I am a binge eater.

Binge Eating

(Image via Chatelaine)

It’s after seven in the evening. Work is over for the day, dinner has been made, eaten and dishes have been washed, The Boy is tucked into bed and on his way to dreamland. I scoop a small dish of ice cream, steep a cup of tea and promise myself that this is it, this is enough, I can control this. Except I can’t. One dish of ice cream turns into two. Two dishes of ice cream are compounded by a handful of chips, and then another, and probably another. And Heaven forbid we have jellybeans or jujubes in the house.

I am a binge eater.

I overeat (always in the evenings, after I can finally slump and “relax”) and I tell myself it’s okay. I don’t mind. I deserve a treat. It’s only this one time. No big deal. I can work it off at the gym tomorrow. I had a rough day.

Except it’s not okay. I overeat and then I am assaulted by a tidal wave of guilt and shame.

If I’m distracted, or at work and away from my cupboards and fridge, I’m great. Everything is shiny. I am very careful about what, and how much of it, I eat. I almost always bring a lunch and coffee break snacks to work (carefully constructed so as not to be boring, because boring lunches and snacks promote bagel-with-cream-cheese buying), I am careful about meal planning and preparation and I try really hard to keep junk food out of my house.

Invariably though, that dastardly seven o’clock comes along.

Why? Why do I do this?

I have theories, based on some of the reading I’ve done regarding binge eating, and other eating disorders*.

  • I have never had a successful, accepting relationship with my body. I have always seen it as at least fifty pounds heavier than it is. This is dangerous for many reasons, but most importantly a) it’s not and losing more weight right now will put me into an unhealthy place and b) my worth is not my (fucking) weight. That aforementioned regime of healthy eating (and exercising) is obsessive to the point of being almost manic, and when it isn’t, when I have a few days of laziness and procrastination, I spiral into a self-hatred pity party of the same guilt and shame that hits me after I binge eat.
  • I battle depression.
  • I have stress and I don’t (know how to) manage it well.

I think what I need to do it calm (the fuck) down. I need to accept myself. I need to fall in love with myself. I need to stop being so hard on myself. I need to start trying for myself and stop worrying about the thoughts, opinions and feelings of people who don’t like me very much anyway.** I need to continue to eat well and move my body, but for me, my reasons and my health.

I also need to be careful about what I binge on when I binge. When I was pregnant, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes (GD). At the time, it wasn’t a huge deal. It was more of a pain than anything (and, if I’m being honest, it was also a good thing. I got a little carb-crazy in my first and a half trimester and treating the GD with diet and exercise, because thankfully I did not need to medicate it, helped me get back to a healthier place, which, I believe, helped my labour and childbirth to be the amazing success it was). But. GD is also sometimes a Gateway to Real Diabetes and that’s not a good thing. That is a thing that I need to avoid (through diet and exercise). So along with all of the self-awareness, balance and mental health motivations to address my binge eating, there is this.

It’s hard, guys. It’s hard to start to recognize how little I value myself. I tell people how much worth they have and how amazing and special and wonderful they are every day, but I won’t do it for myself.

The Newbeats – Bread and Butter

UNT.

*Because binge eating is an eating disorder. It is. It is real and it is important that you recognize and accept that, and get the help you need, or get someone in your life the help that they need.

If it’s helpful, I really enjoyed this article about binge eating: Binge Eating Disorder via HelpGuide.org

**One of my biggest hangups is acceptance. Not by random strangers on the street. By very specific people who I don’t think I’ll ever be able to truly please.

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6 thoughts on “I am a binge eater.

