New Anatomy of a Binge
Last week I wrote about my addiction to eating. This is the first week I’ve ever approached my eating habits as that…an addiction. Dealing with it the same way I did when I quit smoking. Facing every meal, every snack, every bit of food near my body – as part of my addiction. I’m trying to separate food from crutch. Which – surprisingly – has been quite easy. I guess, when it comes down to it, I can look at food and say, “This is a healthy meal.” And, “this is something that will just feed my addiction to emotional eating.” The trick is to not even take a BITE of ANYTHING in that latter category.
And I’ve done okay. I lost 5lbs. I’ve stayed under my calorie limit every day. For a week. Longer than I’ve ever gone. But it’s been very hard. Like when I quit smoking, without my emotional crutch of food? I’ve been a wreck. I’m depressed and anxious and stressed and tired ALL THE TIME. I’ve cried over the stupidest stuff. (As I write this? Tears on my cheeks from something that would have never made me cry before.) I’m an emotional WRECK. I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m BOTH at the SAME TIME all day long. And because I’m not going to bed after eating non-stop for 2 hours, I’m not sleeping well. Evidently my brain thinks I need to be gorged to sleep. Have I mentioned I’m crying a lot? IN FRONT OF PEOPLE?
My point? Those 5lbs have come at a cost. A HUGE COST. But this is part of breaking an addiction. I know that. I’ve been through it with smoking and I’ve supported family and friends who have been through it with more severe addictions. Whether it’s alcohol, or bowls of cereal – if you depend on something to quell your anxiety or depression – giving it up MAKES YOU INSANE.
But…my point? (Evidently giving up up food as an emotional crutch also makes me very distracted and I lose my train of thought.) I survived the week. And I lost 5lbs. And then…TODAY HAPPENED.
There are several types of mistakes. And they all have a wide range of after-effect on your life. There are the mistakes that you don’t even fret about after they happen. You just chalk it up and move on. There are the ones you remember and fret about FOREVER. Then? There are a million types of mistakes in between. All ranging in longevity in haunt-time. How long will that mistake haunt me? 10 minutes? 10 days? 10 years? Well…I made mistakes from ALL THREE CATEGORIES today. And that kind of stress on top of an already fragile Kim? Was the perfect storm for a Binge Day.
It started with ONE 3 Musketeers bar. I knew I shouldn’t eat it. But I got to work and one of my early mistakes was lingering and I couldn’t quit stressing about it so I turned to the vending machine for solace. When I eat a 3 Musketeers it’s like a religious experience. I break off a chunk at a time, peel off the chocolate coating and eat that, then eat the mushy middle. Then I move on to the next chunk. I savored every bite and told myself it would be okay, it was my splurge but it wouldn’t get me off track for the day.
Then, after lunch, I still had to process some stress. So I got another 3 Musketeers bar. And then? 10 minutes later? I GOT ANOTHER ONE. Why do I bring money to work? WHY?
Let’s tally: Outside my breakfast and my lunch that were sensible and healthy, I had THREE 3-Musketeer bars by 3pm. THREE OF THEM. And were they snack size? NO. FULL SIZE. 840 calories of candy bars. IN ONE DAY. *sigh*
Now…I will say this. Before today, my typical binge would end in AT LEAST 2500 calories. AT LEAST. Most days it would be closer to 3500. Today the binge ended in a beer bringing the total to about 2000 calories. More than I would want to lose the weight I want…but less than a typical binge day. So, I’m trying my best to BE POSITIVE. Yes. I ate THREE candy bars today because I still don’t know how to process stress or sadness perfectly without food. I went straight for the candy today. And the beer tonight. BUT – I didn’t KEEP GOING FOR MORE. I stopped at the beer. Which isn’t really food, so I haven’t actually broken my rule about not eating at night.
My point? (SEE. LOSING TRAIN OF THOUGHT.) I had a binge today. I fell of the wagon. But I didn’t stay off. Which is a first. Used to be: When I screwed up the day with one step off the diet path, I threw the rest of the day away. I’d eat fast-food for dinner and milkshakes for a bedtime snack. But tonight? I had a healthy dinner and a beer before bed. THAT’S ALL.
I’m still a basket case. I’m crying at the drop of a hat…losing my patience with my kids…and letting my anxiety take me for a roller coaster ride. BUT – I’m slowly, but surely – learning how to cope emotionally without food. Slowly. One week in and I’m still functioning. I’m depressed and anxious without my edible crutches, but I’m still trying. I’m still facing this one bite at a time.
Will next week be easier? Probably not. The stress in my life will just keep escalating for the next few months. But this is the best time to do this. Baptize myself by fire. It’s the equivalent of quitting smoking cold turkey. I’m trying to quit dealing with my emotional issues with food: Cold Turkey. Am I quitting food? No. I am quitting using eating as a crutch. THAT I’m doing cold turkey.
I’m Kim, and I eat to ease my sadness/anger/anxiety. I’m been trying NOT to do this for 7 days now. And I’m only failing a little bit.