Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cutting myself a break

It's been awhile since I posted. I've written several posts in my head over the last week, but haven't managed to put virtual pen to paper. I'm still wrestling a bit with that rebellious self-sabotaging spirit within (that has been muddying up my goals of daily exercise and clean eating) that has managed to keep me plateau'd in the 198-202 range for the last month or longer. Over the holiday weekend, I had 3 days in a row where I did my usual healthy and clean eating until sometime in the late afternoon, when all hell would break lose in my psyche and I would just give in to the constant obsession in my mind to EAT A LOT OF A LOT OF STUFF. All three of those days found me teetering on the brink of the binge almost from the moment my eyes opened, and the ensuing hours became about the constant yammering of Leslie-the-addict demanding her fix vs. Leslie of today arguing and struggling to resist the addict's harping and neediness. Each of those days, I lost the fight with the addict. She won, and I spent the last hours of the afternoon and into the evening on the mission: making repeated trips to the kitchen, as well as several trips to the local convenience store to stock "binge essentials". Countless napkins full of chips, cookies, fiber crackers, ice cream, cheese and my bare bones favorite - whole wheat bread with thick pats of cold butter arranged to cover every visible morsel of the bread.

As I sit here and write about it, I feel very far removed from those afternoons and evenings that occurred less than a week ago. Sunday was the last of the seige. Now I recognize clearly that those days of fighting cravings that morphed into huge binges were telling me something was going on that I needed to pay attention to. I'm not sure what, but I am aware that during those days, I started thinking I just needed to realize that I couldn't possibly resist this beast forever. That maybe even the exercise was stupid for someone like me. I felt entirely powerless, and even a little hopeless because I was so tired of fighting the good fight against the endless hunger that food can never satisfy.

With all that my busy head had going on, it never once occurred to me to try to find some stillness and cultivate some compassion for myself. To just stop for a bit, get quiet, alone, and envision taking myself into my lap and just hugging myself and being gentle and loving with myself - the way I would if one of my kids was having a tough time with something. I was so busy engaged in the broken record of "I'm just gonna eat/I'm not gonna eat/I hate this/I should just accept myself fat..." that I got entirely caught up in the self-hate cycle. Food addiction is a disease, like alcoholism and other addictions. If I could easily knock it off, I would have stopped a long time ago. I wouldn't kick myself in the heart if I had cancer. Berating myself and staying in fight mode is futile. Self love and acceptance are vital to being able to regroup, cut myself a break, and begin doing what I know to be good for myself as soon as possible. In AA there's a wonderful saying: "You can begin your day over at any moment." I don't have to wait until Monday morning to start taking care of myself, loving myself, being as gentle and respectful of myself as I am of others. I can do better as soon as I become aware that I'm way off kilter.

Over the last 3 days and seemingly into today as well, I think I'm breaking through some of the emotional roadblocks (boredom, free-floating anxiety, fear - of success?, failure?, losing my identity as a fat woman?) and have been binge free and even food-obsessed free. The result is that this morning, I am at my newest low since June - 197. OH YEAH! I hadn't weighed for four days, which is about as long as I desire or dare to go without surveying my status, and it's been hard to not keep hopping on every morning. But with all the bingeing, I knew that seeing the damage too soon could backfire and send me back into crazytown. I'm feeling quieter, calmer, and definitely clearer. I'm so grateful to be even as evolved as I am, though I have a long way to go. The journey continues, and today I have a desire to be healthy, whole, peaceful and happy. To love and be loved. To understand and be understood. Food addictive behavior definitely gets in the way of those deepest desires of my soul. So I keep trying to stay honest with myself and others. 'Fessing it all up here is helping me with that honesty piece, and I'm inspired by so many bloggers who show me how to do that.


  1. Hi Leslie. I missed you while you were away!

    I'm glad you are digging into your psyche to work out why things are the way they are. Because binge eating isn't really about eating. It's all there in your sentence "the endless hunger that food can never satisfy". That neediness is the real issue of course.

    That part of yourself which is so needy would yes, probably love a kind caring person to cuddle it. And you can do it. Maybe a meditation or relaxation class would help you get into a safe loving place with yourself. After I have done such a class I found myself "reset" and then you really can start the day over. Healing can also have the same effect.

    You seem to be spending a lot of time arguing in your own head. Maybe you can cut a deal with the needy part. So when the arguments start you can tell yourself that the argument can carry on only for so long - set a time limit - and no longer. You can negotiate with the needy bit offering it other treats for being good and staying quiet so you can get on with your life. When I am succeeding in not bingeing it is because I give the needy child (as I see it) a story ie read a book, or a low cal choc drink (they come in individual sachets here - not sure if you have the same thing) or chocolate porridge make with low cal choc drink, or a small eat like small choc bar or low fat snack bag. But for you it could be anything you could consider a treat - like a soak in a luxury bath with candles and oils, or a film, or a trip to a gallery etc.

    I think of that part of me as the needy toddler. How would you coax a toddler into behaving properly? Of course your needy self may be of a different age! Or have different treats to mine. But I bet you can cut a deal with it which will be acceptable to both sides.

    You need to take care of that part of yourself before you can really move on. Honour it and keep talking to it, asking what it REALLY wants.

    Hope this is of some help!
    Best wishes,
    Bearfriend xx

  2. Just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to give you a virtual hug! I am glad you had the courage to write honestly about how you feel about yourself and bingeing - and I agree, getting to the root of the problem is key - its never about the food!

    Hope you have a great weekend! :D