Get Inside My Head – Serious Side

Posted: December 17, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Okay, I promise I have not forgotten about those of you who posed questions I have yet to answer on my Formspring page. I guess I have had a lot to talk about recently. I can’t keep forgetting though. So instead of posting the next topic in my Body After Baby series, I will now share the second to last round of Q + As. These are a bit more on the serious side, but very worthy discussions. Let’s get to it!

Your story of being a former binger, stuck in an on again off again relationship hits close to home. What advice would you give to someone struggling with both of these issues?

I have no qualifications whatsoever to give advice, besides sharing my own personal experiences, but I can say learning to respect myself helped me with both of these situations. You deserve love and respect.

For binging, I spent a lot of time in prayer asking God to help me love myself like He loves me. I studied verses related to His love and even subscribed to an email devotional for hurting women. I wish I remembered where to find it! Above and beyond trying to get a grasp on believing in my worth, I stopped restricting. I took away all food rules and ate whatever the heck I wanted.

At first, that did include more binges. But then, allowing them took away the thrill of the addiction. I then realized I didn’t even like a lot of the things I ate. I could eat just one cookie or go out for a heavier dinner once on the weekend without the weekend needing to be one huge free for all. It did not happen all at once, but once I stopped trying to control food, I actually gained control of myself.

I wish I had some magical answer to make it stop for anyone suffering such a struggle. I know how badly it sucks. Find support where you can, either in a trusted friend or even a counselor. Find a way to get out destructive emotions outside of food. Find a way to stop labeling food and view each moment anew.

And as for the on-again, off-again: in my opinion, if you’ve tried multiple times and its just not working out, cut your losses and any contact. I’m all for second chances and forgiveness, but I believe if a relationship is that difficult to maintain, something isn’t right. It’s too easy to go back to the comfortable and what you know. You can care for someone, but you must care for yourself first. If someone does not give you all that you need in a relationship and make you a priority, don’t waste the time. Someone out there will be what you need. And in order to be open to that someone you have to be focusing on yourself, without the distraction of an emotional roller coaster relationship.

I've recognized some disordered eating in a person I know. She gets exercise and size obsessive. She is constantly comparing herself to skinnier/genetically luckier women and can't be satisfied with her own body. What would you say to her?

I have a friend who constantly talks about her weight and size. She has always obsessed over it and continually compares herself to other women. In the past, it even became a sort of competition within our friendship. We would feed off each other. Eventually, I learned the unhealthy ways I was treating myself.

Now, I don’t say anything outright to her about her actions. I don’t outwardly tell her I perceive disordered eating or a negative body image. I think this would only make her a) defensive or b) proud because she thinks I’m jealous of her. You cannot change another person’s behaviors and mindsets. They have to recognize it and want to improve it on their own.

I do take some action though. When she begins comparing herself to other women or talking about her weight, I change the subject. I don’t allow “fat talk” to be a part of our conversation. If she flat out says something about being “fat, ugly, bloated, icky, blah di blah blah blah” I will say “Stop. You’re smarter than that.”. I do NOT encourage the talk by consoling her or giving her accolades of how gorgeous she really is. I don’t take the bait of compliments she may be fishing for. For example, when she bemoaned how tiny another woman was and if she could ever look like that, I straight up said “I would rather look like I work for my body than starve for it”. You know her response? “Wow. You’re right.”

With all that being said, I would certainly share my story and offer support or advice if she came to me for it or began discussing topics related to it. We can be available for support, but can’t just dive in doling it out and expect to see change.

Soooooooo….HAPPY FRIDAY! Any thoughts on these topics? The binging cycle? Bad relationships? Fat talking friends?

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28 Comments to “Get Inside My Head – Serious Side”
  1. i would say that the best and most realistic thing is realizing that we deserve to love and respect ourselves…whatever happened to make us think otherwise?!

