In 2021, I lost a lot of weight and my life changed.
I lost 37kg in less than a year, and till now, I can’t believe I did it. I’d been trying to lose weight for the longest time, but I’ve always struggled. Last year was when I actually started to see changes. What worked for me? Consistency with my workouts and intermittent fasting.
But I took intermittent fasting to an extreme level and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. I’d begin eating at 11 a.m. and stop at 4 p.m.; the next time to eat would be the next day at 11. I didn’t want to feel the hunger pangs from having dinner so early, so I would go to bed at 8 p.m.
If I could go back, I’d do things a bit differently because restricting myself that much caused me to start binge-eating in 2022.
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How I discovered I was binge-eating
2022 has been a tough year for me in terms of my fitness lifestyle. I’ve added significant weight (10kg), struggled with consistency at the gym and been really awful with my diet. Gaining some of the weight back after doing so well the previous year made me really depressed as well.
I didn’t show it, but internally, I was extremely sad and disappointed in myself because I shouldn’t have allowed myself fall that far back. It didn’t help that everyone kept telling me I’d added weight, every five seconds. All this made me start extremely rigid diets that didn’t make the situation better.
I initially blamed my weight loss on work stress and relationship weight. But I knew it was due to my eating habits. I was eating like a child who’d been starved for the longest time and was so happy to see food. I’d enter the kitchen, eat cereal as breakfast, and two slices of bread cause I felt like it.
Then I’d tell myself, “maybe I should eat bread and egg.” That’s how I’d end up eating a full day’s meal in one hour. And it continued like that throughout the day. After eating that much, I hated myself; I felt disgusted to the point where I couldn’t look at my body in the mirror, and I’d call myself all sorts of names.
One thing about me, I would always research. I knew my eating habit wasn’t normal so I had to figure out what the problem was. I researched unhealthy eating habits online and asked questions, but I kept seeing and hearing the same thing: “You just need to eat healthy,” how helpful. One fateful day, I was scrolling through TikTok when I discovered someone who talked about her binge-eating disorder.
I could relate to everything she was saying; it was as if she was me and I was her. I went deeper and discovered her Youtube channel and a book she wrote; I read and watched everything. I’m not sure I have her disorder because I haven’t sought a professional yet, but at least, I feel closer to an answer than I did before.
What I learnt from reading about the binge-eating disorder
I’ve learnt so much from reading about binge-eating disorder, and it has, to an extent, affected my eating habits positively. I’ve learnt that:
- Intermittent fasting and other restrictive forms of dieting aren’t good. When we place restrictions on what we can and can’t eat, our brains start creating compulsions and obsessive thoughts. At some point, we cave and it becomes extreme.
- Feeling guilty after eating isn’t normal, and it’s one of the first signs of an unhealthy eating habit. If you do this, you’ll be unhappy when you don’t get the desired results and this can lead to bigger problems such as depression and low self-esteem.
- Counting calories, consistently obsessing over the scale and cutting out foods, can turn into unhealthy habits. Don’t starve yourself or eat a tiny portion of food just because you ate too much the day before.
- Never put yourself under pressure when it comes to weight loss. Don’t say things like, “I need to lose 5kg in one month.” Just focus on your workouts and healthy eating habits. Don’t rush; it’s a marathon, not a race (Sounds cliche but it’s true).
- No food is bad food. What’s most important is finding a balance. So please, don’t say you won’t eat that slice of bread because it’s “unhealthy”.
- Workout to be fit and strong, not just for weight loss (This is a tough one for me).
Now that I’ve discovered that binge-eating can actually be an eating disorder, I’m thinking of seeking a professional. But I’ve also been doing some ground work on my own, trying to change my eating habits, and so far, it hasn’t been too bad.
I still struggle with binge eating; it’s not something you can just stop immediately, but you can make an effort. I guess this is where professional help comes in. Once in a while, I fall back into my restrictive dieting ways and try to lose a lot of weight in an unhealthy amount of time. Like two weeks ago, when I tried to lose 4kg in two weeks. I wore a dress that was my size at the beginning of the year, and all of a sudden it was tight. This instantly triggered my need to lose weight fast. I felt like I was about to pass out from killing myself at the gym and not eating.
The good thing is I’m learning from my mistakes. Right now, I’m staying away from the scale and just focusing on cardio and weight training, while finding a balance in my diet. Wish me luck.
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