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Post 500 – Anything Can Be a Binge Food

on January 5, 2014

I can’t believe that this is the 500th Weighty Matters post! Thank you again for coming here and reading. Whether you comment a lot, a little, or simply lurk, I appreciate you adding your energy to the atmosphere and that you witness my journey. It helps me keep it real.

As you know, I have an eating disorder. My disease is compulsive overeating and binge eating. When I am in the grip of the disorder, I eat without thought, powered by compulsion. I will eat, eat, and eat some more. Binge eating meant I would do this and consume massive quantities of food. I wasn’t bulimic and wouldn’t purge. I’d just eat to the point of being incredibly uncomfortable and stuffed. If the binge mode was really strong, I’d wait until my stomach opened up a little space and then I’d binge some more.

Some folks with eating disorders feel that they need to abstain from certain substances — mostly sugar and/or white flour. I have never made the decision to cut those products out of my life. I’ve had some people argue with me that doing so is absolutely necessary in order to achieve long term recovery and abstinence. I say, while I understand that I’m not terminally unique, I believe that the disease manifests differently in different people. Instead of being addicted to particular products, I was more addicted to volume.

I also 100%, unequivocally, believe that anything can be a binge food. It doesn’t have to be sweets or white flour-based products. Pick a food, any food, and a binge eater could overload on it. You see, it isn’t about the actual food item. The root of the disease is the behavior itself. It’s eating when not hungry and eating more than an appropriate portion. It’s eating food compulsively instead of consuming what was intended. If I needed to binge and all that I had in my house were condiments, I’d probably pile up on ketchup and mayonnaise.

This is important for me to remember. Although my bariatric surgery provided me the fabulous tool of a drastically smaller stomach which limits the volume of food I can eat, it does not safeguard against me eating compulsively. So, recovery for me means abstaining from the compulsive behavior and the binging. Yes, even though the quantity of a post-surgery binge is far smaller, I can still eat more than I should, which makes my smaller stomach uncomfortable. It can even make me purge – which I hate.

There are some trigger foods that I am better off avoiding. I still wouldn’t want to trust myself and my recovery around pizza, unless I’m sharing with a group of friends. While I don’t deny myself the occasional baked goody, it’s better for me to not stock up on a supply in the house, but to purchase a smaller, single item when I really, really want the treat. I’m okay with keeping popping corn around for sometimes, but not so potato chips. This is about setting myself up for success. If I don’t keep binge quantities around, I don’t binge. It’s an almost simple equation.

Managing my food takes practice. It’s still a learning experience for me. Sometimes I do great and sometimes I screw up. Sometimes my disease whispers coaxing little lies to me that I can handle the disease no matter what and it tempts me to bring in larger quantities of potential trouble foods. Other times, my recovery is so strong and my mindset crystal clear enough to say “No” to that little voice.

I win more than I lose these days. My recovery isn’t perfect, but it continues. I’ve never maintained a significant weight loss effort for two years before and I’m only a few weeks away from my surgiversary. I want my awareness to stay strong so that I keep focusing on abandoning the diseased behavior and adopting the new, improved, healthier way of living. If I remember that anything can be a binge food so I need to keep my intent on correcting the behavior, I’ll continue to do well.

3 responses to “Post 500 – Anything Can Be a Binge Food

  1. Hope says:

    Happy 500 to you!

  2. Holly says:

    Glad to be here for you, Mary. Although I have found your posts beneficial to me, I’m sure, as much as for you. My trigger is sugar. Oh, and I am awake at this hour because I gave into my craving. I usuallly can’t sleep very welll after I’ve enjoyed the “high” of the sugar rush. I usually keep candy out of the house but, it was the Holidays so…..why not have a few things on hand in case someone were to drop in. Well, the good news is that the house is empty of any sugary treats (thanks to me)and the Holidays are over. I should be good. I’ve learned by your posts and I use them to improve my way of thinking about food. I had a minor setback but I quickly get back on the healthy road.
    Congratulations on you post #500. Thank you for sharing yourself and your journey with me. It’s so much nicer to travel together than alone.

  3. Skye says:

    Excellent post! When I have binged, it has generally been sugary foods, but it has also been bread or potato chips (and chips really are not a trigger food for me). I’m having to learn to abstain while surrounded by trigger foods: my housemates keep a lot of sugary and salty treats around and my female housemate at least has only one food she eats too much of: granola.

    It’s wonderful how much progress you’ve made and how much confidence you’ve gained regarding your ability to stay strong in the face of your eating disorder. As a friend who’s a recovered alcoholic told me, once an addict, always an addict, so you have to remain vigilant and stay aware of your emotional state. You are managing this beautifully. It’s been an honor and a pleasure to accompany you to 500 posts and i look forward to following you onward.

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