In the past, I was someone who struggled (and had always struggled) with weight. Today, I’m someone who goes out dancing, meets up with friends each week and is out there dating. Men are in my life again – which is a totally new concept. And I actually feel that I deserve it.

That’s a brand new feeling.

Before, food and eating and weight were what had defined me my entire life. My mother always focused on my weight and even started weighing me routinely when I entered elementary school. Every time I gained any weight at all, she’d scold me.

I didn’t know what to do. Nothing I did ever seemed to work and it felt like there was not a thing in the world I could do to get past it. In secret, I’d run to the corner drugstore to buy and eat candy – and feel better for at least a moment.

Not much changed when I grew up and moved out. I became the colleague at work who had a “candy store” in my desk drawer. I also became the woman who’d given every conceivable diet on this planet a go. I went through them all – even prescription diet pills from my doctor and “diets” I made up on my own. The results (or lack thereof) were always the same: the pounds would come off only to be added back again.

My weight increased. I had hypertension. I had diabetes. I couldn’t breathe walking from my living room to my kitchen because I’d literally run out of breath. Finally, I turned to bariatric surgery. Maybe that would be the magic answer I’d been waiting for all along, I thought.

It wasn’t.

My desperation grew. My depression grew. I still felt terrible about myself and my body. And “How am I ever going to get a handle on this?” was still the constant thought that ran through my mind and never left my brain.

My daughter is actually the one who first heard about Melrose Center and suggested I look into it. Doing that has ended up being the biggest favor I ever did for myself.

Melrose Center was the first place I found that really got it. At last! It had never been about the food. It was about why I was eating the food and what was underneath. That’s why all the diets had failed.

I could write a novel with all the aha! moments I’ve had because of my therapist at Melrose Center. She’s my angel. Her help is what has let me see and understand what things were holding me back. And her help is what’s led me to forgive myself for those things.

When I was ready, I also started binge eating disorder group therapy. I learned new coping skills that don’t revolve around food, as well as ideas for what to do if I find myself wanting to binge – and it’s working. Today I’m in recovery and I have hope. Melrose Center has given me my life back!

What signs mean binge eating might actually be the issue? Find out at

Learn more in the Melrose Heals podcast

During each episode of the Melrose Heals podcast, Karen L. Nelson, a licensed clinical psychologist at Melrose Center, hosts honest conversations about the topics near and dear to people and families impacted by eating disorders. We hope you’ll listen and start healing.