I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t obsessed with food.
When I was 4 or 5, I ate so many Cheetos that I puked all over my dad’s carpet. I was probably 8 by the time I started sneaking junk food into my room to eat at night, because I felt ashamed by my own endless, embarrassing appetite.
When I was 13, I went on a Slimfast diet and lost some weight. But in all that calorie-restricting, I also tripped a switch in my brain that profoundly changed my relationship with food.
In college I encountered the friend and foe that is the dining hall….and then purging to offset my ever-escalating binges.
I spent 10 years gaining, losing, counting, strategizing, fasting, bingeing, purging. My list of safe foods grew shorter, and my relationship with food grew worse and worse. One day, while searching for thinspiration online and and generally hating myself, I came across a skinny girl who swore that she read a book called Intuitive Eating and never worried about her weight again. She just ate until she was full, and then she stopped eating. WAIT BUT HOW? It sounded like exactly the magic bullet solution I always dreamed of.
I got the book right away. I read about the Minnesota Starvation Experiment, a World War II-era study that put healthy young men on 1,600-calorie diets, and the madness it drove them to. (Plenty more on that later.) Even after returning to normal eating habits after the study ended, it took them months to regain a normal relationship with food. MONTHS!
Building on these findings, the book prescribed a recovery period of eating anything and everything without judgment or guilt to let the brain rewire. And as luck would have it, I happened to be fresh off a swift and savage breakup, so I was spending a lot of time hiding alone in my apartment anyway. So why the hell not?
Unlike every other crap eating plan / crash diet / jedi mind trick I’d tried before, this one ended up changing my life. I want you to know that bingeing DOES. NOT. have to be a part of your life, and I want to share what I’ve learned along the way to help you regain your sanity and start fresh. Spoiler alert: it has nothing to do with willpower.
I’m not sure I could ever fully describe how much better and simpler and happier life is post-dieting, but I hope you will feel it for yourself one day very, very soon.