Preparing for a Binge

Something I remember all too well is that intense feeling of excitement right before a binge session. It was an overpowering excitement, like the feeling you got on Christmas Eve as a kid. The anticipation was almost better than the actual event.

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When I was 250 pounds, I definitely had food issues. I didn’t know what a calorie was, I didn’t know what a portion size was and I didn’t care. I thought I was eating healthy. I wasn’t. A lot of my problems were Boredom Eating. I used eating as an escape and as a hobby. Most of the overeating was in front of the television. I was bingeing on food and mindless TV.

But every once in awhile, I would participate in what I’d call an “intentional binge.” I planned it. It was usually on a weekend, so Friday night I’d stop at the store and get a bunch of treats that I wanted. It was usually a carton of my favorite ice cream, some mint oreo cookies, a gallon of milk to go with the cookies and maybe some candy bars, too.

I’d go home and order a pizza and eat the whole thing by myself and then tear into the desserts I’d bought. While this didn’t happen a lot, it happened more often than it ever should have. And I loved it! I ate all of my favorite foods and enjoyed every sweet bite of it.

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Check out some of my old posts regarding binge eating:

Bingeing

Coping- Then and Now

Instant Gratification or Long Term Goal?

Redefine Your Relationship with Food

The Challenge is Always There

Food is Not The Answer

Why Wednesday – Why I Don’t Have a Cheat Day

Binge Eating Demons

Food Addiction

Like I stated in the beginning of this post, the anticipation of the binge was often more enjoyable than the actual eating of the food. I don’t know why–maybe it was comforting, or familiar, maybe it was just about the ritual of eating my favorite foods in massive quantities. The point is that it a mindful act: I prepared for it.

How are things different for me now?

While I still struggle on occasion with binge eating (often times more fighting the desire than actually doing it again), I am doing pretty well. It’s been years since I’ve actively planned a binge eating session. In fact, I don’t even remember the last time I did it.

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Having a steady exercise routine helps a lot with the urges to binge. I find that when I exercise I feel happier, healthier and in turn I want to eat healthier things. I also find that when I consistently eat healthy foods, I don’t crave the JUNK as often, either! I firmly believe that junk food has additives in it that makes you crave it more–but if you cut it out, that craving disappears.

Something else that helps is having a partner who is supportive and (usually) understanding. There’s also a level of embarrassment — I don’t ever want to binge eat in front of Michael. The idea of it makes me cringe, and that cringing keeps me from ever doing it! It brings me out of that moment of “oh, I would love to eat a bunch of my favorite foods that I haven’t had in years” and back to the moment of “I really don’t WANT to do that.” It’s funny, Michael was out of town for work a few months ago and I had that anticipation of “I could do anything I wanted and eat anything I wanted all weekend long!” What did I end up doing? I bought some Indian food from Trader Joe’s and watched a bunch of Netflix. 🙂 Not exactly a binge. Thankfully!

Now your input: did you PLAN binges?

20 Responses

  1. I used to plan a binge almost every weekend. I still remember the anticipation…and how awful I felt after. So glad I don’t do that any more!

  2. Isn’t it funny that the “not doing it in front of others” is remarkably similar to what substance addicts sometimes feel?

    I once read that if you feel have to hide your drinking from others, for example, it can be a sign of developing an alcohol problem. Could that be applied here as well?
    evilcyber recently posted..Fasted Cardio For Fat Loss

    1. You make a good point and I TOTALLY agree. The shame, the embarrassment, knowing that it’s not the right thing to do and wanting to hide it is definitely a sign that it’s an addiction.

  3. It’s funny – now that I’m healthier I feel like I have more mental binges than actual ones. I’ll sit around and fantasize about eating tons of junk and how good it’d be and on and on but when it comes time to actually do it, I won’t. The only times I allow a binge is probably my birthday. I give myself total freedom on my birthday and on a few occasions a year but as I get healthier and the binges lessen, the binges themselves also change. Like instead of 4 packs of Peeps and pizza and ice cream and half a bottle of whiskey I might consider a binge night a frozen pizza and a serving of ice cream or a pack of M&Ms. While neither are good I have started to notice they are slowly decreasing and morphing actually even into healthy binges …if that’s even possible. I know binging in general (no matter what food) is not healthy but if I’m going nuts on edamame I really don’t think I should feel as guilty as if it were a binge on cheetos. And while I still have an occasional binge the number of times it actually happens has dramatically decreased as my priorities in my health have shifted.
    But yes, I get this weird sense of excitement, too – because for me it was fun. I didn’t think about tomorrow or what I was doing – I just did whatever I wanted because I could. Dealing with the aftermath didn’t even cross my mind and then I’d be SO upset the next day. Now I try and be more considerate of myself and how things I do now might affect me later. Binging was definitely a disrespect to myself in so many ways and only until I really started to care and love myself more did things change for the better.
    Sara recently posted..Girl Sprints 2/16/13

    1. I used to have mental binges in the beginning. I think it was more that I was emotionally processing my new lifestyle and getting used to eating healthier. Sure, there were definitely times after I lost the weight where I’d think about binges but I usually didn’t give in. Knowing how many calories were in food changed my perspective drastically!