  2. Tina, thank you SO SO SO MUCH for this post…especially now during the holiday season. Coming off a competition at the lowest body weight I’ve ever been (including middle school!) I’m struggling with “balance” and have been overeating since my competition last month. I think depriving myself for months during my training has really made me go to the other extreme during “off season” and I’m trying to nip this in the bud now before it gets out of hand. I told myself I’d relax during December, because I’ll be starting contest prep again January 3rd, but I’ve found that I have this distorted sense of “eat WHATever and HOWever much I want *now* because I’ll be back to contest diet in 2 weeks and won’t be able to”. As you can imagine, this is NOTt healthy and even my clothes are feeling a bit snug. DOH! I wasn’t prepared for this mental struggle post-competition, even though other girls warned me about it.

    This post REALLY HIT HOME WITH ME because I hadn’t even thought about it in your perspective about respecting myself. I didn’t even make the connection and instead just thought my cravings were outta control because of contest prep being over and now I can indulge a bit (OK, a LOT) but I realize now that that is not the issue. I’m going to pray about it and ask God to help me understand exactly what my struggle is because I don’t want every competition to end up like this where I struggle with food issues. I just refuse to except that. Competing is a sport, but healthy living is a LIFESTYLE and I need to keep that in perspective because I won’t always be competing. Anyway, love you, girl! HUGS!

    • Tina says:

      It’s certainly a tough transition. I think that was one of the biggest things that made me realize they weren’t right for me to keep up with.

  3. Lisa says:

    Thank you for this post Tina! As you know (since I comment about it alot on your blog) that I struggle with disordered eating. Ive really begun to realize that controlling my food is causing my binges. I’m slowly starting to let go of that and focus on each meal. When you said, “It did not happen all at once, but once I stopped trying to control food, I actually gained control of myself.” this really struck something in me.
    Calorie counting is my biggest struggle and a lot of times this causes me anxiety. I binge to free myself from the anxiety, because of those days that I binge I don’t have to worry about what I’m eating. That right there shows me that I am yearning for freedom. I can give that freedom to myself and more and more I am starting to realize that I am in control!

  4. I really think it is SO powerful to know that releasing trying to control is what frees it from controlling you. I have found that before in my life and I need to find it again now. I have been working on it the last couple of days. Constantly thinking about what I can’t have and being afraid of it happening is what is getting me. This goes for binging and for restricting. Your faith is so inspiring Tina. It is also inspiring to know that while you still struggle, you can speak for your improvement over time.

    • Katie says:

      * by “struggle” I mean still have to work at it sometimes. 🙂

      • Tina says:

        I know what you meant. And I don’t think it will ever 100% go away. Those urges to turn to food still exist, but I am so thankful for the strength and growth God has helped me achieve so I don’t have to succumb to them.

  5. Kelly says:

    I think all your advice is right on! It is hard when food is your “drug” because we all need food to live. It isn’t like someone addicted to cigarettes…I mean you DON’T need cigarette to live. But food is tricky because it is like having to control that addiction every single time you eat which could mean anywhere from 3 to 6 times a day.

  6. Great answers to such serious, important and sensitive issues! You are amazing and you are a great example to me. Addictions are powerful things that can take over someone’s life, it is so important to get help for these things! Thanks!

  7. I very much appreciate this post, especially your first point. I truly believe that when we get even just a glimpse of how much God loves us, it becomes immensely easier to love ourselves.

  8. Heather says:

    What a great, honest post. This definitely hits home, and it’s so nice to hear that someone else has struggled, too.
    Thanks for the honesty!

  9. What a great post – I have that converstaion with myself sometimes too when I get downon myself… I’ll literally think, “Stop. WHy are you doing this to yourself? You’re better than this!”

  10. GREAT post Tina, you are on point with so many things. I believe the best advice comes from those who have lived through it and those who we can relate to. The blogs I read most are those that I can relate to and are realistic and encouraging. Thats exactly what you do here! I really love when you post about this specific topic once in a while because it is so supportive to those who have gone through/are going through the same thing.

  11. Nichole says:

    Powerful questions, I really enjoyed your responses. the more vocal we can be about what to do, how to get help, it means people are getting the advice they need. I strongly believe in prayer in these types of situations that are bigger than you.

