I’m writing today’s blog post from a good place, having survived mastered a difficult 3 weeks. I learned a lot in the past few weeks about just how strong I am and this time it has nothing to do with weight lifting. I am kind of nervous about sharing this post, as its deeply personal but I think its a good one to show that we all struggle in our own ways, that no one’s road is an easy one. I think today’s post is also a good one to share because it translates well to anyone that suffers from binge eating episodes, stress eating, emotional eating…the list goes on.
My husband was out of town for work 3 weeks in a row (home on weekends) and I was left with 100% of the parenting duties. The first week was kind of fun and filled with ‘just girl time’. But by the second week my 3 year old turned into a monster and my days soon became filled with an ever growing frustration that left me feeling like I was going to explode. Not having hubs home to hand off to for a break, or just to double team trying to wrangle the kids was stressful. When the stress hits old habits come knocking at the door, and stress eating and wanting to numb yourself into a brief state of bliss becomes very tempting.
Yes, when stress hits old habits come out of the woodwork…..for me it wasn’t just the solo parenting stress but the fact that I was on my own…all ALONE in the evening. When I was much younger and entrenched in bulimia being on my own was a huge trigger. So I found myself in the past few weeks, alone in the evenings pulsing with stress and wanting to reach out to food for comfort like so many of us naturally do. The night after halloween was the first night it hit me hard. I put the kids to bed and came down stairs shaking with frustration after a particularly hard night, and went straight to the bag of halloween candy. I dug through and made a huge pile of my favourite candies, with every intention of eating them. I literally sat in front of that pile of chocolate and thought I am going to eat all of this…but I was frozen…frozen with fear because I knew that their was another voice inside me saying it was ok to eat it because I could purge it. I sat there. frozen. fearful. Then I prayed and I asked for help. I picked up the phone and I called my husband and told him I had a pile of chocolate in front of me (I left out what the other voice was saying) and while talking to him I bagged up all the halloween candy and took it outside to the trash on the curb. Even I had enough strength not to dig through the garbage on the street for a fix. I even posted about my near miss on the Losing it in Ottawa forum (again leaving out the that other voice). I went to bed feeling calm, strong and thankful.
So the days went on, while I was on my own, the days were very stressful (some of the toughest days with youngest to date) and I found myself fantasizing about food and exactly what I would eat. I was seriously flirting with disaster. The evenings would come, the kids in bed, and me on my own. The anxiety would rise and the battle would begin. I think for 3 nights in a row I fought to not give into those old demons. I can’t describe how powerful the urge to binge and purge was. That even though it has been over 10 years since this had been a problem, it all felt like yesterday. The lure of loosing myself and the stress and frustration in a binge coma was so tempting. This is where I proved just how strong I am.
- I had to slow my mind down and really think about what this was I was thinking of doing, I needed to slow my mind down and my racing heart
- I thought about the food first, this so called ‘glorious food party’….stuffing cookies, peanut butter by the spoonful, or whatever your drug of choice is down the old gullet in a craze is not the same as sitting down to a delicious treat that you savour and enjoy. Its certainly not like choosing a Sticky Toffee Pudding at Moxie’s and enjoying it with conversation with my hubby. My so called ‘food party’ was going to last what a few minutes? 10 at the most and then what? The calm and the numb that it brought for that brief period will be replaced with horrible guilt and anxiety and oh yes more STRESS!
- then I thought about this ‘so called loop hole’ the purging. Yes the purging, lets really talk about that. Its not the easy out you think. I made myself remember what that was really like. I made myself picture what it looked like, and how it felt (the puffy red face, swollen eyes, sore stomach)
- I slowed my mind down and broke it down, and in doing so it was like breaking a magic spell that revealed the rotten apple. The whole things lost its power over me.
- and to make sure it was good and dead, I drove the final stake through by picturing my two sleeping girls upstairs (I write this part with tears in my eyes as the emotion is still so raw)
I went through this scenario 3 nights in a row. You would think that after one night, it would have been done with. But sure enough as soon as the stress and frustration creeped back in, like a drug addict I found myself right back in the same spot on my chaise breaking it down and fighting my way back to sanity.
Here’s the thing, I hate…I HATE..that at 34 years old I am having to struggle with these ‘disordered thoughts’ again. I thought I had left that demon at the curb at 23. I hate that the ‘journey’ I have taken to get healthy and loose weight brings up these old ‘thoughts and feelings’. But that is what they are OLD THOUGHTS and FEELINGS. I refuse to give them power, to feed them.
I know my mom and heck my husband too are reading this and worrying. I am writing it not to do that but to hopefully help others that struggle with anything similar to this. To share that the lure can be broken, that you can quiet your mind and see reality as it is. Most of all I am writing it for myself, to keep me honest, to keep myself on the healthy path.
I have been working hard on finding my way, I recently posted on my blog about adjusting My Fitness Pal to allow for more calories to support my workouts, and I took some time off to rest. I have also been easing up on being so ‘rigid’ and enjoying ‘treats’ in moderation (like the Starbucks Christmas Cake Pop). I think that I am much less likely to obsess over these foods if I allow myself to eat them in moderation, savouring them, and without guilt. It goes back to letting go of that all or nothing thinking again. I also registered for a ‘Sugar Sense‘ seminar next week to help me figure out these sugar cravings and how to make healthy ‘treats’.
We are all struggling in one way or another. We have different paths to follow and are at different stages on this weight loss and health journey. But at the end of the day we all want to be loved, to love ourselves, to feel good and to be happy. Here’s to finding our way!