Do you ever shake your head in wonder at the food-related situations you find yourself in? I do. I found myself in a face-off with a freezer full of ice-cream lollies on Saturday. My feet ground to a halt in the middle of the supermarket in what felt like an act of betrayal, and I probably stood and stared at that freezer for a good ten minutes.
Earlier in the week my friend had included a picture of a raspberry magnum amongst the holiday pictures she’d shared on social media, and I’d made a jokey comment underneath the photo about how I’d once eaten six of them in one sitting. That was true, in fact it happened during my last four day binge and if I close my eyes I can still taste them.
Now, you’ve got to remember that my head was up my arse for a significant chunk of last week, and that perfectly innocuous picture seemed to fire the starting pistol for my tastebuds. Every day since, I’ve been lusting after a raspberry magnum like a dog on heat, and fantasising about beating my personal best by going for seven, or maybe even eight. It was just one in a long line of assaults that the Asshole voice made towards my food sobriety at the back end of last week…it was relentless.
The thing is, when I’m in the grip of an urge to binge, it’s very easy to convince myself that as soon as I’ve eaten whatever it is that I’m fantasising about I’ll be okay, you know? You’re going to cave at some point, so quit with the pathetic attempts at resistance. Just get it out of the way. Fill your boots now and then you can move on…
It never works out like that though, does it? I don’t know about you, but once I’ve got the taste for something, I’m screwed. That’s why I very rarely have a one-incident binge.
How can I even describe what the urge to binge feels like, to a regular person? It’s like a massive build-up of pressure, which in that moment I am utterly convinced can only be relieved by shutting myself away and pushing all the things I shouldn’t be eating into my face. I’ve heard people who self-harm talk about how slicing into their skin with a blade somehow relieves the pressure which is building up inside, and I guess binge-eating is different but the same. It’s certainly followed by all the same emotions…guilt, shame, the whole fucking nine yards. I might not carry self-harm scars on my body per se, but I do have a double arse inside my pants for remarkably similar reasons.
In the ten minutes I stood rooted to the floor in front of that freezer, with the pressure of the last few days threatening to blow like a volcano out of my ears, I literally clung on to food sobriety by my fingertips. I even had hold of the freezer door at one point.
Is this me making a conscious decision then, to choose fat over skinny? That’s the killer question, because if I reach for that box, whether I admit it or not, I’m choosing to wake up heavier tomorrow than I am today.
That argument swung it, in the end because…well, it’s true isn’t it? Nobody ever ate seven raspberry magnums and woke up skinny the next day. So I didn’t go there. Somehow, I let go of the freezer door. My feet started moving again, and I walked away. Isn’t it evil, the way your mind can manipulate a memory…in the grip of it, I didn’t recall the bilious bloated day-after effect because I was mentally blinkered and could only focus in glorious technicolour on how they tasted.
I did buy a box of peanut bars from the healthy snacks section, and ate every last one of them. But they weren’t raspberry magnums…they weren’t even close to being that naughty. And yesterday I rebooted, and had a textbook day without incident.
One more pound gone this week despite everything, and I can live with that… especially after an obscene amount of healthy peanut bars which, in those numbers probably weren’t that healthy at all.
I’m back at work today, and I’d be really grateful if we could all just keep our fingers crossed that this week passes without incident 🙂