Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Near Binge Experience

Until yesterday, I had gone nearly a month without feeling the urge to binge. In fact, I had nearly forgotten what that urge felt like, and I had thought, once again, that I had turned a corner and moved past my terrible habit of binge eating.

And then yesterday happened.

It actually started on Sunday afternoon. I woke up on Sunday with a mild hangover, the kind you get when you drink several cups of a mysterious punch and stay up until 5:30am, hanging out with random people. I woke up lazily, feeling kind of good (despite the hangover) because the previous night's party had been a success and it was the weekend, and I could waste away the entire day. My friend and I went to brunch and I ended up ordering a burger and fries because it was (a) cheap, (b) reliable, and (c) filling. It was supposed to be my last supper, so to speak, before I spent the rest of the day sleeping and watching Gilmore Girls. But oddly after that very greasy and filling meal, I still got hungry at around 6pm (say what??) and so I made a light dinner of cottage cheese, strawberries, and a warmed piece of flat bread. But then after that meal, I still had a sweet tooth so I allowed myself a skinny cow ice cream sandwich.

So far so good. But then my friend invited me to the movies and she got hungry on the way and wanted to stop at Burger King. I was oddly still hungry, so I decided to splurge with a medium fries and a medium strawberry milkshake. It was delicious, and I didn't feel that guilty. I figured that everyone occasionally has days like this, and it was okay. It wasn't a binge, it was just a splurge. No big deal.

Then came yesterday. I woke up with a starving stomach and a slightly guilty conscience from the previous night's splurge. (I also woke up and realized it was TOM.) So I ate my breakfast early and hoped my hunger would abate. It didn't. I ate my lunch, a flatbread chicken sandwich with popcorn on the side, but my stomach still wanted more. So after work, I rushed home and literally poured an entire bag of frozen broccoli in a casserole dish with a bunch of seasonings and some EVOO. I also heated up some chickpeas and a small chicken breast. I ate my huge plate of food, but was I satisfied? No. So I ate my last remaining skinny cow ice cream sandwich, and waited for my stomach to alert me that I was very full.

It never came.

At that point, I was feeling kind of bad about myself. My weight had been up three pounds that morning, the guy I am dating had failed to call, I had no money, my apartment was a mess, etc...I had all the reasons in the world to binge. I thought about running to the store and grabbing a container of ice cream, a box of cookies, etc..It would have been so easy.

But then it hit me--just because I felt the urge to binge didn't mean I had to be a "binger." Plenty of people (I'm sure) feel this way from time to time, but the difference between them and me is that they don't necessarily follow all of their impulses. And I realized that my desire to binge doesn't make me a weak person or a bad person. It's what I do with that desire that defines me as a person. And I chose not to binge.

I chose not eat until I felt sick. I chose not to waste my limited money on junk food. I chose not to feel bad about my body and sabotage my weight loss.

You know, I've always thought I was a healthier and stronger person when I simply didn't feel the slightest urge to binge. And I felt bad about myself when I did feel the urge, as if simply having the urge made me a bad person. But yesterday, I realized that actions are what define you--not necessarily urges. And that making the right choice, despite your impulses, is perhaps more important than when you easily make the right decision.

Do any of you struggle with binge eating? Do you agree with the sentiment that actions are more defining than the impulses you feel?


  1. This is so right on, Katie! I still struggle with binge-eating from time to time. Like with smoking, I'm just one puff away from being a pack-a-day smoker again; I feel as if I'm just one snack cake away from being a binge-eater again. :-(

    The difference is that I choose to stop before a binge, or even mid-binge (even harder!!!!) and before WW, I never stopped to think about "why".

    And yes, I consider that an improvement! I'm proud of you for saying "no" to the binge, even when it was so tempting to give in.

  2. Great post, Katie! I do think it's what you DO that defines you, not what goes on in your head. I definitely still struggle with binge eating, and its weird to think about how far I've come in my journey but how binging is just around the corner for me, so to speak. Last night I had a major episode even though I was doing everything "right" by stocking up my kitchen with healthy food, meal planning, etc. I'm proud of you! =)

  3. I think self-control exerted in any manner gets easier each time you practice it. By resisting a binge, it may make it easier the next time it rolls around. Practicing self-control is probably my biggest struggle that I continue to battle with even after hitting my weight loss goal and having maintained for over a year.