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Sancia’s Road to Remission: Overcoming Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

bed recovery binge eating disorder May 08, 2023

Binge eating disorder (BED) is a serious and complex eating disorder affecting millions of people worldwide, with many sufferers experiencing underlying mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.


When Sancia joined the Recover Strong program, she was binging nearly every single day. After using food as a crutch to support her through years of poor mental health and a negative relationship with her body, her weight had crept up to the point she had decided to go ahead with bariatric surgery.


Realizing she could end up spending thousands of dollars without changing the behaviours that put her there in the first place, she joined the Recover Strong program, which has brought her binge eating into remission.


Sancia’s story is one of true resilience, reminding us that every human being has walked through things that we have no idea about. A vulnerable insight into her road to remission, Sancia’s story will inspire those who need to hear that there is hope on the other side of mental illness.


The Background of Sancia’s Relationship with Food and Her Body


Growing up, Sancia was always someone who connected with food. Coming from a South American and Caribbean household, there was always a lot of opportunity to try different cuisines. But Sancia can pinpoint the exact moment everything began to change when it came to her body, her weight, and food as a whole.


Looking back at a picture of her innocently sitting next to a Dr. Seuss book, a family member made a flippant comment about how big her tummy looked. Sancia began to internalize feelings about what “big” actually meant, how it made her feel, and whether it was positive or negative. This was in just Grade 4.


From Grades 5-9, her body developed quickly compared to her peers, specifically in the chest area. This worsened how self-conscious she felt and she began receiving sexualized comments, especially regarding her chest.


Going into high school, Sancia didn’t know if she was accepting of her body or if it was something she wanted to change. This is when her relationship with food began to deteriorate. She would binge eat when she was upset and hide food in her room, until this transformed into restrictive behaviour. She would chew food and spit it out so she didn’t have to swallow it.


Sancia felt more comfortable with her body after undergoing breast reduction surgery. But when she returned, her friends made comments about her body which made her question her perception on how she looked. After graduating from high school, Sancia developed problems digesting meat which caused bloating and nausea, and then fueled a restriction and purging cycle.


Discovering Recover Strong


Continuing to battle her clinical depression, and working through her traumas, binging episodes began to increase for Sancia as she found that food was really starting to become her crutch. Within 6 months to a year, she had gained 70 pounds. With everything in place to go ahead with bariatric surgery, it was her GP who encouraged her to explore different avenues and pointed her towards the Recover Strong program.


After discovering she would be a good candidate for the program, Sancia found the coaching she received to be completely life changing, enabling her to realize how interconnected her relationship with food was to her mental health. She finally felt as though she was getting to the root of her problems, rather than keeping it at surface level.


Working with our binge eating recovery coach Julie, Sancia was able to build the tools she needed to strengthen her emotional resilience and bring her binge eating disorder into remission. When she first started the program in September 2022, she was binging nearly every single day. Around the halfway mark, her binging began to significantly reduce, and towards the end of the program, she was not binging at all. Sancia has still to this day not had another episode of binge eating.


Weight loss was not Sancia’s initial focus when she joined the program, but it has been a positive side effect of the treatment. In addition to creating healthier habits, healing the binge eating, and healing her traumas, she has also been able to lose and keep off 30 lbs as a natural result of this work.


Strategies to deal with careless comments


A really critical time arrived for Sancia around Christmas time, where there was a high potential to binge again. Unfortunately, as can often happen when families come together at Christmas, one family member made a careless comment about how much Sancia was eating. Initially annoyed and irritated by the comment, she didn’t allow it to result in a binge. All the work she had done was deeply ingrained and she used the following strategies to help her overcome this stumbling block:


  1. Accept that people will have their own perceptions about how much people should or shouldn't eat. People are not always caring and considerate when they make comments around this or share those opinions. Remind yourself how that family member does not have the same experiences as you do or the same understanding of BED. You don't have to explain yourself, get upset or address it if you don't want to.


  1. Understand that you might be feeling uncomfortable and agitated. Shelf those feelings and then when you are ready to dissect it, you won't be as emotionally vulnerable as you were in the moment. You will be more logical and able to understand, without being as emotionally charged about it.


How hard was the program?


This was one of the hardest things Sancia has ever done. Meeting with a coach every week (in addition to her own therapist), means that you’re being emotionally vulnerable very often. She had to dig deep and get comfortable with those uncomfortable feelings. Sancia did not have an issue discussing traumas but always found it hard to have those feelings sit with her. Not using food as the crutch and shifting the activities she did to make her feel better was certainly challenging.


However, when it was tough, she kept going. She told herself that she owed it to herself, to protect herself, to love herself, and to feel better.


How has the program changed her life?


Sancia’s confidence has been completely reshaped, and her entire perspective of her body image has shifted. Even though in September she was at her highest weight, she feels much more confident compared to when she was at her lowest weight. She now realizes that the confidence you have and feeling sexy in your body has nothing to do with your size, your shape, or your body. It has everything to do with the thoughts you cultivate towards your body.


Sancia now has a desire to get back into pole fitness, start teaching yoga, and hopes to cultivate a community for other individuals experiencing depression and anxiety.


Sancia’s Final Words of Wisdom


“Be kind to yourself. Even though you may be in this moment and have the body you have and think negative things about yourself, doesn't mean things can't change. You’ve got to show up for yourself, protect, and love yourself first.”


Listen to the Full Interview on Episode 66 of the High on Life podcast.

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