A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Thoughts on binge eating . . .

on February 3, 2016

Today, I’ve got binge eating on the mind. The last few days I’ve definitely been feeling the urge and while I’ve been able to pull myself back from tipping over the edge, it is a reminder that this urge may never go away. Katie over at RunsforCookies has been doing a great series on binge eating (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3a, Part 3b, Part 4) that I’d definitely recommend you check out for another perspective on all of this. I particularly like the first post, which goes into the difference between binge eating disorder and the kind of overeating that people sometime refer to as a “binge.” There is no “one best” way to deal with binge eating, but I think it is important to talk about our experiences because the more we get our disordered eating out in the open, the easier it may be for someone else to reach out for the help they need.

A big thing for me, and mentioned by Katie as well, is knowing what your triggers are, whether they are emotional or food. For Katie, food didn’t seem to be much of a trigger but it definitely can be for me and I’ve been pondering why that might be different. I think for me, there are certain foods that I’ve binged on in the past, like bread and Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk. Because I still have that sense of shame tied to those foods from the binge episodes, even a taste of them takes me right back to that disgusted, hiding in the closet, why can’t I stop this, I know I should stop this, I feel sick place. Because those tastes are tied to those memories, just a whiff takes me to a bad emotional place. Thankfully, I only really have that bread experience with good bread (especially toast or a bread basket in a restaurant), so I can control it by only keeping the light bread around in the house. That stuff isn’t good enough to bring up those old memories.

My other big trigger, and the thing that has me close to the edge now, is the whole overachiever, impostor syndrome thing. This has been my problem since I was in junior high. I’m smart and have always been academically successful. The pressure to achieve more and more and more, coupled with a terror of failure because so  much of my self image was tied to that achievement, drove me to hide under the stairs or in the bathroom with a loaf of white bread more times that I care to admit. Last week, I got offered an unexpected opportunity at my job that is undoubtedly good for my career, should I be successful. It would put me on a whole new playing field. Yes, it is adding 20% FTE without giving anything up in my schedule, but I can make it work if I work hard and this opportunity may not come again. The pressure and the sense from everyone I work with that “of course Jessica is the best person for this” and “of course you can do this” is making me feel like I’m holding on by my fingernails. It should be flattering, I know, but the smart kid in me wants to run and hide with my squishy loaf of bread.

Because I know this is my big trigger, I’ve been able to be a little proactive about managing it and I think I’ll be fine binge wise. I’m talking to Darrell a lot. I haven’t said yes to the opportunity yet to give my introverted, want to think it through brain time to adjust. I’ve started looking harshly at my day to figure out where I can find the time to keep this all moving without affecting my family life.

I’ve also loosened up on my food a bit. I know this might seem counter intuitive, but when I’m feeling binge-y (is that a word?) restricting myself, even without the fairly liberal confines of Weight Watchers, can backfire. I’m making good choices for the most part, but trying to honor the little wants so that I can stay out of the dark, safe, food filled space that is my pantry.  I’ve also stocked up on my healthy favorites because if I can’t resist the urge to stuff myself until I feel sick, at least it should be on something healthy like fruits and veggies. I’ve definitely caught myself more than once getting into that can’t stop stuffing it in cycle with fruits and veggies just like I used to with unhealthier things. It is the lesser of two evils, but even that I try to head off when I can.
Today, I’m feeling a little more even keeled. I’ve made a decision to take on the new work responsibility and am making a plan to make it work. I’m re-evaluating everything else on my plate to see what I enjoy, what is good for me, what is good for my family and what is good for my contribution to the world and making plans to get rid of the things that don’t fit that mold. I’m also working through some strategies to make the most of my time, especially at work, so I can fit this new stuff in within going nuts. Just having made the decision and moving forward with the doing really helps with the binge urge. I could fail, of course, and that terrifies me, but I know the people around me are right. I am the best person for this and I can do it. I just need to quiet that impostor voice with something other than food and red wine. 🙂
Because this is a picture light post, I have to share my little tragedy that started my world today:
 Much sadness!
I broke my Epcot “You are here” Starbucks mug. 😦 I got all four parks on our last vacation and now my set is disrupted. Instead of being sad that my Epcot mug is broken, I’m going to look at this as a sign that I should run the marathon so I can go pick up a new mug next January in Walt Disney World. Good logic right?
Do you feel a sense of relief when you’ve made a decision and move forward? Or does it make it worse once you’ve actually committed to change?

4 responses to “Thoughts on binge eating . . .

  1. I’ve also got emotions tied to specific foods, and I just don’t buy/eat them because they take me straight to a negative space.

    I feel a lot better when I’ve committed to change. I think sometimes I rush certain decisions because I’m ready to move past the anxiety associated with making the decision. That can be a good or bad thing, depending on the situation 😉 For example, when Marc and I were thinking about teaching English in Korea–I heard about it, researched it, and by the next day we were applying for jobs!

  2. Anna says:

    I think Katie has a bunch of us thinking with her series. It is awesome that you are able to recognize the “danger zone” and you have taken excellent proactive steps. It is both exciting and a little terrifying to take on new responsibilities. So proud of you for stepping out there 🙂

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