Alright, so no – I didn’t eat a whole person. But sometimes, it sort of feels that way.
**This post will have some mention of calorie calculations and numbers – if you think that might trigger something, please be wary! I’m writing this to help, not to hurt.
At the time I’m writing this, I am currently at a point where I feel uncomfortable eating anything over 200 calories or so. Yesterday is a good example. After work, I had about 20 minutes before we needed to head out to the YMCA to workout. In that time-frame, I had a serving of peanuts and maybe an ounce of leftover chicken from the night before.
I was in tears on the way to the gym, simply because I had a snack that was maybe 250 calories, if that.
After the YMCA, we returned home. Then came a dinner of eggs, sausage, cheese, and green beans. Again, not bad, and probably just a little bit over that self-imposed 200 calorie limit. But then, here comes the kicker: I had half of a muffin I made earlier, and a fourth-cup of sugar-free ice cream with whipped cream.
And it felt like all hell broke loose.
20 minutes later, I drank a cup of soy milk, and had half of a low-carb tortilla with half a tablespoon of peanut-butter. And then I just had to high-tail it out of the kitchen, because I could feel a binge in the making.
That’s how it always starts for me, at least. It doesn’t matter if I’ve had an entire day of indulgence, or if it was a day of balanced eating – give me one meal over a certain number of calories, a bit of self-doubt or frustration (or any negative emotion, honestly), and BAM. Just like that, and I’m not in control anymore. It’s that easy.
I can’t tell you how many times this happens. Once during the school year, I felt overwhelmingly lonely, so I sat in my room and ate bowl after bowl of cereal. Another time, at home, I was so mad at myself for a reason I don’t even remember, that I decided to fill up on those packaged, cream-filled cupcakes. Those are just two examples.
Let me take you into the the mind of someone still fighting the urge to binge and purge. It’s a place where logic takes a backseat to emotions. It’s an all-or-nothing mentality – and it is hard to break.
You must bring logic back into the picture. For instance, just looking purely at the numbers – my overall caloric intake, minus exercise, was a little over 1200. That is essentially the bare-minimum recommendation for calorie intake, given the fact that your body needs energy to function properly. (You can see an quick explanation here.)
What I had eaten, on the whole, was good for me – plenty of fiber, protein, good fats, and even carbohydrates (gasp!). I had plenty of water, well above the often quoted “8 glasses a day”. And I had gotten a nice dose of exercise (Body Combat and cycling, if you’re curious).
So why was I having a meltdown?
I estimate my food intake high, and my exercise burn low. I use the math to make myself feel guilty, crunching the numbers until I feel hopeless. In the past, I might have gone back to the gym to burn another 400-600 calories, in addition to the 300-400 I had already done. I might have taken some laxatives, or tried to force up what I had taken in. Yes, even as I showered, I felt sick to my stomach, wishing I could get rid of what I eaten.
That’s how bad my relationship with food is right now.
I suppose it’s not seriously about the food, though. It never has been. For me, really and truly, it has always been about punishment. It’s for failing to eat below an arbitrary number I calculated on a website. It’s for not working out. It’s for being shallow, feeling lonely, making a bad grade, fighting with my brother. Anything and everything. All of these worries, and nearly every single one is self-imposed.
The binge and purge cycle is a means of self-sabotage – to make my body look as bad as I feel.
For those of you fighting similar struggles, take heart – you are not alone. But we’ve got to keep fighting, one day at a time.
Here’s what I did to get through the evening:
Slow down. Once you get into “the zone”, where making and eating food becomes methodical and almost second-nature, it’s tough to stop. Try to figure out if you’re hungry, or if something just upset you. PLEASE eat if you’re physically hungry! But realize that food won’t help at all if you’re craving something emotionally.
Push back against that negative self-talk. Always remember how much people love you – and why they love you – even when you feel like you don’t like yourself at all. I promise you, I PROMISE – someone out there looks at you in wonder, wishing they could be like you. Yes, they think you’re that amazing. And you ARE that amazing. You can do it.
Forgive yourself. I still track my food, but up until last night – I was doing it without qualms. It’s alright to eat. We HAVE to eat. If you eat a little too much, don’t beat yourself up for it. Same thing goes if you have something deemed as a “bad” food. The world isn’t going to end, and you’re not a terrible person. We’re only human, you know?
Last night was rough. I wasn’t kidding when I said everyday is a battle.
But being healthy? That is something worth fighting for.
Don’t hesitate to comment or contact me if you want to talk or need support. Much love to y’all!