  1. It is so hard to nail down a reason for binge eating. I think, like many things in life, it is a combination of things (at least, that’s how it seems to be for me). I think it’s so important that you are realizing your issues, knowing what some of the underlying problems are, and working to change it. It is REALLY HARD to value yourself, especially when you have heard that you are not good enough for a long time. It creates a sort of “well then it doesn’t matter if I eat 5 doughnuts, does it?” I find that that’s my biggest pitfall.. I’m doing well and then something small happens (bad day at work, for example), and I come home sad and miserable and I go, “well, it isn’t like I’ll ever make any changes because I suck and so I might as well eat this entire gallon of ice cream.” :/

    Also jujubes is a funny word. Also I think you are really, truly, honestly amazing, and you continue to blow me away with your self-awareness and hilarity and just overall awesomeness. I hope that, bit by bit, you begin to see that a little bit more, until you realize how fully awesome you are.

    • YES. One tiny bad thing results in the ruination of the whole freaking day/week/month. It’s incredible. And sad. And such an awful feeling. …to be quelled only with that gallon of ice cream, with a side of potato chips.

      JUJUBES!

      YOU are wonderful, thank you. 🙂 So much.

  2. So I have a confession. I am a binge eater in recovery. Only not. I’m only carefully controlling it. I do the same thing. I never keep food “on hand”. I buy only what I need to cook for my husband and myself, and nothing more. I do not keep snacks, bread, candy, cakes, or treats in my house. If there is a loaf of bread on my counter it quite literally *calls* to me. I will think of it all day as I sit at work; meaty and doughy and just waiting for me to get home and EAT THE ENTIRE LOAF. I can’t stop. Same with any tasty treat. And my thinking is that “well I have to get rid of it and eat it all now so I can start fresh tomorrow and it will be out of the house.” Which makes zero sense.

    My husband’s Asperger’s and need for routine helps me a lot. He eats the same things at the same times so I never need to stock our pantry and our fridge. All he eats are peanuts, bananas, nut protein bars, and whatever I’ve made for dinner that week.

    I’ve been this way since I was a kid. I remember feeling desperation when we would have a pizza party in school and each kid could only have ONE SLICE. What the hell kind of pizza party is that? That’s cruel and unusual is what that is! I could eat 4 slices! I’d rather not have had any pizza than ONE MEASLY SLICE.

    I find myself each and every day willing my mind not to focus only on food, on what I can eat and when I can eat it. If I can stay busy and keep my mind occupied I forget to focus on food. However, my boss just ordered a pizza and saying no to that even though I have a nice healthy soup in the mini fridge, is utterly impossible. I ate two slices. And all I can think about is how I’d like to eat three more.

    • You. You are such a beautiful person and I appreciate you.

      I’m so sorry you have to struggle with this. (OMG! One piece of pizza. Not. Worth. It.) I admire the way that you do deal with it, by removing temptation and understanding the disorder, and I am glad that Blue Eyes’s need for routine is helpful. That is good coping. I’m so sad that there’s no real fix for this, though. If/when people tell you “just don’t eat it if it bothers you so much,” you can’t just say “YOU’RE RIGHT! I CAN DO THAT!” because it’s just not that easy.

      I managed to stay away from a table laden with delicious desserts, for a staff member’s going-away party, the other day. HUGE success. (I think my “I really don’t need any of that” may have given off the wrong impression though. It’s not obsessive weight loss, it’s obsessive over-eating, especially of sugar and I need to avoid it.) Of course I had ice cream at home. But I’m doing OKAY at managing that. (Ice cream was actually super helpful with the aforementioned GD. It was the only thing, if I ate a little bit at night, particularly with some protein, like nuts, that leveled my morning numbers. This is part of the mythology I have constructed for myself now, which is just as unhealthy as binging on ice cream in the first place. …because I’m not pregnant…. )

      At what point do I restrict myself to only non-junk foods, because I know I’ll binge on junk? At what point do I stop bringing anything I love into the house and never make another batch of cinnamon buns again. I hope, so hard, that I can foster a healthy relationship with food in The (Little) Dude. I really don’t want him to have any of my issues. Ugh.

      Thank you, so much, for reading and commenting, Lovely. I really appreciate your sharing with me. 🙂

      xo

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