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The Binge

There is a pattern in my history of weight loss obsession, where I will diet for a length of time, and then suddenly binge back in a matter of minutes what I just lost under so much duress. 

In my experience, the binge can be brought on by excessive cutting of calories.  Those binges usually come from true hunger  But the binge can also come from the belief that I am being denied something (sweets in my case) and then it will include all things that look somewhat similar to what I'm "not allowed to have."  I have been known to mix unsweetened cocoa powder with butter and honey on the stove and eat it with a spoon.  Don't judge.  :D

It came to me last year around Christmas, that this behavior of stuffing myself until my belly aches with pain, is nothing more than self punishment.  Look at the irony of the choice to engage in a binge.  You already feel badly about (the scale, the boredom, the stress), and your response to feeling badly is to physically hurt yourself with food.

One time as I was lying on the couch holding my distended abdomen, I imagined a small child who came to me and said, "I'm scared" with a frightened little look in her eyes.  And what did I do?  I pushed her to the floor and held her down and shoved food into her mouth until she cried out in pain.  Isn't that what anyone would do to a frightened child?

This is the image that I bring up now when I think of binging.  It is so cruel.... It's so utterly sick and mean and without compassion for yourself. 

Yesterday afternoon I was wandering around the cafe at work looking looking looking for something to eat.  The chef who works there, is very health conscious and has become a good friend of mine over the last year.  As I perused the options, I said to her, I keep looking but I can't find what I want to eat.  And she asked me, simply and without judgment, Are you hungry?  And something about the way she asked it, and the simple sense of her question, slowed me down enough to let me discover that No, I wasn't.  There was no hunger present in my body.  The realization of that was coupled with the idea that it was my mind that was "hungry" (and bored). 

It has been really hard for me to address a weight problem when I have a binging problem that steals away my motivation and sense of control.  And it's really hard to address a binging problem, without being willing to slow down enough to look at why I want to eat when I'm not hungry.   Binges are madness and they don't listen well to rational thought.

When the pain of 30 years of the same tired pattern became more than I could stand, I became willing to try something different.  It was exhastion that eventually won out and I made the choice of sympathy for myself.  It's different for everyone, but your sanity is out there too.  Keep asking questions and reading and loving and letting go of anything which does not nourish you.  xoxo  s

37 votes + -

22 comments:

JulieBoBoo wrote 99 months ago:
I will definitely remember this post the next time the inner demon calls. thank you.
melleyd wrote 99 months ago:
Great post! Keep on loving yourself!!!
ashleyplus3 wrote 99 months ago:
Another wonderful post! Your word really touched me. I will try to love myself through the hard times, instead of making them worse by eating until I am miserable. I will try to imagine that small child next time. I would never hurt a child, but I hurt myself all the time. :-(
JustGila wrote 99 months ago:
thanks for posting this. Binging can be so complicated. I appreciate your view on this.
DrAlbin wrote 99 months ago:
"You already feel badly about (the scale, the boredom, the stress), and your response to feeling badly is to physically make yourself feel worse."

I have felt this so many times in my life.
jcjlpalmer wrote 99 months ago:
This is me to a "T". Glad to know I am not the only one that struggles with this.
deannarey13 wrote 99 months ago:
Great post! Thank you so much for posting.
catniss wrote 99 months ago:
You know those times when you have to buy a card and you're standing in Hallmark overwhelmed by all those choices and you pick one at random....and it says EXACTLY what you'd say if you had the time to sit and really think? Well, that's the feeling I had reading your post. I've really been smacking that kid around--no mercy--and then I yell at her for what I've done--all the time thinking that it's her fault.
It's time to stop hurting. Thank you for framing this in words that fit.
Kath712 wrote 99 months ago:
Thank you for posting this. I struggled many years ago with the very same thing. I'm happy to say that with a lot of hard work and constant reminders of how far I've come, it's possible to leave the binges in the past. Keep taking care of that inner child!
sayraye7 wrote 99 months ago:
Wow... I JUST did this yesterday! And I felt like crap. The food turned out to be awful not at all like I envisioned in my mind... and my 18 month old was a witness to it all! Of course I didn't feed him any the stuff I was eating, but reading your post hit me right where it hurts. I can't imagine doing that to him, but I did it to me! Thank you...your words have opened my eyes.
superwmn wrote 99 months ago:
What an amazing post! I can absolutely relate to everything you've written. Your image of the child is very powerful and one I also use in my own journey. The child is me and she's usually looking for comfort/love/acceptance and if she doesn't get them, she turns to food. When I feel her needs not being met, I usually say to her 'what do you need, sweetie? If you could have anything in this world, what would it be?'. The answer is never food. It's usually sleep, a hug, a good cry, a kiss on the forehead... I no longer allow that 'little girl' to have the weak substitute that is food. I give her what she really needs.
beccapos wrote 99 months ago:
Thank you! I struggle with this as well.
Annie5859 wrote 99 months ago:
What a great post! I too am a binger. This is what I am afraid of after I lost my weight. I do it all the time. I like the idea of the image of the small child coming to you saying, "I'm scared!" You are right that it is insane to pin them on the floor and stuff food down their mouth to make them feel better, so why do we do it to ourselves? I will remember this, thank you.
Kellee_76 wrote 99 months ago:
That image of force-feeding that scared child will stick with me. I will try to recall it everytime I'm itching for a binge. Thanks for this post.
♥♥YoungMrs♥♥ wrote 99 months ago:
force-feeding a frightened child..what a gut wrenching way to shine light on reality. Loved this post..very real
katberz wrote 99 months ago:
Wow, chilling imagery! I will definitely remember this next time I feel myself losing control.
az1cowgirl wrote 99 months ago:
Wow...thank you.
Patti5005 wrote 99 months ago:
*Love this post*
manymuses wrote 99 months ago:
Thank you for your eloquence and candor. xx to you
jml107 wrote 99 months ago:
Love the post! I feel the same way and find myself so angry at myself later. My new way of dieting is to simply eat whatever I want, but keep the portions small and the calories low. That way I don't feel like I am missing out on stuff I like and I binge less now. :)
MrsCon40 wrote 99 months ago:
Thank you! I totally needed to see it put that way - that binging is hurting myself with food. I usually do it when I'm feeling lonely, as if I am being punished for something that I am alone.

I did manage to avoid a binge yesterday by making a perfectly healthy meal and stopping at that.

Thank you again for this perspective!
Silverstrand wrote 99 months ago:
This resonates with me, so much. I've been doing really great with my weight loss so far (been at it for 6 weeks or so), and I haven't had a moment yet where I felt like I had to eat my emotions (I am definitely an emotional eater). Until this weekend. I had a moment that could have, no would have led to a binge. Someone close to me made the decision for me, and at the time I felt cheated. I was angry and upset because I felt that someone else had taken my right to make my own choices away. And it wasn't until just now, reading this, that I realized how grateful I am to that person for supporting me instead of giving in to me. I'm coming to the quick realization that having loved ones, friends, people in the same boat on board with you in a weight loss journey is VITAL. Thanks so much for your insight and honesty!

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