Hello. My name is René. I’m a Nutritional Therapist and suffering from uncontrolled eating. When I had my last relapse last fall, I decided to give up my job.
I always see myself as an imposter when I succumb to the craving for the fast carbohydrates. Once I give in, I usually can’t stop. During such attack, I can easily eat three-quarters of a jar of Nutella on an entire white baguette-style bread, a pizza with a pack of blue corn chips, and for “dessert” a bar of chocolate and a box of cookies.
All of which are foods that are nowhere to be found on my list of recommendations for a healthy diet. But unfortunately, even expert knowledge does not protect from an eating disorder.
Over the past two years, I went months without a single relapse. During these phases, I eat a low carb diet and even ketogenic depending on the season (in winter). Without a problem. I feel great and even in sports, the results are very motivating.
Until it happens again.
The desire for the nasty health-damaging carbs builds slowly. First, it is perhaps only a fleeting craving for a crusty toasted sandwich. Or my view lingers a bit too long on the selection of honey and jams while shopping. When those “coincidences” start piling up, I know that a new carbohydrate-binge-eating-storm is brewing in the sky. I can often delay if for days or even weeks. But just like a real storm, it ultimately can’t be stopped.
In the best case, the storm is over after one evening. But during my worst time, such uncontrolled eating phases have lasted for days or even weeks.
Today I know that my cardiac arrest eight years ago (2008) was the last domino tile falling over and that my excessive consumption of empty carbohydrates (among other stress factors) played a crucial role in triggering the chain reaction.
After such a binge-eating attack, I am always ashamed of myself. I know that I am hurting myself and my health with this behavior. Each time I end up suffering from diarrhea, feel bloated, weak as a kitten and emotionally drained. On top of that, my overly stressed immune system might punish me with cold sores in the mouth, on the lips or around the eyes.
In most cases I need 3 to 4 “clean” days until I feel better.
Physically and mentally.
However, that I have a problem with carbohydrates (e.g. bread, pastries, pizza, pasta, cereals, honey, etc.), only became clear to me little over six years ago. During my training as a nutritional therapist, I was supposed to participate in a 30-day challenge with as few carbohydrates as possible. And I could simply not imagine how I would get through it.
If by contrast, a 30-day break from leeks had been requested, I probably wouldn’t even have bat an eye. You probably wouldn’t have either.
If you have seen my “About me” page, you know that I first wanted to solve my dependence on carbohydrates with quality. I only bought organic 100-corn bread until I even purchased a flour mill to make my favorite cereal products from scratch. Homemade bread, pasta, pizza dough and cereal according to Dr. Bircher-Benner’s old original recipes. Despite this significant effort, evenings of uncontrolled eating remained a constant companion.
Today I compare my first “rescue attempt” to somebody telling an alcoholic to switch to organic wine and home-brewed beer.
Only when the frustration and disappointment with my eating disorder depressed me more than the expected pain of separation (withdrawal would be the more appropriate word), I accepted the challenge. In turn, I switched to a Paleo diet abandoning all and any grain. Later followed by giving up almost all carbohydrates except vegetables with the ketogenic diet. This finally led me to the long-desired experience: a life without eating attacks!
All’s well that ends well?
Last fall it caught me again. This disappointing relapse was the trigger for me to stop accepting new clients and to cease working as a nutritional therapist.
Luckily, however, it dawned on me that because of my personal struggle I had the necessary background knowledge and experience to bring others closer to reaching their health goals.
So I did what I always do on my racing bike, whenever I am about to give up: shift to a higher gear, stand up, pedal on and see what happens.
And indeed, much has changed since then: I was without a binge-eating attack for nearly half a year, have opened my own nutrition practice in The Body Well Clinic in West Hollywood and am working on ideas for more exciting projects in the future.
My favorite quote to round out this post:
It is not about how hard you can hit.
It is about how hard you can get hit
and keep moving forward.
How much you can take and keep moving forward.
That’s how winning is done.
Thanks for reading,