For the first time in 16 years, binging hasn’t been an issue. In my book Sugarcoated, I refer to myself as a “food junkie.” I love late night snacks such as peanut butter ice cream, sweet potato cinnamon crackers, pumpkin flax seed granola, etc.
Ever since college, I’ve conditioned myself to eat less during the day so I can binge for dinner or later. I grew up with the rule “if you finish dinner, you can have dessert.” I’ve never been able to break this. Even when binging got out of control to the point where I stuffed myself until I felt pain, I would throw it all up, refuse to take insulin, or starve myself the next day so I wouldn’t gain weight (for more insight, check out “Half Empty” in Sugarcoated).
I no longer practice these nasty habits, but I still can’t help overeating at night, whether it is summer or winter … until now. So what has changed? Suddenly, I’m not interested in food? I forget to eat lunch or can’t even finish my dinner much less make it to dessert. Usually when I stop eating, it’s because I’m depressed.
But I recently started a new job, which I love, and moved in with my boyfriend of three years (we were doing long distance before then). I have my own place, financial security (minus thousands in student loan debt), and maintain a healthy lifestyle (although I wish I exercised more but with a 1.5 to 2.5 hour commute each way, it’s a challenge).
Could it be I stopped binging because I’m happy? Researchers from the University of Central Florida (2003) found a positive relationship between happiness and these aspects of body esteem: sexual attractiveness, weight concern, and physical condition.
Furthermore, eating disorders such as binging are more common among women with diabetes than women without diabetes. For those with Type 1 (like me), this is referred to as “diabulimia.” I admit even before I was diagnosed with diabetes at 22, I had issues with body image and eating disorders. Diabetes just added an extra element including increased health risks (Joslin Diabetes Center) such as:
- higher A1C levels
- higher risk of developing infections
- more frequent episodes of DKA
- more frequent hospital and emergency room visits
- higher rates and earlier onset of diabetes complications – nerve damage, eye disease, kidney disease, and possible heart disease
I’ve learned that the battle never ends – just when you think you’ve won, a supplemental army emerges. But for the first time since I can remember, I don’t have to fight to win control. I listen to my stomach and obey. No questions asked.
I’m not saying I eat right every day or maintain a daily 1,200 calorie diet like I used to. There’s always the chance my demons will come back to haunt me, that the battle is far from over. But I would like to ponder on a quote I recently discovered from a novel I wrote at 16 (ironic, I know).
Total bliss is impossible. But accepting your fate – that’s not unlikely. And that’s what most people do. They accept who they are and what they have and make the most of it. Some rely on faith, others rejoice in social activities, and others artistically express themselves. Passion is really the underlying emotion.
Maybe that’s the difference? I’m not always happy. Like the average person, I feel stress, despair, frustration, and anger. But today, my work, my writing, and my relationships all center on what I’m most passionate about. My body tells me this is enough.