Friday, September 16, 2011

What I Can't Do: Binge Eating Triggers

Binge eating is a complicated issue. We all know that the presence of food, smells of food, sight of others eating food can be a huge trigger. One bite cascades into hundreds; one McDonald's commercial can send a person running for the nearest drive thru. But there is something else that is very difficult for me to deal with... something that triggers something very *addict* in me.

It's reading about other people's binges.

I know, ironic, right? I have this whole blog here full of my own descriptive binges, probably triggering people right and left, yet I can't read that kind of thing myself. Heck, I can't even go back and read certain posts in my archives. I try to be sensitive to folks like me by warning at the beginning of a post like that, saying something like "If you're triggered by reading about binge foods, scroll down past the ***********'s". That's my way of trying to make my blog a safe place for everyone.

I belong to several forums online that have to do with weight loss, eating issues, and dieting. Often, there are sub-forums for binge eaters to get support. A long time ago I tried to go there and do that and be supportive, but I had to stop. I cannot read about other people's binges. What happens in my head is kind of frightening to me. I actually feel intense jealousy well up inside me. It makes no logical sense, but it happens every time. I start reading about what this person ate (and how out of control and guilty they feel about it and all the weight they gained from it) and instead of thinking, "whew, glad that is not me! How miserable!" I get really antsy and a million food thoughts rush into my head and I get jealous, slightly mad, that THEY got to eat all that and I did not.

It doesn't matter that more than half my days over the last decade have included binges on some level. I don't care that I have taken months of eating whatever I felt like eating, like a spoiled brat, without regard to the massive weight gain and health issues I was causing myself. I don't stop and think about the negatives. I just get this voice in my head, wanting, wanting, wanting... endlessly wanting, craving nothing in particular but everything in general, missing the obsession, the compulsion, the overwhelming urges and finally the sensation of succumbing to the binge, giving in and eating, eating, eating, being out of control and then, crashing into that devastation one feels when one has failed yet again.

Yes, I miss it. No, not on a daily basis, no, not now. But when I start to read someone's story about their overindulgence, I have to click the X and walk away. I get that immediate twinge of jealousy and I HAVE to shut it down IMMEDIATELY or it overtakes me and nags me until I let it happen.

Sounds like addiction, feels like rehab. It is easier to just not let it get started. then there is no battle, no fight, no argument. Just peace.


Princess Dieter said...

Hah. We were on a similar vibe today.

I trigger with photos, sometimes. There are blogs I go to less these days cause I don't want to see the food pics. It's easier that way. I know I'm not alone. :) And I don't mean showing a food with a recipe now and then. I mean the blog is decorated with food, all food, all the time, on display. That's not what I need as an overeater. :D

I find family situations don't really trigger me anymore. My sister still will overeat at those times--when she doesn't overeat at home or other events. She's only chubby now in her 60s from being ill, but she was tiny and shapely and Playboy worthy (and yes, she was scouted) all her life. So, she didn't have weird food issues like me. But family events, she eats and eats.

Me, I am calm now at family events...but if I eat a trigger food, even one bite, it's very easy for me to slip down the slope.

I had one off plan food this week. ONE...a food with sugar. And it's been a battle to stay in normal eating since that day. It's easier today...after a few battles, but man, I hate that. I like feeling food calm and most of this year, I've been uberfoodcalm. :D

So, yeah....reading binges is fine. SEEING heaps of trigger food in one place it a buffet or a blog , that's still someting I'd rather stay far away from.

We're all in rehab, we "losers".

Be well, babe..

Princess Dieter said...

Oh, and I can guarantee you right now that if there were no consequences, none at all, weight or health or otherwise, I would sit down and eat a whole extra large deluxe pizza and a chocolate cake right now.

But...I can't go near that stuff anymore. We all have our demons.

DiZneDiVa said...

