Hey I’m Nancy and I have a double chin

A little harsh of a title right?

Did it catch your attention? I hope so.

Not gonna lie, I was a little nervous using that as my title but as you guys know, I’m super raw, real, transparent and straightforward so I was like F it, that’s what the title needs to be. I’ll get more in to why I used that as the title in a second (besides the obvious reason).

As some of you may know, I did a photo shoot at the beginning of April ( if you’re more of a visual person and listener, rather than a reader, I did a Facebook Live about it here and you can listen to what I have to say rather than read it).

The photo above is one of the first ones my amazing photographer, Irynna, sent me. She and I met and decided to a do a photo shoot together in a super interesting way actually! We met at a BostonSpeaks Networking event at The Hatch Fenway, a really cool space where there was an indoor swing set. We were both embracing our inner child, having a grand old time swinging back and forth on these swings when we began chatting. Of course we asked each other the stereotypical question, “what do you do for work?” And she told me she was a photographer. I had been thinking about doing a photo shoot for a while but was making up tons of excuses as to why I shouldn’t do one. I told myself I didn’t have the money to spend and also that my body wasn’t ready. Once I lost weight and got my body to a certain point (whatever that point was), then, I told myself, I would do a photo shoot. I didn’t mention either of these things to Irynna at the time. We connected on Instagram and Facebook and that was it.

A few weeks later, I got a message from Irynna saying that she had read my blog and wanted to do a photo shoot for me FOR FREE. Like what?! She loved my story, what I wrote about, and loved photographing people who have stories (of course, everyone has a story, I’m just super open with mine) so she wanted to do that for me. I was like, damn, okay, so my “money” excuse was no longer an issue but my body image, and low self-confidence excuse was still really real. I shared that with Irynna, I told her I did have a desire to do a photo shoot, but that I didn’t commit to one in the past because I didn’t like the way I looked and I was always waiting to change my body and feel beautiful and amazing and confident before I had professional photos of it taken. But now that she had come into my life and offered to do something so amazing and generous for me, my reasoning , stories and excuses sounded RIDICULOUS. Like helloooo Nancy you’re such an advocate for self love, positive body image and being confident no matter what shape and size you are, but you’re not practicing that.  So of course I had to do it. For the story, for the experience, for the lessons I would learn and to get out of my comfort zone.

The month leading up to the photo shoot I didn’t really think much about it at all. I didn’t plan, I didn’t go shopping, I didn’t pick out any outfits, I put it on the back burner and forgot about it. As it got closer, the self-doubt, the negative self-talk, and the fear all crept in. I didn’t want to do the photo shoot. I didn’t want to prepare for it, I didn’t want to think about it, I didn’t want to be the center of attention. Thank god we had chosen a date way beforehand when I was in a better mood and I was committing to it. I knew I couldn’t pass up this opportunity and I knew I needed to get out of my own way.

The night before the photo shoot I was brainstorming what kinds of pictures I wanted to take, cleaning up my apartment and picking out outfits to wear (typical last minute, Nancy-style).

I still wasn’t excited about it.

I don’t know if it was because I felt like I didn’t deserve to do a photo shoot and/or if what my body looked like was still bothering me (I’m sure it was), but I couldn’t shake it. It’s so crazy to think about my mindset and thoughts through the entire process because you would think I would be so excited, pumped and grateful to have the opportunity to do a free photo shoot and I hate to admit it but I really wasn’t.

I still went through the motions of putting everything together that I needed to. My intention was to show “a day in the life of Nancy”, focus on my lifestyle and things I do every single day. Looking back I of course wish I had prepared more but I’m not regretting any piece of it because what’s the point?

The big day came, I woke up early, showered, did my morning ritual and put my makeup on. We had the most perfect, beautiful day, which was amazing considering I wanted to take pictures outside as well. Irynna was so fun and absolutely incredible to work with. She let me have full control over what I wanted to do (which was a little difficult for me since I didn’t know exactly what I wanted) but it was a great combination of her photography expertise and help and my thoughts and ideas I had for the shoot.

