October 7, 2012 by Lindsey
It’s been a bad weekend.
Yesterday I binged. And this morning I made poor choices that left me with little in my calorie/points budget for the day.
I’m sharing this because this sense of being stuck on the Groundhog Day of bingeing and “binge education” (never learning what a binge does and does not do for me) might be common to others dealing with this problem. If you’re dealing with binge eating or any disordered eating issue, I know how you feel and I hope this will help you realize you’re not alone. It’s very hard to beat this ugly thing.
Last night I was overly stressed and stuck in a noisy, too-bright house. Loud phone conversations (a pet peeve), obnoxious baseball game announcers, and powerful overhead lights made my usual “me time” room a torture area. Even in my bedroom, I could hear the noise. Oh, the joys of the open floor plan!
Me Time: The Binge Fighter
To decompress at night, I want dim lights, silence, and the newspaper or a book. I need this time for me. I need this time so I don’t binge and can enjoy my evening snack feeling safe from the Binge Monster.
I tried moving to a different part of the house. After two different lamps wouldn’t turn on, I headed back upstairs, frustrated by the obstacles in my way to “me time.” As time passed and it got later, I knew my me time was getting cut shorter. Soon, it would be too late for me time because it would be bed time! I felt the sense of agitation and restlessness rise in my body. I was losing my patience and my self-control.
I heard everyone head to bed so I went back to the kitchen and living room, “my” spot in the evening–well, until lately, when it’s been routinely “invaded.”
I went for the granola. A mistake. It’s a trigger, I now know. I suspected it might be before I even got the box out, but I still did it. Of course I regret it, as I do after losing my willpower to every trigger, but I can’t seem to learn my lesson. This is not going to solve any problems and not going to make me feel any better! Still, some part of me thinks this is not true.
Once I make that first move, it is very hard to stop.
I feel like a large portion of my brain just turns off, and my body turns to autopilot.
In a zombielike trance, after I decide one food is not “satisfying,” I choose other foods that are equally unsatisfying, still looking for that satisfaction.
What I Always Forget/Ignore/Fail to Realize:
Nothing is ever satisfying in this situation.
Nothing ever is.
But every time it happens, I keep looking for something, hoping that will finally fulfill whatever is missing.
It has never happened, but I keep doing it.
I do not have something else to take its place and I don’t know where else to look for satisfaction– I don’t even know what it is that needs to be satisfied!
This is a huge problem for me with this binge eating issue.
The Binge Continues..with Triggers
Granola, yogurt, egg, frozen mango, 1 cookie, chips, and other cereals all failed to meet whatever need I had that I expected to fill with food. I was beyond eating with dignity. This was just a disgrace.
I moved on to nuts, thinking– with genuine certainty– that I could be moderate and have just a few. I know these are a trigger. In the moment, they did not seem as powerful and destructive (as strong of a word as that is) as I know they can be for me.
I had a few.
They weren’t that great.
But I had some more. And some more.
After the Binge
It wasn’t an all out catastrophe, but I felt horrible. Obviously, nothing was solved. I didn’t feel less stressed than pre-binge, I felt more stressed. Of course, I was not satisfied.
The sad part, to me, is that I can’t say that those reasons will be enough to stop me from doing this again. Like I’ve written before, I don’t really feel like I’ve had a choice when to binge. My body and mind are trained to do this from years of a disastrous relationship with food. I can only hope I can learn this lesson and make it stick as I work on my problem.
Physical and Emotional Effects
My stomach felt like it was filled with bricks and my body felt like thick tar. I was way too full physically and way too empty mentally and emotionally. On days/nights when I don’t binge, my stomach feels flatter, smoother. My mind feels clear and in control. My mood is positive, almost upbeat (unusual for me!).
After I binge and my real brain (not binge brain) is reconnected to my body, I realize how I really feel.
I feel heavy.
I feel ashamed.
I feel disappointed.
I feel sad.
I feel slow.
I feel like a failure.
I feel too full to sleep.
I feel too full to move.
I feel uncomfortable.
I feel unproductive.
I feel incredible guilt.
I feel incredible regret.
My brain isn’t trained not to binge yet. My body isn’t trained not to switch on to autopilot when overtaxed, overstressed, exhausted, or frustrated.
The changes in my binge behavior are incremental. They are tiny, microscopic, hardly measurable.
It’s terribly frustrating to keep relapsing. It is obnoxious to ruin a string of good progress with an evening and morning of overeating. It is tiring to feel like I have to play catch up now on my weight loss progress, my binge management, and my food behavior. It’s sad to think you’ve not moved forward, that the best you can do is be stuck in neutral some days, and some days move backward.
As I learn more coping mechanisms, more cognitive techniques to throw out bingeing as a tool in life management box, and string together more binge-free days, I’ll be here sharing them.
But I’ll share the bad times, too, when I feel like I’ve lost my (real) mind and never seem to learn my lesson.
If you’re stuck in this same spot, maybe these posts will be useful to you, too: Battling to Be Binge Free, Shooting Myself in the Foot, Starting Again From Where I’ve Already Been Before