Although I know I’m a healthy weight, my BMI is ** and I weigh *** (I’m 5ft. 5) I still feel big, sometimes I feel slim but sometimes I feel like my friends think I’m big too. I’ve been at university for 2 years now and have lost 22 lbs. since school, initially through just naturally becoming more active and eating smaller portions. I then regained some of this weight but lost it through excessive calorie restriction 800-1000 kcal/day. I now am trying to lose a final 5 or so lbs. I just want to feel slim, I feel so much happier if I lose weight. It makes me happier all day. To achieve this I eat below ****kcal per day which should mean I’d reach my goal weight quite quickly as I’m very active through walking to uni and regular exercise, however when I return home to visit family or if I drink alcohol, I binge, more than any normal person would eat then I feel very sad. I must eat about 3000-4000+ Kcal on a binge day. Sometimes this doesn’t occur for weeks but if I’m home from univ. it may last a few days. I feel sick after this and disgusted with myself. Also if I feel very upset or stressed I feel I need to eat to feel better. I’ve seen a counselor through my doctor but I didn’t think she helped as she wasn’t specialized in ED’s. I’ve read countless books on the topic and whilst I have such good intentions not to binge it seems at the time somehow I manage to convince myself its ok. What can I do? All I want to do is to be healthy and just lose a few more pounds so I can look good in a swimsuit. I just want to stop this bingeing. I don’t even really like the food I binge on I don’t know why I do it. I’m also obsessed with calories; I eat the same food every week just because I know what’s in it. I just want this to stop now. Thank you for your advice. – anonymous
Let’s take a closer look at what you wrote:
- I feel big (sometimes I feel slim)
- I think my friends think I’m big
- I have lost weight through calorie restriction
- I want to feel slim
- It makes me happier all day
- When I return home I binge on alcohol and food
- I want to look good in a swimsuit
- I am obsessed with calories
- I want to stop bingeing
- I just want to lose a few more pounds
Reading your thoughts back, it is clear the there is a tension that exists within your own self. You feel one way, worry your friends feel another way, and lose yourself in the binge/restrict cycle.
800/1000 calories a day is not sufficient to maintain proper health for your height and weight. Although you did not have a positive experience with a counselor in the past, I think it would serve you well to find a dietitian experienced with disordered eaters. It will be important that you understand fully the consequences associated with the choices you are making to feel “happier all day”.
There is no sugar coated way to tell you that I think you need to seek professional treatment again. Many times the search for the right therapist takes perseverance. But the statements above are like a meditation mantra that you are repeating and repeating in your daily living and they are convincing you that playing with your food is the key to managing your mood.
But your body knows better. When you binge there is a part of you that is screaming out that it does not want to participate in the restriction game anymore and so you find yourself wanting to go all out and binge. Now, that has to be reeled in and made healthier but I appreciate the fighter part of you that is daring to go against the tide and claim the right to be fed and nurtured.
With the choice of alcohol, you are trying one more time to deaden its strength to fight the mantra by numbing it and again–you avoid what is really going on.
It is not the pounds that are really your biggest enemy to battle, it is what you fear is true about you that you are working over time to stuff down and refuse to let out. I strongly encourage you to re-enter a therapeutic relationship and find the happiness that comes from personal balance rather than false control.