Although I have never drank my way to a blackout, I imagine that a food binge is about the same.
I have literally woken up and not remembered it all. I’ve also had moments where even an hour later I can’t remember what I just ate.
I blacked out.
That sounds ridiculous, right? Embarrassing? Made up? Pathetic even?
Maybe. But it’s also honest. And I can attest, it happens.
How? How do you get from one cookie to a dozen cookies, a box of cereal, a jar of peanut butter, and 2lbs of peanut M&M’s?
Simply put, you black out. You slip into an unconscious state of being. Operating on autopilot. Eating fast and furious.
It might end in an hour. It might end when you go to bed. It might end when you hit the bottom of the package of food and snap back into reality. But it does eventually end.
And then the guilt and self-hate seeps in. It’s paralyzing. Humiliating. Painful– physically and mentally.
You dust off and decide that you will not do this again.
Tomorrow will be different.
Until tomorrow arrives. And it happens again.
So frustrating, right? The grip on this cycle is HARD. I hear it all the time, “How do I stop?”
Here are a few things that have helped me:
- SLOW DOWN.
- We live life at a sickening pace. At one point, my husband traveled for work and was gone for almost a month at a time. I would wake up at 4:45am (which I still consider night time, by the way) so I could get a workout in. I’d get myself and E ready for the day, run her to daycare, put in a full day at work, pick her up, cook and clean up, bath time, and then put her in bed and collapse. With food. And I’d eat ridiculously fast, for no reason other than it was the pace I was used to. Remember- there’s POWER in the PAUSE. Look at your day- can you find slow and calm a few times throughout? The answer is yes- you just have to make it happen. Especially around food.
- Change your routine.
- Another thing that helped me was to add some yoga/stretching after E was in bed. It broke up my routine of coming down the stairs and going right into the kitchen. Instead it was a left to the living room to make myself look like a fool as I twisted my body in weird ways wearing taco pants (just in case you needed the full visual).
- Stay conscious.
- This is the HARDEST part in my opinion. It’s so easy after a full day to slip into autopilot and graze. And graze. And graze some more. If you need to autopilot, lay on the floor or the couch SANS food and glaze over with your favorite crappy reality tv show.
- Do something with your hands and/or your brain.
- Write. Play an instrument. Color. Knit. Finish a crossword puzzle. Play a card game. Make sure you actually enjoy it so your hands forget they aren’t filled with food.
- Make sure you’re eating and drinking enough throughout the day.
- It sounds weird, but some people FORGET TO EAT. I KNOW. I don’t get it. But it happens. And there are even days where I get busy and don’t eat as much… only to have it bite me in the ass that night. My days of serving at a restaurant are PRIME examples. I’d get home at 11 after eating very little for 8-10 hours and eat anything that wasn’t nailed down.