I have a secret file on my computer that no one sees. I hide it with an obscure name, and every so often I get it out and read it or edit it. Well, maybe it's not such a big deal to you, but it kind of is to me. It's a list. A list of foods I want to eat... "someday."
It started a long time ago. One day I was craving a couple of very specific and very off-plan food items. I was *really* battling it in my head. I was going back and forth:
I *have* to try that new food! I can't stand not ever having it!
No, you don't need it. So what if you never have it?
But I HAVE TO. I want it! It looks so good!
Oh I really want a bag of xyz! I remember how great they taste!
No, you will gain weight if you eat that. And it's not healthy,
But I don't care! I used to eat it all the time and it was soooo good. I really want to have it again!
And I would argue myself into a corner until I made a decision: eat the food or not.
I found a really good solution. Instead of telling myself "never," I started the list. On it, I typed each one of those foods that I wanted to eat again someday. At first, years ago, I figured since I was a binge eater and generally slipped and binged every few weeks, this would make my binges more efficient. Instead of randomly cruising the grocery store and throwing random stuff into the cart for a binge, I could go with a list! I could have all the things I really, really wanted all at once, in one day, and be done with it. Hey, if I was going to binge anyway... and I was (because I was still battling that monster)... may as well make it great! Later, when I stopped binge eating completely, it became more of a therapeutic list. I didn't actually intend to run off and eat those things in a binge someday, but I figured it was a way to delay off-plan eating. Instead of feeling deprived or obsessing about a food, I could just go type it into my list and tell myself, "later."
I did something else, too. Back when I used the list for a reference guide to off plan eating, I made adjustments to the list after I ate any of the foods on it. So if I ate one of those "omg must have it" foods, I'd move it to a new column in my list: either "what I ate that wasn't as good as I thought it would be" or "what I ate that was worth it." That way, I wouldn't "forget" which foods really were not as delicious as my memory wanted me to believe. That's the thing about an eating disorder: it is based in fantasy and not reality. So keeping things real did help me a lot along the way.
Today I was out shopping for spring clothes with my daughter. It got to be near lunch time, and she started asking about going out to eat. We were close to some of our old haunts. I had not planned on a meal out. I'd brought along a Medifast shake, and we could be home by lunchtime. But my brain started whining on and on about the yummy foods I *really* wanted to eat. So for the first time in months, I decided to employ the list. I drank my shake, drove home, gave my daughter some lunch, and sat down with the laptop. I opened the file and typed in a couple of foods that were "bothering" me. And that's when I noticed something.
The list of "what I ate that wasn't as good as I thought it would be" was LONG. Very long! In it were foods I don't even remember eating! But I know I must have, since I typed them in. Some were things I've craved recently, too, but seeing them in the "tried but not that good" list made the desire for them fade a LOT. I scrolled and scrolled down the list, amazed at how *so many* of the foods I had obsessed about were not even that great. And then I finally got to the list of "what I ate that was worth it." It is FOUR items long!! Four! Only four of the things I had fantasized about eating during that whole period when I used to binge were "worth it!" And one of them was a FRUIT! Another was Coke... which I gave up eons ago (I don't drink ANY soda at all anymore and don't crave it in the least). That leaves only two "junky" foods left that I thought were worth the indulgence... and both are grain free and gluten free.
I am still going to use this list as a way to get bothersome foods out of my head, but since I no longer binge, don't plan to eat off-plan, and hope not to go back to eating junk when I am in maintenance, it's now just an interesting list to remind me that it's all just food. It reminds me that the memory of the taste is often better than the taste itself. And it reminds me that the stuff I crave will most likely not be as good as I think it will.
15 hours ago