So I’m gonna write this post a bit differently. First, the TLDR; then, if anyone is interested, they can read my longer explanations and thoughts. It’s cathartic for me to get that stuff off my chest, but at the same time, I feel as if it’s probably not very interesting to most people – so perhaps the take home messages are the most important thing – so here goes.
- Last night, I had another binge. It had probably been two and a half, almost three weeks since the last one, which must be close to an all-time record.
- I’ve forgiven myself completely. It’s OK. It really is. Even people who’ve never suffered from any form of disordered eating overeat sometimes! I had a solid breakfast this morning and don’t feel like I’m going to spiral into a days-long episode of self loathing.
- I’ve been really enjoying the Breaking Up With Binge Eating podcast lately. It’s full of real world experiences and common sense advice, the episodes are not too long, and interestingly it appears that some of the emotional strategies borrow heavily from ACT therapy – I have been reading The Happiness Trap lately (a book on this very subject – link on the Resources page) and found it very helpful, as well as aligning very nicely with Stoicism.
- The latest episode of that podcast, which I listened to on my way to work this morning, happened to outline how a client only recognised their progress in retrospect. That was a really timely reminder for me that I’ve come a long way, and these setbacks will happen – it’s not the end of the world.
Today, despite all the things rattling round in my brain, I continue to move forward. That is my vow.
Now – here’s the long version.
The last few weeks have been generally excellent – I’ve managed to keep my stress under control, feel like I haven’t yelled at my child or my dog in weeks, and my eating has fallen into a pretty regular pattern. It was date night on Saturday night, so the wife and I went out for a restaurant meal which was awesome – and although I still made my choices with health in the back of my mind, I wasn’t super anxious about macros or calories and even enjoyed a decent dessert. To be fair, the dessert was shared with my wife, but that was genuinely out of fullness, not fear. And I still ate a damn lot without feeling any concerns whatsoever.
At home though, I’ve been tending towards low calorie desserts again, mostly out of fear that eating a more ‘normal’ high calorie dessert will trigger off a desire to binge. This feels a little like restriction, which has been concerning me, and perhaps the fear is legitimate given what happened – but I don’t think that it was entirely the dessert that did it this time around.
The thing is, I’ve got a little bit of a minor groin injury, which has been bothering me for a while – yet I still keep squatting. I’ve also had a pretty sore biceps for ages (it started months ago, when I was doing curls almost every gym session) which I self diagnosed as tendinopathy. This has never really got any better, and every time I perform movements which hit the biceps it gets a little angry – then on Thursday last week I did some heavy rows (knowing full well I shouldn’t have) and really made it hurt a lot. This started off a bit of depression and disappointment in myself because I should know better by now, and it’s definitely going to impact on my lifting til it heals. I went in and trained on Saturday as normal, and during that session managed to hurt my back on the leg press (an injury I have experienced before – very painful, but will be right as rain in a couple of weeks). So you can imagine me going out for tea on Saturday night, hobbling round with a sore groin, a very sore back, and an arm that can barely lift anything – I was feeling pretty sorry for myself.
Sensible people would probably take some time out of the gym, but I still trained on Sunday as well. The session went OK, but I guess in the afternoon I was feeling pretty sore and sorry for myself and depression set in. Sunday night happened to be my fortnightly evening alone, when the girls go to visit family without me – I generally enjoy these nights as they’re an opportunity to eat whatever I want in peace and quiet, but unfortunately they all too often turn into hours of obsessing about what to eat, and this was one of those times. It’s a bad recipe, scouring restaurant menus and Facebook food groups trying to decide on a food option for hours at a time, as well as feeling yukky about myself, so this is probably the first problem. Lately, I’ve been very good at letting those thoughts pass and saying ‘worry about dinner at dinner time‘ and not allowing myself to obsess and preplan too much. This time, I failed at that.
Ultimately I decided I wanted a nice takeaway steak sandwich with sweet potato fries – but that’s logistically difficult as I’d have to cook the fries at home – none of the local takeaways do them. I decided to go and buy steak and bread and make it all at home instead – and to many this would be considered a trigger, substituting a ‘healthy’ option for what you really want. However, and I’m sure this isn’t the ED voice talking, deep fried takeaway chips make me feel crap and genuinely aren’t nice/flavoursome enough to me to be worth it, so I don’t know whether I did the wrong thing or not. For better or worse, I made a steak sandwich on sourdough bread, with scotch fillet steak, an egg, full fat (shock horror!) cheese, sweet potato fries and salad. And fuck, was it good. Good enough that I decided to go all out on dessert and have strawberries, blueberries, ice cream, real (not sugar free) chocolate topping and a smattering of M&Ms. And that was bloody good as well. So good, in fact, that it made me want more. So. Much. More.
I typed out all the food I ate here, then decided it might be triggering for some. It was a decent amount, and it was all high calorie dessert type food, but I’ve certainly had much worse binges in the past. And, funny (not really) story – normally I make a cup of tea for the wife every night, and have a decaf or tea myself at the same time. When she got home, I was absolutely stuffed, but still wanted to have a hot chocolate with her tea so I had that, and also ate half a Kit Kat. Because, like, I knew I was extremely bloody full, but it was a limited edition Ruby Kit Kat which I hadn’t tried before and I just wanted it – but I really felt no urge to eat the whole thing. Even that, in itself, is progress – in the past I probably would have just eaten it all. And the Aero bar and the Cherry Ripe that were in the fridge with it.
So here I sit, a day later, reflecting on things. I’m putting this one down simply to the fact that I was sad and in pain, and I let myself obsess about food too long instead of accepting those feelings and letting them pass without acting on them. But having said that – I had a pretty decent night’s sleep and a good breakfast. I’m feeling a little heartburny, but not dreadfully so. Life will go on, these injuries will heal, and I will be a better, stronger person. Next time, I will do better.