Tuesday, May 12, 2009

the binge diaries

A while ago I wrote a post categorizing the different kinds of temptation that are out there (for me at least) and recent events have inspired me to do the same for the different kinds of bingeing I do.  While this is a fairly lighthearted post, I do realize that binge eating is a serious problem, and I'm not trying to disregard that.  Rather, I'm just recognizing my triggers, which tend to be more situational than a specific kind of food.

the Fridge Binge:  You're standing in front of the fridge, fully intending to put together the healthy lunch you planned.  After all, you just got back from the gym: why sabotage yourself? Then you see the leftover pasta from last night.  Can't hurt to have a quick bite, just to hold you over while you assemble your salad, right?  Three bites later, patting yourself on the back for your willpower, you put the pasta back.  But then you see an unidentified container--what might be in there?  Oh right, it's the chicken sausage you made for dinner last week.  Probably still good--it would be a shame to throw it away.  Gulp, gulp.

The deal with the fridge binge is that, in my fridge, there usually isn't a lot of crap.  I'm too smart to have a fridge full of cakes and pizza and other delicacies.  Which is why the fridge binge is SO FREAKING STUPID.  Why waste a quick 300 calories on gross, chilly, halfway expired leftovers?  I know the answer: I do it because I feel like it doesn't count.  A quick bite here and there doesn't feel like cheating, particularly when the bites are relatively healthy foods.  Still, SO FREAKING STUPID.

the Sandwich Binge:  I mentioned this in my last post.  The Sandwich Binge is what you do in between two events you plan to let loose at.  For example, if you have your best friend's wedding one weekend and guests from out of town the next weekend.  While I try to prepare myself to show restraint at some such occasions, there are others where I know I'm going to cheat, and I don't care.  The problem is when you allow that cheat to bleed into the days after, and then pick up a few days ahead of the next cheat.  This is classic Forthright Fattie behavior, and it is SO FREAKING DANGEROUS.  G and I have seen whole summers turn into Sandwich Binge sessions, and I know a lot of my weight gain in the last 4 years has happened on those Sandwich days.  Because by the time you've been "bad" for 8 days in a row, you know you've gained weight, you feel like crap, you convince yourself you've lost all muscle tone and endurance, and stringing together even two days of good behavior feels like a monumental achievement which should be rewarded (with a cheesesteak).  And you're off again!

Conversely, last week I was faced with the Sandwich, but I didn't binge on those in between days.  I got some exercise in, and made good choices.  I still made bad choices on the weekend, but at least I didn't throw away the whole week.  I have a recent, bodily memory of how good it feels to be on track, and I can draw on that memory to get back to the good place.

the Stress Binge:  This one's pretty obvious.  Everything else in your life is going to hell so why not eat a burger?  You don't have time to cook, you didn't get to the store, and the pizza delivery guy is kind of cute anyway.    And it will make you feel good.

I've gotten a little better about avoiding this kind of binge, largely because I am blessed enough to lead a fairly stress-free life.  However, I still face that end-of-semester crunch periodically, and there is always the temptation to just let this one part of your life be easier for the time being.  The trick is remembering that bingeing most certainly does NOT make your life easier.  This is a big one for G--when he's stressed, he's liable to call with a confession that he's eaten a muffin AND a shake AND a sandwich on the way home.  My job at that point is to spring into action--do what I can around the house to relieve him of some his duties, and put a healthy meal on the table, refusing to allow him to sink further.  In other words, if at all possible, when facing the stress binge make other people pick up the slack.

What are your binge patterns?  


  1. I definitely fall for the stress binge which then ends up justifying a complete jump from the wagon; we also get hung up with celebrating with food and drink.

  2. I'm a sucker for the "not feeling well" binge. All it takes is a headache and I'm like a zombie crying for brains. Only instead of brains, I want a cheeseburger.

  3. That stress binge and empty fridge binge gets me. I say I am not gonna do it next time..and oh how quickly we forget.

  4. Thanks for the comments, everyone. It's good to know we all have similar struggles.