Last night, around eight o’clock in the evening, I heated up some of the rice casserole that Mitch lovingly made for me before he left. It was the first thing I’d eaten all day; and I intended to consume only that, and a bit of of potato salad. Unfortunately, I was unable to stick to my resolve.
After eating my pre-planned meal, I proceeded to eat twelve Oreo cookies, several handfuls of pretzel sticks, and six popcorn cakes. Needless to say, when I walked into the bathroom to get ready for bed and caught a glimpse of my bulging belly hanging below my oversized t-shirt, I felt nothing but shame and disgust (the most unproductive feelings in the pantheon of my emotions, I have found).
This morning I woke up feeling sick to my stomach (not surprisingly, all things considered), and vowed to try and figure out what’s behind this sinister habit of binging.
Left Alone With Eeyore-Inspired Thoughts
The first thing that comes to mind is that I really dislike being alone. Borderlines have a deep seated, constant, somewhat irrational fear of abandonment. I know that my husband has not left me, and will return from the summit in a week’s time; but it feels as if he’s gone forever. Out of sight, out of mind is a more literal concept to Borderlines than it is for most.
The second thing that plays across my mind is how I appeared in the Zoom meeting I attended last night. It’s a regular gathering of women that mean the world to me. Women that I trust, who have been instrumental in my sobriety, and who have never said a malicious negative thing towards and/or against me; and yet, all I could think about the entire time was that I was the heaviest person in the “room”, far heavier than the others — who are all very thin, and very beautiful. To say I was feeling a bit insecure is a frightful understatement.
The third, and final thought I have on this matter is that I am now so heavy (250-plus pounds) that a mental and physical lack of inertia has set in. Each time I plan to do something about my weight, an Eeyore-like lamentation whispers “Why bother?”, and I surrender to the monotone self-defeat. It’s seemingly far easier to maintain the course I’m on than to change it.
But change it, I must… because as I was lying in bed last night, tossing and turning in a depressed and self-deprecating state of mind, I had vivid waking dreams of ending up on an episode of “My 300-lb Life.” And quite honestly, it was one of the most frightening imaginings of my life, because I realize that I am much closer to 300 pounds than I am to a healthy weight.
Renouncing the Last of My Addictions
Binge eating and vaping are the final remaining addictions I have yet to renounce; and I strongly believe that they are somewhat intertwined. They’re both heavily tied to an unsettling habit of putting hand-to-mouth. Freud would have much to say about this oral fixation, but knowledge of why this disturbing practice plays such a heavy-handed role in my life hardly helps in my battle against it.
When you first enter the rooms, it is strongly recommended that you attend ninety meetings in ninety days. (The irony of trading-in your drinking for a habitual need for meetings is not lost on me; but, I also know from personal experience that I’d rather be addicted to a community of like-minded individuals than to pick up another bottle.) This suggestion is not made to control, but to offer individuals a chance at developing a stronger sense of self, and to put down roots in a foreign sober land.
There are meetings for people with eating disorders, namely Overeaters Anonymous; and while I know that it may be beneficial to attend a few, I just can’t yet bring myself to work the twelve-steps in another program. I’d rather try and best the binge eating and vaping on my own (though anyone who has ever worked the program knows that this is “self-will run riot”, which rarely works to an addict’s advantage).
Giving Self-Will a Platform to Run Amok
There are certain things I know about my vaping and binge eating habits; and perhaps, if I write about them here, it will help me to remember them in my weaker moments.
- The desire to vape is always strongest upon awakening
- Eating dinner before seven o’clock is beneficial to my well-being
- I feel better and have more acute mental faculties when I eat throughout the day
- I find it difficult to eat when I’m reading (because I lose my concentration)
- I find it difficult not to vape when I’m reading and/or writing
- I feel more confident when I get out and stomp around the desert
- Boredom is the most vicious of enemies in any addiction
I also know that when trying to let go of a bad habit, it helps to share your plans and progress with others; and since I suck at picking up the phone and reaching out, sharing these things here — with my lovely readers — is a more viable option for me.
In an ideal world… (No, strike that. Phrases such as these give me an easy-out from best-laid plans.)
Ninety miles in ninety days. That’s the first of my goals towards weight loss, and I will start tomorrow. It’s too warm in Tucson to hike much past 8 a.m., so I am going to have to set my alarm and force myself to get moving in the early mornings.
If I haven’t eaten by 7 p.m., tough shit. To implement this strategy, I may have a few days here and there when I don’t eat at all. However, to my mind, that is a far better option than the late-night binges that lead to mornings full of sickness. This starts today.
If my mod is not sitting readily available on the table next to the couch, then I can’t absently reach for it and get a hit of nicotine. If I leave it on the hutch, I will have to walk across the room to inhale… and perhaps this will allow enough of a pause for me to let go of the impulse. I already asked Mitchell to buy enough supplies to last only through the end of this week (and he mercifully complied), and will try not only the hutch fix tomorrow, but a vow: to not hit the mod before hiking in the morning. I will also no longer carry it with me in the car.
For now, these are the only parameters that I feel equipped to try and follow. Baby steps are sometimes the only way forward… and recording them is often the only way to turn them into adult-sized strides. Thus, I promise to keep y’all informed on my progress, and will be adding a “Binge-Eating and Weight Loss” category to the menu for those of you who are most interested in this particular thread of the blog.
Thank you for giving me a voice, Dear Readers, and for all of the support that you have leant. I tend to draw on your strength in the days ahead.
Musical Inspiration: Britney Spears “Work B**ch”