My body was rotting from the inside out.
Twenty-eight years of bingeing and dieting had finally caught up to me, and the results were obvious to anyone who came near me.
My gastrointestinal track was so diseased that I had constant odorous gas, which made my clothes smell. It was painful and embarrassing.
My feet smelled so badly because of my inability to comfortably bend over and wash them that they reeked through my shoes. People could smell my feet while sitting next to me.
My body was overrun with candida from eating so much sugar and flour, and every crevice smelled like death, including my belly button and other skin folds.
My feet were in so much pain from plantar fasciitis from eating an inflammatory diet that waking up in the morning and walking to the bathroom was sheer agony.
My stomach ached with alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation.
I had to sleep propped up on five pillows because my acid reflux was so severe that being flat took my breath away–literally.
My migraines were out of control. At 10-12 migraines per month, my quality of life was greatly diminished.
My back burned, and I could not make it through the grocery store without leaning over the cart.
I was mentally ill.
My anxiety was so severe that I couldn’t sleep without the lights on, I thought I was dying daily, and I was going to a myriad of doctors seeking treatment for illnesses for which no one my age should suffer.
I would also sink into periodic pits of despair that drove me to eat more and more and to hate myself.
In addition, I suffered from cystic acne; thin, greasy hair; and bursitis in both hips.
And yet the urge to keep eating was so powerful that with all of those symptoms I continued bingeing. I continued alternating between starving and overeating. I continued to berate myself. I continued to deny that I was sick, even though I was ill is so many ways.
I was just 39 years old when I entered recovery, but my body was disintegrating, and I felt helpless to stop my behavior.
For the first time ever in my life, I knew I had to seek help or I would die. I chose weight loss over well being. I chose me over societal expectations.
On the night I put down the food, I cried to the universe for help. I did not beg to be thin like I had for decades. I did not wish for a bikini body. I did not long for a svelte silhouette in an evening gown. I petitioned for sanity. I called for freedom from food obsession.
Two and a half years later I am in active recovery. ALL of the diseases mentioned above are gone. I am not thin. I am not going to wear a bikini any time soon, but I am doing something I only did sporadically when I was deep in the food–living.
I actually listen to people when we meet over dinner, instead of obsessing over who will get the last appetizer. I started a brand new business, instead of thinking all day about when I would eat next. I volunteer at my son’s school, instead of sitting at home eating myself sick after everyone goes to bed.
Not every day of my recovery is perfect, but an imperfect day in recovery is far better than any day without it.
If you are suffering like I once was, please believe that recovery is possible. Give yourself the power to love who you are right now. Give yourself the gift of daily gratitude. Help yourself to living your life for maybe the first time since childhood.
Don’t wait until Monday or the first of the year or after you daughter’s birthday. Start today. Start right now. Your first step is admitting that you have a problem with food. Your next step is forgiving yourself.
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