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Body image and binge eating and feeling hopeless

So I’m just really frustrated, I get so sad and depressed when I look at myself in the mirror. My eating disorder makes me feel unlovable, unworthy and just ugly. I’ve gained so much weight and it makes me sick to even think about it or look at myself. I used to starve myself when I was in 6th grade to about 12th grade. I would eat enough just to get passed the day and then it would turn into about 1 meal a day with a snack. I was about 140 at my happiest weight/ kinda. I had this thing where I thought guys would only like me thin so I tried to maintain that weight. I was very sickly and unhealthy and when I look back I know that wasn’t good for me. At a happier weight I was about 174 I guess but the crazy thing was one day I was 140 and the next time I look I’m 220 pounds and it felt like it happened over night. I was really depressed and started eating a lot, like out of control and I still do. Eating was my coping with being lonely and not having a companion. I’m 21 now and and currently 226 pounds and it makes me very sad. I feel like men don’t want me because of my size and it’s so hard living in a world where society only deems “thin” as beautiful. I try to exercise but I don’t do it often. I feel like I’m just going to get bigger and bigger. I want to lose weight but I can’t stop eating and I’m not motivated to exercise. I have very poor self esteem because of my body and that makes it worse. It’s sad to say but I feel like if I just had someone then I could possibly lose the weight because I would have someone to make me happy. I just feel really lonely and when I’m lonely my heart hurts and my heart is hungry and I eat. I really don’t know what to do and I just feel hopeless. I pray to God all the time for a good man to come into my life and it just hasn’t happened for me and I’ve been praying for a long time. Sometimes I feel like I’m just going to be alone and probably die alone. It just sucks because I have so much to offer and I’m the sweetest person ever and I would be so good to somebody, just feels like nobody I want wants me. I cry about it all the time. I just want to be loved that’s all.

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@Kate6,

It is such an awful and isolating feeling to hate the reflection you see in the mirror… I’m so sorry you’ve been feeling like this Kate. I had struggled with eating disorders for years, and whether I was thin or overweight, I still rejected my body. It has been a long story of self-hate, shame and disgust. I wish no one would have to feel that way.

You said something really important:

My eating disorder makes me feel unlovable, unworthy and just ugly.

Those are different levels of feelings, perceptions, interpretations. One of the most harmful thing we tend to do, all of us from time to time, is to conclude some things about ourselves based on how we feel. Your feelings are entirely valid. They have a reason to be. They’re yours. But there is nothing that would make you worthless or unlovable, and certainly not your appearance or your weight. I know we’re living in a society, in a world, where how we look like is important and influence many social interactions. I also know there are those unrealistic body standards that many people refer to as being beauty (not to say life) standards.

But you are not your body. You’re not a number. You have worth. And you are worthy of love. You’ve always been and you’ll always be. Nothing can change that. I know it’s hard, but please don’t forget this. Hang on to this reality, so you can keep pushing away those false conclusions you may be tempted to have about yourself sometimes. :heart:

Like you I started to starve myself when I was young. Lost a bunch of weight and felt pretty good. I thought that, by being thin, I would be finally self-confident, able to find a boyfriend, to be attractive. It felt like it would be the overall solution to my anxiety and shyness. And like you I ended to the opposite side after some time, with binge eating. I had no control. Had several crisis everyday. Couldn’t function normally and just have a normal… life.

I don’t know if having someone in your life would change everything. And I understand your need to lose the weight that is making you uncomfortable. But you have to consider that being still focus on losing weight might be part of what is triggering your urges to eat. When I was struggling, I’ve been to that point when just thinking about eating an apple instead of a cookie would make me nervous to the point of eating the cookie anyway, then all the unhealthy food I could have… or even going outside to actually buy some, again and again. It’s like I put the goal so high at first, when I starved myself, that my mind became reluctant to any idea related to diet or more healthy eating habits. Just like a huge and constant explosion of frustration and inner rebellion. Even now, I can’t diet. I can’t start to decide “okay I’ll lose weight”, otherwise I’ll automatically sabotage myself and I’m more at risk to fall into that infernal circle again.

It’s not really comfortable to think about that… I’m sorry. And maybe it’s really different for you. So I can only talk based on my own experience. So as hard as it was, it’s when I started to actually stop to try to lose weight that I lost weight… not because I would have eat healthier, or because I would have exercised. But because my urges stopped progressively. You can’t lose weight as long as you’re struggling with binge eatings. You have to break that circle, to get out of it. But I am aware that there is a part of grief in this, as it means that you may need more time to reach the weight you want. I’ve been there. And it was definitely not a straight path. There were relapses, steps furthers and steps backwards. But really, the only thing that is a problem for you today is not you, is not your capacity or not to exercise or diet, but those binges.

