Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Rant About Eating

Having an eating disorder is a pain in the behind. It's taken me a long time to recognise that yes, I have an eating disorder. I binge, sometimes, so severely that I hurt myself. Is it all that different from the girls in high school that my son tells me about... the girls who cut themselves? Why do they do it? I dunno, I speculate that cutting takes away some of the emotional pain they are dealing with and gives them a new, tangible pain to focus on instead. Or it gives them a sensation of *being.* As one girl told my son, "I feel alive when I cut." So whether the self-injury is to bring feeling to a numb life, or to distract emotional focus from other pain, it's basically hurting ones' self for some psychological reason. Some girls find it comforting. Sometimes I find food comforting, but maybe what makes my eating abnormal is the fact that sometimes it is *not* comforting... it is unpleasant, and I do it anyway.

But eating disorder or not, there's no excuse for me to keep overeating. I know enough to stop. I am strong enough to stop (I think) when I have come off the crazy sugar/carb addiction for a few days (and I have). I was spiraling into binge craziness and gaining weight FAST but I was able to put the brakes on by doing a couple of simple things: focusing on getting enough water, cutting WAY back on fast food, coffee, sugary snacks, chips, and general junk food, and trying to move more. Over the past 3 weeks I have stopped the binges, for the most part, and have been eating fairly healthy foods in moderate amounts. The weight gain stopped. My head feels clear again. I don't feel out of control anymore.

But I still like food. I still *want* to eat when I get it in front of me. However I do maintain some semblance of control.

Yesterday was a perfect example of the eating disorder sneaking in. I had a nice healthy breakfast of whole grain oatmeal with pumpkin and nuts and milk. I felt rather fluish, so I simmered up a nice big bowl of leftover veggie beef soup and added in a bunch of chopped zucchini. It was a warming, soothing, healthy lunch. Then it started.

For a couple months I have been fighting pantry moths in my kitchen (YUCK!!) They must have come in a package of pasta or something because we never had any BUGS in the house before, and suddenly my whole pasta/grain/bean cabinet was infested. I would open the cabinet and moths would fly out! I emptied the cabinets, scrubbed the shelves and thought I had it fixed, but 2 weeks ago moths started flying out again! So last weekend I took out EVERYTHING, scrubbed the cabinets, threw out the grains, got glass jars to store all beans and pasta and flours in, and got some moth traps. As a result, for 2 weeks all of my boxed and bagged goods have been sitting in the dining room waiting for the moths to be gone before I put them away. Well, I had a cake mix sitting there. Yeah I do not need a cake mix, ever, but I had one. And yesterday I walked past and saw that picture on the front of a yellow cake with chocolate frosting and I WANTED IT. I felt sick, I was stressed, I had just spent 3 HOURS working on overdue homework with my son. So I whipped up a yellow cake and some cupcakes. I had banished cocoa from my house (due to brownie and chocolate frosting binges), and also banished chocolate chips from my house (due to cookie dough issues), so all I had was a block of Belgian chocolate we have for fruit fondues. I chopped that baby up and made frosting out of it. Guess what, it was not very good. And the cupcakes tasted all chemically (because I am used to making cakes from scratch). I ate a cupcake thick with frosting. It was not good. I didn't even like it. But I ate another one. A little later I ate another, and another. I ate four of those lousy cupcakes and did not enjoy a single bite. THAT is my definition of an eating disorder. They were making me feel sicker, they were yucky, but I kept eating them anyway.

At dinnertime my teen brought a horde of friends over with this huge stuffed pizza and baked it in my oven. OMG. It smelled SO good. The kids were nice enough to cut my daughter a slice (she loves pizza) but then she only ate 3 bites. Guess who ate the rest?

Now I know that 4 cupcakes and a slice of pizza does not make a ruined day. I did not go nutso after that and eat more and more stuff (although I am still DYING to go to the pizza shop and buy myself one of those stuffed pizzas and eat until my stomach pops). I had my cup of tea and went to bed. Oh I did have one, 80-calorie bag of animal crackers with the tea. But I recognised that the cupcakes were yucky and not worth wasting calories on. That's progress.

So what did the 4 cupcakes and 1 slice of pizza get me? It got me a 2-pound gain on the scale this morning. After taking a WEEK of eating healthy and exercising to lose ONE pound, it took one evening to gain 2. Will it come back off? Yeah, but still. You understand if you've been there.

I don't want to be a statistic. I don't need a stupid pizza that will taste good but kill me in the end. I think to myself, "oh I really want more of that pizza. I can go buy one and then start over tomorrow and be really strict and get this weight off!" But the problem is I KEEP DOING THAT, and THAT is the kind of thinking and actions that has gotten me fat and is keeping me fat. I need to eat healthy foods. I need to count calories, because NOTHING ELSE HAS WORKED for me. When I count calories, I pay attention and moderate my eating. When I maintain control that way, I start to remember that what I really want is not a pizza; it's a partner who is my best friend, who appreciates me for who I am, who is interested in me as a person, who wants to accept my love and share a life together. I am not hungry; I am lonely. I need a hug, a hand to hold and someone to just sit and BE with. And no pizza is going to give me that.

18 comments:

Deb said...

I do the same thing sometimes...eat until I am sick or in pain. Your comparing it to cutting is interesting and something I need to ponder.

As always, thank you for your honesty.

PaulaM said...

