I’m going to warn you now—I’m dropping an F-bomb in this post. However, it’s not the F-bomb you are probably thinking of. I’m talking about an F-bomb that is more offensive than the mother of all cuss words.
Yep, that’s right. I’m dropping it and letting it go from my vocabulary world. This F-bomb will no longer have a place in my arsenal of weapons in my war on an unhealthy lifestyle.
The other thing I’m going to tell you right up front is that this is probably going to be the most difficult post for me to publish. I didn’t want to do it. I wanted to keep doing what I’m good at—hiding. I wanted to keep showing a different face to all those who don’t know that there’s a real me lurking somewhere just below the surface. But then I started thinking about all the messages, emails, and comments I’ve received from several of you telling me how much I’ve inspired you. I realized that it was my honesty that inspired you the most. Because of that, I want to be honest with you now. I want to give you what you ask for, because you have all encouraged me and supported me through this journey. And I also need to do this for myself.
You might remember my post from a while back about how I got to this point. I mentioned that my primary obstacles were my hormone problems, my dysfunctional thyroid, and my emotional inability to love myself. In that post I also mentioned that I make poor eating choices, but I didn’t elaborate. I’ve dropped (not so) subtle hints in a few (most) of my posts that I like chocolate. Well, I figured it’s time to let my monster out.
So, here we go.
Hello, my name is Carrie and I’m a closet binge eater.
It’s been so easy for me to constantly blame my weight only on the three primary obstacles mentioned above. Don’t get me wrong—these are significant, and they are what got me to this point. However, I don’t like to give my binge eating any credit. I don’t want to admit to it. It’s the reason I do it in private after all. It’s a secret that I don’t want anyone to know about. I’ve convinced myself that if people knew, they’d judge me—and maybe you are right now. But along with my new found love of myself, I’ve also learned to accept that some people will judge. Maybe becoming an author has helped me better accept the judgment of others. Regardless, I don’t hate you for it.
So what’s a closet binge eater you might ask? Let’s take my favorite food item—chocolate. When I say I want to eat chocolate, I’m not talking about a Snickers bar from the check-out line. I’m talking about the party size bag of M&Ms. When I want ice cream, it’s not a cone from the DQ. It’s a pint of something with chocolate chips. Potato chips? I can take down a whole bag—but only if they are the Ruffles Sour Cream and Onion. See, that’s one of the funny things about binge eating (at least for me). It’s very specific. I can go into a store looking for those Ruffles Sour Cream and Onion chips and if they don’t have them, I’ll walk out with nothing. I don’t eat just any chips, it has to be specific. Unfortunately, there have been days when I’ve eaten all of the above in one day. I may not eat anything else in that day, but it’s enough to do some damage.
Even though I wouldn’t eat like this every day, it was enough to keep me from making any progress on my weight loss. More importantly, it made me feel like crap. Not just physically, but emotionally. Because after I always felt guilty. I felt ashamed. I felt like I was deceiving everyone.
I felt like a failure.
I don’t know when this started, and I certainly don’t know why it started. I do know that my two primary trigger points at this stage in my life are:
1) when my husband travels
2) when I’m really stressed out
During the 10 week program at FXB, I didn’t binge at all. I did eat chocolate on Fun Day (and it was somewhere between the check-out line sized candy bar and the party sized bags), but it was controlled. I was actually able to leave some chocolate in the bag and save it for the next Fun Day.
I was thrilled. I felt great. I didn’t feel like I was deceiving anyone.
Then the 10 weeks ended. Suddenly I could feel the pull of my monster coming at me. It’s ultimately why I decided to sign up for the 1 year challenge. I need someone looking over my shoulder, because my monster comes out when no one is looking.
The first two weeks as a FIT member I fought against the pull and was doing OK, but then a couple weeks ago my husband had to travel for work. It was only an overnight trip, but that’s all it took. The pull was too strong. I used the excuse that I had been so good for 12 weeks, surely one binge wouldn’t hurt me. So I ate. And I felt like crap.
Despite this, I did not gain any weight. In fact, I still lost weight that week. Sounds good right? Wrong. To a binger that gives off justification that it’s OK to do it again.
I finished my third novel while my husband was on his trip. I didn’t have any time to recover from my first surrender to fight off my second trigger—stress. I sent my novel out to a few beta readers and the stress of wondering what they thought kept the binge monster alive and hungry for more. I didn’t go full binge, but I slacked on non-Fun Days. I tried to tell myself that I’d just make my Fun Day Thursday rather than Saturday. But Saturday rolled around and I jumped right back on the Fun Day wagon, my monster cheering me on the entire time.
Then this past week I got sick. When I’m sick I’m just the opposite of my binge monster self—I don’t like to eat. I just wanted cereal and a Frosty. My daughter was also sick and asked for a Frosty on the way home from gymnastics. I was on a roll with not following my plan so yep, I had one too. And then again later in the week. I wasn’t eating my six meals, and I basically just let everything from a nutrition standpoint go.
The end result of the past two weeks was an emotional battlefield of F-bombs. There was a part of me that was screaming, “You can control this! You don’t want to eat it, so just put it down. Throw it away! Use your willpower, woman!”
But that’s the thing—once I surrender to the temptation of the monster I can’t control it because I no longer have the control. The monster does, and he doesn’t let go until he’s fat and satisfied. Then he lights the fuse to my F-bombs and sits back with a sinister smile. The F-bombs do exactly what the monster wants—they make me want to go farther in the other direction. They knock me down and make me feel like all my progress has been blown to bits.
So I’m replacing the F-bomb with a new word:
If I can look at these past two weeks as just a setback rather than a failure, I can remain on the right track.
I also realized that I have to let my monster out. Holding it in, keeping it a secret, just allows it to fester and threaten to infect all my progress. I now know that it’s a disease, an addiction. Unfortunately, food addiction is probably one of the hardest to conquer. I can’t stay away from food. I can’t remove myself from the thing that plagues me. Every day, all day, there is temptation from the food in the kitchen to the commercials on the television. But this is the life challenge I’ve been given, so I have to find a way to overcome it.
I will never fully be rid of my monster, but at least now he’s outside. There will be days when only a padlock will be needed to keep him out. Then there will be days when it’ll take a padlock, a three-tier bolt system, a crossbar, a nail gun, and every piece of furniture in the house to keep him from breaking down the door.
I’m not perfect. I’m not completely healed. I may have a setback every time my husband travels. I may have a setback with each new book that I launch.
But I’m no longer going to blow myself up with F-bombs. And I’m no longer going to hide my monster.