I’m a binge eater.
I have been binge eating for a long time, but lately I have been out of control. I am scared because I feel like even though I know I have a problem and I truly want to change it, I’m still not doing anything about it.
I remember last time I visited my grandma in Florida she spent the whole time making veiled comments about my weight. She never came out and said, “Lisa, you need to lose weight.” No, that would be rude, according to her. Instead, she made sure to point out other people who were overweight and talk about how dangerous it was that they were unhealthy. She also made it a point to leave early from the beach so that we would be home in time to watch The Biggest Loser. While we were watching, she kept talking about how she couldn’t believe “those people” let themselves get like that and how easy it is to lose weight if you just decide that you really want to do it.
She put on a big show of counting Weight Watchers points while I was there, too. She has never been overweight a day in her life. She probably weighs 110 pounds and wears a Size 2, but she has been doing Weight Watchers and counting her points for as long as I can remember to maintain her weight. While I was there, she made sure I saw her writing down her points every day, each time commenting how easy it was to stay within her points.
She doesn’t understand binge eating. She doesn’t understand I don’t have the same relationship with food she does. The relationship I have with food is akin to the relationship that a drug addict has with drugs or an alcoholic has with whiskey. I love it when I’m doing it, but I hate myself at the same time. I hate how it makes me feel and I know it’s killing me, but that doesn’t change anything. Apparently, that’s not enough to make me stop.
For the past several weeks I’ve been in a cycle. Every day I binge eat thinking to myself that I’m just enjoying my last day of “freedom” before I start eating healthy. Then the next morning I wake up feeling like crap. The night before I had planned to work out first thing in the morning, but I feel terrible from last night’s binge. I didn’t sleep well because all the junk I ate the night before gave me terrible acid reflux, which left me tossing and turning and ultimately propped up by three pillows in a super uncomfortable position just to control the burning in my chest enough to let me sleep a couple hours. The last thing I want to do is eat breakfast. Just the thought of it makes me feel sick. So I skip breakfast, but I fully intend to eat healthy when I do eat my first meal of the day.
I work from home, so I sit down at my computer and get to work. Before I know it, it’s 2:00 or 3:00 and I haven’t eaten anything. My stomach still feels sour and I still have heartburn, but now I’m actually getting hungry. I check the fridge and realize that everything I have that is healthy is going to take some time to prepare. Well, I’ve already been working all day and I don’t feel good and now I’m really hungry. When I get hungry, that’s when I start rationalizing why another binge would be okay.
The conversation I have with myself goes something like this:
“I’m hungry. The Mexican food place sounds so good right now.”
“You can’t eat that. It’s terrible for you.”
“Well, I’ll just check the calories and stay within my calories so it won’t be that bad. Actually, since I’m ordering from the restaurant, I might as well just get everything I want to satisfy my craving and then just start being healthy tomorrow. I’ll just run by the store before getting my food and grab something healthy for tomorrow.”
“ Since I’m going to be healthy starting tomorrow, I might as well get some “good stuff” while I’m already at the store.”
“Since I’m getting “good stuff,” I don’t want to just have a little bit. I’m not going to eat it again for a long time anyway, so I might as well stuff myself with it. How about a 6-pack of cupcakes and a bag of Oreos?”
“Yeah, that sounds good.”
So I go home with my haul feeling excited about the feast I’m about to indulge in. After eating as much as I can possibly eat, I start feeling horrible again. I vow to start over tomorrow and change everything. Then the cycle starts again the next morning.
I realize I need help. I need to try some things I haven’t tried before because what I’ve been doing obviously hasn’t been working. I bought a couple of books about binge eating and have done some internet research. Over the next week or so, I’m going to try to formulate a new strategy for changing my health. It’s not about being skinny for me anymore. It’s about my health. I truly am scared at the state I’m in right now.
I’m hitting the reset button. I can’t think back on how many times I’ve tried to get healthy in the past. I can’t think about the failures. All of that is in the past. I can’t change what’s already happened. I can make the right decisions from now on, though.
My focus for this week is just to not let myself get too hungry. This process is going to take a lot of baby steps, so I’m not going to do anything extreme. I just need to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day instead of waiting until the afternoon and then going crazy with food. That seems doable, right? Oh, and no more starting tomorrow. This starts now.