Even for someone as open as I am, it was a little uncomfortable having someone come in to my home and take pictures of me in my element. Looking at the photos we took in the apartment I’m like, “Ugh it still looks messy or weird.” But that’s the beauty of it I guess and that’s also what I was trying to show.

Just like you don’t have to have the perfect body to take photos of it, you don’t have to have the perfect, prettiest, and cleanest apartment to take pictures in it.        

Okay now back to why I titled this post, “Hey I’m Nancy and I have a double chin.” Like I said earlier, this photo was one of the first ones Irynna sent to me because she said it was one of her favorites.

When she first sent it to me, I looked at it for a second, thought to myself, “Omg this is a great photo, my hair looks good, I like that it’s a candid and that I’m smiling” and then my eyes went straight to my chin. “Oh my god I have a double chin” was the next thought in my mind. “I can never post this picture because I don’t want anyone to see that” came next.

Oh the irony of those thoughts as I now publicly highlight what I at first wanted to hide. 

Sharing my thoughts and feelings around this picture and my photo shoot in general allows me to take my power back from them.

Irynna sent me this picture for a reason, I know she wasn’t thinking about my double chin, she was noticing the joy and beauty in my eyes and smile. So why was my double chin the only thing I could focus on?

Because we are so much more critical of ourselves than other people are. Because despite all of the work I do on myself, I still am, and will always still be, on this journey to total self love, acceptance, and confidence. It is a practice and skill I am building each and every single day. But the negative thoughts and focus still creep in on the daily.

No lie, a part of me is highlighting my double chin in this photo so no one could say it about me behind my back because I’ve already talked about it.

I’m now looking at this photo with loving and kind eyes. My new and improved thoughts are, “Yes, in fact, I do have a double chin in this photo but if anyone was looking down in this way, they would also have a double chin” (not sure if this is true, but I’m totally going with it). I’m also looking at this photo as if it wasn’t me. If this was anyone else in this picture, I would love it and only give them love and compliments about it, so now that’s what I’m doing to myself. Just like Irynna was when she sent it to me, I’m focusing on the joy in my eyes and smile and all of the things I like about myself in the photo.

I would like to think that because my body isn’t toned and in amazing shape and that I have excess fat on my body and in my face, that this makes it more relatable and real for other people.

Because the core reason I was doing this photo shoot was to show others that it doesn’t matter what your body looks like, if you want to do a photo shoot, do it. You don’t have to be a certain weight or wear a certain pants size in order to be able to have professional pictures of yourself taken. You don’t need to wait until you’ve had a weight loss transformation. You are worthy NOW. You deserve to be the center of attention. You deserve to splurge on yourself. You are beautiful exactly as you are, double chin and all. 

Like I said earlier, these thoughts, affirmations and beliefs do not come overnight. It is a daily choice. A choice to think this way and see myself this way. It takes practice, repetition, constant check ins, reminders and a lot of work. But it is so worth it because feeling confident, amazing and beautiful is worth it. And a much better way to go through life.

So, when’s your photo shoot? I look forward to seeing your pictures in the future 🙂

My Struggle with Worthiness and Fear

Holy shit it’s been a long freaking time since I’ve written a blog post (again). But this time like hot damn…this is some next level ghosting I’ve done. Clearly consistency isn’t my thing. But I’m being open and honest about it and I guess that’s the first step right? I’ve had notes for this post saved in my drafts for over 3 MONTHS but I’m looking at my lack of consistency with love and forgiveness, not being hard on myself or getting upset about it (easier said than done and I don’t think I’m fully there with this yet but the intention is definitely there).

As crazy and as depressing and sad as it may sound, I have created a habit of feeling unworthy, of not being successful in my business and not having the health and the body that I want that I have just gotten used to it. I have created a space where not living life to my full potential has become safe and my comfort zone.

The shadows of self-hatred and self-consciousness have become my home. That’s a pretty dark home. I’m really trying to stay away from making this post super depressing and “woe is me” so let’s see how successful I am at that…

I realized that I’ve been self-sabotaging because I don’t feel worthy. I don’t feel worthy of success in my business so I don’t work. I don’t feel worthy of posting on social media or of writing a blog post, so I stay quiet. I don’t feel worthy of having a healthy body so I eat junk and don’t exercise. I don’t feel worthy of looking good so I don’t dress up or put makeup on. I don’t feel worthy of being in a relationship so I don’t put myself out there. I tell myself it’s easier this way. This is what I’m used to.

