Weighty Matters

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Truths that Should be Self-Evident

on April 3, 2012

It’s time for a reality self-check.  I’ve been doing great, even to the point where most of my food choices are automatic and stress-free.  I feel terrific. My check-ups at my doctors are excellent.  I am consistently happy and excited about every day ahead of me in my future.

I realized today, however, that I do still need to remind myself of certain realities.   Even with a miniscule stomach post-surgery, I still have an eating disorder.  I am still a compulsive overeater.  There is no cure for this disorder.  Just like there’s no real cure for alcoholism or drug addiction, I will always be a compulsive overeater.  All of my hard work on my mind and emotions, the drastic step of cutting out most of my stomach — these things are tools to help me recover from the behavior of compulsive overeating.

I cannot fool myself into thinking I’m cured and will never eat compulsively again.  That mindset will lead me into trouble and relapse.  The sleeve gastrectomy might be my most effective tool ever, but it isn’t a fix.  I still need to prep, plan and guard against inappropriate use of food.

What lead to this post today?  Simple.  I went to the health food store to get additional vitamins and another container of the protein powder I like.  I browsed the aisles of organic, natural, healthy food and happened upon the chocolate selection.

I love chocolate.

I can have chocolate, but like every other food, only in very small portions.   “No problem,” I told myself.  I can buy this entire bar and only eat a single square.  Nothing to it!”

I was right.  I could eat a single square, savoring the lovely chocolate flavor as it melted in my mouth.  A single square — what restraint.

It lasted about ten minutes and then I went back for my next single square and, several minutes later, my third.  In short, I compulsively returned to my chocolate bar and ate two more servings than planned.  Luckily, I successfully put on the brakes before I polished off the entire bar and made myself sick.

Yes.  I am still a compulsive overeater and always will be.  That is a truth that needs to always be self-evident.

So, what could I have done differently?  What can I do so that I don’t repeat this behavior but still give myself permission to enjoy the occasional small piece of chocolate?  First thing, the chocolate bar gets stored in the fridge.  It was just too easy today to reach into my desk drawer and gobble down another square.  It is more difficult to be compulsive when I have to get up out of my chair, leave my office and walk to the building’s kitchen, reach in, open the bar and break off another piece.  Secondly, I can limit my purchases to a single piece and not buy the bigger bar in the first place.   So, there you go.  Two possible strategies I can employ.  I feel better for having worked through this and I am definitely not beating myself up about the extra chocolate.  Progress not perfection and I already feel back on track.

When I look back on the day, I embrace the experience as a valuable reminder and good lesson.  Above all, I’m grateful for the clarity with which I examined my behavior and processed it.  That’s a huge improvement and I really am better and healthier as a result.



5 responses to “Truths that Should be Self-Evident

  1. londonmabel says:

    My new fave book is Mindsight–written by a psychiatrist/therapist about how the brain works, and how it can be changed. It’s not specifically about addiction, but you might want to check it out. Super interesting, and gives you hope that maybe we’re more changeable than we think! The first thing he recommends to all his patients is meditating, so I’ve been trying to integrate it into my life. 🙂

  2. kellig says:

    maybe you could take that one piece of chocolate and break or cut into two pieces. and savor each one slowly and one at a time. the one piece is then two, so maybe psychologically your brain will accept that as two pieces?

    I worked at winchell’s donut house when i was 16. i was a pudgy kid, loved sweets. i worked the late shift of course,because i was still in high school. the donut holes… satan. one morning at work i squatted down to get some donuts off the bottom shelf, for a customer, and ripped out the ass end of my pants. that was the end of that job, lol.

  3. pinkpelican says:

    Good for you!

  4. lunarmom says:

    Wow. That is seriously impressive.

    And oh, hell yeah. I know EXACTLY what you mean.

    Karen, Nabisco? Yikes.

  5. Oh yeah, the call of the chocolate. “Eeeaaattt meeeee, you know you want tooooooo, eeeeaaaatt meeeee!” DH used to work at Nabisco’s headquarters and he, who never had an eating problem in his life, would talk about how there would be open boxes of cookies lying around, and by open I mean the entire package ripped apart open, and those cookies just lay there all helpless begging to be eaten. Never ever will I work there.

    Good on you for working through the whole compulsion and figuring out how to stop it and keep it from happening again. I continue to be so amazed and impressed with your journey.

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