My Emotional Eating Story & Journey
Although we may have never met, I believe there’s a chance that on some level we already know each other.
Why do I think that?
Because one of the toughest things about the struggles we go through with food is that it feels so lonely.
For me, it felt like if anyone knew the things I did … if they really knew how I behaved sometimes … they’d think less of me. What I was feeling was shame. For a long time, I felt like I was the only person in the world who struggled this way with food, who had these secrets about it and obsessions with it. But that’s just not true.
So many of us arrive in the same place where the struggles and secrets feel so awful, like we’re the only one in the world this is happening to, and if anyone else knew the things we do, they would surely think we’re crazy.
The result and place we arrive may look and feel similar … but the paths we take to get there are deeply personal.
This is why no ordinary cookie-cutter plan will work.
We’re gloriously unique, with our own stories and tendencies.
When I tell my clients some of my own stories, they’re always surprised, probably because I look like I have it all together. I don’t seem like someone who would do some of the embarrassing and desperate things that people do when a healthy relationship with food is missing. But I did.
The Obsession Begins
The first time I can recall a feeling of obsession with food, I was 18 years old. I was sitting outside with a study group for midterms but all I could think of was what I could get my hands on to eat. My thoughts became consumed by the Famous Amos® cookies that were in the student union vending machine. I couldn’t focus on what anyone was saying because I was so focused on these cookies. I remember thinking it was strange … why couldn’t I stop thinking about the cookies?
Trapped in the Cycle
In my mid 20’s, I developed a new habit. I found myself eating all my roommate’s ice cream, snacks — whatever was there — and then running out to replace what I ate before they discovered it was missing.
My career progressed and I climbed the proverbial ladder, but my stress increased as well. Things began to get really tough when I started travelling doing Consulting work. I’d find myself eating healthy at dinner with colleagues, but then cleaning out the hotel mini fridge at night … while retaining trainers in three cities in an attempt to be healthy! I tried to find my way back to healthy eating, but stress was a constant factor. It exacerbated my arthritis issues (inflammation!), which caused discomfort, frustration, and additional stress.
At 50, I had two hip replacements and then adopted my daughter who was 12 at the time. The increase in responsibilities at work and taking care of my new daughter helped keep me in a constant loop of stress … and negative food behavior.
I was locked in the cycle of binging in secret, gaining weight, and feeling frustrated and overwhelmed with shame.
I found myself treating my daughter’s snacks like I did my college roommate’s ice cream … and I still didn’t want anyone to know what I was doing.
From the outside it looked like I had it all together because I was very successful in my career and at home, but inside I was suffering. It wasn’t just the weight that was so upsetting, it was the pain of feeling so disgusted with myself and the frustration of not understanding why it was happening. On top of that, I knew it was setting a terrible example for my new daughter, but I just couldn’t seem to stop; I felt like there was no way out.
A Wakeup Call … But Still In the Cycle
When my daughter was 19, she wanted to go to the mall one night. I said no because my joints were done for the day and I was so tired. I had no energy left to do anything. She got angry with me and told me I would be, “in a golf cart in 3 years!” In that moment, even though I felt slapped across the face, I realized she was right. I realized I had let it all get away from me.
So, I decided to do whatever it took to take back my health.
I used sheer willpower and tons of restriction to drop 60 pounds in 9 months. I also began to start researching and discovered my food sensitivities — which were a core reason I suffered with so much pain from arthritis. (The weight didn’t help, but the inflammation response was the big cause.) During this time, I also began working out again, which offered positive benefits. But the thing is …
I’d swung things too far in the other direction. I was now excellent at restriction. I could successfully limit what I ate, and I did, six days a week. But there was that seventh day in which I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted. This day became a day of binging, eating everything I didn’t allow myself during the week, knowing I would have to “give it up” again for the following six days. This wasn’t how I wanted to live either. It wasn’t empowering at all.
Finding My Way Out
Because I looked and felt better than I had in a very long time, it was easy to initially think I’d done it, I’d broken the cycle. But ultimately it didn’t matter that I had lost the weight and was from all outside perspectives “healthy” because I was still obsessing about food. I was still stuck in a cycle of rigid patterns around food.
Maintaining my weight sometimes felt harder than trying to lose it! But I began to see my patterns, so I started to pay closer attention to what I was thinking and feeling when I was binging on my “day off” or when I was severely restricting. When I took a specialist training in emotional and binge eating, I finally was able to connect all the dots. I could see what worked for me, what didn’t, and understand why.
This understanding, along with the new strategies and tools I learned, was a game changer. I now had a repeatable process that I could use to help my clients break their cycles too.
A New Way … and Some Joy
Throughout this journey, I discovered a whole new way of eating and of preparing food that is fun, tastes good, and is based on me making conscious choices. It’s a lifestyle that’s nourishing in more ways than just vitamins and nutrients. I learned that food should bring joy and it doesn’t need to be something that brings guilt and stress!
Now, I can attend events whenever and wherever I want, because I trust the feedback I receive from my body, and quite frankly, I now trust myself to make choices that are kind to me.
Food Empowerment Is Yours For The Taking
Getting to where I am now took YEARS. I’ve made it my mission to help others not have to take years to break the cycle. I now take my personal experience, everything I’ve learned, and marry it to my specialist training so I can help clients break their cycles, too.
Becoming empowered around food and making that your way of life is about understanding your triggers, how to meet your real needs and making peace with food. It’s about seeing the steps and events that brought you to this place, and dismantling the harmful habits and limiting beliefs you’ve picked up about yourself and food along the way. And then building healthier habits and behavior patterns around food — and I can help you do that.
Feelings of shame around food make us all feel alone, different, and strange. But we’re not. We need to relearn how to listen to our bodies, minds, and hearts and then give them what they truly need.
This is why I believe, on some level, we know each other. Because the struggle and shame are universal. But here is the beautiful thing: so is the empowerment.
Marcie was amazing to work with. She met me exactly where I was in the journey. She understood everything I was going through and was able to provide me with the right amount of a support and education to get me out of a very dark time.
I am no longer restricting or bingeing. I have learned how to nourish myself better and am able to enjoy food again.
Marcie took me out of a very dark place where I felt like food had control over my life. I am so thankful for her coaching and guidance as I would not be where I am today without her. I have worked with different nutritionists, and she is by far the most capable, educated, intuitive, direct, experienced person I have worked with. I highly recommend Marcie.