Hello, my friends! Instead of a long drawn out intro, i am just going to get right to it. Today’s blog post is a little bit different. In the past, i have done a few blog posts on Disordered Eating and how my relationship with food has not always been the healthiest. While i have experienced binge eating episodes in the past, i have never suffered with Binge Eating Disorder. But, someone close to me has and it truly hurts my heart. That person, is my sister, Morgan. Morgan has recently become more open about her eating disorder in hopes in helping others realize that they are not alone. With that, she has finally written out her story… Her struggle with Binge Eating Disorder and she has allowed me to post it on my blog… Here it is. (PSA: if you have ever struggled with binge eating, or someone close to you has, you may need some tissues… i cried ha).
So here goes nothing…
I hope that by sharing my story, if you are struggling, you can find the strength to reach out and ask for help.
This is my struggle with Binge Eating Disorder.
I try to remember when my first experience with binge eating was and to be honest, I’m not entirely sure. I grew up playing soccer as a child and eventually partook in volleyball and cross country. Growing up l i can’t remember really having any issues with my body? I didn’t workout besides what we did for sports and I ate what i wanted and what my mom cooked for me. Ultimately high school was high school and I was ready for college.
Eventually during college I started going to the gym more and in 2013 my sister and I, started a plan off of bodybuilding.com in order to get ready for our vacation in florida that summer. We stuck to the plan, followed the workouts and the meal plan provided and by the end of the program and it was time for our trip, I was feeling great. At the end of our trip, I can remember one night in magic kingdom, eating so much food and feeling so terrible afterwords. I would say that was one of my first times having a “binge” but I never really thought too much of it.
By 2014, Lauren and I were really getting into lifting and the gym, and after following a lot of fitness accounts online we both liked the idea of competing as a way of challenging ourselves and trying something new. So we went for it. We found a “popular” coach via Instagram (which was ultimately a mistake but let me take a step back…) that provided us with a meal plan and workouts. Prep started in January, was 16 weeks, and I was following a typical plan of almonds, tilapia/green beans/rice, cottage cheese…. blah blah blah. I never missed a workout on a prep and I stuck to that plan. Over the course of prep, my sister and I had acquired a “post show stash” of treats that we were very excited about eating after our show… (another mistake and something I will NEVER recommend to anyone.) Fast forward to May, to when i first stepped on stage at the Pittsburgh Pro. Ultimately I was very pleased with how I looked for my first competition ever. Even though I didn’t place, it didn’t really bother me…. After that show, is when shit first started to hit the fan.
After that show, (May 6th or so?), I can just remember eating and eating and eating. The day after my competition, I remember eating girl scout cookies for breakfast while my boyfriend at the time was making chocolate chip pancakes and bacon. By my birthday, May 13, I can remember feeling so bad about myself because i was gaining SO MUCH weight. (Lauren and I both struggled post show this first time around.) I can remember going to the grocery store by myself, buying a whole bunch of junk food and eating it alone in my car in the grocery store parking lot before I went home. I was so ashamed of myself that I wouldn’t even tell my sister. This kept happening over and over again. There were times when I wouldn’t binge for a while so I felt that it would be okay for me to prep again in 2015 so thats what I did.
I want to say that my 2015 prep was SO much better/different than my first prep. My sister and I found a pair of AMAZING COACHES- @dynamicduotraining, Chris and Eric Martinez that did competition prep in an IIFYM style. For those that don’t know what that is, If It Fits Your Macros is a way to eat for your goals while still being able to enjoy things like cookies/pizza as long as it was fit into your allotted macros for the day. At first I was skeptical about doing IIFYM, but it was a really great way to prep. Prep was 20 weeks this time… 20 weeks of tracking everything that went into my body…. It is not secret that during prep your energy is low because your calories are low and your workouts are long and exhausting…. Naps were a necessity for me and its no secret that I cried once or twice. Food was always on my mind but i did really well at sticking to my plan that I made for myself NO MATTER WHAT, except for one day. I can remember making edible cookie dough for Nick (I was a few weeks out), and the next thing I knew I couldn’t stop eating it…….. No matter how much the voice in my head was telling me to stop, I couldn’t. Afterwards my mind would not stop racing……. I didn’t know what to do…….. I didn’t want anyone to know that I didn’t stick to my plan…….. Finally I emailed my coach what had happened. I told him that I didn’t feel it would happen again and he reassured me that it would be okay and we would just learn from it and move on. I didn’t tell my sister because I was so embarrassed and ashamed at what had happened and I felt like I was letting her down.. I told my boyfriend what had happened and he also told me everything would be okay while i cried into his lap feeling ashamed and disgusted with myself.
