Being able to stop myself, regain control, and avoid a binge has definitely not been my forte lately. But, last night, for the first time in a while, I was able to turn it around. I’m writing this for two reasons – one, I think it might be helpful to other people who experience the same things, and two, I want to write it all down so that I remember how I felt in that moment.
Now, a lot of people who experience disordered eating patterns say that ‘control’ is bad for them. They refuse to count calories or ‘restrict’ so to speak, because it increases the likelihood of bingeing or obsessive behaviour. For me, it’s the opposite. I need the structure that counting calories and being ‘restrictive’ with my diet brings. (By restrictive, in my case, I mean not eating processed foods, or sugary foods, or fried foods… that kind of thing. Not drastically restricting my calories or failing to meet my nutritional needs.) In the past, I have found that ‘one little treat’ turns into ‘one more won’t hurt’, and before I know it it’s six months later, I’ve gained 20 pounds, and my life is just a blur of pizza, chips, and ice cream – or, in the case of my exchange to Paris, a blur of wine, croissants, cheese, baguettes, and pains aux raisins. (lol) My ‘a little ___’ won’t hurt mentality snowballs and completely derails my healthy eating. So, I set up MyFitnessPal, set a calorie goal, and then pay close attention to what I’m eating, recording it all along the way. I’ve been doing this diligently for the last week or so, and am finally starting to see some results (YAY), so that adds motivation to stick to it.
Last night, my boyfriend ordered pizza. I know, rude right? And it wasn’t just any pizza. It was a glorious, cheesy, pan-fried pepperoni masterpiece. I had already eaten my salad and poached eggs for dinner (I did that on purpose before the pizza arrived). I saw the pizza, and wanted some SO BADLY. I immediately had thoughts of ‘f*ck it, you only live once’ and had visions of me sharing half the pizza with him. But before I did anything, I re-directed my mind to the success I’d been having, and how defeated I felt when I self-sabotaged that. And then I directed my attention to my stomach. I wasn’t hungry, and I knew it. I also knew that that pizza was going to be living in my house all evening, sitting there like the beautiful piece of temptation it was. So, I cut myself half a slice. I ate it, slowly. I enjoyed the crap out of that little sliver of pizza heaven.
And then I walked away.
A whopping 3 TIMES over the course of that evening, I wandered past the leftover pizza and thought… ‘would it really matter that much if I ate another slice or two?’
But then I reminded myself of my progress, and all the reasons it really wasn’t worth it.
And I kept on walking.
Something I’m finding very helpful in avoiding problematic foods right now is really thinking about the food. I know that sounds counter-productive as hell, but hear me out. I don’t know about you guys, but the food is never quite as good as I imagine it will be. Especially not after those first few bites. So when I really think about it, as I’m gazing at a slice of cake that’s calling my name, I think about the reality of how that cake will taste, and how I’ve been disappointed by food before (haha I know this sounds insane, bear with me). It’s so much easier to walk away when I remind myself that it’s really not as good as I want it to be. I did the same with the pizza – I had my teeny little slice when it was hot and fresh and delish… but by the time I was thinking about indulging my inner binge-monster, it was cold, and I knew it wouldn’t be as enjoyable as my brain was trying to tell me it would be.
For so long after I first ‘fell off the wagon’ in my fitness journey, I wouldn’t think twice about indulging those cravings and impulses. ‘Treat yo self’ was an every day thing (FYI, that’s not
what a ‘treat’ is) and I just mindlessly ate what I wanted, when I wanted it. It feels unbelievably good to have control and mindfulness with what I’m eating again. I feel so much better at the end of the day knowing that I have nourished my body rather than stuffing it full of chemicals and junk. (Plus, my skin, my digestive system, my immune system, etc. all thank me for it.)
I guess what I never expected through this was how triumphant I would feel after avoiding a binge. I feel strong. I feel capable. I feel proud. And it’s such a stark contrast to the feelings of failure, insecurity, helplessness, and self-loathing that come after giving in to those impulses. I’d take that feeling any day over being bloated out of my mind. 😉
If you’re someone who is struggling with BED, I’d really recommend doing some research and looking into strategies that can help you manage. Some of them are simple, but so helpful! And if you just need someone to vent to about the whole situation… you know where to find me. I’m always happy to answer emails or comments!
Hope you are all having a wonderful week so far!