I’ve been having an affair. It’s sexy. It’s seductive. It makes me feel like I’m on top of the world. Time stops when I’m with him. I feel desired, dangerous, and daring.
He gets me like no one else ever has. Ever could. Wrapped in that embrace, I don’t have to think, to breathe, to pretend. The touch. The taste. God, it’s beautiful. Nothing else matters. No one else exists.
These aren’t fireworks; they’re painkillers. Numb with ecstasy, I let myself go. But as soon as the heat of the moment has passed, I realize what I’ve done.
I’ve cheated again. On myself. With food.
I binge and then I crash. Everything I know melts away. But each time, I feel more alone than I’ve ever felt before. What have I done? The guilt is too much to bear. I said I’d never go back. I swore that last time would be the last time.
But it wasn’t. It never is.
I’ve ended things time and time and time again. When will I learn my lesson? When will I see things for what they really are? This isn’t a relationship. This isn’t right. This isn’t love.
He is not the answer. He can’t bring me the kind of happiness I’m after. He isn’t worth more than my relationship — with myself.
This is what bingeing felt like for me.
Food was my lover, my dirty little secret, my paramour. And bingeing was my ecstasy.
I was embarrassed of my relationship with food, so I kept it hidden — behind closed doors where no one could judge me for my cheating ways. But one day, I told someone. I revealed my “pseudo boyfriend” to my mother.
I told her how much I was hurting. I cried that this time I just couldn’t go back. I admitted that the relationship had become addictive and abusive — and that I was scared that I was losing myself.
“I don’t know what to do. Please help me,” I pleaded with wet cheeks and a shivering voice.
She held me in her arms, fighting to hold back her tears. Loving a child this much must be in the most painful thing in the world, I thought. “We’ll figure it out together,” she promised.
And so we embarked on a long, painful journey. But I knew I wasn’t alone this time. And I knew he wasn’t the one coming with me.
My weight gain was obvious, but my 24/7 obsession and failing confidence weren’t as readily available for the eye to see. Even on an off day, I can fake out Sherlock Holmes with my 1000-watt smile.
But even knowing this, I just couldn’t break free. I couldn’t let go. I’d never felt this way before. I loved the highs — the control, the never having to worry if I’d be alone. But I could no longer stomach the lows — literally and figuratively.
My body was exhausted, and my mind felt hypnotized. I’d forgotten what hunger felt like. I was so full of rage, of sadness, of food. I craved wanting something as badly I wanted food. My brain was caught in a loop that always went back to chewing, swallowing, sipping, licking. Didn’t I like anything else anymore?
But even though my heart was breaking, I thought I was in love: How could something that felt that good be so bad?
In hindsight, I realize that our relationship had everything to do with quantity — and nothing to do with quality. I just wanted more. I didn’t care what it was more of — as long as it was more. I wasn’t fueling my mind and my body with love, respect, or healthy ingredients. I was stuffing it with anything and everything.
But I never felt satiated.
Our intimate ties were knotted with so many emotions — joy, fear, anger, sadness, disgust, anticipation — that I couldn’t tell where one ended and another began. And something desperate was lacking — something that all relationships need in order to thrive: respect. When he was present, I felt constantly disrespected — like I was worthless, shameful, and deserving of pain.
Finally, on my own terms and in my own time, I knew that enough was enough. I used all of my strength and summoned the courage to take a break from him.
I went away for a little while to rediscover what I loved about life — away from my relationship. And little by little, I started to see him differently.
My journey brought me to Green Mountain at Fox Run, a women’s center for healthy and happy living — a place where women can discover life without weight worries, freedom from the diet mentality that’s followed so many of us around, like a raincloud, for so long.
During my one month stay, I was reintroduced to physical movement and the beauty of feeding my body good-for-you food. I was able to connect with other women who were experiencing similar relationships and really dive into the reasons I was using food to cope in the first place.
I’ve said it countless times as it bears repeating: Green Mountain is the place that saved my life.
Over the last few years, food and I have loosened our ties. We’re still together, but it’s different. It’s no longer an affair that I’m ashamed of. It’s a partnership.
Changing the foundation of our relationship was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Pulling away and putting myself first was no easy feat. But it had to happen. And I’m so glad that it did.
Today, we are kinder to each other. He gives me what I need, and that’s where it ends. I don’t depend on him for every ounce of happiness in my life. I rely on him for nourishment and energy — and sometimes, we even have a little fun together. We play in the kitchen, create beautiful masterpieces, and we even go out on dates — in public, with friends — things we were never able to do before.
We’re actually able to enjoy our time together — guilt-free.
Don’t get me wrong. There are still occasions when I crave for us to be like we used to. I miss those moments of carelessness and bliss — the illicitness of it and the highs that it brought me. But those moments grow fewer and farther apart with each passing day. And the relationship we share these days is so much better for me.
What we have now isn’t a fiery, unstable lust. What we have now is understanding. What we have now is respect. What we have now is beautiful.
We still go through rough patches here and there, but we no longer go through them alone.
I have a support system that keeps me focused, motivated, comforted, and challenged. These special people keep me feeling full — full of life, instead of food.
Today, food still means a lot to me. He was my rock for so, so long. But when your rock stops supporting you and starts weighing you down, it’s time to break free.
Until next time,
How would you describe your relationship with food?