Fashion, Food, and Mental Health

Hi, my name is Lindsay, and I have Binge-Eating Disorder.

As most of you know, I often categorize myself as a plus-size blogger. What most of you don’t know is that when I was creating my website 10 months ago, I was at the very beginning of my transition to plus size. A couple days before I launched the site, I had just bought my first pair of size 15 pants (and cried the whole way home). When I started my Instagram about a year ago, I was still wearing a 12 and never imagined that I would become a full-fledged plus size blogger.

So how did this happen?

I have been a compulsive eater for as long as I can remember. I went from the only kid who finished my meal at birthday parties, to the kid who finished other student’s lunches, to the kid who never said no to a snack no matter how full I was. Fortunately, I had parents who cared, and regulated my eating my whole life. Up until I left for college, there where certain foods that I couldn’t eat without asking. To some, this might seem unreasonable. But for me, it was necessary.

Then came summer of senior year. I went through a life-altering break-up and started working every day at a mall with a Coldstone, Starbucks, and as many other snack options as you can think of. During every single break, I was eating as much food as possible.

And then I went to college, and every single decision I made was suddenly up to me. There were no regulations. There was no supervision. My anxiety was at and all time high, my restraints were at an all time low, and I hit rock bottom.

Out of this rock bottom came a resurgence of my faith, new outlooks on life, and an uncontrollable urge to eat. My compulsive eating had become a full-fledged binge-eating disorder.

 

I tell this story not to bring attention to myself or because I believe that my struggles are greater than anyone else’s, but because I know that many of you have untold stories that are very similar. Some of you have eaten until you are in physical pain, some of you see a hippopotamus when you look in the mirror, some of you have the urge to just cover your entire body up when you get ready in the morning.

I know. I’ve been there. I am there right now, as I type this post.

But what do you say we get past this?

 

Technique #1: Fashion

I actually talk a lot about the correlation between fashion and self-esteem in my very first blog post (Let’s Talk About Self-Esteem). One of the main symptoms of overeating and being overweight is incredibly low self-esteem. The tendency when experiencing these feelings is to use clothes to hide. But I don’t believe that is effective. Instead of denying weight gain, go to Target and pick up a couple new pieces that make you feel awesome. Wear a dress that accentuates your waist. Have some fun creating a new outfit.

When you look in the mirror, you have the either the opportunity to see your weight or the opportunity to see yourself. Help your eyes to see your own beauty.

 

Technique #2: Be more social

I know this sounds unrelated, but go with me here. Most binges happen when alone and are followed by a period of depression and/or self-loathing. Staying busy helps keeping out of binge-friendly situations, it helps combat the associated depression, and it gives you an excuse to dress up and take care of yourself. This has been the number one most effective method for me. The busier you are, the less time you have to binge. The more you are around people, the more aware you are of your eating. The more exciting things your doing, the less depressive episodes you have. Give it a try!

 

Technique #3: Replacement behaviors

One of the most important strategies to use when trying to kick self-destructive behaviors is replacement behaviors. For example, when I start to dig my nails into my skin, I consciously stop, and then start drawing on my skin instead.

The same concept applies to binge eating. As soon as you become aware that you are eating an abnormal amount of food, stop, and start doing something else instead. It doesn’t matter what you do instead, as long as it works for you. Personally, I get up and plan my outfit for the next day. Working out also works, or doing a chore around the house. Really just anything that breaks the cycle.

 

But the most important thing I can say to all of you is this: Do not let your weight determine your mental health. When you have BED or you are a compulsive eater, weight gain is going to happen. When you are highly emotional, weight gain or loss is going to happen. Literally the slightest hormonal shift can cause noticeable shifts in weight. That is just going to happen.

So it does not have to affect your heart. Know your weight, accept it, and then use it to challenge yourself. Don’t use it to punish yourself. The only way to break out of the prison of overeating is to accept where you are and move forward.

 

 

Thank you so much for having this heart-to-heart with me today. Always feel free to contact me if you want to discuss this more.

Love, Lindsay

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