Today's Weight 172.0lbs
I had a bit of an epiphany last night, and to put it into context, I’ll need to give a bit of background.
I had over-protective parents who never allowed me to spend any time alone and unsupervised. I lived my life under the watchful gaze of not only them, but also that of my 4 older siblings (three of us shared a bedroom), and it seemed as if I never had a single moment of private and solitary peace in the whole of my first 15 years.
Because I was overweight from infancy, my mom also monitored the food that I ate, and I’m sure she thought – wrongly – that I was sneaking contraband food behind her back.
I was 16 before they went out for the evening and left me in the house completely on my own. I think they went to some school prize-giving event with my sister, and since I hadn’t won anything I got left at home.
Yay, freedom at last!
The moment they drove away I dived straight into my mom’s worst nightmare. I started eating, and I didn’t stop eating for a couple of hours, until I was stuffed to the gills and feeling really sick. I may even have BEEN sick, in some worrying bulimic fashion (except I’d never heard of bulimia at that stage), because my stomach was hurting and I always hated the feeling of being full. It was the pain that stopped me in the end, but up to that point I was like a girl possessed.
This was my first episode of binge eating.
A couple of weeks later they trusted me enough to risk leaving me alone for a second time. I promptly launched into another binge eating episode, and then another the following week. The pattern repeated itself in every subsequent ‘home alone’ session.
A year later I left home for University, and the bingeing stopped. When I was in charge of what I could buy and eat, and no longer feeling like I was under dietary surveillance, the compulsion to eat everything in sight ceased. By and large I ate semi-healthy foods (lots of OJ and granary toast and marmite, if memory serves) in modest portion sizes, and I quickly dropped a couple of stones as a result.
Since then, bingeing episodes have been extremely rare. When I HAVE had them, though, it’s always when I’m at home for an evening by myself. And because I’m home alone so rarely, I seem to go a bit doolally, and suddenly start acting like a kid given free rein in a chocolate shop – I have no self-restraint or control at all.
Anyway, back to the present day, and last night I was ‘home alone’ at Kim’s parent’s house, dog-sitting while they’re in Scotland for a funeral. All day at work I daydreamed about the evening hours, and what delightful eating choices lay ahead of me. The possibilities were endless. I could buy pizza - or pizzas – and eat them to my heart’s content. I could stop for Indian or Chinese takeout. I could buy fish and chips. I could buy chocolate and Doritos. I could cook a huge batch of pasta and eat it with garlic bread. I could buy custard doughnuts or Danish pastries. I could buy plain chocolate digestives or caramel shortcakes. I could eat a whole tub of Ben and Jerry chunky monkey ice-cream…
But after a day of fantasising, guess what I actually did? I stopped at Tesco on the way to the house and bought a head of tender heart celery, a courgette, a couple of carrots, a couple of red onions, a yellow pepper, some red chillies, garlic, a can of organic pinto beans in a salt-free chilli sauce, a can of organic plum tomatoes and a box of six Mint Choc Skinny Cows.
Then I got in, fed the doggies, and cooked myself up a huge batch of veggie chilli bean casserole. I ate the casserole – which was DELICIOUS – with a tall glass of iced water, and then I had a skinny cow for dessert. Then I had a cup of tea and a couple of gingernut biscuits whilst I did the crossword, then I phoned Kim for a chat, then I read my book, then I jumped rope for twenty minutes, then I read a little more and then finally I had an early night.
Yay, what a breakthrough!
And, pleasingly, I didn’t even feel deprived at having missed my one solitary home-alone opportunity to throw caution to the wind and stuff myself with crap. I have no regrets at all, even though it’ll be months before I have another evening completely to myself.
I’m not ‘cured’ because I still had the bingefest daydreams, and the thought of eating all that crap still gave me an illicit thrill – just why is that, do you think? Even with all my knowledge of good nutrition, I fantasised about eating pizza and doughnuts, not something healthy like tofu and yoghurt – I’m obviously a hopeless case! But, when push came to shove, eating crap remained just a fantasy, but the reality was a whole lot different – not to mention a whole lot more tasty, satisfying, and good for my self-esteem.