PART 3: DISORDERED EATING
After winning the show, I had a 4 hour drive home and I looked forward to eating all the food on the drive- I had been dreaming about this moment of freedom for months. I stopped at Red Robin and several gas stations to load up on all the salty, sugary foods I could get my hands on. Thing is, once I started, I couldn’t stop. I ate continuously for 4 hours. I thought “ok, well I SHOULD be full by now, but maybe its just because I’m bored and have nothing else to do but drive and eat.”
I realized it was a bigger problem than I originally thought when I got home and continued to eat without control- all I had in the house was dry chicken breast and brown rice, but I continued to stuff my face with it as if it was the last piece of cheesecake on planet earth. My stomach and esophagus were so filled up with food that I was seconds away from throwing it all up up, but yet I still couldn’t stop the physical action of picking up the piece of food and putting it in my mouth. It was weird guys, it was really weird. Sooner or later, I somehow forced myself to walk out of the kitchen and pass out.
But the binge eating never stopped. For about 3 months I lost total control of myself, my body, my mind, everything. My body literally felt like it had a mind of its own- I ate food out of trashcans and I stole food from grocery stores because my cravings and desire to eat were so out of whack. I was actually scared of grocery stores! I would get anxiety just driving by a grocery store because I knew I couldn’t even control myself to just drive by it and not stop- thats how bad it was! I would be telling myself “Don’t stop Nat, just keep driving, don’t stop” and my body would not listen- before I was completely past it, I’d make a sudden reaction to turn into the grocery store parking lot, only to involuntarily stuff my face with anything my heart desired, then shamefully place the open bag back on the shelf. On a good day, I’d stop at one grocery store on the way home. On a bad day, it was more like 3. This wasn’t just an eating disorder, this was some type of mental disorder too. I told my boyfriend about what was going on but he couldn’t understand what I was going through, he couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just not stop at the grocery store or not go through the trash.
All this binge eating resulted in me gaining about 20lbs from my show weight. Once again, I felt lost, broken, and helpless. A journey that I thought would fill the void in my heart from CrossFit only made my self-worth issue worse. I didn’t know what happened to me- I used to be one the most disciplined people on the planet and now I couldn’t even drive past a grocery store. Just thinking about it right now makes me want to cry.
Of course, I realized if I was going to be eating all this food without control, then I would HAVE to burn it off if I didn’t want the weight gain to continue.
Lifting weights and doing cardio was the last thing I wanted to do, but I had no choice (or so i thought). At that point, my life was COMPLETELY built around training so if I wasn’t at the gym then I was at home, and if I was at home, I would be eating non-stop. I was trapped and I was scared.
Thinking that what I needed was another goal to chase, I reached out to a bodybuilding coach and decided to prep for a second show 6 months down the road (2nd biggest mistake). To me, it sounded like a great idea because I was desperate for some structure, but that turned out to be yet another bad decision (or another great learning experience depending on the time of my life I’m reflecting on it).
PART 4: Metabolic Damage… to be continued.