The Binge Eater's Walk Of Shame

Here's something I know all too well.

Shannon Ashley
Apr 25, 2019 · 5 min read

My daughter's fifth birthday was on April 9th and her birthday party took place on the 13th. I gave myself permission to veer off of my keto plan that entire week, including the two-day solo getaway I gave myself in Atlanta.

Upon my return, I felt ready to return to my low-carb high-fat eating plan... until I lost all mojo to eat well because I had such an awful endometriosis flare-up.

Now that I'm finally feeling better, I'm still not back on track. Not by a long shot. And let's be honest--my eating today versus my eating 2 weeks ago is significantly more out of control.

For people who struggle with overeating or binge eating, and for friends like Emily Kate, Zach J. Payne or Shaunta Grimes, I don't think this trajectory is shocking at all. I am quite honestly in the middle of my "walk of shame."

This is a walk I know quite well.

I wake up feeling hungover after consuming way too much crappy food and rather than saying that I've had enough of this (and then meaning it), I instead keep using food to poorly cope with various emotions or needs.

Being fat is freaking tiring.

Recently, somebody sent a message to my Facebook page to tell me about an organization called Overeaters Anonymous. (Yes, I know all about it.) Another reader expressed an interest in discussing obesity further with me because they disagree with some of my assertions. (My beliefs are based on my experiences and research with lipedema and obesity.)

Now, I have no doubt that both people have good and even honest intentions. These are strangers who'd like to help me, right?

Even so, I don't think I have the energy within me to keep having these conversations. There's something about living in a fat body where you feel frequently forced to explain yourself or disappear. Shrink back and stay home. Shut up so nobody can hear you or even look your way.

And frankly, it's exhausting. I'm exhausted just thinking about the conversations well-meaning strangers have already begun with me about fatness, eating, and my body.

My body.

My body, myself.

I actually have to remind myself that this is my body, not theirs. My struggle and not their inconvenience. My existence shouldn't be regarded as some uncomfortable hindrance to other people.

Honestly, the only reason I write so much about my body and my battle to be comfortable in my own skin is that it's been subject to these conversations among strangers for so long. That's how it goes for fat bodies.

But I think we have a right to own the narratives of our own bodies without strangers telling us how we ought to think or feel or heal.

Fat people deserve better than that.

We deserve the freedom to love our bodies despite the issues that weigh us down. And we have a right to talk about our experiences without fear of inciting comments of "glorifying obesity."

Do any of my words about fatness ever even sound glorious?

Or do they sound like a person who has been wounded and is simply trying to cope and exist in a world that begrudges her existence?

Eating disorders aren't some laughing matter. Fat isn't funny. Writing about my right to exist without ridicule in a fat body isn't glorious or glorious in the least.

But I do it because it matters.

We have to be able to talk about these experiences.

Even this whole "walk of shame" shit matters. Obviously, it doesn't matter to everyone. But it matters to those of us who have been there.

My current walk of shame involves getting through a whole bunch of junk I bought during a few different binge episodes over the past couple of weeks. Sorry not sorry, or maybe just kinda sorry.

I don't even know anymore. Which is stupid because in the midst of acquiring junk food, every binge eater knows there is going to be an amount of regret.

We tell ourselves that it's alright because we'll get back on track tomorrow. But we don't, because tomorrow is always a day away and today is painful enough to need some fucking relief.

When we're just trying to cope with the depth of our emotions, Target has conveniently clearanced out all their Easter candy. Or we order delivery but the restaurant doesn't prepare what we ordered, so whatever we were wanting remains on our minds.

Hey, maybe we've got 5 pints of ice cream in the freezer that we really shouldn't let go to waste. Then there's another birthday party tomorrow, so... you know what that means.

There is always another reason to pull us back into another binge.

Admitting that truth is humiliating. Of course, it's a walk of shame. Walking back to those bad habits that we know will only leave us more stuck.

My failure to fix my fat fails you all.

I have to get back on my eating plan. I'll feel better when I finally do it. But who am I kidding? Not me. Not you. This is what my eating disorder looks like. I'm used to the shame and guilt. Used to the knowledge that some folks stare and my clothes never feel quite right.

And it’s no secret that my walk of shame disappoints some of the people who've been cheering me on. That's why I suspended my plan with my keto coach and ducked out of the associated Facebook group where a few women actually recognized me from my writing.

Well, crap.

Now I'm really letting people down on a first name basis, huh?

But hopefully, my talking about my eating issues will help somebody else open up about their own battles. Because despite popular opinion, you're allowed to have "issues." Your struggles don't invalidate your existence.

Maybe we can glorify this. That broken people are people quite worthy of love. Our struggles don't make us any less human. And we can still help each other even when we don't have all our shit own together.

If you're anything like me and you've been regrouping after your own walk of shame? You are not disgusting. And you have a right to be here to talk about your story.

I'm here and I salute you.

60 Months to Ironman

Oh, shit.

Shannon Ashley

Written by

It's not about being flawless, it's about being honest. 🍵 📧

60 Months to Ironman

Oh, shit. Making my biggest, most secret, most insane goal public. I used to weigh 368 pounds. I'm going to enter an Ironman race when I'm as old as my mother was when she died.

Shannon Ashley

Written by

It's not about being flawless, it's about being honest. 🍵 📧

60 Months to Ironman

Oh, shit. Making my biggest, most secret, most insane goal public. I used to weigh 368 pounds. I'm going to enter an Ironman race when I'm as old as my mother was when she died.

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