I don’t feel worthy because I’m afraid. I’m afraid I’m not good enough. I’m afraid I will fail. I’m afraid I will make a fool out of myself.  I’m afraid of being rejected. I’m afraid of what other people will think.

Even if I do step out of my comfort zone, after a few days (or even faster than that), I go right back into my safe place of isolation, of playing it small, of not taking risks or avoiding things that make me feel uncomfortable.

But I have absolutely no evidence telling me that I am unworthy. I have no proof that I don’t deserve happiness. There is no evidence that I don’t deserve success, wealth and an amazing body. I don’t have anyone in my life telling me I’m not good enough besides myself. My family and friends pour love and belief into me on a daily basis. So why do I feel so unworthy and so afraid? Where did I get this story that I’m not good enough? Where are these thoughts, beliefs and demons coming from?

I don’t have an answer for that. And that frustrates me, a lot.

I can’t keep writing this post without any positivity in it or any encouragement. There has to be a silver lining. What I do know is that my mindfulness and self-awareness is improving each and every day. I am noticing the thoughts in my head more and increasing my ability to stop them and redirect my focus. But it’s a really slow process for me.

I am practicing more self care, more relaxation, more meditation. And all of these things are slowly making me feel a little bit more worthy. Worthy of sitting with myself and my thoughts, knowing that I am good enough. That I am enough. I am enough now. In this body, I am enough. In this place in my business, I am worthy.

Everything is working out for me exactly as it should and every experience is a lesson to be learned. These thoughts and feelings are here to teach me something and I think a part of it is to write about them and practice transparency and honesty with myself and with others. Even if writing about them is a 3 month process. Even if my blog feels like it just had to be dusted off from the shadows of the basement because I had tucked it away and left it to be neglected and forgotten about.

It’s all good though. I’m sure 99% of people weren’t even wondering about where my blog had gone (that’s not a self-deprecating statement, just an objective fact that people don’t really care what/how often you are writing, they are genuinely just concerned with themselves).

It’s actually pretty amazing to read the first draft of this post I had written 3 months ago and see the difference in my thought process from then to now. I definitely wanted to post my original writing, the raw and real and in-the-moment feelings I had been having at that time, but now I don’t think I would have written this post. I don’t think I would have felt the need. I don’t think these feelings of unworthiness and fear are that strong in me anymore. I’m still unsure about that and nervous to even write that out (hence why I said “I don’t think”) but it really does feel a bit foreign and distant to the woman I am not and that’s pretty amazing. It’s amazing to be able to take a step back and reflect and notice my growth in just 3 short months. This reflection and self-acknowledgment is  something I do RARELY but I’m now giving myself credit where credit is due.

Note to self: girl, you are killing it. You are freaking worthy of massive wealth and success (an affirmation I actually have posted all over my room). It’s okay to be afraid, but do it anyways. Do it because you are afraid. Know that this fear is a sign that what you are about to do is an amazing step in the right direction. Don’t play small. That doesn’t help anyone.

I know the first time I wrote this post I wrote that I am so used to not living in my full potential that this is where I am comfortable. But this is no longer the case. I’m actually at the point where I am sick and tired of living this unfulfilled, unaligned life. Not living in my full potential is actually very uncomfortable for me right now. And not uncomfortable like out of my comfort zone in a good way. Like uncomfortable because I don’t feel proud of where I am, and that’s not a good feeling for me at all. I know I have the choice to change this. I am choosing to live in my full potential. I am choosing to feel worthy and not to feel afraid of fear. These choices are going to make me feel a lot better and take me a lot further than the choices I was making when I first wrote this post.

To anyone reading this who also struggles with worthiness and fear: I hope you find some solace in my struggle. I hope you can find some hope, some peace and some strength. I hope you know you are not alone. You are never alone. I hope you know that it’s okay to feel the way that you do, even if you don’t have any “real” reason to feel that way, because that’s how I felt as well. I hope you know you have the choice to change the way you feel. You can feel worthy. And while I don’t think anyone is ever fearless, you can use the fear to make you stronger and more powerful by taking action in spite of it.