  4. Yes, I absolutely planned binges. Especially after rough days, or days where I “deserved it” like paydays etc. I would get so giddy buying all the food, I could care less about anything else. Then after I started bingeing I would get such a euphoric feeling, I would be absolutely content, happy and centered. But then I would continue the binge (thinking it would make me “happier”) and I would get grossly, disgustingly full. That’s when the self-hatred would kick in. The funny thing is, I ALWAYS forget about the disgusting feeling I ALWAYS felt when I binged. All I remembered was the wonderful euphoric feeling I would get when I started eating. Now when I want to binge, all I can think about is how disgusting it makes me feel. I literally feel like a garbage pit when I binge now, I don’t even register a euphoric feeling anymore.

    Awesome post 🙂
    Daphne @ Daphne Alive recently posted..Small progress

    1. I get the “I deserved it” mentality! If I had a bad day, I deserved to feel better with food, etc etc. I’m glad you found a way to stop the cycle of bingeing and then shaming. It’s a horrible cycle to be in.

  5. I used to do this on occasion too, and the aftermath was always awful- generally the binging involved too much sugar, which just made me feel like death a few hours later, but occasionally It would happen with pasta dishes too. Just knowing how awful I’ll feel afterwards is a huge deterrent for me.

    There are still occasions (like if we order pizza) where I eat way too much, but generally its pre-planned to the degree that I’ve saved up my day’s calories to cover it. Its still a binge, but its not one that comes back to bite me in the tail like the candy or pasta binges of the past did.

    I still have some progress to make.
    Deb recently posted..Sunday Day 492 Food Diary

  6. I would have planned and unplanned binges. If I was going to have a weekend night by myself, I would buy a bag of potato chips, some sour cream and onion soup mix to make chips and dip. I would eat almost the whole thing. Not sure why that was my binge food, but it was. Or – I would make those no-bake chocolate oatmeal drop cookies and eat most of them.
    Lori recently posted..Adventures In Maintenance

  7. I hear you. I’ve done my fair share of bingeing in the past. The not so recent past, that is. But such is life.

    The anticipation of the binge always feels better than the sickness that follows. Yet we often go through with it anyhow. I’ve got to agree with you . . . junk creates desire for bingeing far more than real food ever can.

    And did you have to show that lovely picture of pizza while mentioning Oreos? You’re not helping us here.

    Cheers!
    Trevor recently posted..Week 6 on the Steak and Eggs Diet and . . .

    1. The sickness, the regret, the shame…those feelings were definitely not worth the binge.

      That pizza pic was taken at Apizza Scholls, one of the best pizza joints in Portland. Anthony Bourdain went there for his TV show years ago. 🙂

  8. If hosting a party counts, then I’ve done my fair share of binge planning with food as the theme of the party often times. And being a good host meant leading the way so no one felt like they should hold back on food or beverage. And I always over spent on food. Usually with enough left overs to host a left over party. But then, I just I’d feel insulted if I wasn’t invited to “the party” but was invited to the left over party. Ya know what I’m saying?
    Marc recently posted..CrossFit – Fittest Woman in world – Thor’s Daughter

    1. I think it counts. For me, social events is when I “binge” (or at least, what I call bingeing now–it’s very different now than it was 10 years ago for me). It’s hard to resist buffets and munchie foods at parties and events. I love chips and dip and sweet treats and everything always looks so good!

  9. Oh, yes! I can relate so much to this post. I used to do many of the same things. Exercise, keeping and eating only non-trigger foods, and a lot of de-stress tools help me avoid it now.

    Thoughts of overeating pop up from time to time. Now I’m able to recognize and respond differently. It took a lot of work.

    So worth it to be off that cycle. What a relief. Glad you shared your story.
    Karen P recently posted..Stress and weight- my 2 pound connection

    1. I’m glad to hear that exercise and healthier eating worked for you too. What works the best for me is simply NOT having the trigger foods in my house. If they are in my house, I’ll think about them and overeat.

  10. I was never a binge eater – more like an all day grazer. Typically I’d eat a small amout of food because I was trying to watch calories but end up not having enough (and not properly balanced) so I’d still be hungry 10 minutes later, eat more, 20 minutes later eat some more, etc… until I’d just eaten way more than I should have.

    I do a lot of mindless eating too though. I’ll reach into a bag while sorting through paper or thinking about what I should do… *munch munch* I eat the best at work because I pack it all for me and I never allow myself to buy anything at the vending machines!
    Ali @ Peaches and Football recently posted..Recipe: Key Lime Cheesecake

    1. I think I did both. I was the binge eater and the grazer. Hence, I never really knew what real hunger sensations were. When I made the drastic change to my diet to lose weight, it was quite a shock to see how little food I could eat for 2,000 calories a day! But like with anything, I got used to it and now it’s hard for me to overeat.

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