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?

Bingeing

Bingeing

A Guest Post by Rachel

As a solid over-six-feet-tall woman, I can put away a serious amount of food. I always could. I currently reside inside a 50-lb overweight body.

My history with food is tumultuous, at best. I grew up in a small family, on welfare, and sometimes if you didn’t eat fast at dinner time one of your siblings would finish the instant mashed potatoes before you were full. Other days we would come home from school really hungry, and find bare cupboards.

Enter my adulthood, stage left, and I went to boot camp. Yes–real life boot camp, the screamy kind. In boot camp you have about 30 seconds per meal to get ⅓ of your daily calories down your gullet before there is a crazy, sweaty drill sergeant spit-yelling at you to get your puny butt off his damn chair. All of these things contributed to my scary emotional attachment to food later on. Now I find myself sometimes eating incredible amounts of fried, candied, wrapped-in-bacon food.

For a while I was purging my binges effectively, and even got down to a normal weight.  Granted, it was the low end of normal. But that kind of lifestyle is not sustainable. Beating the purging was a struggle, but I finally did it. However, since I didn’t seek professional help during the struggle I’m still binge eating. One of my biggest regrets is not seeking guidance early on.

Every single day is a battle for me. When I do badly on an exam at school I swing by the coffee shop for a cookie, and a croissant, and a bagel, to accompany my latte; even though I know they aren’t good for me. I’m an educated woman working in the health sciences, yet I engage in this harmful activity every day.

I found myself recently questioning the reasons for my binging, and asking why sometimes it’s easy for me to eat reasonable amounts of food and why sometimes it’s such a struggle. Because of this careful introspection, I have identified something in my life that needs to be changed. Very shortly I will be making drastic changes to my relationships that will dramatically alter my lifestyle, hopefully for the better.

All of this being said, I take stock of my triumphs nearly every day and am sure to celebrate my victories, however small. The hardest part for me is to stop a binge once it starts happening, but I find it helpful to move my body in some way. Sometimes I will go for a walk, or do some stretching in my living room, or even take a shower–anything to take myself physically out of the situation. One thing that I’m certain of is that shame and berating myself for a loss of control is not an effective way to feel better.

So here’s to today, and the next day, where even if I don’t eat perfectly I will still cherish
my body and be thankful for what an amazing job it does for me. I’ll try my hardest today to
honor that contribution by being nice to myself… while accepting that ice cream every day is not necessarily a “nice thing”. I encourage you to take inventory of your feelings. I hope you can honor your vessel, and have the courage to make those changes necessary to find peace in your heart.

 

BIO

Rachel is a full-time student and part-time counselor; full-time friend and ex wife. An addiction to dog-sitting led her to leave her husband and get a cat. Long story. She dabbles in blogging, crafting, baking, and other tedious tasks. Long baths and fresh air come strongly recommended in her world.