Why me? The whiny voice and the victim and what you can learn from them

little girl pouting whiny victim attitude

Why me??

My little voice whines at me. Why do I have to go through all of these hardships? It’s not fairrrrrrr.  The whiny voice, the victim, the little voice, the ego-they are all the same and they are all the opposite of my goddess voice.

They scream at me:

Why do I have to suffer from an eating disorder? Why do I have to suffer from depression? Why do I have to have menstrual problems? Why does life have to be so hard for me?

Ew. Wow. When written out like that is sounds so childish and whiny. Like honestly it’s not that bad. And all of those “haves”. I don’t “have” to do anything. I choose to feel this way I do. I choose to binge eat. I choose to feel depressed. I choose to oversleep. I choose to not get out of bed. I chose to see my menstrual irregularity as a problem. I choose to believe my life is hard.

Sounds kind of harsh right?

But it’s true. It’s the way I choose to see things and it’s what I believe.

And it’s also true,

It’s not that bad.

It could always always always be worse. I could have an addiction to drugs or alcohol rather than to sugar and food. I could have a terminal illness rather than a hormone imbalance. But this view is a double-edged sword. It comes with comparison. Comparison to other people’s problems and either seeing mine as worse than theirs or not as bad. This view comes with me feeling guilty for being so upset about my “little” and “not so serious” struggles. My little voice tells me, “C’mon Nancy seriously, what you are dealing with isn’t that bad.” She also tells me, “Since your issues aren’t that serious you can continue on with what you are doing.” But clearly this hasn’t been working out for me because I have been so unhappy.

It’s doesn’t matter what anyone else is thinking, saying, or going through. It’s all about how you see your current situation and how you allow it to affect you.

How you choose to see your current situation, whether it be good, bad or ugly, is everything. This is where true control and true strength come from. This has been extremely difficult for me because I am not used to consciously thinking about how I am choosing to see something and how I choose to fee,l but the more work I do on mindset and the more coaching and mentoring I receive, the better I get at all of this.

My little voice can also go the opposite route from “it’s not that bad and other people have it worse” and say, “Why me? It’s not fair I have to go through this. Everything is so hard for me.” Looking at it from the outside in, this whining is so extremely childish and definitely tapping into my little girl mentality. If I ask myself, why am I whining? Why am I complaining? Why am I feeling so small and helpless? The answer that comes to me is to feel better about myself. It’s like I am putting the responsibility on someone else and it’s not my fault. If I say, “It’s not fair.” And that “life is just too hard.” Than I don’t have to do anything about it. I can just sit around and pout and binge eat. This “why me” mindset and outlook is that all of this is happening to me rather than for me.

But is this really working out for me?

Is the pouting, the whining, the complaining, the feeling small and indignant, the binge eating working? Is it a good way to look at things, a good coping mechanism, a good way to live my life? Clearly not. So if it’s not working then a change is required. A change in how I view my situation and my struggles.

No more victim. No more whining. No more why me. No more poor me.

This pattern of thinking never got anyone anywhere happy and successful so it’s definitely not going to get me to a happy and successful place.

Today I acknowledge this and I work on it little by little. I am not going to be a master by next week or even next month but awareness is the first step in the right direction. And it’s all about direction. So I am putting that little pouty Nancy behind me day by day. She belongs in 1998.

 

Today is the First Day of the Rest of your Life 🌟

MGH last day

Yeah yeah my title is cliché but I don’t care because it’s true and always will be true.

Today is a reset button on your life.

Monday is a reset button on your week. The 1st of the month is a reset button on your month. The 1st of the year is a reset button on your year. How freakin’ cool is that?! Very very cool because trust me, I need A LOT of reset buttons. A reset button for my nutrition, my mindset, my momentum, my emotions, my spirit, my soul, my relationships, my workouts, can I have a reset button for everything??

