, I moved to Paris. I had food crisis at least three times a week. I swallowed peanut butter jars, then chocolate, then fruit, several meals and even frozen food. Feeding your body loses all its meaning, that’s why I prefer the term “swallow”.
I remember a crisis that particularly marked me: I was a roommate in Versailles and in the heat of hyperphagia, after my meal, I found myself eating a pot of whole Nutella. This Nutella was one of my roommates. I let you imagine the feeling of shame that ravaged me. It was necessary that I go very quickly to buy another one so that she does not suspect anything. I had a terrible stomach ache, I was red with shame in the supermarket and, crying on the phone, I was trying to explain to my mother what had happened.

These crises are called fbinge-eating or hyperphagia. They are recurrent and result in eating a lot of food over a short period of time. There is no question of a small excess from time to time, during a meal. These are repetitive crises and a total loss of food control. This impulse is different from bulimia: the person suffering from this disorder does not throw up or play sports to compensate.
On the other hand, once the crisis passed, I made a hyper restrictive diet to compensate. Thus, I did not gain weight and no one could have guessed it. However, it was this restriction that pushed me to rebuild a crisis. I felt like I was in a hellish spiral.

What drove me to these crises?

Eating disorders, whatever they are, can have several causes. For my part, with hindsight, I realized that three major causes had pushed me to othorexia and binge-eating.

First of all, my feelings about the diktats of society: pressure, stress, anguish, depression, bad self-esteem, are all factors that pushed me to these crises. And my environment generated all these things. We are pushed to be the best in all fields, to have traveled around the world but also studied in the most prestigious universities. We are constantly pushed to consume, as if it were there the key to happiness. We are encouraged to eat while eating, but not to gain weight. We simply forgot that we were humans, with our fears, our limitations, our differences and especially with our desires.

Second, my setting and lifestyle influenced my binge. I felt like I was not in the right place, not feeling happy and alive, which reinforced my depression and therefore my food crisis. I was very bored : crises were a way of not thinking about it and filling my existential void. It was an escape: instead of facing the problems, it was easier to take refuge in these crises.

Third, strict diets and restrictions clearly play a major role in my orthorexia and hyperphagia disorders. I deprived my body of functioning by following all diets. I wanted to be like these models on Instagram and I believed in the myth of the perfect body. I thought that being thin, I will be more easily accepted and loved. Social networks and society have really influenced my approach.

So I managed to lose weight, but mostly pounds of happiness.

What is the impact of eating disorders?

Eating disorders are harmful to your health. They cause psychological, physical pain, digestion and skin problems, sleep disorders … and can also impact our lives in society.

Mental pain

These food crisis made me feel ashamed and I did not have the courage to talk about them, whether to my friends or family, for fear of being misunderstood. I did not feel normal by doing so. I felt like I was the only person in the world who was suffering from these crises. Often, I could not go out with friends, because I had too much stomach pain. I felt caught in an infernal spiral and completely guilty, depressed and disgusted with me: as if I were a monster. My morale was so low and I had no more confidence in me.

Hormonal system

The hormonal system is very sensitive. A single little stress or change in food can disrupt its operation. After my crisis, I did not eat the day, to compensate for the upstream food. So I never gained weight, but this yo-yo effect had an impact: no periods for about 3 years. Before you find it “great” not to have periods, I let you imagine what feelings crossed me when I thought I was in bad health, not “normal” and not able to have a child.

Physical pain

During these crises, I filled my stomach until feeling pain. After a few minutes, the bottom of my belly was completely tense. I had a lot of pain.
And, go to sleep with words of terrible belly, the heart which beats the pounding and the head which burns you ! It is not the best way to sleep !
The next day, I felt really tired, without energy. I had pain in all my muscles and felt very heavy. My stomach pains grew during the day.

what about now ?

In writing these lines, I remembered how difficult these situations were for me. I still do not consider myself cured, but accepting the situation and putting these lines in the light of day helps me a lot.

After three months without crises, I decided a week ago to write this article, to help those who suffer from these crises. And yet, one day after, I had a binge-eating crisis 🙂

However, I learn from my mistakes and I understand that I put too much stress and pressure on my body and that I continue to restrict myself. The minute I understood that and where I decided to let go once and for all, I finally had my period after 3 years.

Crises hide a deeper problem and I decided to adopt routines that allow me to get better and look beyond these crises. I’ll talk about it in the next article.

I repeat myself : there is no ideal weight, no ideal size, so if you want to eat a chocolate brownie, treat yourself. Give peace to your body once and for all, listen to yourself, enjoy the food, choose the one that makes you feel good and enjoy the chance to eat. 

Life is too short not to appreciate a GOOD CHOCOLATE BROWNIE 🙂 

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