Prep contines to go by without any further incidents and next thing you know its show day: May 23. I felt great about how I looked, and I ended up placing 3rd at the MidAtlantic Cup. Lauren also placed (yay!) and it really was a great day. Thinking about competition day just makes me so happy because its like all your hard work comes together and just so much fun. Afterwards, Lauren and I, the boyfriends, and our mother went to cheesecake factory to celebrate with one free meal before we had to jump back on plan before our next show in two weeks. I enjoyed a mac and cheese burger and a piece of s’mores cheesecake and felt so proud of myself for not overeating and stuffing myself. I felt happy and confident that binging would not be an issue for me post show. Next show day comes: The Npc Northcoast Champonships on June 2… Placed 5th… Another great day. Post show pizza and froyo…. Feeling good. Then the next day comes.
The next day, Nick and I went to a friends house for a BBQ..
What should have been a fun day turned into me spending the night on my bathroom floor crying, feelings disgusting and alone.
I couldn’t stop eating the entire time we were there and i kept going back and eating more…… Cookies, brownies, pasta salad, meatballs, chips and dip… It turned into me sneaking the food I was eating so no one would see me stuffing my face. All I could do was think about food. From there on, it was a cycle of me telling myself that it wasn’t going to happen again and I could get back on my plan for my reverse diet… But I literally could not stop binging. I would wake up early to go do extra cardio, and try to restrict my diet to make up for my binges which ultimately lead me to binge again. I can remember one night after work where i was binge eating protein bars in my closet and then Lauren came in….. I was so ashamed and felt so disgusting that when I went to the gym that night I can remember crying on the treadmill, in the biggest hoodie i could find, once again feeling like a failure. My binging got so bad that I didn’t want to go to my job as a waitress because I felt like going to work would lead me to binge eat even worse. While not every day was a “bad day,” my binge eating disorder caused me to shut out the people that were closest to me and played a major part in the ending of a very important relationship. It’s hard to show someone how much you love and care about them when you’re struggling with even loving yourself… I was left feeling abandoned and alone and like my struggle with binge eating was winning and taking everything from me. After some really bad months there were some good weeks where I didn’t binge at all and actually successfully completed a mini cut. After feeling really burnt out from continuously tracking my macros, I decided to stop stoping tracking to take a more intuitive eating approach and I moved to New Orleans LA for a new job at the end of 2015.
I thought 2016 was going to be “a fresh start” for me but it ultimately ended up being one of the worst years of my life.
I had planned to start prep after MardiGras with Lauren while she was still in Pa but after consulting with my coach, he told me that he didn’t think prepping was a good idea for me at the time…. I was devastated. So instead we started a mini cut…. I felt like I was in a good place mentally to do so. The mini cut went well for about a week and then after that…. I couldn’t stop binging. I would binge for days in a row sometimes consuming thousands of calories before 7 am while I was at work… I would eat anything and everything I could. ALL DAY… And this went on for months, and I was gaining so much weight as a result….. I would eat and eat and I could hear the voice in my head telling me to stop but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t stop eating. There were days at a time where I would just sleep and not move from the couch because I didn’t want anyone to look at me and see how disgusting I looked. My clothes didn’t fit… I would cry when I took progress pictures for my coach because I hated what I was doing to myself and my body. I would make plans with my friends and then cancel last minute because I binged the day before and felt ashamed and gross. I would avoid mirrors and the thought of seeing myself naked disgusted me. I felt alone and I constantly wrote about how much “I hated myself” in my journal. I would lay on the bathroom floor wishing I could make myself throw up… The gym no longer was a place I enjoyed going because I constantly felt judged and and embarrassed about how I had become another competitor that had “rebounded”… Another statistic. I was eating to fill a void…. I was eating when I was stressed at work… I was eating when I was lonely…… I wanted more than anything to talk to someone, anyone, to my sister about what was going on but i was just so embarrassed …. I was constantly comparing myself to my sister who was successful completing her bikini prep, while I couldn’t even “stick to my plan” for more than one day in a row. It was such a lonely time in my life. I would cry myself to sleep every night hoping that the next day would be better but IT NEVER WAS. The cycle of binging/restricting kept occurring and finally my mother decided enough was enough, she found a therapist that I could talk to and she made me an appointment.. (That woman is a saint.)