Knowing that tomorrow is a new day, a reset, the first day of the rest of your life, isn’t an excuse to do stupid shit with this day, this gift, you have here right in front of you, but it helps you let things go.
Live in the moment but don’t get caught up in it and overwhelmed by it.

Because the moment is fleeting and doesn’t last very long.

When things go wrong, let them go. When things don’t go according to plan, let them go. When someone or something disappoints you, let it go. When an unpleasant emotion or thought comes over you, let it go (this is a HUGE one for me). It’s not worth it. Why ruin the rest of your day, or the next day, or week, or month, or year, focusing on something negative?

Okay yeah easier said than done (especially for someone like me who suffers from anxiety, ADD, perfectionism, constantly planning, overthinking, feeling, etc.) but practicing letting it go helps in a major way. And do you know how else you can practice letting it go?

By remembering that today is the first day of the rest of your life.

You can do whatever you want with this day. You can feel however you want in this day. IT’S YOUR CHOICE. Yup. I’m putting the responsibility on YOU. Yes, you do have responsibilities and obligations that need to get taken care of but you still have a choice.

Your attitude is a choice.

It’s takes hard work, consistency, dedication, and motivation to think this way. It’s not easy. You are literally rewiring your brain to believe these statements but it’s so worth it. Imagine the type of life you could live if you woke up every morning and said to yourself, “today is the first day of the rest of my life.” Empowering right? It feels good just to type it out.

I don’t practice what I preach perfectly (like I said, this is hard work and I’m still getting the hang of it), but this morning I did wake up and say to myself (and my followers on Snacpchat), “today is the first day of the rest of my life.”

1st day

And it felt good. I felt free. Free from whatever happened yesterday. Free from the fear of quitting my safe, steady, secure, comfortable, “prestigious” job. Free from having to explain myself. Free from the negativity in my own head.

Today is really really the first day of the rest of my life. Today is an extra special and huge day for me. Today is my first day of complete freedom. Today is my first day after quitting my job. Was I freaking out this week? Absolutely yes. Was I afraid of the uncertainty that lays ahead? You bet. I am not the type of person to relax, have no schedule, to just chill and do nothing. I actually planned out the first day of the rest of my life because I was afraid of being bored, unproductive, and of wasting this precious day. There is so much I want to do with this time. It is precious to me. But this also leads me to putting a lot of pressure on myself to complete 100 tasks in a day, make this super long to do list, stress out about it, get overwhelmed, and then do none of it. This is a pattern and a habit I get myself in to all of the time. But with the help of some coaches, mentors, and organizational tools, I’m getting much better at not scheduling as much in to my day. Instead I’m scheduling in breaks of fun and play and relaxation and time without a phone.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life.

I practiced my spirit ritual, I worked out, I got my eyebrows done, I chatted with a mentor on the phone, I revamped my schedule and created a totally unique and epic one. I created creative content. Things didn’t go exactly as planned but I adapted and was flexible. I made it work. In my favor actually.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Can you make it an amazing one?

Can you practice saying this to yourself every morning? I’m going to practice right there with you. Let me know what you think and how it goes by using the form below.

 

What Does That Number Really Mean? 

numbers-738068_960_720

Again I have been marinating on this blog post for a while (I’m sensing a pattern here…). I’ve talked to my coach about it, she encouraged me to write this post, I’ve read  Beth Cormack’s post, which made me realize I’m not alone and crazy, and I’m finally facing my fear (which isn’t getting old by the way) and putting pen to paper (or rather fingers to keyboard) in order to make this thing happen.

So what is that number I mentioned in the title?

The number I’m talking about is a lot of different things: it’s the number that appears when I step on the scale, it’s the number on the inside of my pants or on the tag of my dress, it’s the number the measuring tape reads as I wrap it around my stomach, my thighs, my butt, it’s the number I enter into MyFitnessPal (which really isn’t my Pal at all) in order to track my progress and remember what I weighed days, weeks, and months before.

This number has determined my happiness for too long. How could a silly little number do that? How could a number determine my happiness? Those 2 things should not be correlated or directly proportional. But for the longest time they have been.

“I’ll be happier when I’m skinnier. I’ll be prettier when I’m skinnier. I’ll be enough when that number gets smaller.”

