My truth that older women should hear

The truth shall set you free…..Honesty is good for the soul

These are all great sayings but they never meant as much to me as they do today. At sixty-nine, I decided it was time to tell my story. I confess, I’m a binger and purger and it’s been going on since I was 20. It started when I joined the airline as a flight attendant and we had weight restrictions.

truth, binging confession

I never had a problem my whole life

When you’re sitting “on call” for days on end with nothing to do, you end up eating. It’s like when college kids leave home and take up bad eating habits. Within 6 months, I was put on a scale before a flight and my weight was way up. My skirt was tight and when they checked my records, I signed a paper saying I would not go over a certain weight and I was way over.
The supervisor told me to diet and I had to check in before the next flight with a weight loss or I would be grounded. Then she told me to try the apple diet, eat as many as you want all day and then take castor oil at night. This was so beyond my thinking, I just never had a weight problem and now my job is telling me I’m fat. I tried the apple thing and it worked for a few weeks but I never could stick with it. The more I restricted myself, the more I mentally hated it. It was a real shame no one bothered to suggest joining weight watchers then.

The vicious circle began

The truth is, it became a vicious circle and then a friend suggested taking ex-lax after a binge. Talk about stupid but hey, if it would work, I’d try it.
Starting a binge was a strange experience, it’s like it takes over your mental state and you have no control. I’m talking once you start, you don’t stop till you fall asleep with a belly ache. You have consumed everything you can find in the house and just don’t stop. I’ve made some pretty ugly concoctions when I was on a binge. Nothing was safe and I would go to the supermarket and buy as much sweet stuff as I could find, then go home and eat it all. NO one ever saw me do this. It was always done in secret.
Dieting became a way of life for me and it still didn’t help, yes, I never got obese but those hips got chunky and I was always living with the threat of grounding. I was grounded on numerous occasions and still, I kept up my binging but now I was hooked on the laxatives also. While saying I was chunky, that was how I saw myself. I was a size 10 and I’m 5 foot 8 inches so looking back, this was not “fat”.

Moving forward

I got married and everything seemed to calm down. I wasin  a happy place and no airline on my back whispering in my ear that I was fat. I felt accepted. I got pregnant twice, had two amazing sons and while gaining a lot during each pregnancy, I got back to my normal weight afterward.
While the boys were still very young, I started my habit again. For some reason, I felt out of control of my own life and stressed out and that gave me the excuse to go back to old habits. I remember hiding my eating from my husband and doing it when the kids were napping. I remember times I was so sick from overeating, my mother in law would come over to help with the kids because I was “sick”. I would get weak and sweaty and couldn’t do anything the day after a binge and purge. Again, no one knew anything about this.
As the years went on, I would gain 30 pounds then lose 30 pounds, over and over again, all because of this binging. I went on weight watchers, I tried most everything but didn’t realize at the time, that I was starting to feel controlled by my husband and I was fighting back. I couldn’t fight back verbally, he hated an argument, I felt I wasn’t accepted. This was something he couldn’t tell me no about. I didn’t see it then but I sure did a few years later.
I woke up one morning and realized, I don’t want to be married to this man anymore and I needed to do something about it.

I had become what I thought he wanted and lost myself in the process.  I blame both of us but mostly, I blame myself. He was a wonderful husband, an amazing father but I wasn’t happy being told what I thought was “wrong”.

I saw things differently but it didn’t make me wrong. The horrible answer was to divorce and move on. It broke my heart and his and the kids but something I had to do in order to be my authentic self. We were just too different in the way we thought and handled it.
Once I was on my own, my weight started to even out. I was in control of myself, no one else. I went back to flying but this time a bit smarter and very seldom binged. I met a man that has always accepted me for just who I was, all the good and the bad but I still had my dark secret. When he was not home, I would still binge and purge but very seldom. The guilt that went along with it was so bad, you hate yourself afterward, you cancel things because you feel sick the next day, you put more pressure on yourself and it all is just not healthy. After a few years, I found myself binging maybe once a year and my weight would go up and down but only by 10 pounds or so, I do love to eat.

Age has its benefits

Somewhere around the age of 55, I sat down with myself and decided I needed to work on this and make sure I don’t do it again. I’d been very lucky that my body was not messed up from what I had done and I wanted to continue to live healthier. It’s funny how you really do get smarter as you get older, you see things differently and you really realize what is important. I am in control of my life, I always have been, I just have a partner that will spar with me a bit and he listens to me. He may not agree but I feel heard now.

truth binge eating
I’m writing this today because after 15 years, I went on a binge, a real honest to goodness binge, couldn’t stop, ate everything I could find and more. I slept horrible last night and woke up feeling so guilty. I used my stress as an excuse, bombing aircraft, terrorism, living in Egypt, (my husband is a pilot with Egypt Air and was working) it all got to me and I allowed it to take control of my day. This morning, I had more insight, whether it is someone else or circumstances, sometimes you just can’t be in control and you have to give it up and just believe. Today I realized, no one has known about this in my entire life and if I’m going to have a blog and try to help others, then I need to be honest with myself. This is not something I’m proud of, but I’ve finally figured it out. By telling my story, I may not help anyone but myself but that’s all I want to do. It just proves that we never stop learning and changing no matter how old we get.
Do you harbor any secrets? Have you come clean with yourself? Or anyone else? The time to do it is now, so you can live the rest of your life in peace and harmony. I feel like a new person today, born again to continue my life and enjoy it. Guilt be gone!

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5 Responses to “My truth that older women should hear

  • Wow, very brave of you to share your story… That’s not easy to do but it is so freeing. I remember the first times I started speaking up about postpartum depression how scared I was people would judge me or think I was “crazy” but , really. Lots of people share our struggles… And I found that out after I opened up. I’m sure your story will help people, including yourself

    • It made me face it head on. Yes, we just don’t know who else is walking in our shoes. It helps us in so many ways to know we are not alone.

  • Thank you for sharing , it is very courageous to share your story and really appreciate it. You are an inspiration . To write your story is very Genuine and caring for others. Wish you all good things .

    • Linda, it has been freeing for me also. At some age, you have to let it go. Thanks for reading.

      • Thank you for writng it . I admired you before and even more now.

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