Weighty Matters

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Old Habits Die Hard

on February 21, 2012

One of my worst old habits is my compulsive behavior over food.  See it, want it, eat it — think about it after, when it’s too late.  On my worst days of binging, I could plow through a pizza — inhale a few entire slices and then keep going back to pick off the cheese and toppings on other slices.  Finish that off with several guzzles of regular soda until I was so full that it’s surprising my body didn’t burst.

I would chow down so quickly that I wasn’t even fully aware of what I was doing and certainly didn’t know whether I was truly hungry for more, more more.

I’m working very hard on changing this destructive eating but I still slip a little here and there.  Last night, I went to the supermarket to buy some of the foods that I’m permitted to have while on this stage of my recovery.  While in the store, I caught the unbelievable, mouth-watering aroma of something wafting from the appetizer/deli/prepared food area.  I swear, it’s like I was compelled to buy just one piece and take it home.  Even though I knew that this was not a good idea and that my system would not tolerate it well, I munched and munched.  It wasn’t a large quantity — large quantities are not possible — but it was a harsh, fattier food that I ate far too rapidly, without thinking about how my stomach would react, or without caring.

Within minutes, I felt my stomach ache as a result.  On top of that, I had very little room for the healthier, protein enriched dinner that I needed.  This was a double screw up on my part.

It was also a valuable lesson.  I’m going to remember how awful I felt and how I had to fight back the nausea.  The next time that I’m tempted to repeat an old compulsive habit, I want to recall the experience and stop myself before I act.

A friend of mine who had gastric bypass surgery a few years ago warned me that I would experience times when my head would tell me I wanted to eat something I shouldn’t, or consume more than I can handle with my smaller stomach.  “Don’t be surprised if you overdo and the food comes right back up again,” she said.  Although this experience didn’t go quite that far, it was on the edge.

“You’ll only do that a couple of times before you retrain yourself.  It’s not worth it,” she added.

She’s so right.  I don’t care how great something tastes in the moment, it isn’t worth the uncomfortable results.  I’m determined to not only kill the old habit, but bury it so deep that it doesn’t come back to get me again.

2 responses to “Old Habits Die Hard

  1. pinkpelican says:

    One of the things I am training myself to do is throw away things that don’t taste as good as they used to. I made brownies for work (we had a luncheon), and had a very small one an hour or so after lunch. After two small bites, I realized it didn’t taste all that good. The chocolate flavor was a bit off. I still had 2/3 of it left, & I was about to take another bite when I realized what I was doing. “Doofus,” I said to myself. “You don’t really like it. Why are you about to consume the extra calories when you won’t even enjoy the experience?” And I tossed it in the trash.

    My doctor told me that tastes might change. There’s been nothing huge (nope, still don’t like yoghurt), but there have been subtle changes. My tolerance for sweet is difference — I’m not so much for the candy bars anymore, for example. I test things to see what has changed and what hasn’t, and when I find I don’t care for something as much as I used to, sometimes it takes a while for the reality of that to register on an emotional level.

    Being aware is the most important thing I’m learning. That “eat slow & put the fork down between bites” thing the surgeons hammer into you? That’s one of the best tools to use, because it lets the brain catch up with the emotions. That has saved me more than once.

    Hate that overfull nausea thing. I am managing not to hit that limit very often, but sometimes … blarg.

  2. lunarmom says:

    I truly hope this experience helps to retrain your brain Mary! I am the Queen of Compulsive Eating. Commercials and deli smells kill me too. I’ve blogged, journaled, stressed, and even researched about this behaviour, all with very little progress. SOME progress, but not a bunch. Part of what keeps me feeling positve though, is that now I RECOGNIZE it all. Which, for me, was massively helpful. Even though there are times (!!!) that I can’t control it, I DO know that it’s happening.

    Good luck, much much much good luck.

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