My food addiction has driven me to do really ugly and embarrassing things with food. Gripped with the obsession of the mind around ‘should I, should I not, will I, won’t I’ eat this food I became a slave to food and did things I had no control over.
Is it madness?
Well, yes. But…
….it’s just how my brain works.
Trust me, in other areas of my life, I’m pretty competent.
It’s just that I have a food addiction.
So here are 10 crazy things I did with food. These are things I did in private. I didn’t want others to know or see what I did with food because of SHAME. Statistics show that many more people than we think are struggling with food quietly behind closed doors and don’t talk about it. I hope telling these secrets will help others go beyond shame and seek help.
- Eating food out of the rubbish
I bought a huge pack of chocolate biscuits along with other cakes, pastries and sweets. I ate everything until I was stuffed. In self-disgust, I went outside and threw the remaining biscuits into the bin on the street. Plagued by constant obsession about the biscuits, I went outside half an hour later to fish them out of the bin and finish them. Later I used a trick: Pour washing up liquid on top of your half eaten food before you throw it away. That way, you can’t pick it out of the rubbish and eat it later. I used that trick often but sometimes I ended up throwing food away only to then go back to the shops to buy more binge foods and continue the binge.
- Instant couscous
One night I needed to binge but didn’t have any food in the house (one of my strategies to keep me from bingeing was to not keep any food at home). All I could find in the cupboard was a pack of instant couscous. The kind that you pour boiling water over before you eat it. I consumed half a packet of instant couscous. For the rest of the night I nearly choked on the reflux that must have been caused by the couscous expanding in, or reacting with, the fluids in my stomach.
- My boyfriend’s granola
At my (then) boyfriend’s house, I binged on his favourite granola cereal. He had one and a half boxes of it. While he was out, I ate around 8 huge bowls of granola with milk and polished off both boxes. I hid them in the rubbish, went to the supermarket to replace them, and then opened one box and ate half of it so that it looked like I hadn’t touched his granola.
- Fruit and vegetables
For a couple of years, once I had stopped bingeing on sugar and flour, I was bingeing on fruit and vegetables. My average breakfast was 500g plain yoghurt, 1kg of grapes, 3 apples and maybe a honeydew melon. I bought at least 3 shopping bags of fruit and veg everyday.
In an attempt to stop myself from bingeing on junk food I boiled a couple of eggs. I thought as it would take a few minutes for them to boil I could slow down my binge, and hopefully the cravings would pass. When I finished the two eggs I decided to boil two more, and then two more. When I had run out of eggs I finally gave in to the relentless voices in my head. I went to the shops, and bought a whole stash of chocolates and cakes to continue the binge.
In another attempt to eat healthily I binged on carrots. I ate so many carrots over the space of a few months that I turned orange. Literally.
7. Fecal Impaction
I went to a fasting retreat. 7 days of fasting, yoga and therapy was incredibly healing. But back at home, left to my own devices, I was once again powerless over food. At the retreat I had been instructed to reintroduce solid foods slowly so that my digestion could gradually start working again. But I couldn’t resist the urge to binge and ate huge amounts of raw carrots and broccoli. As a result I developed a fecal impaction, meaning I was more than just constipated. I couldn’t go to the toilet for 4 days. At work I was so bloated that someone asked me if I was pregnant. Eventually I went to hospital where they gave me an enema to unblock me.
8. Instant soup
I used to have packs of powdered ‘cupasoups’ in my office. I thought having the odd one of them would keep me satisfied and therefore stop my binges. I often ended up filling a cup with several packs of the dry powder and spooned it without water.
9. Protein powder
At one point I believed I was bingeing because my body was craving protein. If only I ate more protein, I would be satiated and stop. I bought protein powder, the kind of stuff that athletes use. I spooned the whole tub empty within a few days.
10. Chewing gum
I thought that chewing sugar free gum would keep me occupied and stop my binges. I ended up chewing several packs of chewing gum a day, spitting out the gum as soon as the taste had gone and chewing more. I hid the gum at the bottom of the bin in the office so that people wouldn’t see how much gum I was chewing.
Read about one of my typical binges in detail here