I know you shared about this before, but I’m sorry I can’t recall if you said you’ve been helped by a nutritionist and/or a counselor, but that could be really helpful to you. Also I’d like to recommend you a book that greatly helped me: “Brain over Binge” by Kathryn Hansen, which was probably the reading that helped me the most in my entire life. There is also a workbook related to it, named “The Brain over binge recovery guide”, by the same author. It is really a great ressource, and it can introduce you to intuitive eating, which is a way to reconnect progressively to your sensations of hunger/satiety that might be lost due to eating disorders. The woman who made this book also have a blog with articles/podcasts that can give you an idea of her story and her perspective regarding binge eating: https://brainoverbinge.com/blog/

(NB: I’m pretty distrustful when it’s about books on this matter with all of the different theories about a “good way to eat” and all the gurus arising everywhere. Just so you know, it’s not that kind of stuff and it’s quite a respectful/stress-free way to approach eating disorders, at least in my opinion).

You’re not alone. Of course you have a lot to offer to this world. And you’re not out of it right now. You are entirely part of it. You’re life is not going to start when you’ll reach your ideal weight. You’re already existing friend. Already here, a unique person who has treasures to share in this world. You matter. You are loved unconditionnally.

Hold fast. :heart:

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Hey friend.

Sounds like you have a lot of things really weighing on you right now. First of all, I just want you to know, while society can make us feel otherwise sometimes, you do not have to be thing to be lovable and hold value. Your appearance and weigh does NOT make or make your worth <3

Like you I have battled with weight. I have since I was very young. My health issues don’t help. But I know the hardships and emotional strain that comes with being overweight and how it can weigh on your insecurity and self esteem.

Something that helped me was to talk to a nutritionist. They can help you understand the things you are consuming and help you find healthy habits that can work for you. I’m not talking like a diet. Diets are hard to stick to. They help you make healthy life changes and help you understand how you can do it over time so it doesn’t feel abrupt, sudden and challenging.

Something that can help hand in hand with a nutritionist is a therapist. Sometimes its nice to have someone to talk through the process. To help you when you slip or have urges.

As far as finding a man. Love and relationships takes time. We are all human and we just want to be loved. To feel loved. To feel wanted. We all crave companionship. It’s normal. And it often doesn’t come when we want it to. But instead when we least expect it. I know sometimes it can feel like we are always going to be alone. But that doesn’t mean it’s true.

I understand that loneliness. I understand those emotions because I battled them for so many years. Friend, you are lovable. You matter. You are important. I hope and pray for you that you are able to find healing, strength and courage. I hope and pray for you that something comes into your life that gives you the boost you need to find what works for you. So you can feel better about yourself, your body and your health. One day at a time sweetheart.

Are you in our discord? You are always welcome to reach out in #realtalk and connect to the community. You are loved here. You are a part of this community family. Be gentle with yourself.

  • Kitty

Kate, I just want to let you know that its completely normal to have validated your emotions. But I think you should remember to love yourself the most regardless of how your appearance is. Physical attributes only mean so much and can mean almost nothing if your a person who is define bad from their actions.
One thing that could help is not being so concerned about losing weight, but becoming more healthy. Thoughts such as “I should” rather than “I need” to exercises has been proven psychologically to make things easier on yourself.

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The hardships of taking on being consistent with exercise can be tough. Many people even guys feel the same way to. I’m actually a trainer and if you need any advice I’d be more than happy to help you. There are also great fitness youtubers you could follow that have home workout regimens.

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I just re-read the post I wrote. I didn’t mean you in persay of doing bad actions but someone in general.

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Thank you for your kind message and sharing your own experiences! It’s definitely hard and something I’ve been struggling with for a long time. The urges are so difficult to control and even when I do exercise and eat healthy I feel like I want it to be a quick fix and I notice that it’s not so I get frustrated and say “I’m not gonna lose the weight anyway so I might as well binge” everyday is a battle and I’m just trying to get through it. thank you for the reading recommendation! I’ll definitely check it out! :heart:

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Hi! Thanks for responding and thank you for sharing! I really appreciate it, it definitely makes me feel like I’m not alone :heart: I don’t think I’m in the discord. I’m not really sure how to navigate everything. I just find this as a positive and safe space to share how I’m feeling and get feedback and interact with others and read about their experiences.

