After several months of keeping an eating journal, I had a moment of truth. It came after a week straight of wanting to eat an entire jar of peanut butter—thinking, dreaming, longing to do so. Late one night as I sat in my living room contemplating the act yet again, it suddenly hit me: I am an overeater. A binger, actually. And I am a starver, too.
Holy shit, I thought. I have an eating disorder.
It was the first time I knew for sure that it was true.
Not long after that, I joined a recovery group for food addicts in an honest, committed way and started on the path to recovery. Then, a few years later, something happened that I can only describe as a miracle: The day before my birthday, right in the midst of yet another evening binge, I decided to do something very special for myself: I decided to give up overeating—and not just overeating, but dieting, fasting, counting calories, counting carbs—even using artificial sweeteners.
I decided to finally be sane.
As it turned out, it was the best birthday gift I’d ever received. Since that day, I have not binged or overeaten to the point of discomfort even once—and as a result, today I am thinner than I was at the end of this story. Every pair of pants that I own fits me every day, but better than that: I like the way I look—I really, really like it. I like my soft curves. I like my flat stomach (which is flatter now that there is less food in it). I love my big nose and my round cheeks and my long toes and my smooshy tush, because I understand that even though I’m not perfect I am beautiful.
So. Did God help me lose weight? Well, yeah—just not right away. Instead, he first helped me admit that I had a problem, and then he helped me overcome it. In my book (and this is my book, after all) that most definitely counts.
And you know what else is so cool about all of this? I’ve discovered that recovery is actually pretty fun. And even when it’s not that much fun, it’s still so, so much fun, because of one simple but very wonderful, delicious truth that can replace all the chocolate-covered donuts in the world: Always, always, we have hope.
Because we are on the path. Even when we don’t feel like we’re on the path, we’re on the path. And the path only leads one place—the place is that I call there. And that path is paved with time—nothing more than that.
And so, to those of you out there who still suffer—and “suffer,” I know, is no exaggeration—here is my advice for you: pray. Meditate. Seek the help of your God. Do whatever you have to do to get in touch with the Source—even if at first, all you can do is ask to lose weight.
After that, follow your deepest intuition. If you feel that reading inspiring books may help, read some inspiring books. If you feel that starting a program will help, start a program, by all means. If your heart is telling you to see a physician or counselor, please do so right away.
Take the steps you need to take—and as you do so, know that as long as you’re engaged with the process, there is hope for you, too.
People with eating disorders are not bad people. We are people who love, and think, and give, and create. We are people with something to say.
We’re also people who feel stuck.
In other words: we are normal.
And so, I leave you with this thought: No matter what else you do in life, at least just stay on the path.
At least—at the very least—keep trying.
Do not listen to that delightful little Yoda and his very well-meaning advice; try. Try and try until finally you are ready to be. Then decide. Then be. That is the process. That is the path.
I don’t know if this is the path to enlightenment—but I do know that it’s the path to there.
Take it from me—little old normal neurotic crazy me: there really is a wonderful place to be.