Been busy, but I’m back

Wow, it’s been ages since my last post.

The time has flown; it’s been a busy few weeks. I can’t believe we’re so close to Christmas.

The last month has been good. I’ve had some really fun events with family and friends. And my work is going really well.

But that’s not really what I wanted to write about.

I wanted to write about health and bingeing and all the other things I always focus on. The bingeing has been okay, not fantastic but certainly not that bad. I’ve started to think about my bingeing habits as low level and high level. I define high level as that totally out of control, will eat anything around teamed with extreme negative thoughts. Even though it is about it being a large amount of food, it’s more about how out of control I feel.

I haven’t had any high level binges in more than a month. That’s a good thing and I’m proud of myself for that.

But my low level bingeing is still there. Maybe some people would say that I’m not bingeing that I’m just overeating. But I know that it’s bingeing. Sometimes it’s like I don’t think about what I’m doing. These binges typically go the same way. I’m usually at the supermarket, I might be walking around with a basket or a trolley and I go down the confectionary or snack aisle and mindlessly through a couple of things in the trolley. I still look at what I throw in. I check out what is on sale. But I never stop and think (like I always say I will). I don’t know what it is. Sometimes I know that I do the thing that I should never do – go shopping when I’m hungry. But that’s not always the reason.

I always tell myself that that will be the last time. But it’s not. I do it a couple of times a week.

So these low level binges then end up with me at home, sometimes wanting the binge food and sometimes not. But I already have it at home so I eat it. Sometimes I will polish off a large packet of chips, or a chocolate block (usually the Lindt ones, so they are big, but actually only a bit bigger than a Cadbury individual chocolate block….man, I sound like I am justifying this).

I don’t usually finish things off in one go. But I always start on the food as soon as I get home, but after thinking why did I even buy this stuff?

I get so frustrated in myself.

I’ve been doing this about once a week, sometimes twice a week.

It’s not enough to have caused me to put on weight. Yet. Because I still eat really healthy food for most of the time. But it has made it impossible to lose weight.

I’ve also been struggling with some negative thoughts – maybe it’s the holiday season.

Major stuff up today

The day started off okay. I went out for lunch with friends, had a couple of glasses of wine. Then I stopped at the shops on my way home. I should have just gone straight home, there was nothing I needed to get that couldn’t wait.

I don’t know what came over me. I kept on putting item after item in my shopping basket. Food that I didn’t need: chips, popcorn, chocolate and biscuits.

When I got home I picked at everything, but I didn’t finish anything.

Initially I had this weird excitement, and then when I started eating I just didn’t want it and felt awful. But I kept on picking at it.

It didn’t go as long as some binges. I started with one item. Then would stop. Then I’d start again with the next item.

Even after the first couple of bites I realised I didn’t want it. But I didn’t stop straight away.

I still have the food sitting on my kitchen table. I’ve put it into a plastic bag. I know if I keep it in the house I risk eating it later tonight or tomorrow. I’m going to throw it in the rubbish bin outside.

I feel sick and awful.

Yes

Yesterday was an incredibly stressful day at work. It was demanding and by the end of the day I was totally drained and exhausted. I just wanted to go home and veg on the couch.

Days like that are usually big triggers for bingeing.

But last night not only did I not binge, but bingeing never even popped into my mind.

There was no conscious effort to avoid bingeing….at all.

It was only this morning when I was reflecting on the stress the day before that I realised.

It feels like a win. A big win actually.

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When is a binge a binge?

Last night I got home from working absolutely hanging for a big, delicious green smoothie. So I made a big batch and it was delish. It was also quite filling. Although I had my dinner planned I found that the smoothie filled me up so much, I wasn’t hungry for my dinner. So, trying to listen to my hunger signals better, I didn’t have what I planned for dinner, I just ate something lighter a bit later in the evening.

