My Binge Eating Disorder (BED) has been the most intimate relationship in my life for over two decades (sorry Smitty), so I am a little nervous to let it go. It has been a huge part of my identity and my life. It has taken up more time and energy than anything else in my 40+ years and I don’t want to believe that it was all for nothing.
It has always been a love/hate relationship, but in the past there has been more love than hate. So even with all the horrible self-hatred and negative feelings after a binge, the relief I got from it was still enough for me to continue the cycle.
The good out-weighed the bad, the love out-weighed the hate.
One of the reasons I think that it worked so well is that I never really liked myself. On a scale from 1-10 with 1 being hate and 10 being love, I was always hovering around a 3-4 so when I was hating and angry with myself, telling myself how weak and undisciplined I was from the binge, I only went from a 3 to a 1…not a big difference. I just loathed myself a little less. I have spent the past 10 years working on loving myself. And now that I do, I am consistently hovering between a 7 and 8, so now when I binge and hate myself at a 1 after, and make a jump from 1-7, the slide is very extreme and not making it worth the binge.
Plus I am not getting as much satisfaction as I used to out of the actual binge. It doesn’t taste as good, it’s not relieving my anxiety or dulling my pain as well as it used to-which is pretty scary because it used to be my go to, my trusty friend, my sunshine on a cloudy day.
One time I was talking w my friend Tara about bingeing and she said “It’s like the law of diminishing returns. Like the first bite is amazing, by the 2nd you aren’t even tasting the food. After you get to like 20 bites, there is nothing left.”
Obviously Tara doesn’t have BED, as you know (and if you are still reading this you DO know, otherwise you wouldn’t be interested in this at all) we don’t binge for taste, but she has a great point in that this IS the law of diminishing returns, not on taste, but how we expect the food to make us feel.
10 years ago, a binge made me feel calm and euphoric. It gave me a high, relieved pressure and anxiety, and was something I actually looked forward to. Even 5 years ago I was still getting all I wanted out of my binge, I was just a little more picky about what I binged on…to make sure it was worth the results. In the past few years, I have still been bingeing, but plan them very meticulously to make sure I have the exact food I want at the time I want it to get the most out of my binge. Progress right?
But even with all my careful planning, it’s just not doing for me what I want it to. I am not sure why. It has been microscopic diminishes over the past few years that suddenly compounded and showed up today as a wasted, pointless binge.
Here is how it went down…
I was planning a future binge. I was going to the movies in a couple hours and I love bingeing at the movies. Dark theaters to hide the shame, the delicious smell of stale popcorn filling the air, and an exciting plot to make up for any residual negative feelings I had by the time the movie ended. I thought about it all day…if I could have ANYTHING for the movies, what would it be?? So I picked my binge food, brought it home, the movie started in a couple hours, I was all set.
Well I came home a little too tired and a little too hungry, with a busy week ahead and an overwhelming big trip coming up. I decided to have a little bit now and will eat the rest during the movie. Um yeah…BED doesn’t really work that way. I (of course) ended up eating the entire thing. UGH!!! It’s not that I was overly full or overly mad at myself, but I didn’t even feel good after. Normally after a binge I feel amazing…if only for an instant before the shit hits the fan, but I didn’t even get my moment of calm before the storm. So it got me thinking about HOW this is serving me now…and what I noticed is that it was kind of boring and a waste of 2,000 calories and $15.
So I got in the shower to get ready for the movie, and the shower felt INCREDIBLE. It was hot and comforting, and nourishing. It made me feel loved and a sense of calm and peace washed over me when I let the hot clean water fall on my face. That shower to me felt 100 times better than the binge did, that has never happened before. And at that moment, as I was feeling gratitude for that shower and gratitude for my life, I got the crazy notion that it may be time to let go of my BED for good.
I have said it a million times, we all have, but I never had a reason. I just always told myself I HAD to stop because I hated the way it made me feel after the initial high and my stomach would be upset, then I would get anxious about how I was going to get rid of all those calories, which led to either restricting calories or lots of exercise, both making me tired and wanting to binge. Sounds like a downward spiral when I read what I just wrote, but for years, it was just my normal way of living.
But this time feels different. I am not getting what I used to get out of my binges. They are no longer serving me as they did in the past. It’s like a relationship where you stop getting what you need out of it.
When you aren’t feeling love, you aren’t feeling the passion, and you aren’t getting the comfort of the other person, then there is no point in staying in the relationship, right?? So why would I continue to stay in a behavioral pattern that no longer served me?
I’m not promising that it’s never going to happen again, but I feel really calm, clear, and certain about my decision. I am excited and nervous all at the same time. I am open to what happens next and to see what I can create with all this new found time and energy I will have in my life!
I would love to hear about your experiences. This is new for me, this is huge for me. Please please share!!! We are all in this together.