Thursday, October 27, 2011

Anatomy of a Binge

``It turns out that an eerie type of chaos can lurk just behind a facade of order---and yet, deep inside the chaos lurks an even eerier type of order.''
---Douglas Hofstadter
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I start to feel something I cannot name except to say I feel uncomfortable. I want to be alone - even when the ones I love the most want to spend time with me, I want them to go! When I have my solitude I go to the store, sometimes in a cold sweat. I get a hand basket because it is easier to hide if I see someone I know. I put in the ice creams, toppings, cakes, chips, cheeses, anything I want. I grab something at the counter that I can open right in the car because I cannot wait to get home to put that first bite in my mouth. I can barely wait to get out of the store. I am already reaching for it as I slide into the front seat. I get back home and shut the garage before I get out of the car so no one will see me. I get into the house and take the ice cream out of the bag and open it and bite into the top side of the container to get my first taste. It I am lucky I stopped long enough to get the plastic off the top. I grab a spoon and a big bowl. I start to heat up toppings while piling scoops on my plate. I bite into the cake I bought. I cut a good size piece. I do not even take time to really taste the food as it chew maybe once or twice before piling in he next bite. Maybe fifteen minutes later I am on to the salty foods. I am back to the sweet foods within the hour. After another round I have had enough. I start throwing things in the trash, melting the ice cream down the drain, hiding the evidence. 

No stretch marks?
Can't be my stomach
The description above is the anatomy of a typical binge before I accepted that keeping the pounds off does not work that way. Every tool I use each day works to guard against a binge. Accounting for my food, writing it down, refraining from the addictive foods. Changing my eating behaviors has been one of the keys that keeps the binge monster out of my life. I do not eat things that are hand-mouth-hand-mouth-and-repeat. I do not ALWAYS have X with Y and Z. I try not to reward myself with food. I do not seek to have a 'heathy dessert' every day. But I have to practice using those tools.

Perhaps most importantly, I practice living with myself without using food to be comfortable in my own company. I had to learn how to be alone and relatively inactive and still be at peace - so when the days come when I am forced to be inactive or alone, I can cope without the release of a binge - the insanity that precedes it the insanity that follows it. 

Not my anatomy
And even with all this, I sometimes slip and find myself looking to medicate/make comfortable rather than just feel life going through my soul. Okay, so some days will be harder than others. I have to tough it out. Better to work on the recovery and keep my head above the chaos -  than give in to that eerier type of order: the anatomy of a binge. 

Do you recognize your own 'anatomy'? 



Anonymous said...

Oh I recognize it mostly, it is the controlling or spiraling or ignoring of reality because it is highly inconvenient to addictive me that I struggle with.

But I do, within myself and on blogs of others who struggle find tools to try to fight those things.

Princess Dieter aka Mir said...

Yep. Only mine was never ice cream, but that's exactly it. The compulsion, obsessive thoughts, secretive nature, mass quantities, out of control nature of this particular beast. With me, it was the salty/creamy/cheesy/bready/spicy...and tons of it. Ordering enough take-out that I could feed 4 or more folks generously..and just treating the depressions or anxiety with it. Gobbling it up and feeling the high of it.

Junkie. That was me.

Junkie in recovery. That is me.

And why I cannot, cannot, cannot have some foods. Period. nailed it.

Jacqui said...

I do recognize it in myself. I have played that scene you mentioned many times. Always with the hiding and destroy the evidence. Lots of ice cream has gone down our sink.

I have even gone through a drive thru and pretended to be on the phone with someone I was ordering for... so I didn't look like the fat girl ordering two meals for myself. Which I was.

I am making strides in the binges.. and I'll get there all the way yet. I'm still finding all of my trigger foods.

Thanks for all of your posts, Jane. You are definitely a bright light in my sometimes dark world of food addiction.

Beth said...

Yessss. Needing to start eating my binge foods even before I get to the car. Going from one food to the next as soon as I get home. And throwing away the leftovers, which are only left because I am too full to eat another bite. In my case, I'm throwing them away because I know if they are around I WILL eat them again the next day, not because I need to hide them from anyone. One of my tools for avoiding binges has been to not eat bread or any baked goods (even home made) that are made with flour. I have NO DESIRE to have ONE of any of that stuff. I want multiples, I want it all. For probably the last nine months, I've been doing this, and I really, really think it has reduced my constant state of craving.

Unknown said...

Oh Jane, you are *so* much more wise and responsible than I am. I binge way too often, and I often feel like it's a food storm attacking me with no shelter from the storm.

Fortunately, I quickly come to my senses, or I'd already be morphed into an elephant--my dark side wants to be as big as an elephant.<<my true confession.

:-) Marion

Joan said...

When something is wrong, when I'm "feeling bad", it still surprises me how often my first reaction is to think, "what can I put in my mouth to make me feel better?".

Diane Fit to the Finish said...

I still have to watch these types of triggers and fall back on the habits I've developed throughout the years when this starts to happen.

Vickie said...

Recognize it 100% too.

Old ways.

As I read, I realized how much the SECRET part had to do with it.

If it had HAD TO BE in public, would never have happened. Never.

Jane Cartelli said...

Thank you all for your comments. Please keep commenting so we can all get better. There is a lot to be said about Vickie's comment on the secret aspect of our behavior.

How often have you binged - really binged, in public?

I can name only one time. I was at an enormous buffet. There was no one there to remember me from plate to plate to plate. I ate in public and got up again and again and again until I could not eat another bite.


Cenandra said...

This post speaks to me because I am a binger, I am addicted to sugar.

I saw myself in the store like a raging maniac when I knew my husband was gone for the day. I would search for the perfect snack. Sometimes it would be a bag of Fritos the big ones with nacho cheese sauce; and sometimes it would be a pint of chocolate chip ice cream with that hard shelled chocolate sauce. Or both.

It scared me to read about it to reflect to see me in your post.

Vickie is absolutely right, I'd never do what I do in secret in public. It doesn't even matter to me that God is watching me and is saddened by my binge and it should.

Love this LOVE LOVE!