Friday, October 29, 2010

It happened one night...a full-blown binge

It's strange how the harder I try to be "good", and the more I focus on thinking about always doing the right thing with food and exercise, the more obsessed I become with the idea of binging.

Yesterday was the culmination of weeks of work stress. There was some marriage stress mixed in there too but I think we've worked through that and are back on pretty solid ground. Things are winding down at work too, finally there's a feeling of calm after weeks and weeks of intense pressure to work faster and harder, along with major stress.

So what the hell happened? I don't really know how to explain it other than something just came over me. I've been feeling really hungry lately, but eating very clean, very healthy. Maybe my portions have sometimes been a little on the large side, but I haven't been gaining weight, just holding steady in the the 174-175 range. Not at all where I want to be (135).

I shop at a Northwest grocery store, Fred Meyers. It's a large grocery store, sort of a one-stop shopping kind of place. For the last couple of months they've had a big display of caramel frosted yellow cake sitting right by the check-out area. You have to pass it to get in line to check out your groceries. You can't miss this huge display of cake.

I have a thing for caramel. I love it. Anything caramel, it's my favorite. I don't really care for chocolate, but I'm in heaven with caramel. I also love yellow cake, hate chocolate cake. So this was a dangerous combination for me. Thick caramel frosting covering a tall two-layer yellow cake.

You can buy the cake in a package of two big slices, or 1/2 of the cake, or the entire cake. Every week I would look at this cake and think, no way! Poison for sure. I pass by it and head down the ice cream aisle to buy my sugar-free Skinny Cow sandwiches or the Weight Watcher fudge bars or the Dryers fruit bars (Pomegranate - 70 calories each). Week after week for at least two months.

Then yesterday happened. It was Halloween at work since most people work from home on Friday. I dressed up as a vampire in a very uncomfortable wig and lots of makeup (I'm doing it again this weekend so I'll post pictures). By mid-afternoon I felt kind of sick. The giant wig was hot, the hair from the wig was in my face all day and the makeup was itchy. I had only eaten my healthy lunch. I didn't touch the Halloween desserts or candy. I finally called it quits at 3pm and headed home.

On my way home I thought about that caramel cake. I thought about going home, ripping off the costume and washing my face and heading back to the store. I also thought about listening to Geneen Roth's "What to do in the middle of binge" CD that was sitting right there in the seat next to me in my car. I made the conscious decision that I just flat out didn't care. To hell with the diet and Geneen Roth (sorry's nothing personal).

I did exactly what I had planned. When I got home I changed clothes, washed off all the makeup and headed to Fred Meyers. I bought an entire caramel cake, three pints of Häagen-Dazs, a dozen bakery sugar cookies with pink frosting and a package of vanilla doublestuff Oreos, along with a gallon of 1% milk.

I ate 1/3 of the cake. The frosting was so sweet it literally hurt my teeth and it made my stomach hurt. I also ate one pint of the Häagen-Dazs. I had a miserable night. Of course, I ate all of this before my husband got home and I hid the remains. I tossed and turned all night. I had horrible night sweats, something I haven't had in weeks.

I broke every one of Geneen Roth's eating guidelines. Again, I just didn't care.

This morning was filled with regrets, but I got up and got myself to the gym for forty minutes of cardio. I'm heading back at noon for 40 minutes of strength.

When I came home from the gym I took the remaining caramel cake, the unopened Oreos and pink-iced sugar cookies, tore open the packages and dumped everything into a garbage bag. Then I cleaned the cat's litter box dumping the dirty litter on top of the food. I know that's really disgusting, but I've been known to pull things out of the garbage. The contents of the two remaining unopened Häagen-Dazs containers are now down the garbage disposal.

I just don't know how I feel about this whole thing. Why did I do that? It made me feel awful. Guilty. Sad. It didn't make anything in my life better. The entire time I was doing it I knew exactly what I was doing.

I haven't done anything that extreme for a very long time. Maybe even over a year or more. I've had a pint of ice cream a few times, but I haven't purchased a cake with the intention of eating the entire thing, along with two packages of cookies and three pints of ice cream. What the hell was I thinking? Was I even thinking anything?

I guess the difference between yesterday and my past full-blown binges is that I didn't actually eat the entire cake or the any of the cookies or all of the ice cream. In my past I would have continued the binge into today until every morsel was gone. I also would NOT have gone to the gym after a night of binging.

Maybe I have changed. Maybe I will be okay. It's just surprising to me how easily I can fall back into old, bad habits. It's disturbing that I seemed to be completely out of control yesterday.

Even though I've come a long way, I still have a long way to go...


bbubblyb said...

Well it's clear something else is going on Diana. It sure isn't about the food because deep down you don't want it. It's about the emotions that you want to stuff. Of course you know all this and don't need anyone telling you. My suggestion is go back to therapy or if you didn't like that lady someone else. I really think you need someone to talk to about things in your life. I'm here too if you want to talk. *hugs*

Roxie said...

I vote for giving yourself a bit of a break. Expecting perfection only leads to guilt, sadness, shame, whatever. It happened. It doesn't happen as frequently as it has in the past. Who knows if it will ever happen again? Maybe never. I wouldn't frame this as being back in old habits. If say five years ago (or whenever it was you were at your "worst" for bingeing - if you could have told yourself "You know, in five years, I will be so much healthier and so much better that I will only binge once a year!" - How would that have made you feel at that time?

It happened. It's over. It's just some extra calories. Unless it REALLY becomes a habit, let it go and give yourself a break.

Ron said...

It was just one evening.. one day.... now your back on track right ? I have ice cream binges, but once I switched over to Fat Free ice cream, more than one cup.... gives me great stomach pains... so buying the FF has solved my problem.

Grace said...

That's one reason I don't shop at FM. They always have binge-y food near the check out. And I love anything caramel, too. Just your describing the cake is making me want some. :)

Don't feel guilty or sad. Consider this a learning experience. Maybe if you had "given in" earlier to just buying the 2 slice container, eating one or even both slices and really enjoying it, it wouldn't have turned into a binge. I really believe that it's when we deny ourselves something we really want that it makes us crazy or compulsive.

And yes, you have come a long ways. We'll never be perfect, but we can be better.

Helen said...

What if you had given yourself permission for the last three months to have a piece of that damn cake?

I said it the other day on my blog and I'll say it again: "When you bring something into the light doesn't own you anymore."

Other than that, Dawn hit the nail on the head. It's not about the cake, caramel or otherwise.