Seriously? That’s the way I talk to myself? Looking at those statements above with a clear mind makes me see how unhealthy of a way that is to think. Like why can’t I be happy NOW? Why can’t I be pretty NOW? Why can’t I be enough NOW?

True fact: I can be. I can choose the more positive, happy way of thinking.

That’s easier said than done but I’m working on it.

What this number that has been the source of so much anxiety, depression and obsession is not is my self-worth. This number is not a measurement of my success or failure. This number doesn’t tell me how many friends I have or how many people love me.

My weight does not define me. My pants size does not make me unworthy. My dress size does not make me a failure. 

It’s what I think and say about that number that determines my happiness. I control my happiness.

Like honestly, who cares what that number reads? The only person who sees that number is me. The only person who truly cares about that number is me. When I meet someone for the first time they don’t ask me, “Hey, how much do you weigh?” When I apply for a job there’s no blank line to enter my pants size. Why not?

Because no one cares about that number.

But do you know what people actually care about? They care about my heart. They care about how I treat other people. They care about the value I am providing them. They care about my happiness. They also care about themselves (which is normal and totally fine).

*Newsflash Nance:* Other people aren’t focusing on me like I am focusing on myself (blog post about this to follow).

That number is higher than it has ever been before. So what? No one else cares about that number. And I shouldn’t either.

With extra weight, I am still worthy of my own love and kindness. It’s not the weight that is the issue, it’s the way I see the weight that is the issue. It’s not the weight that is the issue, it’s what I do that creates the weight gain that is the issue.

That ever increasing or constantly fluctuating number is not an evil thing. That number is a message from my body. My weight is a guide, it’s feedback from my body about what is going on.

I’ve allowed that number to make me feel a certain way for a long time. I’ve given that number power. And I didn’t even notice it. I thought it was normal. I thought it was motivation to keep going or to get back on track. I looked forward to weighing myself, to getting on that scale every morning after I used the bathroom and before I drank any water.

It was my sacred ritual.

Well guess what, I’m making a new scared ritual. It’s called loving myself. No matter what that number is-on the scale, on my pants, on my dress, my new sacred ritual is to love myself and be happy with myself (and that of course includes being happy with and loving my body).

I haven’t weighed myself in weeks. I’ve felt tempted to get the scale down from the shelf in the bathroom and weigh myself just to see what the number reads, just out of curiosity.

But I know weighing myself won’t serve me. 

Regardless of what the number is, higher than I expect or lower than I expect, I won’t be happy. In her book, Busy, Stressed, and Food Obsessed, Lisa Lewtan describes the discomfort I feel no matter what the number reads. She says, “For many of us, the moment we see a number on the scale and start to think, “I need to lose weight fast,” is the moment we start eating everything in sight…On the other hand, when I saw a lower number, I would be so happy that I somehow rationalized I could eat more and would end up self-sabotaging my efforts by indulging all the more.”

An important thing I want to mention here is that this isn’t the case for everyone. Some people have a healthy relationship with the scale and it is a useful tool for them. They can weigh themselves regularly, track their progress with a smile, and be happy and healthy. But I have recently realized this isn’t the case for me.

As Lisa so perfectly describes, ” For some [aka me]… the scale is a weapon of mass destruction.”

This mass destruction for me manifests as the feelings of depression, unworthiness, guilt, disappointment and shame that lead to binging. So why actively contribute to these feelings by stepping on the scale?

Awareness and understanding are amazing tools (easier said than done but you have to start somewhere!). One morning when the temptation came over me and the thought crossed my mind, I didn’t weigh myself, I was mindful of the thought, I let the feeling pass, and I went on with my morning, because I now understand it wouldn’t do anything for me, it wouldn’t serve me in any way, it wouldn’t tell me how amazing I am, and that was a big win in my book.

Binge Eating-It’s Not Just Something I do on Weekends or Holidays

candy

I recently searched “binge eating” on Twitter to see what I was going to find and I came across this extremely informative article that discusses what everyone should know about Binge Eating Disorder. It’s one of those phrases people throw around casually (“Oh my god I totally binged on a bag of chips and a package of cookies last night.”). And most people don’t really understand the seriousness of it because everyone overeats and feels guilty about it at some point in their lives so binge eating is normal and okay to do right?

