Saturday, February 20, 2010

Baby Steps. Little, Teeny Tiny Baby Steps

It's been two weeks and two days of cleeeeeeaaaaaan, normal eating. Three meals a day, two snacks, no real feelings of deprivation. I am working on my CBT workbook, which makes me feel like I am back in grad school. Or college. Or elementary school. They have a very defined eight-step plan, which I am amending to suit my own needs. For example, Step Two involves only weighing yourself weekly. That will be very difficult for me, and I refuse to do it until I am solidly back in a specific weight range (which is about 10 pounds from now). The good news is I am getting really close to defining a plan that works for me. Meaning, should I slip up, I think I may just have a good safety net.

Through copious reading, online research and lots of thinking, I have determined that the FIRST step after a binge is to not refer to said event as a binge, but rather an event of overeating. That happens, and that is normal. People do that alllll the time. But the average person, the normalized person, would bounce back after that. Me, it usually starts a cycle, one that can last a day, a week, a month, or a year. So I need to think of it as an isolated event, one which I can fully recover from.

The next step: Return to regular eating asap. One of the bad things about my cycles is that I will skip meals and instead sort of graze all day. I may start the day off with a few bowls of pretzels. I may follow that with something equally as ridiculous. Around lunch time, instead of eating a normal lunch, I will make cookies and with my girls and eat those. More grazing, mindless eating, not a real meal for miles around me.

I have been journaling after every meal and snack. This is part of the CBT workbook paradigm, too. I found a great application for my iPhone, which makes this diary-keeping a million times easier. A notebook and pencil? So 2009. I have learned some interesting things: Yes, I am an emotional eater (I want to eat when I am sad, upset, angry, etc. but really, who doesn't?) but I am also a bored eater. This longer winter, which traps me and my toddler daughters indoors, makes the days quite long. During warmer weather, we are out all the time, taking walks, going to the playground, visiting the zoo. But these days, snow and slush and generally bad sidewalk conditions trap us indoors. This is part of the reason why January was so rough for me: Wind chills kept us indoors, but try telling that to two toddlers who want to go outside. My patience plummets and my will power erodes, in like seconds. I am finding that when we are busy, have plans, and are able to get out, I am less inclined to even THINK about eating poorly. I am less inclined to visit the foodstore and buy a tub of caramel corn.

What I am working on now: Trying to find replacement activities to turn to should the desire to eat unhealthy rear its ugly head. One of my research missions turned up the fun fact that the urge to binge, the desire to binge, usually only lasts about a half hour. If you can make it through that half hour, you are going to be okay. This, of course, could be a bunch of BS but I am taking it as truth. Why? Because it makes sense: Give me thirty minutes and I can find something to take my mind off of eating. If I were seeing a therapist in conjunction with this workbook, the therapist would help me come up with ideas. But I am fine thinking this through on my own.

What I am technically working on now is introducing my own "forbidden foods" into my eating. So that Monkey bread that i made with my girls, which is pictured above, I had one cube. That is reasonable, right? I mean, I WANTED to eat a clump of cubes. I wanted to eat the warm, raw, sugar-coated dough. But I didn't. I ate one cooked clump, savored it and didn't get sucked into the fuckit vortex. The next day, I had a handful of pretzels, a HUGE trigger food for me. Just a handful. And I didn't get sucked into the fuckit vortex. A minor victory. I am trying to do this every day. But, like an anorexic, I struggle with taking even bites of "forbidden" food that I feel will trigger me. But I can't live life like that. That isn't normal.

To recap, what I have kinda mastered:
1. Put a fence around eating episode and call it an isolated event. Period. Don't get sucked into the "Fuckit" vortex.
2. Return to normal eating...3 meals, 2 snacks, at normal times.
3. Keep food journal after each meal and snack.

Next Steps:
• Think of replacement activities
• Introduce forbidden foods sloooowly and carefully

Down the road:
• Dealing with emotions instead of eating them
• Dealing with situations that make me vulnerable
• Dealing with body image issues

Thanks for the comments. I reread them over and over again because while intellectually I KNOW I am not alone, I am glad to have intelligent, thoughtful, company from women who really get it.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there - are you still doing this blog? It looks like the last comment was in February 2010 and its now February 2011?