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After a long period of starving myself, I went from being morbidly obese to losing about one-third of my weight. But one day I realized that I wasn’t actually happy. Not only did I lose eating–one of the most pleasurable things in life- but I also felt empty, without any meaning.
I didn’t accept myself back then. I hated myself and felt like shit.
The abominable hanging skin on my stomach, falling hair, pale skin, dark circles under my eyes. I hated my new thin body, which I had previously yearned for. I sought love in all sorts of wrong places. And even greater suffering came to me when I was raped on my first date at age of 16. I felt dirty and loathsome. I thought, “Can even someone like me be loved?”
One day, when my mother came back from grocery shopping, she had a big box of Nougat Pillows cereal. I slowly grabbed it, feeling guilty. I ate one bowl. Then another. Then another-until there was nothing left in the box…
I felt comforted and numb. I could forget for a short while about all the shit that I was going through. Afterwards, I felt scared. Scared of becoming fat again. Without any second thoughts, I went to the toilet purged for the first time.
It was funny. I was utterly thrilled. I could eat anything I wanted and then just throw it up. So simple, isn’t it?
But one day, I didn’t even notice when I had to pay for this…
I started the cursed and never-ending cycle of overeating-purging-starving. I started skipping school, shutting myself in home, terrorizing my mother who was buying sweets for my brother (which of course I binged on), and going to the gym and over-exercising even when I was sick.
Many times I changed diets, religions, worldviews, alignments of décor in the house.
I tried to modify everything and everyone instead of myself.
In the span of 2.5 years I tried everything: Yoga. Meditation. Therapy. Drugs. Nothing seemed to work. All it did was delay my bingeing attacks for a few days, and I usually ended up having them three days a week anyway.
My throat was sore, hearing my heartbeat at night stopped me from sleeping, and each night I was scared that I would once again sneak to the fridge and my half-asleep, starved body would just eat everything in sight.
I was ashamed of waking my mother during the night and being caught overeating. I was ashamed of losing control with my bingeing, and “regaining” it with purging.
One night after an enormous binge, I was at the bottom of the pit of self-hatred. I wanted to die. I’d had enough of everything, and I was truly ready to give up dieting, bingeing, purging, compulsive exercising, and hating myself.
I burst into tears and called Jesus for help.
It was a spontaneous and sincere cry. A cry for salvation. For a hand that would lead me out of this blind alley. I was weeping there in my bed like a little baby calling for help. Like a child lost in the darkness of the night.
The next day on July 21, 2012, I saw a topic on a message board about Intuitive Eating. At first I thought it was bullshit. How could possibly one eat anything that he wanted and not feel guilt, shame or fear!? But, it interested me. As I read about the principles of Intuitive Eating, I felt that it was just what I wanted and yearned for in my relationship with food and myself. It was just what I wanted my body to be: peaceful, grateful, nourishing.
I noticed some water drips on my hand. Tears were streaming down my cheeks.
That day I began my journey to self-love, self-compassion and self-understanding. From that day on I never had a bulimic attack.
Freeing myself from bulimia by following the guide (not rigid rules!) of Intuitive Eating was only the first step in my journey. My negative body image and self-loathing were still enormous, so I started reading the books Mindful Path to Self-Compassion and Radical Self-Acceptance and practicing loving-kindness meditation.
I started loving my body the way it was: my body that went through obesity, self-harm, depression, and bulimia. My body truly deserves respect. I have finally learned to love and respect myself with all my inadequacies, faults, and flaws.
Now, I know that I am enough.
Originally published February 8, 2013 on our old Tumblr blog.
Did you know “Libero” means “Free”? Libero started with a story shared by our Founder Lauren Bersaglio back in 2010. We believe when we share our stories we can champion mental health, end stigma, and spread hope. We would love to have you share your story and celebrate freedom with the rest of the Libero community! Click here to learn more!
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