Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Coping with Binge Triggers

In my recent Screw-up Analysis post, I talked about how I looked back over the years and can see that the most likely times for me to go off plan and/or binge included "when I am sick or in pain." I should have added "when I am extremely stressed out."

I have a habit of eating for comfort and distraction, it's true. Food takes the edge off, relieves the tension, helps me forget the problems for awhile. It has been my coping mechanism for a very long time.

I am sick today, worse than yesterday. I am miserable. All I want to do is sleep. But instead, I had to go to the store, and then came home to find my senior dog covered in diarrhea. After that, another pressing issue came even further to light via a phone call. And then, my adult-but-immature son caused me extreme stress for about an hour and a half.

I cried. I stomped around angry. I did some laundry. I sat down and stared at the wall for a bit. I took medication. I went and laid on my bed with the door shut and stared at the ceiling, wishing the pain away. I thought about why things are the way they are and possible scenarios for outcomes. I cried some more. I went in the kitchen and washed and sliced 2 large packages of mushrooms and sauteed them for future use. I made an extra cup of coffee. I vented to a friend. I cried some more, thought some more, took some deep breaths. I came here and wrote.

Food doesn't solve anything. It doesn't take the sickness or the pain away, it doesn't make people behave the way I wish they would behave. It doesn't make me rich or pay the bills or clean up the dog's diarrhea or make all my problems magically disappear. It pretends to, but after you eat it, the mess is still there. The problems are still there, and you are worse off not having spent any time feeling the feelings, thinking things through or solving the issues. May as well grow up and deal with things rather than avoid them and self-medicate by eating.

I was planning to make a nice pot of soup today, but I am just not up to it. I am drained and still have to take my daughter to dance. I am just going to mix some of those mushrooms in with a piece of leftover low carb meat lasagna from the other day and call it good. Maybe I will make the soup tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. Venting is good. Indeed, wherever you go, there you are.

Anonymous said...

First, congratulations for resisting the food on a day like you've just had. Comfy food would be a huge temptation.

In fact, I'm here at the computer so I won't eat right now. (The only thing I want for dinner is carbs, because I'm annoyed with my husband. Not safe to be in the kitchen right now.)

I used to resist the label of "food addict". Even when I agreed to it mentally, in practice I disputed it by shrugging off my eating and explaining my indulgences to myself as something other than that.

One day, as I thought over whatever had prompted my last dive into sugar/fat/carbs, I realized that I wouldn't accept those statements from an alcoholic.

If an alcoholic told me she went out and got drunk because of x or y, I'd think, "You didn't have to drink over that. You chose to drink over that--and you made that choice because you're an alcoholic." That realization gave me pause.

I nodded in recognition and agreement as I read the following, "'s true. Food takes the edge off, relieves the tension, helps me forget the problems for awhile. It has been my coping mechanism for a very long time..."

It's true, of course, that food does do that-->so would alcohol.

It's a tough battle, Lyn. If I just let myself accept the identity of the enemy, it would be easier, I think. Seeing myself in posts like this, helps me to do that. (And I could feel my own resistance as I typed that.)

Prayers and hugs, Lyn.

Stay strong.


Scott Mullins said...

Wow, you had a day just like mine. I too am a binge/emotional eater, and I am finally learning some coping mechanisms.

Good luck to you, and I hope you feel better!


Diandra said...

I hope your problems will solve themselves (with a good push from you) soon. And hopefully at least some of it can wait until you are feeling better again.

Low Carb Daily said...

I'm also realizing that food does not hide my problems, but it only makes me feel worse. They are all still there, waiting for me. It's not even a good distraction because it leaves me feeling worse for having gone off-plan... then I have even more problems to deal with than I had before I binged.

Lissa said...

Hang in there Lyn!!!

Lauren said...

It's a tough road! I am always inspired by your tenacious determination to keep at it.

Theresa said...

Hope you are beginning to feel a bit better, and please remember you have lots of cyber friends who care!

katie said...

Good book: "Don't Bite the Hook" by Pema Chodron...any and all books by h
er written in plain no nonsense prose.

Julie said...

Hi Lyn,
Thank you for your honesty. You wrote something that is true for me too...the mess is still there after binging..whatever the mess for me lately. I've been using food to cope for a long time too..since my teens and I'm now 36. I say it like a joke that I'm a stress eater but it's not funny when my pants don't fit. I lost 65 lbs the past year and am slowly putting it back on. I wasn't at goal when I was down 65 and now am going to have to re-lose the same pounds AGAIN. I'm letting work stress control me and my eating right now. but I can't seem to stop. Every AM I'm ok but by evening it's snacks, junk, sweets. How did you get back on track? (By the way, I have only recently found your blog and am so grateful it's here. I sooo love your honesty and you excellent writing style.)
Thank you,

Lyn said...


I was the same way. And it is SO HARD to get out of that cycle! How I got back on track? Medifast. I also have found that any low carb eating plan, such as South Beach diet, is my best success at knocking out the cravings. I have some links on the left sidebar, "How to lose weight" etc, that give a few pointers. You just have to keep trying different things until you find something that clicks! Never give up. You can conquer this!