Monday, August 22, 2005

Good Morning, Chiklits

Sorted things out this weekend. It was a pretty shotgun of a week, and I had roommate stuff and relationship stuff to work out. The house is stocked up with victuals once again, we've got a week-night cooking schedule worked out, and I'm feeling level-headed enough to get back to the gym (I only went once last week. The goal is 3-4 times a week).

Oddly enough, after beating myself up about weight issue the last few years and up-and-down binge cycles and sporadic exercise schedules and deprevation followed by binging, what everybody tells you really is true. Now that I'm actually eating 2200 calories a day and lifting heavier weights, I'm fitting way better into my clothes. Even after a crazy week like last week when I only went in once.

And the kicker is that I'm not even killing myself doing it. There's a huge belief that you've gotta feel like you're gonna die after a workout and not eat anything in order to see any kind of change, but you know, I'm not killing myself. I even cut my cardio from 40 to 30 minutes to get in a little more weights time, and I'm still fitting more and more easily into my clothes.

I like not killing myself at the gym. I enjoy it as some "downtime" for myself, particularly because I now have two roommates, so getting some space to myself is healthy for all invovled. It's nice.

So, to sum up: I'm still tired, feeling slightly brain-dead, but last week's stress shouldn't be repeated this week, all willing. I think that's sorted out.

3 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I'm a binge eater. Sometimes I just eat bigger meals than I really need to, and some days I'm eating like every 20 minutes.

It was a fantastic relief for me to see your guest post at the other blog, about how you used to binge eat. I feel disgusting and I didn't think I could pull myself out of it. I felt like it was something only stupid weak people did, but you're clearly not.

I'm trying to decide whether to tell my boyfriend or not. I keep hoping someone will notice that occasionally I have a way bigger tummy and double chin than usual. But I guess that's impolite.  

Posted by no name for now

Anonymous said...

Oh yea, I'm a big-time binge eater. High-stress times are always the worst. In South Africa, I hit dirt bottom one night after eating something like 5,000 calories worth of food in one sitting and *then* did the pull-the-leftovers-from-the-trash deal and *ate them*. I then collapsed in the middle of the kitchen floor and burst into tears.

That was the lowest point. When I first got to Chicago, I was binging about once a week, buying shit on the way home from work. I got here in July, and by January, I realized I just had to cut that shit out. I hated myself when I did it, it cost a lot of money, and I couldn't afford to buy new clothes if I put on *more* weight.

By the time I started boxing/martial arts classes in June, I'd managed to curb the binges pretty well and increased the free weights work I was doing and eating a little more sensibly. It wasn't easy, and I still fall off sometimes, but I haven't had one of those old-school binges in over a year, those freak-out, buy 3 candybars and a bag of chips and some cheese crackers and some ice cream and wolf it down sorts of binges. Now I'll have certain cravings, and keep it to, say, "OK, I have a craving for nachos. I'll eat nachos tonight" instead of putting it off and putting it off and then finally snapping one night on the way home and buying out the entire snack chip isle. And if I crave chocolate, try to keep it to one plain hershey's bar or one snickers. Doesn't always work: I splurge on weekends, but I've kept away from those desperate binge sessions like I had in South Africa and when I first got here, too.

Stuff that helped me was taking a multi-vitamin and staying away from extreme dieting. What was killing me was that binge-and-purge cycle. I was starving my body during the week, eating salads and string cheese, and after a week of that, my body went balastic and wanted to eat everything in sight.

I've been working at ways to control stress, too, since that's a *huge* trigger for me. I do some light stretching and weights in the mornings, and try to get to the gym/be active three or four times a week. That helps balance my mood, as well. I've also *stopped* being so hard on myself if I skip a day/am too tired/depressed to go to the gym. Beating up on myself just makes me want to treat myself like shit, which includes binge eating of the "Who cares, I'm a fucking loser anyway" variety.

It's important, for me, that I don't try and starve myself. I've internalized way too much of that "eat less, lose weight" mentality, and it's really fucked with my appetite. I try to stick to protein as a base for most of my meals, and just keep the carbs to a small serving. It really helps, and if I do get a binge urge, it's nice to have stuff in the house like popcorn and diet soda and melba toast and cheese, which are relatively low-calorie, so I'm not huffing down a box of cookies and a bag of potato chips in one sitting. Grocery shopping while stressed and/or hungry is *tough*, and there have been a couple of times where I got stuff I didn't really need while stress-shopping.

In fact, what I learned from stress-shopping is that I'll often feel better *just from buying a box of cookies.* Then I eat one and give the rest to my roommate to bring to school to share with her fellow grad students. That works really well for those times when I just can't control the binge urge.

The one I'm working at right now is how to have "just" *one* bagel or donut or whatever at work when we have bagel days. For the most part, I have to stay away from them at all costs, because if I eat one, then I eat three or four. The solution to that, I found, was to wait until the end of the day when there were only a couple bagels left. I could have one, and by the time I finished that and tried to go for another, the other bagel was gone.

In general, I'd prefer to stay away from them, but if I'm dying for one, that strategy really helped.

And yea, I spent a long time (and when things are bad, I still think) thinking that being a binge eater made me weak. There is certainly an element of dependence to it: sugar/glucose spikes are addictive, like any other drug, so it's not surprising that when I'd go off serious bread and sugar every day that I'd get the shakes and get an awful, physical desire for a pastry. I think that some people are just more prone to getting addicted to glucose spikes, and it means you've just gotta work harder than other people to work at finding a good medium for you.

When I looked at it as a physical/emotional addiction that I'm just predisposed to, it was a little easier to deal with (knowing how I feel withdrawing from regular processed carbs and sugar, I'm reminded of why I've never been interested in doing drugs. I couldn't imagine going through a drug withdrawal).

The trick is to manage it wisely but not take the joy out of eating. Sometimes I just want to sit and watch movies on a Friday night and eat some chocolate. The trick is to keep yourself hydrated and properly fed the rest of the week so "I'll have a candy bar or two" doesn't turn into, "And a bag of potato chips, and a pint of ice cream, and..."

I think, ultimately, breaking the binge cycle is about accepting it as something that you do, and not thinking that makes you a bad person, recognizing that it's a manageable addiction, and doesn't mean you're inherently bad or weak. If binge eating is about self-hate, then breaking the cycle is about learning how to like yourself - even though you sometimes really like to eat chocolate.

Eating chocolate doesn't make me a hideous monster.

And believe me, I still have to repeat that to myself, often.

Right now I'm also working on learning how to de-stress with some quiet time meditation at night before bed, just something to help me clear my thoughts and remind myself that I'm not a bad, evil, fat, weak person. Because I do still have those bad days, and it's unfair to myself to let those bad thoughts rule me.

Sometimes the best way to get control over your life is to let things go. Self-hate should be the first to go.

My boyfriend certainly knows I'm a binge eater, but he's aware of his own previous relationships to food, too, and food as comfort, so we could connect on that level about it, and he understood it.

I also told my roommate about it early on, and she has been a really big help in curbing some of my impluse-buying. Having somebody else around the house who also doesn't buy junk food and understands and doesn't think I'm totally insane when I act twitchy and weird and force a box of cookies on her that I just bought really helps.

Posted by Kameron Hurley

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear that things are evening out. Hang in there. 

Posted by Patrick