I beg to differ.

Binge eating disorder is another level, a whole different extreme. It’s a disorder. It’s an eating disorder. It’s actually the most common eating disorder in the U.S. If you didn’t click on the link above, or if you did and decided the article was too long (I really hope that wasn’t the case), I’ve summarized the main points in the article as well as elaborated on my story a bit. I feel it is so very important for people to see what binge eating disorder is in order to bring awareness and understanding to something that 3 to 5 percent of women suffer from.

Approximately 57% of binge eating disorder sufferers never receive treatment. This breaks my heart. Especially since the recovery rate is higher than recovery from anorexia or bulimia. I can absolutely understand why the majority of those suffering don’t receive treatment because that was me for almost 2 years.

My journey has been, and still is, complicated.

When I first began binge eating, the spring of 2014, I thought it was something I could totally stop cold turkey. I would tell myself, “That was my last binge ever.” “I can do this on my own.” “I will stop soon-when I want to.”

A part of me didn’t realize how abnormal my behavior was, I didn’t realize I needed help because at first it wasn’t that bad.

So what, I’d go to City Convenience and buy a package of cookie dough and eat the entire thing in one sitting, or I would go to Insomnia Cookies and buy myself a cookiewich (ice cream sandwiched in between 2 cookies). But I deserved it. I had dieted for 16 weeks for a bikini competition and now I had nothing to work towards.

I had no one expecting anything of me.

I was alone.

Very soon my binges spiraled out of control. A package of cookie dough or a cookiewich weren’t enough. I wanted both. And then I wanted something salty to eat afterwards. And then I wanted more and more and more.

I wanted to fill myself up to the point where I couldn’t eat anymore. I wanted to be totally and completely full. Or else it wouldn’t be enough. I would be disappointed.

These are all traditional characteristics of binge eating disorder, things that make my behavior abnormal. Not only did the amount of food I ate escalate, but so did the frequency of my binges. It went from once a week, to twice a week, to every few days, to every day. It was becoming a habit. But there were also days (almost full weeks) that went by where I didn’t binge. I had a calendar on my wall where I would mark a smiley face in blue pen on the days I didn’t binge. I felt so proud when I got to draw that face and so guilty and disappointed when I didn’t.

Another reason I didn’t seek treatment, or did seek it and then stopped, was because binge eating doesn’t completely disrupt my life.

I’d say I’m a functional binge eater.

When I was binge eating while at school I still showed up to class, I got good grades, I hung out with my friends, I made it to my club meetings. I binged through senior events, graduation, getting a new job. I did what I had to do and didn’t drop the ball on any of it. I was making it work.

My life was fine.

But it wasn’t. After suffering completely alone, in shame, loneliness and isolation for a few months, I realized recovery was harder than just saying, “I’m never going to binge again.” I knew something bigger and deeper was going on. Why would I make myself feel so sick with food, so full and bloated and disgusted and then do it over and over again? I knew I needed professional help. So I looked up a kind, wonderful woman who had experience with eating disorders. She was my therapist and I saw her for a few months. I also went to a nutritionist and I saw a psychiatrist, all at the same time, but something didn’t feel right. I don’t know if it was because I wasn’t ready to get better, or because I didn’t believe I could get better, or something else, but I stopped going. I told myself it was too expensive, that I was still binging so it wasn’t working, that I could get better on my own. Again, like most of society, I didn’t recognize the seriousness of the situation. I didn’t recognize how horrible and awful and depressed I felt. I watched Youtube videos to try and get help, I read an amazing book called Brain Over Binge, which I totally got because I am a Neuroscience major, and I thought I would get better on my own again. But none of that worked for me. I now think it was because I didn’t fully comprehend that my binge eating has to do with my emotions and my feelings.

There is nothing wrong with me.