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Thank you so much for your response! That’d be great! I feel like I’m just really hard on myself about losing weight. I’m constantly thinking about food and I’m always eating but I just want to lose weight and to get rid of tummy fat. That makes me feel the most insecure and it comes with stretch marks that just don’t make me feel good honestly.

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Theres alot of fitness youtuber out there. Most of them had the same journey as you so they might be great for you. They have alot of transformation videos which inspire alot of people. Some of them may ask to pay for a personal plan through online training. But there is alot of free information out there.

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Thanks! I’ll give it a try!

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I’m thinking of some good youtubers right now. I was at one point new to working out and it can be intimidating getting advice from these people who are super fit. But in actuality alot of them are super supportive

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Here is the link to the Heart Support discord, should you decide you want to use it: https://discord.gg/z6wyy7

But even if you don’t use it, that’s okay. This place is just as good and you’re always welcome to share. <3

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@Kate6

Hey, thank you, for being here and sharing. :wink:

I see the kind of pattern you describe, totally. You can’t restrict your food anymore, like you did in the past, 'cause you lost control over it because of what happened in the past, but there is still a restriction that comes from your mind everytime you think about dieting/intend to lose weight - especially because as you said you want it to be a quick fix. That’s why being supported by a nutritionist can help, because they can help you to regain a safe perspective on this - as long as it’s not a nutritionist who’d try to guilt you or is obsessed by your BMI (even though your health is important of course).

It’s difficult to take a step out of this cycle. But that’s already a huge, huge step to be able to identify how it works for you, just as you did, because it will help you to identify where the problem is, what are the elements that are nourrishing that spiral and think about a different strategy.

@Cp2231 said something important: on a balance between your health and your weight, your health should be a priority. And I want to add: when you manage to heal from eating disorders, you body, your weight, will take care of itself. It’s really hard to consider this when you feel trapped in that circle, it sounds like a lie/it’s scary, and I totally get that. There’s a huge part of acceptance and letting go of all the wrong representations we can have about food and dieting. What was the most difficult to me was giving up on the idea that I could lose weight while having eating disorders. Because I lost so much weight before and I missed that moment in my life, as I thought I felt better. But… if we’re honest with ourselves, starving ourselves nor binge eating make someone happy or comfortable. And it’s not a healthy relationship with food. What remains important is to work on that relationship with food, on the thoughts and representations you can have, and regain a stress-free relationship with eating. But it requires to put aside the idea of losing weight, at least temporarily, to trust yourself, your body and its capacity to regulate itself. And of course, to let go of the idea that everything can change very quickly. Because as you said, that’s one of the reason that leads you to binge.

Even now, even if I don’t binge anymore like I was used to, even if I don’t starve myself either, I still have this fixed idea in my mind to lose weight again and again. Every single day. And it scares me to see that it has been this for… 10 years. But what changed is that now I don’t listen to this need to lose weight, so it doesn’t trigger any binge urges, and I can stay at a normal weight without doing any effort.

It’s a slow process. As mentioned before there’s a long moment when you just move forwards and backwards repeatedly. But day to day you can extend that spiral and make it more and more long to repeat itself, so one day you actually break it. For example, when you manage to have a day without any binge, but you still have them the rest of the week, then it’s still a victory if the previous week you binged every day. I can only encourage you to keep track of your progress on this matter. As much as possible. 'Cause in this situation we can easily feel drowned and forget about what we accomplished before. With eating disorders, there’s a huge part of it happening in our minds, with all the almost invisible thoughts we have all the time. Keep identifying those, acknowledging them just like you did in your reply.

Just in case, those articles summarize things we both mentioned and talked about, also in your previous post:



It’s not much, but there are still some interesting insights in this. And tbh, it’s actually a good reminder to me as well. :slight_smile: Hopefully it could help you.

Sorry if my reply is a bit messy.
I believe in you! You’ll get out of this cycle, progressively. You are absolutely capable to do that. :heart:

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Thank you so much! I really appreciate it, this was very helpful :heart:

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These are somethings you can start to do at home when your comfortable. Doesnt matter if you only start with 3-5 minutes a day, it’s a start. You wont have to feel uncomfortable since you will be at home. Remember it’s not always just about looks but being healthy :smiley: if you need someone to talk to or have any questions please feel free to ask. I love helping people reach their goals. Do not let intimidation get in the way of your goals. I know you can do it. Just believe.

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Thank you so much! So nice of you!! I’m going to use this!

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Keep loving yourself with any transformations you have. It can be a tough journey but I know you can do it.

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