Okay, it’s time to be completely vulnerable with the world. Keeping it raw and real… I want to share with you what I learned about my eating disorder.
This week, I learned something new, and it’s something, a realization if you will, that I truly believe will help me progress towards overcoming my eating disorder once and for all.
For roughly the last seven years of my life, I have experienced an eating disorder. It started in college, and it’s something that has stayed with me since. Now, I am a twenty-seven-year-old man whose greatest weakness comes from food.
Starting out, I experienced anorexia. I wouldn’t eat, and when I did eat, I made sure it was healthy food. I mainly stuck with chicken, vegetables, and artificial sweeteners that contained zero calories.
Then, my eating disorder grew into binge eating with a side of bulimia. I still stuck to my overly healthy diet, but when I did binge, I would simply throw up everything I ate.
Soon, throwing up became my go-to. I realized I could finally eat some of the foods that I had restricted myself from for so long and would just throw it up after I ate them. I didn’t care if I over-ate or anything because I always knew the bathroom was right there.
Before I continue, I am sorry if this is graphic, but welcome to inside the mind of someone who experiences an eating disorder.
Holidays and buffets have always presented a challenge for me. I would get into this mindset that I had restricted myself for so long that I deserved a “cheat meal.” So, I would eat until I got sick. Then the guilt set in and I would find the nearest bathroom. I would try to guess how many calories I had thrown up and then would feel as if I could just go get more food to make up for what I had purged.
Again, I realized how easy that was to do, so I began to do it at nearly every meal. I would eat until I was full, go puke it up, and then go eat some more. People would tell me they had no idea how such a small and skinny person could eat so much food. Well, not only was/am I a runner, but I would just purge it up afterwards.
Fast forward to two days ago when I, a twenty-seven-year-old man was telling all of this to my mom as we drove across the country. She knows about my struggles, so I am completely fine with sharing everything with her.
Currently, she is getting her coaching certification and has been studying this. As I told her how I would just purge after I ate and would try to guess how many calories I had thrown up so that I could just go back and get more food, she looked at me and said, “Wait, you do know that your body starts absorbing calories the moment they hit your mouth, right? Even if you go throw up your food immediately after you eat it, your body still holds onto a minimum of at least half of those calories.”
I looked at her in awe. For all of these years, I had assumed that everything I was purging had not been broken down by my body yet. I had no idea that my body was absorbing the calories and nutrients the moment a piece of food hit my mouth.
My mind was trying to process all of this and I just sat there. I had been wrong for all of these years and had let this misconception to play such a large role in my daily life.
I wouldn’t say that I was disappointed in myself, but instead, I just kept asking myself ‘How do I still look this small if my body has been consuming all of these calories for the last few years? Is it actually possible that I could enjoy all foods and remain fit-looking without feeling the need to throw up?”
It kind of took all the “fun” out of throwing up. No, an eating disorder is never fun, but it was fun to feel as though I could eat again, even if that meant purging after. Now I felt like I had been living a lie for the last few years. I didn’t need to throw up in order to look healthy. In fact, I would probably look far healthier if I hadn’t felt the need to throw up my food as soon as I ate.
Why Share This?
So why would I feel the need to share this?
Well, because there are many people out there who are experiencing the same eating disorder and the same mindset as I had; that we were throwing up calories, and in doing so, this gave us the “flexibility” to eat even more food.
But that’s just not the case. There are studies that prove my former thought process wrong. So it makes on wonder, do I really need to throw up my food if I’m throwing up only waste and not calories?
I wanted to share this because since learning this, I haven’t had the desire to throw up my food. Weird thing to say publicly, but it’s true. Since doing so wasn’t actually disposing of the calories I was consuming, there really just isn’t a need to do so anymore.
I say this because I hope others will join me. I believe this is what I needed to hear to finally overcome my eating disorder once and for all, and I’m hoping that maybe, just maybe, it will help to do the same for those out there who are experiencing an eating disorder.