ad·dic·tion /əˈdɪkʃən/ Show Spelled[uh-dik-shuhn]
the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.
I think there are lots of people around who have compulsive eating problems who would never come to a realization that the way they were living was the life of an addict. It saddens me to see other people living like I did, in denial about the problems facing them. It breaks my heart. I spent so many years making decision after decision that would lead to my early death. I wish I could travel back in time and tell my 16 year old self that in 20 years weighing 165 pounds would feel amazing to me. That I would be one of the thinnest of my acquaintances. How dreamy it would have been if I had sought counseling, an OA meeting, or even talked with a Dr. before I had done so much damage to my health and to my self-esteem.
During high school I was so incredibly shy and my feelings were hurt so easily. There was a small group of boys who I was friends with but the oldest of the bunch not so much. I would love to go back and ask him if he was compensating for a small penis by picking on the insecure teenage girl. As for the mean and nasty teenage girls, well most of them look like I did six months ago. Karma. I reacted to all the sadness, shyness, insecurity, depression and insecurity by sneaking food. By eating crud instead of making healthy choices. I pray that my children somehow escape the teenage years without lasting scars.
I went away (an entire 1 hour drive) to college with a very low self esteem and shortly after I started school my 22 year old boyfriend of 15 months decided to dump me because weekends weren't enough. I moved forward by spending time with friends, including guy friends. A word of advice. Don't become friends with the boyfriends of your girl friends. Eventually it will bite you in the ass. Whether it is your friends' resenting you or you picking the wrong guy to befriend who takes advantage of you (or worse) it just isn't a good idea. I am not saying that girls and guys can't be friends, just try to avoid situations that could make your life complicated and difficult.
After some pretty intense stuff went down I ended up with a private dorm room a few months into college. I think that was one of the biggest mistakes of my life. Not only did I eat crap in the cafeteria but I came back to my room and drank soda and chose very poor snacks. If I hadn't made some good friends I can't imagine how much more weight I could have put on.
Another bit of advice. Unless your grades are perfect and you actually have study skills (high school work came easy to me so I never really developed study skills or the ability to manage my time well) make sure that your parents are monitoring your progress. I had some problems financially and also ended up in a pretty severe depression my third year of school. It led to me skipping classes, dropping classes and eventually transferring in an effort to salvage my academic career. I failed to salvage anything. I had some close friends left from high school but wasn't able to keep in touch with many of my friends from my first years of college.
Another sage bit of wisdom. If you can possibly get through college without student loans do everything you can to make it happen. Go to a community college and pay cash, apply for grants and scholarships, transfer to a state school with great grades and get a scholarship. Don't blow it. What I wouldn't give to have been an educated professional for the past 14 years.
There are definite advantages to how my life moved forward after college though. One of my very best friends and I were reintroduced to each other by a mutual friend. We had barely known each other in high school but it was amazing to find someone so easy to love. She is the reason I met my husband, over 12 years ago. I turn 37 in February. I will start back to college in January. I am attending the local community college. I am determined to ace my classes and begin the process of forgiveness---forgiving myself for all of the bad choices I made and the damage I caused myself. In so many ways I was more a victim of myself than of any high school bully, purse snatcher, credit card company or poorly chosen friends.
So, if you are a person who eats to illness often, who hides food, who eats in secret, who binges, etc. Please step back and figure out that this is an addiction and that no diet alone can make a lasting change in your life. You have to move forward and heal all of the things that lead you to self destruction. Find counseling, find a support group, check out an OA meeting online, on the phone or face to face, talk to your doctor, talk with a friend. Whatever it takes to start the healing process and change your life for the better just do it.