Saturday, March 5, 2011

I Like It Better

My mind has changed. My body has changed.

I need to admit I like it better. I had a sort of light bulb moment yesterday, as I was mulling over *why* it seems that I no longer derive the same satisfaction and pleasure out of eating junky foods as I used to. Or even eating large quantities of something... anything. I used to get so much physical and emotional pleasure from a binge. It was exciting. It felt great! I'd go buy a ton of junk food, eat til it was gone and I was completely stuffed, and even though there was a vague *discomfort* from being that full, I never got sick and I sort of enjoyed the feeling. And as soon as I started to NOT feel stuffed, that was my cue to eat again. And that was my normal. And I got a lot of pleasure from it in some warped way, even though I didn't like the acid reflux and heartburn and all the negatives that came with it.

Now, when I have one of those days where I "sort of" try to re-create that whole pleasure/food scenario, it just doesn't work. Don't ask my why on earth I'd *ever* want to re-create that, but part of me has wanted that pleasure trip back once in awhile. I am physically unable to eat the amounts that I used to, and actually I am so much more *aware* of my intake that I can't even mentally go there with a binge anymore. It just feels wrong now. But when I do let myself "indulge" such as I have several times while I've been sick, it's just not fun anymore. I buy a cookie and a latte, but it's just not that good anymore. And I feel kind of icky after I eat it. I buy a sub and some chips, and I eat half of it but it just doesn't give me the pleasure eating used to give. I don't really get that high or the escape I used to get. I just end up taking a couple bites, and thinking, "this sucks. It's not as good as I thought it would be, and I am full enough already." And when I do eat a *little* more than I should, my stomach lets me know. I don't *like* feeling stuffed anymore. It's actually disturbing to me, rather than comforting. And as hard as this might be to understand, it's taken some time for me to get used to this and accept it.

It's a mindset change driven by the physical reactions I now have to eating certain things.

Past: Obsess a lot, get very excited, plan the binge, buy a ton of junk in a wide variety, seclude myself, feel triumphant, savor my secret 'sinful' behavior, indulge in every possible bit, become stuffed, savor and find comfort in the sensation of stuffed discomfort.

Now: Think I "miss" the binges, decide to allow myself something off plan, get a little bit excited, buy one or two things I wouldn't usually eat, feel sort of lame about it, eat part of it, immediately realize it is not as good as I thought it would be, feel kinda bummed out, eat a few more bites to see if it gets any better, think "this sucks," put the rest away or throw it out, feel 'overfull', feel icky and unpleasant and can't wait for the overfull feeling to go away.

This has happened to me enough times now that I can finally admit it. I like it better to NOT binge. I like it better to NOT indulge, eat junk, feel stuffed. And while that IS a positive thing, it is also a hard thing. A big part of my *identity* over the past 10-15 years has been "A Binge Eater." Or "An Out Of Control Food Addict." And maybe part of me was trying to hang onto that, to still *be* that. Because otherwise, who am I? I don't like change. Change is hard. Especially changing your beliefs about yourself and your identity. But I get it, now. Maybe this illness wasn't such a horrible thing after all, if I learned something so significant from it. I learned that I'm not a binge eater anymore. I don't love food that much. I don't need it, except to nourish me. I don't really care about binges or indulging anymore. I used to sort of 'like' the out of control nature of a binge; now, I never really feel out of control, and I don't think I'd like it anyway.

Suddenly it feels like the binge switch has flipped off. Permanently. Because I have a whole new concept of who I really am, and food is finally taking the backseat in my life that it deserves.


LN said...

I really love this! Congratulations, I think this is a very special moment and deserves even more respect.

Christina said...

Amazing insight! Thank you for sharing, Lyn. In some ways I can really relate to what you've said.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you are not attracted to *overeating* because you have not been restricting very much.

After all, your weight is up a bit, in terms of ACTUAL kcalories consumed, compared to your lowest weight in the last few months. You don't weigh 175 now, right? So, realistically, how many extra calories were required for the gain? If a 10 lb increase, then maybe as much as 3500 x 10 = 35,000? Spread out over many weeks it doesn't seem like much at all, but the regain happens anyway.

Sigh. I know. Not a thrilling thought but possibly factual nevertheless.

Binge eating disorder is driven by restricting, in my understanding, and therefore it may only begin to seem more appealing, periodically, when one begins to severely restrict calories, again...enough to create a deficit. I dunno. It makes perfect sense that you aren't attracted to bingeing when you are not actively losing weight.

It may even make a good case for maintaining. At least for awhile. But you'll find your answers one way or another.

It will be interesting to see if the desire to binge has been sublimated into the practice of chronically overeating, just a bit, so...on a much lesser basis than with bingeing. That's what happened to me.

I was *cured* of binge eating. Completely. YAY.

The cure unfortunately took the form of overeating just a bit each day.

Five hundred calories extra a day are all that are necessary to gain 52 lbs in a year, etc. Throw in an occasional extra indulgence now and then and that turns into 60 lbs...then add a few more see where I'm going.