  12. Great answers Tina! I have to say, as someone who has been told by others they think I have had an eating disorder, the first reaction is defensive! I think they quickly realized they were wrong and just because I do things differently from them, does not mean I have a problem. There were other things that they said they didn’t like…like my hair cut and other personal things, so I think the problem they had with me went way deeper. I think you have to be careful with how you address things like that with others and be sensitive to how you approach it. You definitely have the right idea!

  13. I definitely agree with cutting all contact with someone if the relationship is really going to work out- it’s the only way to really start to move on.

  14. Angela says:

    I really enjoyed this post Tina! I think self-love is one of the best qualities a person can have. You give some great advice!

  15. Lee says:

    I actually have the fat talking problem with my mother, of all people. My entire life she’s talked about how she’s so fat (she’s not) and how she eats too much and blah, blah, blah. I basically tell her to stop every time she does it now. It honestly makes me feel bad because she’s smaller than I am so it’s like if she thinks that she’s fat, she must think that I am.

  16. […] What words would you use to describe yourself? And I would still love for you to weigh-in on the discussions earlier about binge eating, relationsh…. […]

  17. Lauren says:

    This is great advice! It’s hard to accept that you can’t change other’s actions and behaviors, especially when they are hurting themselves. You have to want to change before it will happen.

  18. Holly says:

    Loved this, Tina….I think so many of us (because we’re “into” health/fitness) have friends who have become or are obsessive or make us feel badly. I agree with your point about trying to change the subject, and really to not sign their praises. I say this because I used to be “that girl,” and when I would engage in fat talk and people would say, “Oh, but you are skinny!” what does that do? Well, that makes me want to do it over and over again, that’s what. And it gets you no where! So I’ll often say things like, “You are beautiful” or “You look so pretty today” to take the focus OFF of weight/size.

  19. “I would rather look like I work for my body than starve for it”.

    Wow. I’ve never heard such a wonderful response for fat talk- it’s both acknowledging that health can be hard work, but also reinforcing the fact that food is not the enemy. I have SO MANY friends who compared themselves to me in my ED days and would always tell me how jealous they were of my (non)body. And I always wanted to scream at them that they were gorgeous, that I was the one who wanted to be like them. Real woman are so much more beautiful and happy than those who are consumed by achieving an always elusive ideal. Great post!

  20. Thank you for posting this. I have had problems myself with restrictive eating, and while it has gotten better, I feel myself slipping a little. Today especially. I was out touring a potential graduate school and had to get lunch at a on campus dining facility. I got a salad that had a lot of hummus and a white bean salad on top. As I started to eat it, I got extremely guilty and panic stricken, because I don’t know how many calories or fat are in it. I ended up trashing half of the salad (it was fairly large too), but I was (and still am) kicking myself over it the entire train ride back home. I don’t know if I am more or less kicking myself over the fact that I ate it, or the fact that I am letting my restrictive habits creep back in.

  21. You are absolutely right, binging stops when you begin respecting yourself and loving yourself for WHO you are not what you wish you were.

    So many times women say “when I lose the weight I’ll be happy”…well that’s not necessarily true…my advice is to love yourself the way you are at any weight. You can’t keep wishing for the day when you’ll suddenly been ‘thin’ and things will be just ‘perfect’ b/c they won’t!

    When I stopped fighting my body, I stopped disordered eating. Simple as that. I also made the decision to change.

  22. Tatianna says:

    “I would rather look like I work for my body than starve for it”

    … Um, I think you just became my idol. That quote is epic! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  23. Melie says:

    And this is exactly why your posts cannot be offensive as you were worried in your last post. Because you say things like this and “I would rather look like I work for my body than starve for it”! 🙂

    I binge some times, but I think it is a more physical than a mental thing. When I get stressed out I forget to eat, so at some point my body realizes that and then I eat and eat and eat and cannot feel full. Until I binge and feel bad… Not a good approach. I should seriously do something about it…

  24. This was such a gift and a blessing for so many of us, Thank You!
    You are allowing God to use your struggle and vistory to help others

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