This is a long post, so I’m sorry and bear with me:
All right, this is a sample of the binge “danger” foods I’m having to put up with this week. I actually had even more pictures but I hit the picture limit - there’s also a fruit tart, multiple cans of sugar coated nuts, more chocolate, and pizzelles.
Today I did an experiment, inspired by the book “Brain Over Binge.” If you’ve followed me for a while you know that I’m a recovering binge eater and this time of year is hell for me and I’ve been freaking out recently. Despite how hard it’s been, I haven’t had what I’d personally call a binge yet. For me, a binge is marked by the feelings associated with it more than the food - loss of control, apathy, almost feeling blind, not even tasting the food, and then the crushing feelings of guilt, shame, and “oh shit, I have to fix this!” that come afterwards. My eating has been what I’d call “excessive” - ie way more types and quantities of treats than I’d usually eat - but I’ve never crossed the line into blindly flying around, eating everything without thinking or tasting, and feeling horrible after doing it.
So anyways…since I’ve made it through Christmas without feeling that craving to fly around the kitchen eating everything in sight within an hour, it had me wondering if I’d actually kicked those feelings. So I decided this morning to test it by putting myself in an ideal position to binge and giving myself permission to do it. Weird, I know. But I remembered back to when I was first reading “Brain Over Binge” and remembered the author doing something similar. She almost thought it was too good to be true that she’d stopped her binging and so one night mindfully said, “ok. Try and binge.” And she really couldn’t and found that she didn’t want the old foods she used to binge on and it wasn’t the same. I feel like I’m in that state of mind too right now and with Christmas treats all over the house and some time home alone in the afternoon today, I decided it was test time. I basically allowed myself to throw open all the cupboards, the fridge, and the freezer and have it all. Every danger food, everything I’d cry over eating - cookies, ice cream, pie, crackers, bread, cookie butter, regular butter, nuts, caramels, chocolates, even meat if I wanted - I told myself nothing was off limits.
And my results were ridiculous and I’m like a billion times more confident in my ability to not binge now.
I ate two biscotti, a slice of pumpkin roll, and one piece of chocolate.
In the past on a day like this, I’dve eaten a pint of ice cream, a box of crackers, a dozen cookies, multiple boxes of chocolate, several slices of bread heaped with butter, a can of nuts, and that pie and pumpkin roll would be gone. In one binge. No joke. This time last year, that was me. So being able to say “meh” and walk away from most of those foods and to only pick what I really wanted at the moment is massive progress for me. Even when I allowed myself to binge, I didn’t.
The thought of eating ice cream or meat made me ill. I flat out didn’t want the bread or crackers. Eating more sugar made my head hurt just thinking about it. I just stared at the cupboards and was like, “nope, nope, don’t want that, meh, nope, I’m gonna go watch tv instead.” And it’s crazy because I was even rational enough to have a reason and a want to eat what I did - the biscotti went nicely with my cup of tea, pumpkin roll is a seasonal treat so I know I won’t get any for another year, and the chocolate was Godiva so it was a really freaking good piece of chocolate that I get to eat rarely.
This Christmas has been so strange for me and I know I’ve been mentally all over the place regarding my eating. I’m still kind of constantly panicking about being surrounded by all this food and worried about overeating. But then at the same time I’ve been much less strict about my eating so it’s strange to allow myself to eat so many “treat” or “danger” foods without having it lead to a binge or feeling massively guilty about it. And then there’s the new feeling of not really having cravings or falling into that possessed feeling of a binge.
So yeah. I don’t know what to make of this holiday season. It’s an odd mix of “oh my gosh I’ve eaten so much,” “oh my gosh I don’t freaking care that I’ve eaten so much,” “oh my gosh every binge food ever in is my house and I’m going to die,” and “oh my gosh I can’t believe I haven’t binged and I’m so proud.”
So I guess the moral of this post is, yeah I’ve eaten like 3 dozen Christmas cookies this week. Yeah I’m probably gonna gain some weight from that. But not eating like I did last year? Not gaining as much weight as I did then and feeling like I’m sinking into a pit of binge eating despair that I couldn’t pull myself out of? Being able to eat a chocolate or two without eating the whole box? Being able to eat cookies without crying about it afterwards? Worth it.