April 16, 2008

Worry + Hopelessness + Tiredness = Binge

Posted in binge triggers tagged , , , at 10:57 am by foodaddict

Even though I don’t think I would make a very good 12-stepper, since I have a problem with the idea of God, I do like their idea of “HALT” — i.e., don’t let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Most of my binges do happen when I’m in one of those states — like last night.

Came home late, had dinner even though I wasn’t very hungry, and then started foraging for dessert. Fortunately, the only available drug in the house was gummy bears. Mass quantities of corn syrup, however, are never a good thing to ingest at midnight. So, I was already tired and worrying because of an exam coming up the following day, and then on top of that I gave myself a sugar high.

These binges seem to spring from several states of mind:

  1. Feeling powerless and hopeless (“I’m never going to be able to study enough and prepare for my exam tomorrow, so I’m going to give up, stay up too late, binge and watch YouTube”)
  2. Trying to subvert my bodily rhythms (“Even though I’m exhausted, I’m going to force myself to stay up and worry that I should be studying, because society tells me I have to be perfect and drive myself really hard, because we’re all supposed to be super-successful”)
  3. Bizarre mealtimes (breakfast at 12pm, lunch at 4pm, dinner at 9pm — all consumed alone, of course)

There is something really irrational about #2. When I get too tired, I just can’t think clearly, and I can’t make a proper decision. Am I going to stay up and study, or am I going to go to bed so at least I’ll be well-rested tomorrow, if not well-prepared? Here is where I fail. I cannot make that decision, so I do neither of those. I stay up and not study, so when the exam day comes, I am neither well-rested nor well-prepared. This, I have been doing my entire life.

Moreover, I am guessing that “super-successful” people don’t think like this. They are more focused, so they’re either (1) staying up late because they’re actually working, or (2) staying up late because they’re socializing with people, or (3) going to bed because they know how to take care of themselves.

The only bright spot today is this: whereas in the past, I would have headed straight for the donut cart this morning, in my new frame of mind, today I am going to wait until my body tells me I’m hungry before I eat something. Small victories!

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