Yesterday, during a moment of frustration at work, I recognized a thought pattern. I caught myself thinking about how it would be nice if I had a bag of jelly beans to eat. I was very much picturing a big bag, brightly colored, nummy nummy. I was kind of surprised by this very specific thought. Although, if I think about it, it's likely been what's running through my head, but I had no awareness of it. Apparently writing down a list of "advantages" to binge eating, and talking about each of them, helped me see that I was seeking out comfort in the form of small sugary rainbow colored candies.
I actually stopped what I was doing, and thought "Oh, Wow." So that is probably good.
I felt myself, all day, still desiring to eat in a way that doesn't serve me. I did ok until I got home. I had planned on making some sort of treat for the following day, to take to work as part of our staff meeting. We have a "rule" where if your birthday is the one close to the meeting you may/should bring a treat in to share. Totally a reasonable thing, and I had originally intended on making an angel food cake and serving it with whipped cream and strawberries. But my motivation to bake an angel food cake at 7 pm was, well, not high. I had everything on hand to make cookies, and I can whip those up fast. So I did.
I ate too much dough, and a few cookies. Although, I did not do as poorly as I normally might. I gotta be honest, my chocolate chip cookies are some of the greatest tasting things known to man, so I don't even have an issue with having SOME of the dough/cookies. But when it became mindless, or habitual, I eventually identified it and did manage to stop. However I paid the price for this. My tummy hurt when I went to bed, and I woke up with that acid reflux/indigestion thing in the middle of the night! I had to take tums to go back to sleep. :(
Tonight is my next session with my therapist, and I think we'll talk more about the list we made on Sunday.
One of the other things we discussed as an "advantage" is self-care. Originally I didn't think this was something I do. When I think of someone who eats for self-care, I think of the overworked mom, who gets no time to herself, and who has to do every single thing, all the time. That is not me. No kids, married to someone who splits chores with me, when we get around to them... doesn't really fit the mold I had in my head. But then we talked a bit more, and it came up that in my job, I deal with people who are typically not at their best. I always joke that no one ever comes to HR because they are happy. They nearly always have a problem. Their own injury/illness, that of a loved one, a loss of a loved one's job, etc... It is my job to care, to listen, to help, to solve problems. She speculated, and I agreed, that perhaps when I feel overwhelmed by all of this, I eat to kind of take care of ME, instead of focusing my efforts on others. I really identified with this, because sometimes I feel super sad for people, and I wish there was something I could do to help them thru a time of crisis, or fix whatever the hell is wrong in their life. Right now, especially, I know about a lot of employees and/or spouses going thru terrible medical issues, some of them very life threatening. And it sucks. I hate it for them. And on top of that, I start to feel like everyone is sick, and it's a matter of time until I, or someone I love gets sick and dies. And I already covered how that works out for me.
Next up on the vast list of advantages (who knew there were so many?) is the idea of potentially losing my identity or sense of community around being someone who is eating to be healthy. I focus A LOT on food. I think about it all the time (I'm thinking about it right now because those damn cookies are out at our front desk, and it's the time of day where I get hungry and my energy bottoms out). She mentioned that people with an eating disorder (it feels weird to think that, because I think of an eating disorder as being anorexia) spend vast amounts of time thinking about food. Like 80% of their thoughts/time, or some ridiculous number. "Normal" people, whomever they are, apparently think about it like 15% of the time. We talked about how my DH, god love him, is not obsessed with food. He can happily work away at something on the computer and forget to eat. That has never, ever happened to me, in my whole entire life. EVER. The concept of eating randomly is super foreign to me. So, the guise of talking about food, dieting, eating better, etc is something I do. If I'm thinking about it all the time, it makes sense that I'd talk about it as well. I've formed relationships in person and on-line thru commiserating about this sort of thing. I have weight loss buddies. These are comforting to me, clearly. The thought of removing myself from these communities as a result of moving past this (I hope, I hope, I hope) can be scary.
Then we talked about boredom. I get bored easily. I always have. It's probably why I can't seem to stop going to school for SOMETHING. I tear thru books at a crazy pace. I read tons of stuff online. When I get bored, I am fully aware of searching for something to snack or graze on. It's something to do. I think this one seems like an easy enough one to remedy, it's probably just a matter of resolving to break the habit. When I'm bored, even when I have something else I should be doing, but maybe don't want to (laundry, anyone?) I eat. This advantage gives me something to do to assuage the boredom and to procrastinate a task I don't want to do. Winner winner, chicken dinner.
The next thing on the list is control/structure. I think/hope we'll touch on this more tonight. I also know that tonight we are going to talk about some tactics or tools I can use for social situations. I have a social situation this weekend that will be challenging for me. My birthday is Saturday (33, baby!) and we are having my in-laws over for dinner and cake & ice cream. Having tons of food sitting out and around will be very difficult for me, and I want to figure out what I can do to combat the urges and the almost unconscious actions that follow (eating). I'm hopeful. :)