Stuffed With Emptiness: My First Binge

Posted: September 28, 2011 at 7:09 am

I feel strongly about bringing more awareness to the struggles of binge eating. This post delves into details and thoughts of my first binge. If this topic could be triggering to your own thoughts and experience in any way, please read with caution or wait to visit FFF later.

I remember the night vividly.

I sat on the chair in my parents’ home, a laptop across my lap – chilly, tired. And hungry. The words for my five page essay on a Spanish play wouldn’t flow. My spreadsheet to plan out my meals and macronutrient counts for the following day kept distracting me.

I have to make sure I get this right. It’s worked well so far. I can’t believe I lost another four pounds this week! What can I cut to still make progress. I bet I could lose another five pounds. Yes. I can. That will be my next goal.

With smugness across my face, I set my thoughts on my new goal. I couldn’t see that losing over twenty pounds in ten weeks did me no favors. I couldn’t see I weighed significantly less than optimal for my body – even less than I weighed on the day of my fitness competition. I was, literally, starving.

quote 4

My body – neglected, in need of food, searching for energy to keep itself awake and functioning – finally overtook my control.

I need something. I didn’t eat dinner tonight because I told my mom I wasn’t hungry, so I have a little wiggle room from the day. I can have a teaspoon of peanut butter. That won’t hurt my goal.

I went to the refrigerator. I pulled out my jar of natural peanut butter and my food scale. I measured out my teaspoon of peanut butter. It tasted better than anything I had tasted in a long time. I packed everything away and laid the spoon in the sink, to return to my chair and finish my essay.

Only now, the thoughts of peanut butter consumed me. I told myself one more spoonful won’t hurt and returned to the refrigerator for one more scoop. I returned to my chair, only to stare at my screen until, like a moth to a flame, I found myself, spoon in hand, at the jar again.

Time and time again. Sneak a bite. Try to focus. Sneak a bite again. Until suddenly, there I sat, looking down to an empty jar of peanut butter at after 2 am. Shame washed over me.

quote 5

I did not understand what had happened. How did I get so off course? Yet, somehow, food continued to rule my thoughts. I couldn’t get it out of my head.

I snuck over to the pantry. The door creaked ever so slightly as I opened it, making me pause with dread that someone might figure out what I planned to do. I felt disappointed at the selection – low carb wraps, bags of brown rice, bottles of olive oil, cans of vegetables.

Then, from the back corner I saw my brother’s special box of PopTarts. The only junk food we had in the house as I had convinced my mom to not buy anything “sugar or fat laden” because of my “diet”.

The wrapping crinkled in my fingers. I ever so carefully peeled it away, in fear of getting caught. I took my first bite and the sugar hit me. It was my first taste of anything besides plain oatmeal, protein powder, chicken, eggs, an apple, or raw vegetables in months. It released an almost euphoric response and suddenly the entire box disappeared, leaving me digging in the trash to hide the evidence.

quote 6

I went to bed in tears. Stuffed…but more empty at the same time. My mind could not understand what happened. I lied to my brother the following morning about where his breakfast could have gone. I skipped a class that day to finish my essay. And I didn’t allow a single morsel of food to cross my lips that day either. Sadly, it was just the beginning…

  • How have you had to “conquer yourself” in the past?

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88 Comments to “Stuffed With Emptiness: My First Binge”
  1. Tina, once again you amaze me with your openness and braveness. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. Jenny says:

    Tina, this post is truly special. In high school, I went from being severely underweight and malnourished to overweight and obsessed with food in a matter of months. Recently, as a college student, I have repeated the process (to a much lesser extent). For me, the key to overcomming this cycle is to seek treatment for depression, and remember the things that I could be proud of besides my size and appearance. I agree that some disorded thinking about food may always linger from time to time, but to everyone struggling, it DOES get easier and you will be much happier when you learn to let go of some control.

  3. Lindsay says:

    Thank you for this post Tina! It was such perfect timing too because I’ve been struggling with this kind of stuff a lot lately. I hope you continue with posts like this. It helps to know I’m not alone in this and I’d love to hear how you beat/overcame it.

  4. [...] thank you for all the comments, tweets, “stumbles”, emails, etc on my earlier post looking into my first binge. I am toying with the idea of continuing this as a series expressing key moments in my journey [...]

  5. … You are so brave to share … I always look forward to your posts …

    … J

  6. Annie says:

    Very well-written and intriguing post, Tina. Thank you for writing and sharing this! <3

  7. Amy Lauren says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m not a “binge eater”, but I have definitely used food to mask feelings sometimes and restricted only to mindlessly eat. It’s something so many women struggle with.

    It’s really inspiring to read your stories like this but also very strong of you to share them. Most people wouldn’t be able to do it, especially online where it’s not anonymous. Can’t wait to read the rest.

