Sunday, October 25, 2009


Yesterday, I had an "episode." A blip, I've decided to call it. It was somewhat reminiscent of what used to be a binge, with a definite emotional trigger and some out-of-control feelings surfacing. Coming from someone who used to binge weekly, if not more often, to the tune of 5,000-10,000 calories at a shot, this was quite a miniature "binge." But I need to address it just the same.

It has been over a month now since I had ANY kind of binge, blip, or out-of-control emotion associated with eating. That's very exciting to me. It feels great to have a grip on what used to be something way, way bigger than myself. But what happened yesterday, it gave me pause. It reminded me that I am not invincible. I am not "cured." I have to really watch it.

Part of my recovery efforts has been to examine my triggers and emotions when my eating goes awry, and this time it was not too difficult to pinpoint the moment of flip-out-age and uncover the underlying emotions that led me to use food as a band-aid. I was having a GREAT day, eating healthy, taking my kids around to their various events. I took my daughter to a pumpkin patch for a couple of hours and had a wonderful time walking around, climbing hay bales, going on a hay ride, enjoying the petting zoo. We'd been out all day and the kids had begged for fast food at lunchtime, but I have sworn off that poison, so we stopped and got some food at the grocery store. I had two baked chicken thighs, a small container of light broccoli salad, and half a fresh pear with a bottle of water. I made it very low-carb because I planned to have a little treat at the pumpkin patch, which I did: honey cashew ice cream. I got the tiny dish, enjoyed about half, and threw the rest away. It fit into my calorie budget fine and, contrary to what some sugar-abstinents might think, was *not* the trigger to my blip. I had no, absolutely no cravings or insanity at any point all month when having an *occasional* sweet treat. You'll have to just trust me on this one.

So we came home. I had a healthy dinner planned. I felt great! Everything was wonderful. Then I got a phone call from someone who said something that really was innocuous and not hurtful but when I got off the phone, I flipped. I felt like crying. I wanted to run and order a pizza and shove the whole thing down my throat. It was a very powerful, distinct, horrible feeling of near-panic. I had tears in my eyes, I was pacing the house, I was really upset and could NOT figure out why. My son had just made a frozen pizza and there was some on the stove. I ran in there and cut half a piece and ate it. I went out of the kitchen. I wanted a WHOLE pizza. I wanted the zombie feeling of just INHALING an insane amount of food. Instead, I sat down and wrote an email to a friend. While I was writing, it suddenly DAWNED on my exactly why I was upset. It had to do with my past, my relationship with my mother, and my deep-seated feelings of abandonment because of the way she treated me before her death. In many ways I felt like a little kid screaming, "Why can't you just love me? Why?" And I was trying to stuff those intense feelings down with food.

Knowing that didn't stop the feelings, though, and before an hour had passed I ate the other half of that piece of pizza. I ate 3 crumbled potato chips I found lying in the bottom of a small bag one of my kids had eaten a week ago and left lying around. I was acutely aware of my desperation as I dug those 3 chips out of there, ate them, and threw the bag away. Brownie batter flitted through my mind. I said, "ABSOLUTELY NOT!!" I don't have any sugar here anyway. I knew if I had ANY "bad" food in the house I would have eaten it, as evidenced by those chip crumbs, so I am glad there was nothing. I wanted to keep eating and I made a small plate of Triscuit crackers and melted 2 ounces of cheddar on them. After I ate that, I felt better, but I wanted to keep eating. I had a granola bar and a cup of tea and told myself, "THAT IS IT, you are stopping now and adding up ALL those calories." And I did. I ended up eating 2400 calories yesterday which is 700 over my goal range. I sat down afterwards, thought about the feelings, and made a plan for today so that one blip doesn't turn into a downhill slide backwards.

My friend reminded me that I was already battling some fear and uncertainty recently over stuff the estranged spouse is doing/saying. True, I've been stressed about that. Maybe the phone call yesterday just put me over the edge in the coping department.

So that's the blip, it did not derail me. My mindset has not gone back to the way it was before. I woke up (with very, very little sleep because of a crazy, malfunctioning, hard-wired smoke alarm last night that refused to stop alarming until 4am) and I feel just as committed and positive about my healthy eating as I have all month. I have a plan, I am going to cut back to 1200-1300 calories today and fit in a bike ride or a good, LONG walk. I am making a pot of collard greens today and very much looking forward to it!

