old habits

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?

Comfort in Sickness

When I was sick with that nasty cold the week before Thanksgiving, I went to the grocery store for three things: cold medicine to knock me out, a big jug of Odwalla orange juice and a carton of ice cream. I won’t lie. When I’m sick I immediately want comfort food. I want soup–tomato or chicken broth and noodles. I want carbs like bread. And I want ice cream. I told myself it was because I had a sore throat and the ice cream would feel good on my raw throat (true) but it was also just me reverting back to older times when I used food to feel better.

The good news was that I didn’t have much of an appetite while I was sick, and couldn’t really taste most of the food so I was within my calorie range each day. To be honest, I counted my calories but didn’t care about them too much. I was under 2000 and that was fine with me.  So while I did indulge in some ice cream, I didn’t go completely crazy.

I also took about 5 days off from the gym. It was a long time for me! I can’t remember the last time I took that much time off in a row. I found that laying around watching tv for a week with my box of kleenex, glass of orange juice and bottle of Nyquil made my body hurt. The lack of activity felt weird. Every time I got up and moved around I felt it in my joints and my muscles felt weak. It was not fun!

Thankfully I don’t get sick too often now. I usually get a cold in February or March and then October or November. So I was right on schedule. 🙂 When I lost my weight and got healthy, including a regular exercise program, the constant sicknesses that I had went away. I used to be sick all the time. I had at least one or two outbreaks of bronchitis a year on top of colds and general malaise. Losing weight and eating healthy most definitely improved my immune system!

I was too sick to care that I was picking up my old habit of using ice cream to make myself feel better. Once I felt better, I thought about what I did. Why was it so easy to revert back? Why are old habits so easy to pick back up? Laziness? I don’t know.

I also wanted to check in with all of you guys. Did you read my post: Nutritional Challenges and a Challenge? Did you take me up on my challenge? And if yes, how did it go?

So what about you? When you’re sick, do you give in to comfort foods to make yourself feel better?