The Binge Eating Diaries: Why I Recommend an Alter Ego

By Jacki Monaco
0 Flares Facebook 0 Twitter 0 Google+ 0 Pin It Share 0 LinkedIn 0 Email -- 0 Flares ×

This post is the second installment in “The Binge Eating Diaries” series by Green Mountain alum Jacki Monaco on her experience with binge eating disorder. Follow Jacki every other Thursday as she shares the discoveries she’s made on her journey to health and happiness.

In my first blog post, I introduced myself and my journey to overcome binge eating. I mentioned my nickname, an “alter ego” of sorts: Jace. Looking at it written out feels a bit narcissistic. As if lil’ ol’ me needs two names!

But, after hiding in black clothing inside my apartment for almost two years, I knew that “Jacki” was in serious trouble. For so long I was mad at myself because no one forced me to eat… I did. Then, I would self-sabotage by eating anytime I was upset with myself for… eating. A vicious cycle, day after day. When I came to Green Mountain, Darla taught me self compassion. This is how “Jace” was born.

I needed to find strength during the times I felt weak, so Darla and I empowered these “weaker” parts of me by giving her attention and positive reinforcement: “Jace doesn’t need to binge,” “Jace doesn’t need to hate herself,” “She just needs to breathe and take each day, each meal, one step at a time.”

When I was able to give compassion to this part of me, Darla and I were able to discover why I turned to food to cope. Within a short time span almost two years earlier, someone close to me had passed away and my significant other left me because I was devastated. Two different kinds of abandonment (that’s how both felt) that left me starved for comfort. Food ruined two years of my life – it gave me scars physically and emotionally. But I learned that in its own way, it saved my life by giving me something to live for when there was nothing else.

Now, Jace is the part of me I respect and admire. She’s the strong part of me that isn’t afraid to get fired up to make positive changes. But most importantly, I am her and I am stronger than my urges, desires, self-sabotaging.

Empower yourself: Throw a rope way down to your core, where all the pain you usually treat with food resides, and see who climbs up to the surface. You just might be surprised who you find.

Questions for Jacki? Leave them in the comments section below!

10 Responses (Add Yours)

  • Susan Mott says:

    Thank you for throwing the rope , now I hope I have the strength to hold on

  • I, too, have used alter-egos to help me on my journey. Sometimes they’re an evil twin, and sometimes they’re just a more vulnerable version of myself. Being able to look at and work with those other selves from a place of compassion and objectivity is key :-)

  • Jace says:

    Thank you Susan and Karen for commenting.
    Susan- Strength comes and goes but when those moments come- hold on to them something fierce. Embrace the strong moments so that we have room to accept the weak ones. You can do it, for YOU (all parts of you)!
    Karen- Absolutely, there are the goods and the bads. Compassion and objectivity are great words to describe what we need to give these parts of ourselves. :-)

  • Anitra Brown says:

    Jackie, I was at Green Mountain when you first got there and I am so glad you were able to make so much progress. I love the idea of an alter-ego. Sometimes it’s easy for us to be kind to others, while we’re lacerating ourselves. Does “Jace” look like you? Or do you visualize her as somehow different? If this is too personal, don’t answer.

  • Anitra Brown says:

    Oops, I mispelled your name. I didn’t mean to give you a third alter-ego, Jacki!

  • evelyn k. says:

    Thanks for posting this article. There is a lot that you mention that I can totally relate to. I like your idea of an alter ego! Love your name…really cool. It is said that we shouldn’t wait around for someone else to come and save us or help us, that only you can truly and ultimately help yourself. This alter ego idea is such a creative way to do just that! Awsome!

  • Dana Byron says:

    Thats a very good idea actually… the way I handled it was that I took out all the unhealthy foods out of my home and only kept healthy food. So when I binged, I only binged on healthy food.

  • Virginia Lohr Ortis says:

    I like the notion of Self Compassion and throwing a line to my alter ego. Are there any books that related to self compassion and healthy eating / dieting?

  • Jace says:

    Hello Ladies! I am SO sorry I haven’t responded earlier. I never received any emails letting me know that anyone had commented. My sincerest apologies.

    Anitra- That’s a great question. I never quite thought about her looks, more about how she makes me feel. I used to think a certain line quite frequently when thin equaled good and big equaled bad in my head, “I feel like I have a skinny mind in the wrong body.” Society ingrained in me for the longest time that beauty was directly correlated with thinness. Jace is not physically thin to me, she is physically strong just as she is mentally. She can play basketball, go for a jog, smile through some tough moments but also confront them. I have struggled with self-esteem issues my entire life, no matter what weight I’ve been carrying around, so I’d say that Jace is physically weightless, as she concentrates with me on emotions, feelings, and growth.
    It was nice to hear from you Anitra!

    Evelyn- Thank you so much for reading! I like the way you put a positive spin on what I keep questioning as a great idea versus a silly one. The way you stated it, I’m almost completely sold on the idea now. You are completely right, sometimes we keep waiting- change, especially this kind, is terrifying. For such a decent span of time, I felt invisible when I wasn’t binging. If I didn’t have food, what did I have? So one of my “tricks” was to imagine that a part of me, some part, was strong without food as her everything.

    Dana-Thank you for commenting! I have definitely had those times. The lesser of the evils is getting the sensation you’re binging but not all of the guilt, shame, and calories that come along with it. When I still felt out of control no matter how healthy the foods I chose were, that’s when I knew I would only keep substituting instead of questioning why I felt I needed to eat so consistently. It’s a great change Dana, we all have things that work for us individually and carrots over Twinkies (just an example) is an amazing transition. Congratulations :-)

    Virginia- I personally haven’t read many books on the subject. I do know of a resource that is full of this kind of information. Green Mountain’s psychologist- Darla writes blogs on here as well and she would be a great person to ask about self-compassion and healthy eating/dieting books. If you’re unsure if you’d like to write her yourself PLEASE send me another message or email me @ jackimonaco@gmail.com and I will gladly do some digging for you :-)

    Thank you ladies so much for your comments and time. I truly appreciate it.
    Jacki…and Jace ;-)

  • […] in the back of my head (and big noises in the bottom of my stomach), pleading, “Don’t do it, Jace. Don’t you […]

Leave a Reply

Ask a Question
×

Ask Us Anything!