I've been served notice by my own body that my stress level needs to be lowered, so I will...
get more sleep
talk to friends about my feelings
exercise de-stress.

Scale is up 2 pounds this morning from yesterday, which I interpret as 1 pound of food still in my body from last night, and 1 pound of water bloat from all the sodium. It'll drop off shortly.



Susannah said...

Lyn, you did an awesome job of keeping the blip from becoming a binge. Kudos to you!! And, (I think this is really important!) you kept connected with yourself and aware of your desires during the blip. No giving in to zoning out. Wow, really really impressive progress!

Diana said...

I'm glad you were able to pinpoint exactly why you felt the way you did and that you didn't have more crappy food in the house (that helps a lot, doesn't it?).

That's the right attitude. It happened, try to see why it happened, understand it. Go to sleep, wake up the next day and start the healthy journey again. Good for you Lyn.

Scott Mullins said...

Lyn, that is terrific how you realized what set you off. I too am an emotional eater, and I usually don't realize what happened until I have consumed several thousand calories. Part of my recovery is working with a therapist to develop strategies for this behavior. I am glad to say that you seem to be doing real well. Keep it up, I will be praying for you!


Tony the Pink Panda said...

Good job not going on a McDonald's run after you got that phone call. This is progress. Like you said, you won't ever be absolutely perfect, but you don't need to be absolutely perfect to reach the top of the mountain.

Anonymous said...

For the long haul, it's about balance. Bit by bit, you'll get control over the blips, but it won't happen overnight. You fought it, you didn't go totally off, you didn't zone out. And today, you are balancing out by staying lower on the carb/calorie scale.

Sounds like a victory to me.

Christina said...

Like others have said - you handled it well. You acknowledged it and moved on.

Steelers6 said...

I love that it was only a "blip" and I like the name you've dubbed it. For me the wording can actually matter, such as 'lifestyle vs diet', um, can't think of anymore right now, but blip instead of being too harsh with yourself is good! SO glad u view it as such, instead of treating it as a failure. It was not. And I can't help but notice how conscious you were through most of it. ! Another great progression..[I think of your words 'sugar coma' at various times in my life.]

So great you are even writing all this down as you progress, bc this IS progress! I think some of us hold our breath as we read to see where Lyn ends up ... and this was a sigh of relief. You can re-read and SEE that you are learning and making changes. Yay! I mean--a biggie---not having the junk even IN the house, girl!! That saved you a LOT of calories! A great first step! It wasn't even 'hiding', or 'there for the boys', or the trick or treaters..what a great step!!

Also, trying to evaluate your emotions is good too. I think you have opened my eyes to do so in my own life. Thanks, friend, once again for sharing. Who knew you would be helping others as you grow & help yourself.
Many blessings to you.

Angela said...

You are a really strong person. I hope you know how inspiring you are.

Shhh said...

I've watched your struggle, your successes and your self discovery for almost a year now.

Not that you need my validation, but a "blip" seems to be exactly what this was.

You continue to inspire me, by simply recording on your blog your realness. And reminding me that I'm not alone on this journey through life.

Greta said...

You handled that well and I appreciate you taking the time to record your entire thought process. You seem to be in control of things, even though it might have seemed like you were not yesterday. You WERE. If you were would have been another 5000 cal binge. Good job of using logic and reason and getting to the heart of it...and sharing that with the rest of us.

Seren_Sighs said...

It's amazing how food can become our drug. I think it's something that's very hard to convey to those who don't binge, that desperation and craziness as we shove food into our mouths. Before I started to figure out why I binged I had no idea the emotional connection with it and how complex the whole thing was. It's impressive what our subconscious will do to try to protect and nourish us when we're upset.

You did a great job getting over it and addressing your feelings! And, while a small binge might have set most people into a downward spiral, I know you'll stay on track. It's inspiring.

Good luck!

Sarabei said...

Good for you for recognizing that one blip does not ruin your entire healthy eating outlook. Sometimes that is really hard to do. Way to get right back at it today.

Vickie said...

Obviously - congrats on keeping your food reaction down. I am also someone that just has to say 'shut up' or 'stop' or 'not happening' to myself. I loved that you hit your line in the sand and stood firm.

Not saying this is true of this circumstance - because maybe the call really was upsetting you deep down - but I wonder sometimes if we (all) actually get upset about the minor things because they are 'safer'.

