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The Anatomy Of A Stress Binge Waiting To Happen

Picture 2I woke up at 3:30am yesterday to do all of the shit I needed to do before boot camp. I don’t use an alarm, my body just knows, Shit needs to get done and I wake up accordingly.

I sent loads of emails, wrote a blog entry, did some laundry and unloaded the dishwasher.

I spent the majority of boot camp and the time getting everyone ready for the day thinking, This is going to be a super-stressful week. I have a lot of shit that needs to get done.

This is how it starts: An overwhelming sense of anxiety and dread.

I ate my typical breakfast sandwich and wanted a sweet follow-up. I opted for a quick snack of cookies and didn’t feel too guilty as I was still under my goal for breakfast.

But then…on the commute to work/school…my mind started spinning out of control, anxiety overtaking me, and all I could think was, Where do I get my next edible goodness to calm me down? I had also thought about what a difference CBD, like the products from DrugScience.org, could have made to managing my anxiety, if I had access to some.

Do I stop at that gas station and buy a granola bar or 12?

No.

What about a cinnamon sugar bagel at Breuggers?

No.

McDonald’s! Lots of things from McDonald’s will work!

No.

Basically, I just kept one part of me strong enough to say, “No.” Not, “No! No binging at all!” Just, “No.”

I couldn’t think big picture, I couldn’t convince myself NOT to binge, because that was all I wanted and 85% of my brain was looking for the next snack. Instead of trying to conquer that 85%, I just tried to say, “No” to each encounter. One at a time.

Then I got to work. There’s always TONS of snacks at work, this would be a harder challenge.

I just said, “No.” and sat at my desk. And then I didn’t let myself get up again.

Basically? It boiled down to saying, “No!” one decision at a time. I said, “No!” to the gas station, and then to Breuggers, and then to McDonalds. But I didn’t say, “No!” to binging all together.

See? I’m in that sweet spot right now where you start a new diet/eating plan and it’s working for you. (They ALL work in the beginning.) And I know how this usually goes, 2-3 successful weeks in and I have one bad day and then there’s weeks and weeks of binging until I’ve put back on all of the weight I lost before.

This morning I tried not to think of that. I tried to just think one decision at a time.

And then, at lunch, I had to deal with it all again. And while I wasn’t entirely successful (I ended up with 3 extra “sweet” snacks after my meal) it wasn’t a failure either because I had made it past the hard cycle from the morning. And I still wasn’t over my calorie limit for the day.

See? A day is “bad” once I go “over” for the day. And then? The spiral downhill starts with one “over” and then the day goes to pot. Instead of 100 or 200 calories over, I go 2000 over. THIS IS NOT AN EXAGGERATION. So, my goal? Was one step at a time. Deal with the anxiety one decision at a time. And try to keep the “bad” decisions under control. Two yogurts are better than a candy bar. Dealing with anxiety can be such a draining and mind consuming emotion, I know some friends who use a marijuana strain like ghost bubba to help them through their bad days, it apparently calms them down. I have a lot to think about regarding CBD and marijuana, it might be something I’ll have to go for if my anxiety doesn’t calm down in other ways.

Long story short? I made it. I got to dinner time and I didn’t really have “enough” calories for dinner yet. But I knew, “If I go over, my anxiety will take it to the bag of candy on the counter.” I did my evening working, ate dinner, and finally closed out the day of calories on my fitness tracker. I took a deep breath and thought…Holy Shit. I did it.

I don’t know if I’ve ever done that before. Ever made it through such an anxiety-filled day and coped without eating. Now, I never really calmed down, my anxiety made me freakin’ insane all day without the food to negate it, but I didn’t binge. I didn’t turn to food for comfort.

Am I cured? HELL NO. But making it one day? One decision at a time? Is a huge step for me. It made me feel like maybe – JUST MAYBE – it is possible to break my emotional dependency on food. One decision at a time.

9 thoughts on “The Anatomy Of A Stress Binge Waiting To Happen”

  1. Awesome for you!

    That is the only way I get anything done. One decision at a time. Every opportunity is a chance to make a good choice. And one bad choice (because they happen) does not discount all past good choices, or derail all future ones.

    It does get a bit exhausting, to keep having that internal dialogue, but so is spiralling out of control.

    Keep on keepin’ on Zoot! You can do it!

  2. I so get this. Totally. And I’m the same way (though I tend to lean toward chips and cheesies…)
    I have this quote in my journal. It’s from Eat.Pray.Love – and I try to remember it will be okay.

    “I’m so tired of saying no, and waking up in the morning and recalling everything I ate the day before – counting every calorie I consumed so I know exactly how much self-loathing to take into the shower. I’m going for it. I have no interest in being obese, I’m just through with the guilt. So, here’s what we’re going to do: we’re going to finish this pizza, and tomorrow, we’re going to buy ourselves some bigger jeans.”

  3. Go Zoot! And next time it may be easier because you’ve done it before. Doing something for the first time is always the hardest for me.

  4. So happy for you!!! You definitely do have to take it one day at a time. Here is what is helping me prevent binging when I’ll i really want to do is get McDonalds. This may not work for you but could help…
    – breakfast of eggs ( i like mine sunny side up) and a piece of toast. Eggs are awesome and really keep me full throughout the morning.
    – fruit around all the time (even in the purse). If I’m going to binge, let it be on apples, clementines and bananas.
    – water, vitamin water, and coffee (have either one of them in my hand at all times!)
    -gum. Sometimes I really think it’s the chewing that calms my anxiety down. I go through packs of sugar free gum like crazy
    -At night, i like the low sugar oatmeal packets for a snack if I really need something. It’s only 120 calories and makes you so full.
    -Wine. It calms me down at night to have a glass and watch TV rather than eating for hours.
    I also see a therapist and a psychiatrist. It’s not fun, and it’s expensive, but I think it’s helping.

  5. This is the same way it is for me & smoking. I just have to say NO and move on. And then say NO again 2 minutes later (or 2 weeks later). It’s HARD, but working for me right now.

  6. YAY! I find that when I try to give something up (currently trying to cut down on the soda) that as soon as something goes wrong (I’m tired, I have a headache, I’m cranky, I’m hungry , whatever) that the first thing my mind jumps to is HAVE THE FORBIDDEN THING. Even if I don’t actually want it. Even though I know that if I give in and buy that soda that it won’t even taste very good. Some days I can just keep saying no. Other days, not so much. It’s like the battle is over before it even starts. Or I’ll think “Well, I won’t have that soda now so I can have cookies later.” (Wait, what? Like THAT makes sense!). I do find that holding out as long as possible makes it better though. If I’m grabbing a cookie before lunch, then it’ll still be 2-3 cookies after lunch. Instead of just 2 cookies after lunch.

    I find the best trick for eating at work is self sabotage. I only bring 1-2 cookies. I do not keep cash/change on hand which means nothing from the vending machine. So if I want a soda/snack, I have to leave the office, drive to Walgreens, buy it and run back. And I’m super self conscious about leaving in the middle of the afternoon. So…fear of public shaming keeps me from snacking? It works.

  7. From one comfort eater to the next, I say BRAVO!!!! I’m also sitting at my desk right now trying not to go to the office next door for a cookie. Your post this morning is very timely, Thanks.

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