  8. Thank you for posting this <3 So many people fail to realize that this is a true problem going on. And too many suffer alone.

    Your bravery is well-appreciated <3

  9. So well-written and powerful. Thank you so much for sharing, Tina. I still have my moments where I feel like I lose control with food. I find that not restricting anything and letting go of the mentality that certain foods should never be consumed helped tremendously. Obviously you’ve come so far and don’t need my advice, but just saying what helped me thru it. Thanks again for sharing ! :)

  10. Sarah says:

    Your description is a little too familiar to me…meaning, I know exactly how you felt then.

  11. Donna says:

    I remember doing this too, always hiding the evidence afterwards. It is nice to hear others admit to this, thank you for sharing.

  12. I actually don’t remember my first binge. At this point, they are just one big blob of horrible memories. I love you. and love your story.

  13. Thank you for sharing this! My good friend was just telling me today about how she plans to teach her baby girl how to look at her body positively and how to view herself because my friend had a huge body image issue in high school. Her mom was always on some sort of “diet” so following in her mother’s footsteps, she told me she was not eating very much (anorexia, like you described in the beginning) and she passed out at school!! It hurt my heart to hear it but it also made me happy she was not passing that on to her little one!

    Great writing and thanks for sharing such a personal story.

  14. Wow. What an amazing post. Thank you for sharing – I know that these feelings, even years away, are difficult. You really hit the emotion on the head. My binges never seemed so thought-out. They were just immediate needs, with no self-control in the middle. The wrappers in the trash (or in the trashcan down the street) were the only proof.

  15. I know the feeling all too well….I’m glad that you aren’t in that place any longer! Nicely written!!

  16. In college, I really struggled with binging and purging because I would get panicked about gaining weight. What’s sick is that I weighed 125 lbs and looked perfectly fine. We tell ourselves stories every day, that we’re fat or ugly or undeserving. I am trying to tell myself I’m beautiful, and food is to be enjoyed and balanced, so I don’t have to binge to reward or punish myself. The mind battles have been far harder for me than giving up the physical issues. Those have stuck with me.

  17. Missy says:

    Tina,
    Where do I begin?
    Thank you so SO much for sharing this — you are doing an amazing thing.
    I have a strong feeling that many healthy eaters who may be part of the HLB community (and maybe some people who, like you had, are falling into a restrictive pattern) are experiencing episodes of binge or out of controlled eating for whatever reasons and as you and I know it is both frightening (to be that out of control) and shameful. The shame is the worst.

    I bet someone out there who’s reading this has been experiencing this (for whatever reasons) and has told not one single soul and I am just so grateful that you are courageous enough to stand up and say “This happens” and that you binge eating does not solely occur amongst those with an eating disorder or the obese and unhealthy….heck. You can binge on brocolli. It’s that sense of being unable to stop…that deep down hunger and auto-pilot behavior that makes it a binge.

    Thank you — you are surely helping many people.

  18. Tina thank you so much for sharing this, and I think it would be great for you to do a series about this. During my underweight, disordered eating days I had many moments like what you described – standing in the kitchen at night and staring down an empty nut butter jar or tub of ice cream wondering where it all went and then freaking out – the next day would bring deprivation and the cycle continued.

    You sharing this is helping many women out there to know that they’re not alone in that struggle and that there’s end to it in sight for them. You’re an inspiration and thanks again for sharing :)

  19. Hilary @ My Crafted Life says:

    This post really speaks to me. I don’t remember my first binge, but pop-tarts were one of the foods I binged on most. I have come so far and am in such a different place than I was a couple of years ago. Thank you for writing posts like this. This is why I love blogs- because of the support and community. Love your blog:)

  20. [...] Featured Personal Post: Stuffed With Emptiness – My First Binge [...]

  21. Hilary says:

    Wow…so scary, so raw, so real! Thanks for sharing. I have to conquer my urges to go out of control/over the top on special occasions and bingeing then…it’s a daily struggle…one step at a time.

  22. Sarah says:

    Tina

    Thank you so much for posting this. I felt like you were describing my binging. It’s hard. I am good during the day but night time is when I struggle.

    • Tina says:

      If I hope for anything, it’s for those of us who do struggle or have struggled with binge eating can feel less alone. I hope you find peace in your own journey and i’m always here if needed. :)

  23. Binge Eating says:

    [...] My First Binge [...]

  24. Jan says:

    i have so much I could say to this post. I am struggling so bad right now Tina. It hurts.
    Its not just weight and guilt that I deal with as an aftermath; but I have IBS,,,i’m just ruining myself.
    I’m so ashamed and so confused. If you are able to chat anytime, please email me. I know youre busy though,,
    Really enjoying your blog.

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