And even though they are 'safer' - once that door gets opened - even a little bit - a whole host of emotions just come rolling out.

It would explain a lot for many of us - about how we suddenly get so upset or so down on ourselves or so woebegone - it is like the flip of a switch sometimes. And I agree that sometimes it is SO HARD to tell what actually happened.

And I suppose for all of us - when we have a food response - then we focus on that. Retracing the steps BEFORE is hard.

I think that it is wonderful that you were able to pinpoint yours to specific past feelings/events. And to write it out so well. I think that when you write - even though we all tag along - you are REALLY hearing yourself. And I think that is a empowering gift.

Jenny said...

Oh wow, I really needed to read this today! Fantastic job on handling the "blip." I had a similar episode this morning and (barely) managed to get it under control. Thank you so much for sharing this.

What a Splurge said...

The bravest part was getting on the scale so soon after. I would have avoided the scale but you're right to see it for what it is ... a temporary bloat. Just a blip bloat.

Nicole said...

you can do it, keep up the weight loss. you are not alone in this journey. you are an inspiration.

Val said...

You are so self-aware! I think that is a component that is sorely missing from my weight-loss journey. I don't work hard enough to figure out why I am doing these behaviors, so they reoccur. Thank you for sharing this post-it's really making me think.
Hope you have a better day today, and enjoy those greens! ;)

Chupsie said...

I have to say that was a healthy and concious blip that was controled and progressive! Progressive, cause altough you felt uncontrollable you were in control. Limiting what is in the house ment your blip was 700 cal. it would have been the same amount if you let your kids talk you into fast food for lunch! You did an excelent job today. I know that tomorrow you will conqure your day with style!

Derek said...

Lyn, I am so impressed with your self-awareness of this "blip", and I love that you call it a "blip".

It's so important to evaluate what
went wrong and make some connection with it, so you can resolve it. It certainly seems like you did.

A "blip" has the danger of becoming something much bigger and much more destructive. It takes substantial effort to keep on top of these things.

carla said...

BIG BIG BIG STEP LYN in making it a blip and not the entire radar screen!!!


It was a very powerful, distinct, horrible feeling of near-panic.

is a toughtough emotion not to let derail you (one? ME?) for days.


Betsey C. said...

Great job, Lyn! I am so proud of you for refusing fast food. That could not have been easy with your kids clamoring for it.

To your comment on sugar possibly causing your mini-binge, I don't believe that, but I know some people avoid sugar at all costs.

I remember going to OA meetings that were held in a meeting room at a hospital. There was a coffee service tray at the back of the room that had containers of creamer and packets of sugar on it. Once during a meeting a woman complained that there were sugar packets on the cart, and wanted them removed!

I guess some folks are reeeeeally sensitive to sugar!

Lynne said...

Another test that you have past with flying colors!!! Recognizing what sets you off and controling it. Sure you ate things you didn't plan, but you were able to keep it together enough to know NOT to call Dominos!

It's amazing how seemingly little things - a look, a comment, can set things rolling. It's amazing how we react unconciously with food. Keep strong, and do what you are doing to PLAN your day, DESTRESS your life and SLEEP well!

I know you are going to come through this as a STRONG woman and a great example of humanity to your children!!!

THanks for being honest - It helps me a lot to see some things I already know about myself through you....

Yum Yucky said...

It's great that you're listening to the stress warning from your body. Most do not.

Oh, and I'll need a plate of those collards when they're done. mmmK?

Julie - Not in Oz Anymore said...


Awesome Job! A few years back I had the good fortunate of having pen in hand while going through a binge. It has helped me see those things coming on. As you, most of mine trigger some feeling from childhood. I have learned to deal with those issues in a whimsical way. Check out my blog and see if it might help.

Here's to the journey and new lifestyles

Anonymous said...

First of all, I think you're amazing.

Second of all, I wanted to let you know about one of my favorite quick dinners - refried bean quesadillas. Get a pack of six-inch tortillas, any kind you want. In a big bowl, mix together a can of refried beans, a handful of cheddar or Mexican cheese, and a whole bunch of veggies. (I usually use corn and green chiles, sometimes more, depending on what's around.)

Smear the refried bean mixture onto half of a tortilla and fold it in half. Put it in a skillet (no spray/butter/oil needed) and let it brown a bit, then flip it over. It will get all melty and creamy with the beans and, depending on the veggies, will keep some degree of its crunch. I could eat these all the time...