As I mentioned last week, I turned sixty on the first of this month and that led to a great deal of introspection. Ugh! Frankly, I’d rather just stumble along without too much thought about past screw ups and future danger zones, but at least a couple of times a year it’s probably wise to look a little closer at where I’m at emotionally. I’ve struggled with binge eating disorder my whole life and, while I’m in a good place right now, I always have an underlying fear of flare ups and falling down that rabbit hole of self-loathing and shame.
I think most people would enjoy a piece of cake on their birthday without a second thought, but I’m just not wired that way. I decided to take myself out to lunch on my birthday on the spur of the moment. I’ve been trying to focus on planning meals ahead and making sensible choices, because quick, snap decisions to eat in a different way have been a sign of trouble in the past. I reasoned with myself that I could have a special lunch at a place I enjoy and I didn’t want to invite someone to come along at the last minute. I would order a healthy salad and a birthday “treat” and eat them at a table at the restaurant. All of that seems perfectly normal, right?
Over the years I’ve identified what I think of as binge behavior:
- Eating by myself so I can choose whatever I like without fear of judgement from a companion
- Eating in the car
- Spiraling thoughts about one particular food which is usually high fat and/or high sugar
- Only enjoying the first couple of bites but continuing to eat until I’m uncomfortable
- Shame after eating
- Throwing away any uneaten food
I have no idea what triggers this behavior and worse I have no idea how to stop the cycle when it starts. Through different periods of my life I’ve eaten this way for months at a time, feeling instant shame after a binge and vowing to stop the next day. All to wake up, make it a couple of hours and then binge again. It’s led to huge weight gain and self-loathing. Then suddenly, one day I wake up and make it through the day without a binge and gradually, slowly coming to feel “normal” and in control.
A Birthday Treat
All this to say, I ate a large cupcake on my birthday, in a restaurant, alone, and it was fine. I tasted great. It was, perhaps, more than I should have had, but absolutely fine. I weighed in this morning at 187.4, a tiny loss of .3 lb. This weeks plan looks a lot like last week’s. I’m going to plan my meals and keep up the exercise.