October 30, 2003

binge week

Ive been working to lose weight since the beginning of July. Theres no graceful phrase for the task, is there? Its not a diet but a change in mindset and action. And weight loss isnt the only goal but its the most concrete one. Its a convenient shorthand but one that implies Im in it for the short term lose weight, be done with the thing, go back to pigging out. Ill be damned if I know what to call it. Getting in shape, getting fit? That sounds so politically correct, sugar-coating (aspartame-coating?) the true intent. So losing weight will have to do for now.

Anyway. Ive been working on this project of self and body (better? not so much? worse, even? damn) for four months now. Ive had some hiccups along the way, some I cant do it! moments, some I hate this! pissy fits, some poor fat old me, my body doesnt do what I want pity fests. But mostly its been going well. Bit by bit I get more fit, have more stamina, more endorphins and healthier skin, my clothes fit better and smaller clothes fit again. All that good stuff. And Ive stayed on the eating plan: counting my Weight Watchers points, measuring portion sizes, writing everything down, eating more veggies and a lot more fruit, switching to whole grain, changing my snack habits and even enjoying (pared down) expansive weekend dinners, inordinately proud of myself and my wondrous self-control. I was obnoxiously smug, in fact.

Until last week.

I dont know what triggered it. A combination of stress and exhaustion, I think. And no, it wasnt PMS. But I wanted to eat everything in sight. I felt like I absolutely had to put things in my mouth whether or not I was hungry, even if Id eaten ten minutes earlier, had to stuff my mouth my throat coat my stomach with FOOD. Comforting starchy sweet crunchy salty FOOD.

At least I was careful about it. I chose Pria bars, Asian pears, melon, lowfat chocolate cookies (4 small ones for a single WW point), nonfat chocolate sorbet bars (2 points apiece), Wasa crackers and rice cakes out the wazoo. And I wrote every single thing down in my food journal, wincing as I did, adding up the count and wincing again. And every night, Id say to myself, What the hell was that about? And Shit, my flex points are almost gone. And I refuse to do that again tomorrow. But every day I did it again. Compulsively.

I hated the way it made me feel, like I was waterlogged and squishing with it. Hated what it was doing to my self-confidence, my heretofore absolute knowledge that I was going to get to my goal weight and be so deliriously happy with it. For the first time this go-round, I thought I might fall off the weight loss wagon, lose my willpower and give in to whatever demon inside me craved more-more-ever-more. Ive had this kind of insane-craving binge week before but since I wasnt working consciously to be healthy/lose weight, it just made me feel fat and slothful instead of precipitating the kind of flat-out fear I felt last week.

I had to change something. So I did. I talked out my stress with Dan and he helped me feel better about life stuff. So did my mom. I took naps and got to bed a bit earlier. I wrote some on my novel but let myself off the hook regarding page counts and forward progress. I took an entire morning off to read a good book and take a bath in Epsom salts. I brought the boom box into the bathroom, put on a plinky plunky New Age CD, and made the water as hot as I could stand. I cant remember the last time I did that. It felt amazing. Such luxury. A stolen morning.

That one bath broke the binge cycle.

The first day I ate normally breakfast, a single snack when I got hungry, a sensible lunch and no snack till I got hungry again that sort of a day a wait until you feel your stomach talk back to you before heading to the fridge day, the first day that happened, I felt like crying. I was finally back in control.

I didnt know how much this mattered to me until I almost lost my way. I still dont even know why it happened. But I do know now that I can stumble and get back up. That insane cravings, so-called emotional eating episodes, can last days but they do end. That I have the tools to make it so.

This is a good thing to know.

Posted by Tamar at October 30, 2003 09:28 PM

I love you.

But in the amen-sister kind of way, not the crazy-stalker-random-comments-sell-me-a-lock-of-hair love that could be inferred.

No, really, I do.

Posted by: Kat at November 1, 2003 10:35 AM

Nice thing about having a blog I like? You can't be a crazed stalker person. Not unless you post a quadrillion times in an hour. I think you're safe.

And thanks.

Posted by: Tamar at November 3, 2003 10:36 PM