Lyn, on the fat chick site I learned about a diet I had not heard of, The No S Diet. It is the most simple diet I have ever come across and I decided to try it. It's only been a few days but I tell you, already it has changed me. The premise is just like how we ate in the "olden days", three regular meals a day (one regular sized plate) and no snacks. No sugar. No seconds. You can have some of that on the weekends so you don't go crazy but the theory is since you're eating less during the week you won't overindulge. I've only been on it for four days, but I'm not kidding, twice I couldn't finish my meal! I highly recommend it to anybody who doesn't want to think about food day and night, planning and counting calories etc. It won't work quite as fast I imagine, but I think it's truly the way to lifelong eating. I felt a few grumbles of the stomach in the evenings but I just ignored them for a change. There's just something unnatural that we should obsess about food every waking moment, I know I never even thought about it when I was slim all those years. And I know I didn't HAVE to eat something every few hours. I'm praying to go back to that time. It's kind of freeing.

So glad to hear your daughter is doing ok.

kilax said...

I am sending you a bit virtual hug :)

I've had those binges where I keep eating something I don't even like. I eat to the point that I am physically ill.

Even though it is sad, it's good that you have figured out what you are really missing.

spunkysuzi said...

"Hugs" it took me many years to know i have an eating disorder or an unhealthy relationship with food! Whatever you call it, it's always on my mind even when i'm in the middle of a binge or i'm in the guilty phase after!!
At least you know what it is and your trying to do something about it. It is refreshing to read an honest post on this subject.

Alexia@theonelastthing.com said...

An exercise that helped me a lot was to develop a "nurturing voice" (which sounds totally touchy-feeling and not like me, so I almost didn't do it). It wasn't a 15-minute thing, but rather a process. I used to try to replace eating with self-nurturing things like baths, but something was missing. I wanted to be nurtured, not nurture myself. I never had that in my life. And I found a way to do that. And it's made a big difference in how I live and react. I can email more about how I did it for me, but it's a very individual thing -- I had to find my own way. But there were some "standard" exercises I did to start.

Hugs!

new*me said...

sending you a hug. It sounds like hubby isn't those things for you and for now you may need others like us to send you virtual hugs ;)

No cupcake is worth it.

Lauren said...

I hear you, even though rationally we KNOW that what we ate yesterday wasn't 7000 calories worth of gained fat, its still mighty sad when we look at that number, even know it's probably water. I wish there was some way to know...really know, how much I weigh in fat and muscle, without all that water and salt weight going on.

Heather said...

it does suck doesnt it? that we will always have to deal with this "disease". While we may be able to control it, it will always be there and we have to find ways to manage it the best we can and live with it. I know that you have the strength to do that - some days are easier than others, but you can do it.

Diana said...

Oh Lyn! I can totally relate to this post. That's exactly the kind of thing I do, binge on junk I don't even like.

You've taken a huge step in stopping before you got totally out of control. Congrats, because that's not easy.

Stephanie said...

thank you so much for always putting up an interesting and candid post! I'm a regular reader, so I've been wondering... any new developments on the talking-to-a-counselor front? Hope you have a happy monday!

Ceres said...

Ugh, I hear you... I look up to those people who can eat a small amount and stop before they feel like exploding. I have to constantly fight with myself to not have more food, even when I'm stuffed, whereas it comes so naturally to others...

I feel your frustration about gaining two pounds after one day of non-perfect eating... I am the same, and it's really frustrating to lose weight so slowly and then gain it all back in a few hours. Hang in there, it will come off, although it's frustrating right now.

And of course, you nailed it for me in the last paragraph. Sometimes, all we need is a hug, not a slice of pizza.

Memoria said...

I had to comment on this mainly because of the final part of your post. I know how it is to eat a pizza or indulge in sweets to replace feelings of loneliness. I feel that way too, even when I'm with someone. I hope you find someone soon. We all deserve someone special. Take care. I'll be thinking about you.

MizFit said...

you are SO wise and articulate and insightful and a woman I CAN NOT WAIT to meet :)

M.

Hanlie said...

I wrote about "attacking" myself today, because I think that an eating disorder is very similar to cutting oneself. This is such a difficult journey, but you DO have the courage and commitment to reach your goals! I'm cheering you on!

Dinah Soar said...

Lyn--I feel your pain and frustration. There will always be things in our life that we have no control over. Including having people in our life who meet our "needs". I've found over the years a great many, if not the majority, of women are lonely-- even those married to seemingly wonderful husbands. This loneliness we feel is just another fact of life we must accept. We can kick against the pricks, but all we'll get is sore feet.

It hurts to feel unloved and unwanted. But know this--God loves you--he created you and he wants you. So you are never totally alone, totally forsaken. He is right there beside you, behind the scenes making provisions for you that you can't even comprehend. Look to him for help and comfort and he will lift your up, cheering your heart and comforting your spirit.

Lynne said...

You sound pretty frustrated with yourself. I know a similar feeling... Don't let it eat you! Choose to get yourself together, plan, exercise, eat... DO WHAT YOU KNOW WORKS and remember POSITIVE SELF TALK every step of the way. You are so worth it!! Don't give in.... EVER!!

maggie said...

Yep, I've been in the same boat LOTS of times.

The other night I was eating a bowl of pasta at a restaurant. When I had eaten about 3/4 of it, I stopped and said to myself, "You're not hungry anymore! Do what the skinny girls do and STOP eating!"

So I sat there for three minutes of intense self-control...and then gobbled the rest of the pasta. It's rough. Keep trying - habits are hard to break, but once we do it, it will make us so much happier!

Amy Jo said...

I know how you are feeling. I once made brownies, but put only half of the sugar in them that they should have had! They were soooo bitter; but i still ate the whole 9x9 pan. Then I made curry to cover the brownie smell so my husband wouldn't know I had made them! It's hard; we just need to try to remember that the food won't make us happy; but being healthy will. Thanks for your honesty in your blogging; its refreshing, as well as reassuring. I definitely want to see you succeed and put your struggles behind you, but seeing that other people have the same struggles helps me to know I can dig my way out. You may have had some hard times recently, but you still sound like a completely different woman from when you started!