Recovery & Weight Loss Endeavors No. 6
The past two days have been dismal for me. I binged, and binged again, on junk food — cheeseballs and crackers, cookies, Krispy treats, candy, etc.
This problem isn’t a simple one. It isn’t a matter of will-power alone. It also doesn’t come down to it “just” being an addiction.
I’m on medication for night terrors (that I get absolutely zero sleep without) that has an “increased appetite” side effect. Between my two doses (one at six in the evening, and one around eight in the evening), it’s as if I’m stoned on weed and have a terrible case of the proverbial munchies.
I also have IBS; so I avoid eating during the day (especially if I have plans) in order to mitigate the chances of having an attack. Thus, by early evening, I’m famished; and I eat much faster than I should (and crave sugar and fats due to low blood glucose).
Mitch and I do not have healthy eating habits, either. We’re both procrastinators and rather poor planners… which leaves our evening meal on hiatus until we’re both starving, and more likely to run out for fast food.
What Hasn’t Worked
Stocking the Fridge
We have tried filling the refrigerator with fresh fruits and vegetables (things that by and large Mitchell does not eat); but often, they end up spoiling instead of getting eaten.
Why? Because I hate preparing food; so if Mitch doesn’t take the initiative to cut things up and portion them out, I tend to ignore what’s in the kitchen. (I also have an essential tremor that makes handling knives a difficult feat.)
That isn’t to say that my husband is at fault. On the contrary, I need to take some initiative in this department. I should take more responsibility for my own dietary habits; but Mitch has been in control of this for so long, that it’s become a (somewhat necessary — see the tremor explanation above) habit that’s hard to break.
I have tried writing out my intentions — hoping to make them harder to break — to no avail.
It’s all well and good to type “I will limit myself to one sugary item after our evening meal.” (As I did in Thursday’s post.) But by the time seven o’clock rolls around, I’m frustrated with myself for not having eaten better during the day, and that “the house is on fire, might as well let it burn to the ground” mentality sets in.
I shared in an earlier post on the blog why this particular tactic doesn’t work for me.
The F*cking Endless Cycle
I’m extremely agitated by my inability to reign-in my binge-eating habits.
I cannot fathom how I found the strength to give up booze and narcotics, yet can’t manage to put down the donuts and potato chips through my will alone.
After a binge, I wake up feeling ashamed and disgusting. Often, I also feel physically taxed and sluggish; which is exactly how I felt when plagued with a hangover.
You would think that wanting those feelings to go away would be enough to prevent the actions that precede them; but instead, I find myself stuck in the hellish cycle of addiction (albeit, a less nefarious addiction than the ones I’ve managed to keep in check this past few years): eat irresponsibly, it takes an emotional/physical toll, feelings of shame fuel negative self-image, there is a loss of hope and some self-flagellation, reach for (false) comfort in the very thing causing you distress. Rinse and repeat.
Not “Just” an Addiction is Still an Addiction
One of the hardest things about overcoming addictions is that they mutate. Why? Because “addiction” is born of maladapted coping mechanisms. It’s a (somewhat “diseased”) way of thinking… and changing one’s way of thinking can be an extremely difficult thing to do.
In addicts, negative underlying emotions fuel the desire to rid oneself of them through any means necessary… to feel something different.
In my case, I’m trying to “outrun” feeling undesirable — to fill the one missing piece (i.e. a sexually intimate connection with my husband) in the puzzle of my life.
I couldn’t fill it with alcohol. I couldn’t fill it with opiates. I couldn’t fill it with affairs. And now? Now, I cannot fill it with food.
I Should Know Better By Now
After years of self-reflection in the Anonymous programs, you would think I had better tools to cope with feelings of self-destruction; and I do… sort-of.
I have friends that I can call when I’m feeling “restless, irritable, and discontent” — but I still struggle with actually doing so. (Mostly, because I’d rather listen to their problems, than to bleed all over them with mine.)
I know that writing helps me to sort out negative emotions, and leads to finding the flecks of glitter among the ashes of darker thoughts… and that I can do (as I am now).
It seems to me that I must start treating my binge-eating as an addiction (rather than just a bad habit) — even when there are other factors at play; and for me, unfortunately, that means finding a healthier addiction to replace it.
I’m working on it…