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.