Does Gillian Riley describe you in this clip?
This was me, and is me. The 'was' me : obsessed with food, with mealtimes, with quantities. Food addict. The 'is' me: someone who can still be called to (though more rarely) by food for comfort, pleasure, escape, but who now has tools to short-circuit the bad times.
One of the bad times was last night. There was an emotional outworking at our Father's Day gathering. Three of us ended up in tears, for different reasons. I won't go into the details--we're family, we love each other, sometimes things need to be vented, and somehow they tend to get vented when stress or anxiety or bad moods hit--but I was feeling fragile from a self-sacrifice hubby had done for me, a very generous, beautiful, loving bit of self-sacrifice that put my well-being and desires above his own. It's what spouses do for one another, but it made me feel...like I was holding him back. I was also worried about eldest sis (who was looking drawn and unwell).
One of my nieces was having a fragile time herself, worried over her mom. My other sister was having a bad day, and I became a bit of a target. We all stepped on landmines and, well...venting and tears. We kissed, went home, and eventually sis and I will sort it out. Love does that. Niece and I are fine, though still worried about her mom. :(
So, I had eaten exactly what I had planned to. I had none of the "bad" foods at the party. I took what I could eat and drink, and tasted what was allowable of what sis prepared.
But the emotional stuff left me sad. (I mean, no one wants to see their loved ones cry.) Hubby was hungry, and as he's now one pound away from being officially UNDERWEIGHT, we decided to stop for take-out. At nearly 10pm on a Sunday, options were limited. Part of me was doing the little undermining/justifying thing that the OLD ME used to do regularly.
I want to eat X and Y and I'll find a way to justify eating X and Y, cause I WANT IT.
We fat folks do that all the time. We make excuses to have stuff we ought not have, whether it be special occasions/holidays or depression or needing comfort. We decide we can overeat cause of this and this and this. If we're obese, we sort of lost the right to overeat, I figure, but we find a way to justify the crap. We do.
Food is toxic comfort. But we fall for its lure. That's why we're fat. Obese. Superobese.
So, there we were at a place we hadn't gone to in....well, I forget it's been so long. A Chinese place in our neighborhood that was near closing time. The whole time we had driven there, part of me was deciding on what would be "safe". The other part of me was making excuses for the not safe. It was like angel/devil shoulder banter. I swear! Ridiculous. In the end, I justified ordering BBQ ribs cause "hubby can take them for lunch." Right? Sound familiar? We do that, right? Say it's for "the kids" or "the hubby", when it's really US who want to dive in and pig out.
The part of me that is sound was looking for a lifesaver, the strategy. I was going mentally through the caloric calculations of this and that and finding a way to stay in StSC boundaries. It was telling me I'd done well, and not to screw it up. It was telling me about the need to not give in or lose ground.
The part of me that is unsound was looking for what would give me maximum food fat reward without looking too self-indulgent. It was going by emotions...it was promising to comfort me.
In the end, I fought mentally every second from the restaurant to the house and through about a half hour at home. It was the fricken Colisseum in my head, gladiators in battle.
Drinking water. Making coffee. Biting a bit and stopping. Eating the veggies first. Throwing some of the chicken on hubby's plate. Saying no rice, Then a few forkfuls of rice. Then the ribs. Yep. There they were. I had two. I battled with every bite, trying to delay, knowing that with delay, the water/coffee/veggies could kick in and fill me up. I went 400 calories over before I said to hubby, "I'm eating too much. I'm feeling like I'm gonna cave. I feel like the hunger is just not gonna go away, and I know it's just feelings, not real body nourishment need. I have to stop."
Saying it out loud, as embarrassing as it is to say such stuff, did it. I stopped. I admitted I was out of control and was about to seriously do some damage if I didn't just cop to it, stop making excuses, stop hiding it (I ate the ribs in the kitchen, not with hubby seeing it), and just admit I was in a crisis.
And that stopped it. Confession is not only good just for the soul. It's good to break the beginnings of a binge. I ended up at a bit over 1800 calories. No binge. Just more than my alloted calories. No painful belly from overstuffing. I was actually still roomy in there.
Hubby actually did end up taking the uneaten ribs for his afternoon snack. :)
I wonder my confession is akin to the "call a sponsor" thing at AA. Call when temptation hits and let yourself be talked out of the booze craving.
I talked myself out of it by just letting hubby know: "I'm eating too much. I want to eat more. I have to stop."
I went, drank more water, took my supplements, took some potassium to counteract the salty Chinese chow mein veggies I ate. I threw out the rest of my food so as not to be even minutely tempted. I sat down and just allowed myself to feel bad about having a tiff with my sis. Food can give pleasure that distracts. I just let myself feel bad. It's human. Be sad. Be it.
I was fine after that. I woke up still a bit sad, but once things calm, we'll do as we siblings always do when we vent frustrations and get upset: We forgive, hug, and move on.
Same with food. I overate. I beat it back, stopped the binge momentum, and kept myself from binging. I overate, but I still won. I hug my heart, forgive myself, and move on.
Don't stuff feelngs with food. You'll want to. But it's not the solution. Just feel the feelings and find the actions that make it really better, not just "food reward brain pleasure" reaction.
Most of the time this year, I beat the overeating desires before food hit my mouth. Last night, food started to get the better of me. But I came out stronger.
And Tanita-san agreed: 190.8
That's .4 lbs down, after not just overeating, after Chinese food overeating. This is a numerical reason why stopping the binge while it's just "a bit extra" is worth it. :)
I leave you with this excerpt from Gillian Riley's book EATING LESS: Say Goodbye to Overeating. It's a good resource for "food addicts", even recovering ones. :)
For me, the goal is not just a number on the scale. It's getting over an addiction. It's being the one in control. Or regaining control ASAP after it loosens. It's making my life and my character better by not being a slave to this or that. Food being this. All sorts of other thats.
I want to get healthier, which is even more important than one particular scale number. And getting healthier means taking control. Of what I eat. Of how I move. Of what I think. Of how I act.
Being out of control feels crappy. I saw proof of that last night. With tears. With Chinese food.
Being in control feels so much better...