Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bingeing and Secrecy

Have you ever watched someone binge? I haven't. Aside from myself, of course. But I hear about it a lot at work, and I usually ask my clients what the situation was when it happened. They always tell me they were alone. This isn't surprising. There's a shameful feeling in bingeing, an embarassment that we aren't able to control ourselves, that something as silly as food has more power over us than we do. So we hide it, and even sometimes plan for binges, knowing when we'll be alone to do it. Most of the time, of course, it's not planned, but sometimes you just know it's going to happen, and you feel that inevitably there's nothing you can do but give in. In which case, you might as well enjoy it, right? Go out and find the worst, most unhealthy, yet decadent and satisfyingly binge worthy food you can. And then wait until you're alone to destroy yourself, one guilty bite at a time.

So wrong. So very very wrong, and yet an easy trap to fall into.

I've been in a horrible mood all day. Just rotten. Mopey and grumpy, snappy and agitated. I'm Cruella de Vil without the fur coat and cigarette. And what goes along wonderfully with a bad mood? Bingeing.

I've been on such a roll. It's been weeks since my last binge, and I've been feeling healthy and happy with food. But today I knew that urge was there. The binge monster was hiding behind the couch, waiting for my boyfriend to leave so I could binge in secrecy. I wasn't planning on it. In fact, I was hoping to avoid it, and thinking guiltily of this blog and how well I've been doing. But I knew there was a good chance it would happen. I bought gluten free english muffins at Trader Joe's today, and peanut butter and apricot preserves. Not a big deal really, but a recipe for disaster if you know my bingeing history. Bread can easily be a trigger for me, and I had to ban peanut butter from my apartment for a long time. My worst bingeing memory ever is of eating seven peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in a row. So while on the surface I was thinking, I can make some healthy snacks/meals with these, there was also a part of me that was afraid I was setting myself up for later.

So what happened? My secret was blown. Before he left for class, my boyfriend turned to me and asked point blank, "Are you going to binge when I leave?" He's never asked me this before. But I guess he's learned the signs over time, and I admitted it was in my mind. He asked me to please not do it and to read my anti-bingeing list on the fridge first. And something unexpected happened. With the secret out, the binge monster crept away, his tail between his legs. I knew right then and there that I would be okay tonight. Not that I didn't still want to eat everything in sight. But I didn't do it. I'm sitting here with my anti-bingeing list in front of me, but I haven't really needed it. I guess because I was forced to do the hardest thing on the list. #13. Fess up before you binge. It's the hardest thing to do because you know that if you do it, you won't get to binge. But I never realized that admitting that you want to do it might also take away the need to binge.

I hope I can use this knowledge the next time the binge monster's creeping around.

Penne Pasta with Tuna and Pesto

Instead of bingeing, I made myself a lovely and healthy dinner of gluten-free penne pasta with tuna and pesto. It was my first foray into gluten-free pasta, and the difference was negligible. I used Trader Joe's Organic Brown Rice Penne Pasta. I give it a thumbs up.

How does this fall into my eating plan?
  • 1/2 cup cooked gluten-free pasta (1 starch)
  • 2 oz. canned tuna in water (2 proteins)
  • 1 cup sauteed green peppers and carrots (2 vegetables)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (1/2 vegetable)
  • 1 Tbs. pesto (1 fat)
Overall, the day turned out well. Let's hope Cruella de Vil follows the binge monster out the door.


Dawn Farias said...

Hi, Iris. I just found your blog from somewhere on Twitter... I have been cutting sugar out of my diet to help with that Permanent PMS that you mentioned in another post.

I went grain free for almost two months before the making double meals for me and the family became too much.

Potatoes not Prozac mentions that sugar can trigger cravings - sounds like maybe that could have caused your binge thoughts????

I am still figuring this out for myself but know that sugar is a definite trigger. I am experimenting right now with whether gluten is one for me or not.

Thank you for sharing your struggle. It's so easy to feel that we are unique in our struggles and no one else could understand the DEPTH of them, even if they did understand the general feeling. I think this sets us up for more self-destructive behaviors and not getting the help we need. So, again, thank you for sharing your story.

I look forward to finding some time to catch up with your current posts.


Iris said...

Thanks Dawn! I'm glad you stopped by, and definitely keep reading. I've made a lot of changes since then. For one thing, I mostly just use stevia now, and I feel much better when I'm doing that!


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