I am not a problem that needs to be fixed. I just deal with my emotions in a different way. I seek fulfillment from food rather than from friends, family, a good book, or writing. But I would have never realized this on my own. I think I read about this before, I’m sure my therapist had mentioned it, but it had to be coming from the right person at the right time for it to really sink in. Even with all of the knowledge I have gained in the past few months, all of the amazing, empowering conversations I have, and rituals I do, I am still struggling with binge eating. It definitely gets worse before it gets better but I am borrowing other’s faith in order to find the strength, positivity and power to keep moving forward.

The Suffocation of my Inner Goddess

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 I’ve had this post saved in my drafts for 2 weeks. I wrote it at a time when I felt empowered, fed up and ready to share my story. When there were no thoughts of failure or fear. And then things changed. The self-doubt and unease crept back in. My ego said, “Nancy who do you think you are to publish this post? Who do you think you are to be totally and completely vulnerable? You’re not any different. You’re not going to change, this is who you are. This is your comfort zone. It’s easier to be average and blend in than it is to rise above, to be unique and to be successful because that is where the spotlight and the attention are.” Well I finally gathered the courage to hit publish. This post isn’t perfect but it’s real and it’s a part of my story.

 

I didn’t want to make this blog. I didn’t think I had a story worth sharing. I didn’t think I was any different (and I still don’t believe I am).

“It seems like everyone out there is making their own blog now.”

“I’m sure there are hundred of blogs out there just like what mine would be like.”

“I’m not a good writer.”

“People will judge me.”

“Do I really want people to know what I am going through?”

 

This negativity, fear and doubt surrounding my blog mirror the self-talk that runs through my mind each and every single day. I didn’t want to make this blog. Yet here I am, taking a leap, and making a blog. Why? Because I am sick and tired of hiding. I am sick and tired of feeling like I live a double life. I am fed up with being depressed, alone and not understood. I am done with caring what other people are going to think, who is going to find out my deepest secrets, where my reputation is going to end up. My new attitude: bring on the arrows. Yes, I am scared. Yes, I know I am putting myself completely out there to be scrutinized, ridiculed, and judged. But I am realizing those people shouldn’t mean anything to me anyways and their criticism is a reflection of something going on within themselves. Anyways, I’m doing this for myself as much as I’m doing it for anyone else.

 

So what’s the big secret?

I’m a binge eater.

I eat excessive amounts of high sugar, high carb, junk food, usually multiple times a week. I hide it from my friends, my roommates, my family. I shamelessly spend $20, $30, $40 per binge. I walk to convenience stores (sometimes in the middle of the night) and buy enough food to know I will be able to completely stuff myself to the point where I can’t take one more bite.

Why?

I don’t really know. I’m still trying to figure that out. I have learned a lot about myself and about binge eating in the process but I don’t think there is one clear-cut answer as to why I do this. I know it has to do with lack of control, with calorie restriction and dieting in the past, with guilt, with self-criticism, with comfort, enjoyment, and disappointment. It has become a habit, an addiction, something I love and hate (the love comes first and the hate follows). While writing this I am not even completely sure I want to stop binge eating, the high I get from surrounding myself with junk food, the dopamine rush my brain gets from the sugar, the numbing effect it has on my emotions, those are hard things to part with. But what about the guilt, the self-hate, the shame I feel afterwards? Those are emotions I ignore and push out of my mind until the binge is over.

“This is my last binge ever.”

“Tomorrow I am going to do extra cardio.”

“I still have time before summer.”

These are common thoughts my mind makes up before and after I binge in order to justify my actions. My mind is so freaking smart it’s scary. It knows exactly what to say to make it okay to binge and I almost always listen to that voice because I believe it is me.

I’m by no means healed by writing this post. Do I feel any different? Not really. Do I want people to even see and read this? Kind of. It doesn’t really matter though. I know recovery is a process and doesn’t happen overnight. Binge eating is not a light switch you can turn on and off. I made a commitment and a promise to myself and this blog is a present to me. So happy early birthday Nancy. You are a goddess.

 

 

I wouldn’t have been able to make this blog if it weren’t for the help, love, support and guidance of Sheira Mackenzie, Belinda Ginter, Natalie Russo, Kelsey Sarcone, Leanne Agastina and Beth Cormack. Thank you beautiful goddesss I love and appreciate you beyond measure.