Binge Eating and Weight Gain

I have put on weight and I do not feel good about it. My clothes feel tighter and I can see the extra weight on my face and around my stomach. I am not in denial about why I have gained weight. My birthday, followed by Christmas, followed by a weeklong holiday in January gave me plenty of opportunity (and excuses) to overeat all the sugary, calorie-laden foods I frequently crave. And it was bliss. But it can’t continue.

The primary reason I started seeing a dietician about my binge eating was due to my concern that I would very quickly put on a lot of weight if I continued binging four to five times a week. That scared me shitless. Here’s the thing, within a period of less than twelve months I had lost weight. I had lost a lot of weight. Although I didn’t weight myself when I first started dieting, I know from weigh-ins earlier in the year that I weighed over 23 stone. In September 2015 I was wearing a UK size 28 in trousers, and a UK size 26 in tops. I was 24 years old. I did not feel good myself. Even as a teenager and in my early twenties, I remember buying only size 20/22/24. By September 2016 I am wearing a UK size 16 in trousers and dresses, and a UK size 14 in tops and jackets. I cannot underestimate how life changing this was for me. Beyond the obvious health benefits, I could suddenly walk into any high street shop and buy clothes. I felt normal for the first time in my life. So of course the prospect of gaining back the weight I lost terrified me. It would signal loosing the freedom I had gained. I could not go back to the person I was.

My dietician made it simple. I could not diet and recover from binge eating simultaneously (cue internal panic). The reality is dieting and recovery not compatible. Recovery for me meant to stop restricting the types of food I ate and to concentrate on eating regularly, healthily and normally. Essentially, eating more than I had been while dieting. My dietician was honest with me and said it’s possible I could gain weight, however it was more than likely my weight would fluctuate slightly but stay much the same. She asked to put my trust in her so I did. And I am so glad I did. I found freedom in being able to eat normally for the first time in my life. To take care with ensuring I am getting all the nourishment I need from healthy sources, whilst still being able to enjoy a treat without having to overcompensate by binging. The best part? I didn’t gain weight; I actually lost weight and then began the journey to maintain at that sweet spot (for me) of 12st 7lb.

I know, I know. I shouldn’t be fixated on my weight anymore. My dietician insisted I stop weighing myself multiple times a day. Despite being initially reluctant, I can happily admit that weighing myself once a week is more than enough for me. So I set a 4lb range within which I could be ‘comfortable’. And as I had my birthday, and Christmas, and New Year and a holiday, I slowly crept out of that comfort zone. I ignored the part of me that was panicking at the threat of spiralling out of control, and I almost started ignoring the scale… Ignorance is bliss, right?

I weighed myself five days ago, after drawing a line under all the holiday indulgences and vowing to get back to eating normally, I weighed in at over half a stone more than my happy weight. So here I am today, vowing to not let feeling bad about myself as an excuse to keep gaining. I am back to eating healthy, regular meal and snacks. No calorie counting, no restriction, just watching what I eat like a lot of people do. I have not binged or overeaten for almost five days. And it doesn’t feel hard like it sometimes does, which is reassuring. I know that I can get back to my ideal weight without ‘dieting’; I just need to cut out the binges.

But I feel slightly vulnerable today, which is why I decided to get my feelings out in writing. For most of this week my boyfriend has been staying over. It’s much harder to binge when you’re with another person. Tonight I am alone. I have my dinner planned, and my evening snacks. I feel in control, for now. I must remember it’s just another (normal) day.