June 17, 2008

Backsliding, thanks to family

Posted in binge triggers, changing habits, managing food addiction tagged , , at 8:46 am by foodaddict

This week wasn’t great. All because I actually listened to people who told me to eat.

Went on a two-day vacation at the beach, hosted by my stepmother and dad. Of course, stepmother insists on feeding everyone 18 hours a day. OK, so it’s a vacation, I can relax a little, right? I was just repulsed by all the processed food. Immediately upon our arrival: “Who wants a tuna melt?” A tuna what? Ugh. White bread…haven’t had that for about five years. But I acquiesce, for the sake of good family relations. Fine, I’ll have your ?*#@$ tuna melt.

Then we sit down to the table, and someone asks the hostess which tuna melt she’d like….to which she calmly replies, “Oh, I’m not having one. I’m having a salad!”

Un-freaking-believable. Here I am, blowing my food plan, and you’re having a salad. Not cool.

So anyway, the next 36 hours were more of the same. Pita chips. Hummus. Nuts. Hot dogs. Cookies. English muffins. In other words, bad shit. I guess I need to practice saying, “I’m sorry, I can’t eat that. It’s not part of my nutritional plan.” I’m so afraid of not upsetting people. So instead, I let them upset me.

Now I’m back home, and all I can think of is cheese. I bought a big wedge of Asiago at the grocery store two weeks ago, and have made short work of it in the past three days. And I’ve crept up 2 pounds on the scale. Not fun. I really don’t want to throw all the cheese in the garbage. But unless I can get things under control TODAY, I might have to do just that.

Oh, and no thanks to husband, who over the weekend kept suggesting I should have lunch. I have to work up the courage to tell him that I don’t do lunch any more.

June 9, 2008

My one-night stand with pizza

Posted in binge triggers, managing food addiction tagged , , at 8:34 am by foodaddict

The old me — the eater — used to have pizza at least once a week. And the new me? I had been dreaming about pizza for months…that crispy, crunchy, cheesy old friend of mine. I was making all sorts of deals with myself. Pizza was going to be my ultimate reward for good behavior.

And finally, the opportunity arose. A night out with friends (coincidentally, a group of girls going to see “Sex and the City”). A movie, followed by dinner at an Italian restaurant. Ah, heaven!

Manna from heaven

They ordered a pie with pepperoni and peppers. I hate peppers, but who cares? It was PIZZA! It arrived at our table and I dove in. The first slice was truly heavenly. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a piece of pizza quite so much. I savored every bite. The second slice, also very good. The third slice…ummm…I didn’t really want that one. Fourth slice: well, the food was just sitting there; how could I let food go to waste?

By the end of the night, I felt a little…icky. And the next day, all I could think of was that glutinous mass sitting in my stomach.

Was it worth it? Yes, I’d do it all over again. I wish I could stop at the second slice, but that just doesn’t seem possible for an ex-eater like me. Guess I’ll wait until the next night out with the girls…in another eight months or so. Although oddly enough, I’m not craving pizza any more.

April 24, 2008

Stomach vs. brain

Posted in binge triggers tagged , at 11:33 pm by foodaddict

I was completely out of touch with my body’s hunger cues today. I stayed home today, working on a grad school project. A frustrating, anxiety-inducing project (which I did eventually finish), but at each little hurdle, each pitfall, my head was screaming to me, “Eat something! Eat something!”

And I gave in — every time I heard that voice. Definitely not eating out of hunger.

Something about being alone with myself, without distraction, triggers my addiction. I know there has to be a better way to manage anxiety (namely, exercise), but when I’m working toward a deadline, the temptation is just to focus on that project to the exclusion of all else. This is a learned behavior that is just not working for me any more. I need to somehow get out of my own head, and force myself to run around the block or go to the gym.

Good news is, I was able to stop around 9pm. I’m allowing myself 3 pieces of chocolate and tea at night (that was one tidbit I agreed with from Jane Brody’s NY Times article last year — allowing yourself a few hundred calories from foods that you do like). Somehow, that combination does manage to signal to me to me that snack time is over for the day.

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!