I totally understand how you feel Binge eating is a mindless thing but I can't get it off my mind... it was an escape from my drama, stress, trauma, and other despairs... I need to find something else to fill the void, but I am an addict... Whatever else it is, I will overdo it. Like shopping, gambling, drinking, smoking, drugs... whatever. I transfer my addiction to whatever else comes along... So Now What? Just like an addict, I take one day at a time... and somedays have binges(Even on healthy food) but most days do not. Hopefully, someday I'll be able to eat a little treat without wanting to eat the whole Bag, box, cake, pan... etc

AngryPorkchop said...

I've been trying meditation in order to become more mindful with my eating habits. I can now better distinguish cravings from hunger and hope to continue to gain control over my impulses. Hang in there and do your best to face these demons.

timothy said...

BIG sigh, oh yeah i understand sometimes it does the same thing to me. i have to be really careful, sometimes i "skim" a post toskip the stuff that bothers me. better safe than sorry!

Dawniepants said...

Oh believe me I know!

I'm a really bad 'well I'll eat this if I want because I've had a rubbish time and I deserve it' eater.

And bizarrely one of the things that sets me off is hearing about other people's dieting successes when I'm feeling unhappy with myself. That feeling where you eat everything to stuff down the emotions and make yourself feel better. On more than one occasion I've thought to myself 'well I'm still fine because look I can eat this and you can't because you're on a diet' as if somehow that is a valid response.

These days I just try and stay aware of that and if I'm not in a good place I don't read success stories. It is bizarre but true.

I think like your binge story trigger a lot of triggers come from a sense of dissatisfaction whether it be with what we're eating or ourselves.

I've come to realise the grass isn't always greener, its just different grass.

"KT" said...

I used to really enjoy reading about food and looking at recipes and such, even though I was never much of a cook. :) Now I just don't read about tasty stuff at all, whether that's recipes or someone wanting to binge or someone actually binging, etc. because I'm trying not to think about food in an emotional way and the descriptions tend to bring me back there.

jules said...

Hey Lyn,

what I find, and notice over and over again, is that the feeling of something being taken away from me. Although I, myself make the conscious decision to stay away from certain foods and make reasonable decisions, I get angry because I cannot have this or that.

I completely lose the focus that not eating something particular is actually GOOD for me - no, I feel like someone takes away the only thing I can do whatever I want with - eating.

So I get jealous about other people's binges, about people who seem to be able to eat whatever, whenever they want, people who are happy with only eating half a piece of cheesecake - because I have this horrible feeling of deprivation all the time.

Also if you don't eat something, there is no immediate gratification. There is no sweetness in your mouth right away, you have to make a ton of those decisions to not eat something in order to finally see a change on the scale. This makes it even harder.

Seems really screwed up to be jealous about other people's binges, in the end it's just somewhat logical... unfortunately.

katie said...

The eating disorder you describe is classified as a psychiatric diagnosis.
There is technology to treat this disease...therapy and meds.
You do not have to do it on your own. Thinking you 'can' is part of the disease itself.

Diana said...

I'm right there with you on this one. I simply can't read about binges either. It can push me over the edge.

The other thing is food porn when it's of unhealthy food (although delicious looking). There are a few bloggers I love to read, but if I click open their post and see pictures of desserts or some other foods that I know are not healthy, I close it quickly. I don't want to see it or read about it. I guess I'm an addict of sorts, can't have it in the house either. Just the way it is, and I think we've both learned what pushes our binge buttons. :)

Werner said...

All this sounds so familiar. What I had to do to avoid bingeing are the following:

1. If it ain't in the house, I can't eat it. So I won't buy those things I would turn to on a binge.

2. Like you, I won't read about other peoples binges on forums or blogs. Instead, I search out articles and posts of things people did to succeed.

3. I watch almost no TV. Most of the programs I watch are through the computer or Netflix. This vastly minimizes my exposure to brainwashing ads.

4. Continue to educate myself about how most of the foods we eat are nutritionally bankrupt and find those that will feed my body what it needs.

The bingeing urge is now almost completely gone and easily controlled by using the tools that work for me.