Updated: Apr 28, 2021
When I set up this blog, I wanted to use this platform to shine a light on every aspect of mental health, especially those that aren’t discussed enough. I believe binge eating disorder is one of the issues that we aren’t talking about openly or often enough and I wanted to do my bit to change that.
Society makes it difficult for us to talk about overeating without feel ashamed or embarrassed. Perhaps this is why there are few people who are willing to open up about their addiction to food. However, I’m very lucky that 25-year-old Ella Kruczynska agreed to share her story with me to highlight the effects and impact of binge eating. Ella, who is from the USA, is recovering from food addiction herself and bravely sharing her story with the world on Instagram in the hope of raising awareness about this often overlooked eating disorder.
When did you first realise you had an issue with food addiction?
Tricky question! I’ve always recognized my eating was extreme and abnormal. Most of my childhood I buried those realizations and they manifested into shame.
In 2018, I formally started calling it an eating disorder, and started treating it as an addiction.
Why did you think you developed a food addiction?
Lots of factors; my father has the same addiction and normalized that way of coping for me; I had trauma as a child which I coped with food to handle; food itself is highly addictive!
Food feels good to eat. If you’re avoiding, hiding, coping—having the endorphins of eating is amazing. It’s escapism. When I’m eating, for those seconds the food is in my mouth, I feel bliss. I don’t have sadness, I don’t have anxiety, I have happiness of a good taste.
What has been or was the most difficult thing about realising you had an eating disorder? Was it a difficult or emotional experience coming to that realisation?
Nothing has been difficult about having the words to describe my disorder. It’s only been helpful. It always existed, and being able to talk out loud has always felt validating.
It can be hard/embarrassing to be completely honest about how food affects me, my attachment to it, how abusive I’ve been. I mean, I used to eat food out of the garbage. I’ve learned to embrace this, to normalize the experience of an untreated or undiagnosed eating disorder. It’s really scary, and I have been afraid at times of showing truly how severe it is. However, every time I’m honest—I make strides, and I’ve never felt like the only one. I was able to find a community.
How did you learn to cope with your eating disorder?
I’ll always be in recovery! It’s not something I know for sure if I can overcome. I’ve done a lot of things to manage my eating and remain sober form food abuse, including:
- being honest and present about my food
- recognizing when I’m eating without control
- identifying triggers that make me eat without control
- getting medicine for binging!
Did you get professional help when you realised you had an eating disorder?
No, I couldn’t afford it. I started going to Overeaters Anonymous, journaling, and reading online about what this eating disorder was and how folks worked on it. This personal work turned into my Instagram, speaking openly about food, and being on a public journey to sobriety. The work I did on my own has been the most impactful behind being prescribed medication.
I told my first doctor in 2019, but they couldn’t offer much else other than sympathy. They recommend a therapist.
Therapy wasn’t helping with eating, other life things, but not eating. My therapist didn’t really know much about eating disorders so she was a good friend to talk to, but not a treatment for me.
Finally I went to a psychiatrist to talk about eating and that’s when I was suggested to take Vyvanse. It may not work for everyone but it’s really worked for me.
Do you think food addiction is taken as seriously as other eating disorders or do you think there is more work that needs to be done to raise awareness and educate people?
I think people take me, Ella, seriously. But I don’t think the severity of a food addiction is seen like another addiction. It’s just as deadly, but it hurts you slowly overtime. There is also so much shame about our eating in general. It’s hard to find support for it and feel legitimate. Also, ya know, we HAVE to eat. So you’re forced to confront the addiction all day, every day.
What advice would you give to someone who thinks they might be struggling with food addiction?
Own it, babe. It’s not going to go away just because you wish it or will it. Get to know yourself, your eating disorder, and how you it affects you. Treat it like any other kind of sobriety. It can be a while before you find the right coping mechanisms and strategies you need to start feeling more sober, but it starts with honesty. Honesty about abusing food, and confronting that you don’t have control!
If you are struggling with a binge eating disorder, I highly recommend following Ella on Instagram for some honest and inspiring content.