After that, I was still a bit peckish so I started munching on some dates. I had a small bag with maybe about a dozen in there. I had planned to only have a few of them. But I polished off the whole bag.

The first thing I thought was ‘oh man, I’ve just binged on those dates’.

I’ve done that recently too where I had more of a snack than I planned, or went back for some seconds after dinner.

I always think ‘I’ve binged again’. And with that comes the usual guilt, shame, negativity, etc.

But, wait a second. I think I’m turning into my own worst enemy.

If this was three months ago an actual binge would be a huge bag of potato chips (crisps) and chocolate, biscuits or some junk like that. It would be a real binge, all eaten in the one sitting.

I remember reading somewhere that a binge is defined as “uncontrolled, impulsive, continuous eating, well past the period of feeling full, eating quickly and losing control”.

So, was me eating 12 dates a binge? I think not.

Does anyone else do this? Blur the line between slightly over eating or snacking and bingeing?

Maybe in some ways it’s a good thing that I define this as a binge because I’ll be more aware of it in the future and maybe put a handful of dates in a separate bowl rather than eat out of the bag.

If too many snacks or dinner seconds become “acceptable” (using the term loosely here) then am I at risk of doing more compulsive snacking or overeating and in my mind justifying that it’s okay because I’m not bingeing?

I don’t think there is a right answer. Or if there is I don’t know what it is.

Although the last couple of weeks have not been perfect, they’ve been a lot better than the weeks or months before them. What has made a difference is that I have said to myself that I will not count calories, I will not diet or restrict, I will eat healthy food, I will not binge, if I want chocolate and I really actually want it not just crave the sweetness then I will buy a small amount. I will eat for health and wellness.

 

Overcoming negative thoughts

Today was an okay day. Work was okay. My food intake was pretty good. But I felt down and that led me to feel a bit negative. I don’t know what I felt like that today, but it got me thinking about negative thoughts.

I guess partially this has been put in my head by the Quit Binge Eating podcasts I’ve been listening to. I think it resonates with me a little bit. Maybe it’s because I binge eat? Maybe it’s just human nature to have negative thoughts once in a while? I don’t know.

I’m generally a pretty positive and happy person. When I have my negative or ‘feeling down’ moments they are not overwhelming. I am not depressed, but that’s not what I’m talking about anyway.

It’s those little voices in your head. Today my motivation at work was awful – it took me ages to get through tasks that should have only taken a couple of hours. Usually if I can’t get something done or my motivation is lacking, I drop it and go back to it later. But today I wasn’t motivated to do that. I kept working on the same thing really slowly.

With binge eating when those negative thoughts start they would usually lead me to the fridge or the cupboard. When I got back from work that’s the first thing I did. I stared into the fridge looking for something even though I wasn’t particularly hungry. So I took a breath, shut the fridge and went for a walk. My head is a bit clearer and I feel a bit better, but those nagging thoughts are still there.

It’s hard to describe what I mean by my ‘negative thoughts’. It is not an actual voice that is negative. It is non-specific. It’s just this general feeling of ‘I can’t be bothered’, ‘what’s the point’ or ‘who cares’. I feel good that I was able to get some clarity and not just dive into the fridge. I’ve had moments where I just get home from work and maybe have a glass of wine and eat (whether I binge or not) and my evening is a write-off.

Writing this blog helps too, even though today I feel like I’m a bit all over the place.

So in this blog and in the Brain over Binge book they talk about neural pathways in our brains that lead us to act or think like we have in the past. These neural pathways have been used so much they have a path beaten into them. It’s not that we’re forced to use the path; it’s just what comes natural. I guess it’s like forming new habits. It takes time and for a while it seems unnatural, but eventually it happens if you keep at it.

I’ve been thinking about my negative thoughts and binge eating thoughts with this mind frame. The thoughts are there, but I don’t need to let them take over or affect me.

I decide what is good for me, what I do, how I feel and what I put in my mouth. Even typing that makes me feel better.

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