It's wild when you realize what is happening because it doesn't really *seem* like overeating, at all, especially in comparision to one's former days of bingeing. In fact it seems like *normal* eating, or even undereating, because one is consuming much less than what one's small children regularly consume (and they are so much smaller than you!), and much less than many people (who have never been obese and yo-yo dieted) regularly consume.

It can begin to feel *unfair*.

Something to watch out for, that's all.

If your concern is about losing more weight and maintaining weight loss, then you may have to shift your attention significantly beyond the binge eating phenomenon, which drove much of your weight gain--in spite of your phenomenal success in that arena--and examine much more carefully the nitty gritty realities of eating consistency (in terms of not eating amounts that result in repeated small weight gains over time.)

Best wishes for continued success.


Anonymous said...

OK. I'm embarrassed to say this AGAIN, but I could have written this post. It's starting to get weird. But, really, except for the paragraph towards the end re: identity, I have been thinking the exact same thing.

First, you described the whole binge scenario so well in both the past and present context. Just on the mark as far as what i have/am experienceing.

I have definitely come to the "this isn't working for me anymore" place--and have come to it with a great deal of shock. Surprise is too mild a word.

For the past two weeks, as the thoughts you exprssed were going thru my own head, I've thought, "Really? Surely not."

But it is.

What I am struggling with is the concept of, "But this is the way I cope. This (binging) is what works for me." Only, it doesn't anymore. Really? huh.

Great post for me to read right now. I need to find other ways to cope--since my chosen method isn't working. Ah, yeah. Prretty quick, arent' I? chuckle. groan.


journeytobehealthy said...

As Deb mentioned, I could have written this post! Your description of the binge process (below) is absolutely perfect. It is so comforting to know that I am not alone.

"Obsess a lot, get very excited, plan the binge, buy a ton of junk in a wide variety, seclude myself, feel triumphant, savor my secret 'sinful' behavior, indulge in every possible bit, become stuffed, savor and find comfort in the sensation of stuffed discomfort."

Lisa said...


Hanlie said...

I kept nodding through this post... For some reason I've reached the same point. It's awesome!

Lyn said...

Anonymous (Robin)~

Very good insights. And yes, for sure I have been indulging more while I was sick, but the thing is, it doesn't seem to *do* anything for me anymore. Even a year ago, I was still getting a lot of pleasure from any binge or indulgence. Heck, I think even four or five months ago there were several weeks when I was "off plan" and indulging too much, but loved it. LOVED it, enjoyed it. Suddenly it seems I am not loving it anymore.

I never, ever thought I could be done with binge eating, but maybe I am... maybe I can. Overeating? Yeah, that can be an issue, like you said. Something I will have to pay attention to for sure, since *before* I was a binge eater, I gained some weight just by *over* eating.

There sure is a lot to learn, about ourselves, our bodies, and how to be healthy.

Beth Ann said...

Great post! What an amazing discovery.

❦ me said...

As you know, I had a binge last night. I didn't have anything super awful and "bad" for me because I don't keep stuff like that in the house anymore.
I didn't go out of the house to get the supplies for a binge so I guess that's a step in the right direction and I did count the calories of what I ate.
It wasn't as pleasurable as past binges for me either.
What's changing now is that I don't let these binges stop me from getting up the next day to start fresh. I used to binge almost weekly, never recorded the calories, never admitted to most of them and they'd inevitably derail my weight loss efforts and I'd quit.
I know the mistake I made ... I brought peanut butter in to the house ... a very small jar of the organic stuff. I'm going to have to throw it out. I'm not ready to have it back in my life.

I'm so happy that you're making great strides towards whole health and well being, Lyn!

Colleen said...

The "binge switch" is a funny thing. Mine flipped off a while ago when the "food coma" feeling was no longer comforting but instead just uncomfortable and shameful. I KNOW that binging pretty much never feels good. Having one serving of a really tasty dessert? Yes, I enjoy that. Having 2 or 3 ruins it.

But I still do it sometimes. Almost reflexively, like a junkie chasing an old high they know they can never re experience. No matter how much, intellectually, I know overeating is dumb and makes me feel bad...I still do it sometimes. It's just easier to stop before it becomes a week long thing.

Shannon said...

Sounds ridiculous, but I thought I was the only one. You hit the nail right on the head. I plan what I'm going to eat next while I'm still eating. At work when I'm trying to kill time I'll think about what snacks I can eat once my son goes to bed. Some junk food along with a couple of rag mags is pure pleasure.

Pretty Pauline said...

This is so encouraging to me with all my just starting out fears about what *might* happen down the road. THANK YOU! and GO GIRL!

Anonymous said...

This is an amazing post because I could have written it too. Last night I had a planned off plan day. I went to the bakery and got a glazed donut and a container of chocolate pudding and cream. All I could do was look forward to eating that when I got home. I felt my mood immediately go up,and I hadn't even ate the food yet. When we got home I was telling my husband to go on to bed. I couldn't wait for him to go so I could sit down with my food and watch my show. I know I'm addicted to food and it affects my mood before I even eat it. :(

Beyond Willpower said...

love your blog hon, in case you don't see it I gave you this award:

Kari said...

Way to conquer your old behaviors! I can't wait until I feel the same way. To not be 'seduced' by food would be awesome.