Back when I used to binge eat, I had hundreds of "favorite" foods. I dreamed and fantasized about practically everything in the supermarket (except the healthy foods) and always, every day, *wanted* them. In 2007 I hit a place where I was miserable with my eating AND my body; not only did I feel gross, hate how I looked, hate how I ate, and have major health concerns starting to pop up, but I also hated the way I thought about food. I felt guilty every minute of the day when I was not eating, for what I had eaten and what I would be eating. I'd say summer 2007 was the pinnacle of my eating disorder. It wasn't just the foods (which were awful choices and huge amounts) and the actions (of eating more every time my stomach had digested enough to fit more into it)... it was the mental state I was in. I think the stress of having critically ill and disabled children in the years prior to 2007 put me in a state of mental shock and the way I coped with it all was by binge eating and food obsession. That state of mind was hard. SO hard. You really have no idea what it is like to be consumed by your thoughts to the point of destructive action unless you have lived it. It is heartbreakingly miserable.
It took a lot of work and healing to get out of that place. There were trials of medications and stints with counselors, but the thing that truly brought me out of that hell hole was blogging. Thank God I found blogging, because if I hadn't, I think I would still be there, if I'd survived this long. Writing all the feelings, the experiences, sharing and hearing back from others who have been there was SO healing to me. It brought my mind out of the obsession and enabled me to think clearly again. And I have to thank you for being here, reading, commenting, all these years, because I don't think I would have kept blogging and trying if there was no feedback at all. The feedback helped me so much.
The place I am now is not ideal. If I had my way, I would daily eat my "favorite" foods, which are much more limited now that I am out of the binge mindset. My favorite foods seem silly and childish: hot dogs. Chocolate. American cheese. Bacon. Ice cream and pizza. That's pretty much it (oh and iced coffee!) Party foods, right? Total junk, most of it. They're the foods I still want and even sometimes crave, but I never binge on them anymore. I think I don't binge because I allow myself to have them without feeling that old familiar guilt. I also acknowledge that some of them don't work well for weight loss and some (hot dogs) make me feel horrible if I eat them. I work around it and have a slice of pizza now and then but usually opt for the cauliflower crust version. I have my square of dark chocolate every day if I want one, and I have pastured local bacon for breakfast a lot. I just let those foods in a little bit and I'm okay with it.
It's when I start eating a lot of my not-favorite foods that are unhealthy that I start feeling icky and letting them crowd out the healthier produce and protein. I realize that because I had that chocolate almond bar the other day, I did not eat the blueberries in the fridge. I know that when I have junkier, carbier foods for dinner I am less likely to prepare vegetables to go with it. Who wants to ruin a nice comforting bowl of homemade mac and cheese by adding a side of steamed broccoli? (That's a mindset... comforting OR healthy... that I am breaking out of by always making vegetables as sides.)
Anyway, when I compare life now to life back in the binge days, I am so grateful. I am no longer miserable and hating how I eat, act, and think. I feel clear headed and joyful. Food no longer occupies my every waking moment and I have zero desire to binge.
So what is left for me is the improvement of my health and that includes weight loss. Sometimes I think I am just not miserable enough or unhappy enough with my body to be motivated to change, again. But then I know that I don't want to wait for a health crisis to motivate me to make changes. I want to do them now, not motivated by fear or pressure but by love for myself and the desire to be the most joyful I can be. To do that, I have to re-examine WHY I am eating the way I am... just as I had to examine my reasons when I started this blog, in order to stop binge eating.
black decaf coffee, because I have this every morning when I wake up
protein shake, because I was somewhat hungry but didn't want to cook
samples of fruit at the farmer's market, because it is healthy and I wanted my daughter to try them too
freshly juiced kale, cucumber, Granny Smith apple, and lime because I wanted some refreshment and nutrition
egg salad sandwich with a few chips, because I was shopping with someone who wanted to stop in a sandwich shop and eat, and I did not want to just sit there sipping my green drink, so I ordered food.
iced coffee with cream, because I like it
So, when I look at my day today I think everything was great, except I ordered and ate something I didn't even want, in order to be social.
If I had had time to think about this ahead of time, I'd have just said I wasn't hungry and it would have been fine to sit and sip my drink while she ate. I do not have to eat when I am not hungry, for any reason.
I realize that I often do this. I am with people and they are all ordering xyz or we are at a friend's home and a child is passing out x dessert that they made for all of us, and I eat because I feel like it's the social thing to do. I need to practice smiling and saying, "no thank you, but that looks wonderful!"
I felt great before I ate the sandwich and lousy after. That tells me how I should proceed next time this happens!
Lesson by lesson I will make the changes I need to in mind AND body.
I have not given up, but yeah, I do need to get on the scale.
I am 38 years old, female, a degree-holding stay-at-home-mom, and I weigh 278 pounds. I have been obese for ten years now. Time to get out of this fat prison I have made for myself.
--This is the original introduction I wrote when I first started this blog in 2007. I leave it as a reminder to myself of where I came from. Currently, I am 46 years old and weigh significantly less...see the blog for details. I lost 103 pounds, then had a partial regain, and am once again working at weight loss and better health.
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