Thats when things started to change for me.
I started going to therapy regularly starting in June of 2016. Of course my first appointment included a lot of crying and talking about what had gotten me to that point… Growing up, competing, the ending of relationships, moving, work stressors… I talked about everything and to this day I still do…. Therapy has helped me figure out WHY I BINGE…. and HOW I CAN WORK ON CHANGING IT. It has given me an outlet to talk about whats going on in my head and in my daily life… Sometimes my therapist is just someone to vent to… But it has helped me so much. Finding someone that I can talk to openly without feeling judged is such an amazing feeling and I would recommend it to anyone that is struggling with anxiety/depressing/ or an eating disorder. Don’t get me wrong, while going to therapy helped a great deal it did not cure my eating disorder… I would still binge and I wanted to revert back to the same ED behaviors.. I would still feel ashamed and embarrassed… I would want to restrict/purge… But ultimately I am always 100% honest with my therapist, and we would talk about it.. and I would learn from it for the next time. The most important thing to remind yourself and I will say it again… and again and again…. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You do not need to let your eating disorder control you. Be open. Be honest… And want to change. As things started getting better for me, I found myself becoming happier and and more confident with myself. I adopted a cat, Ronald who I enjoy coming home to everyday and I even got a tattoo, “All was well.” If you know me, you know that I am Harry Potter obsessed. My tattoo is the last sentence from the Harry Potter series and is a constant reminder to me that even after all the terrible stuff I’ve been through that everything was going to be okay….. I WAS GOING TO BE OKAY.
I look at videos and pictures from last year and while it makes my heart really sad, I am so proud of how far I have come. At the darkest part of my eating disorder I stepped on the scale and it told me 172 pounds….. I am SO proud of the changes both mentally and physically that I have been able to make over the past couple of months and I am so happy to finally have my life, my confidence, and my excitement for the future back. While I am not perfect, I know without a doubt that I am no longer that girl I was last year. I am not worthless. I am not alone. The people who truly love me, will love me no matter what and they will always be there for me. I am more than my body and I am more than a number on the scale. I am an amazing friend, I am funny, I am creative, and I can do anything I put my mind to. I no longer turn to food as a source of comfort. The gym is a place where once again I truly love to go. It is something I look forward to during the day, not a place that I avoid. I can look at my body now and be proud of how far I have come and how much I have accomplished. While I do not know what the future holds for me, I know for certain that my eating disorder no longer defines me and I can accomplish anything I put my mind too. I am worthy….. Always have been and always will be. And so are you.
There you have it, my sister’s story with her Binge Eating Disorder. It hurts my heart to read her story but it also makes me feel SO happy and proud to see the changes she has made.
I remember bawling to my mom, on the phone in Walmart, because i knew Morgan was struggling with her BED. My mom told me “she’ll be okay…” (not knowing quite the extent of how bad it was) and i was like “no mom, you don’t get it…she won’t. she needs help”… it gives me chills just thinking about it. Nothing hurts more than knowing someone you love and care about is struggling and you can’t help them, they have to choose to help themselves. It makes me so sad even now and then a realize how hard she has worked and how different she is now than she was last year.. It takes a lot of strength and vulnerability to show the raw, very real struggles that you went through during one of the worst years of your life. But, i know why she is doing it… She wants to help others. She wants to show others that no matter how alone you feel, you are not alone. Reach out to someone, whether that be a friend, your mom, a therapist, anyone… asking for help is the first step in the right direction. You don’t need to go through this alone. Morgan’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org and i know she would want you to reach out to her if you felt you had no one else to talk to.
Also, go ahead and give her a follow on Instagram @mbkellyy.
I hope you guys can relate to this post and if you feel comfortable, feel free to leave a comment for Morgan in the comments section of this blog. We all struggle and there is comfort in knowing that we are not alone.