J's Story

I remember staying up late at night watching tv in high school, and eating. Later, during and after college, staying up late, watching tv and eating, regardless of whether I was hungry or not, was fun for me. Although I'm not certain how fun it really was...but it was rebellious, and I liked that a lot.

I never purged, and once I didn't live at home with my parents, often I binged just as part of a meal - regularly eating beyond fullness at a meal.

My mother is a restrictive eater, however she has managed to remain quite thin for her entire life; she is now in her early 90s. As I started gaining weight (due to overeating/bingeing) in my 40s, this opened up a whole emotional can of worms between us, as I gained more and more weight and moved further away from the person my mother thought I should be.

During a particularly stressful time in my life - my early 40s - I was single-parenting two school-aged daughters, working part-time and going to university full-time. It took me 5.5 years to get my degree, but it was so worth it, and I did really enjoy the learning. And, almost every day at school I would eat a huge lunch with dessert, and have a large hot chocolate - I felt I deserved it, it was a way of soothing myself thru the stressers of my life.

I can see now that this is where I solidified the habit of turning to food for soothing.

Although many things improved in my life once I had my degree, many stressers remained, and I continued to overeat and binge. Food was a stressful element in my parenting, as I didn't really enjoy preparing food for my kids, but I didn't have money to eat out or buy prepared foods. I feel guilty for all the food craziness I perhaps passed on to my daughters.

I do remember one time going out to a nice restaurant with two close girlfriends, and bingeing right there at the table on the delicious bread and olive oil. When I reached for my fourth piece and drenched it in olive oil, I could sense my friends exchanging a look. I remember feeling all kinds of emotions coming up, and I just stuffed that bread in my mouth, and then ate a huge meal.

During my mid-40s, perhaps as a reaction to all the hot chocolates, I cut out all sugar from my diet. And I really, truly, did - for 4.5 years, I ate no sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc, and I hardly ever used artificial sweeteners. Maybe a diet soda once a month or so. Actually now, I cannot imagine how I succeeded, but I did. But I stuffed myself with bread, pasta, cheese, rice...on and on (it was during this period that I had that dinner with friends, described above). And I gained 35 pounds in those 4.5 years, despite the fact that I was also a fitness instructor, and teaching/working out many times per week. I am now aware that I was burning out, and think I knew it at the time, but did not know how to change or get out of the downward cycle. I eventually gave up teaching fitness when I felt I was just too fat to be a realistic role model for students. And I went back to eating sugar, and have been eating it several times per day ever since (until this program!). And once I gave up teaching, I gave up exercising altogether - that strategy had failed too.

So, it's been 10 years since I last taught an exercise class, and 18 or so years since I started noticeably putting on weight. Just a few days, maybe a week and a half, before I found Lydia's program, I was getting ready to sign up for Brightline Eating, a restrictive eating program based, I think, on some commonly accepted restrictions in Overeaters' Anonymous. I was absolutely dreading starting the program, and couldn't imagine that I would be able to stick to it, but I was desperate and felt I had to try something serious and commit to it for real. I have never dieted, never used a scale, as I always knew that I had to "fix" something about me, or my life, and my eating would take care of itself. I've had YEARS of therapy, self-help, and I spent a few years (and many dollars) on a program that specifically teaches how to question our thoughts (The Work of Byron Katie). But the always hoped-for side effect of losing my eating disorder never materialized. So I thought I had to go back to addressing eating specifically.

Thank goodness I found Lydia's program, as it does specifically address eating, but it addresses our THOUGHTS about eating.

The program helped me to take so much of my mental energy and focus OFF food, and think about and do other things.

I am MUCH more free, I have more mental energy and attention, and I feel like the old me has been uncovered.

I have more physical energy - I have exercised spontaneously several times during the 8 weeks, and I have also done a lot of physical work on a new home I bought. I would have been wiped out by these physical efforts if it were not for the Beat the Binge program.

Food comes in to my mind mostly only when I'm hungry or planning a meal - and that planning is no longer obsessive and crazy. I live alone, so meals can be really anything I want, and since uncovering my restriction chatter, I really have opened up to so much more enjoyment of food, while (maybe paradoxically) thinking about it less.

I have had a few meals where I overate, and I binged a time or two in the last 8 weeks, but the program is so helpful in learning to just MOVE ON. No wagon [to fall off of], just calling out the chatter, allowing, coming back again and again to my desire to be free.