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All we do is fight.

People are wired to be more focused on upcoming obstacles than the one that is already solved. We spend so much time on trying to solve some problem, but once the problem is solved, the stress about the new problem begins. Once we get fed up with it, we just call ourselves a failure. Because we are not focused on what we did good, we just see problems we are struggling with. But that would mean that never did that person have any problem and everything was peachy. How likely is that to happen?

It is a circle.

I believe the same goes with our relationship with food. We tend to be so critical about it – it is either normal or compulsive, there is no in between. But it is so normal to slip and to still keep going without punishing ourselves in the same direction. It doesn’t mean going back to the very beginning. Binge eating is often related to the tendency of having everything perfect and if something is not like that, then the food comes as a punishment or as a distraction. Also when I would eat again junk food that is my weak spot (everything related to chocolate), afterwards I would feel like shit and as if I had destroyed everything ever that was done well in terms of eating (if not even broader). That would just push me again into compulsive eating (if I messed it up already, I might as well go right until the end with it, what’s the point anyway).

Beside that “having everything perfect or not having it at all”, there is something else in the back of my mind that would keep pushing me into binging (primarily with sugar) – I didn’t see the point of it. Even if we win the binge eating battle, we will have more battles to go. So what’s the point?

I think that has been crucial for my binge eating. I didn’t want to stop because the food became the only thing it would make me happy, make me feel good about something, so I kept it around because it seemed it helps.

It helps as any other addiction would help (I was a proper sugar addict, I will write about it more in some other post). It helps the same as cocaine would help, or as cigarettes would help, or any other addiction would help: it feels like it is helping you at that moment, but it makes shit out of your life everywhere around you, and it does it on so many levels.

It gives you an instant feeling of being comforted. For a moment you feel better. Like you are doing something good, in my case also that rush of energy caused by so much sugar. It lasts for a while, sometimes calculated in seconds. After that it makes you regret it. Your sugar level in the blood goes lower than before. You have less energy, less willpower for anything, it makes you numb. You barely go back to the thing you were doing before it and you didn’t feel like doing. That’s why you ate something. Now you feel even less motivation for doing it. And you feel like shit. You even paid for it, and after it, you want more of it because it made you feel even worse.

So what the hell am I fighting for with it?

The problems will keep coming. But do I want to go without food? I think this is crucial. For a long time, I didn’t want to solve it. I thought everything is so bad that I cannot get rid of the only thing that makes me happy. But it does not. It makes me feel worse. Anxious. Sick. Unhappy with my appearance. It makes me hiding behind the fact that I don’t like my life at that point.

With the risk of being cheesy or disrespectful towards a symbol of Human Rights Movements, I would like to mention a story about Rosa Parker. I love it because I strongly believe some things don’t need to be planned out and there is no such thing as more or less significant battles. There are just habits that are more difficult to break, but there are points in life that make us feel so fed up with something that we just stop doing it. Refuse it. Sometimes you suddenly just get fed up with it. And stop reacting in the usual way. Stop caring about the triggers.

In the case of Rosa Parker, she became a hero one day by remaining sitting in the bus when every other time she would be standing up.

The context is crucial here and explains why it was so unlikely that would happen – it happened in the year 1955 in Alabama, when the places on a bus were reserved only for white people due to racial segregation.

One day after work she quietly refused to give up her place on the bus and that is how a revolution started.

Despite the habits, despite the expectations, even despite the law.

When you realize that you can no longer colaborate in something that violates your own integrity, your undestanding of punishment is suddenly transformed. (Quote from Parker Palmer on the Rosa Parks Desicion)

One day it is just too much and that is when a beautiful new life may begin.

It is all about the habits and our self-esteem. Because we have to change not only ourselves but also the one around us. In terms of how to be treated. In terms of saying enough when it hurts. Whatever it is. And it doesn’t have to be something big. No dramas are necessary. It is possible just to quietly not to do things that we usually do. Because it is something we have been taught to do. Because we are afraid that we will fail, just like all the previous times we failed. Because the odds are against us. But one day it just might happen that we quietly refuse to give up our seat and start a revolution with it. Nothing big, nothing loud, despite being used to doing it differently. Go easy with yourself. 🙂

Meanwhile: no binge eating for me today.

No ice-cream, nutella nor chocolate pancakes I went to buy in a shop.

I came back from the store with a coconut oil and made a sugar-free home made granole instead.

The house still smells like a freshly roasted victory. 🙂

Connecting the dots – finding the triggers

This post will be based on an inspiring youtube video that I have seen recently and in which I recognised myself so much. It is the video of Brooke Lipoff, now a health and a fitness coach, but she used to be one of those who are struggling with a binge eating disorder. Good news: It is possible to change it. Bad news: Recognizing myself in her story made me finally admit it it is a real thing, and it will not just simply disappear.

What she is saying is that the first thing that needs to be done is to think when did it start.
In her case, it started in high school when she needed to lose weight to join the basketball team.
In my case it was when my family forced me to eat more because of my often headaches (later it turned out the headaches were because of my scoliosis, but the damage was already done). The idea that things will get better if I eat more stayed. I remember I was watching American movies and they would always eat lots of ice cream when feeling bad and I couldn’t understand it. Why do they need to eat ice-cream every time they feel bad, or to show how bad they feel? No one else considered that part weird.

I learned it eventually. After that, I couldn’t stop.

Interesting thing she said and needs to be highlighted is that people were not happy no matter what she did – it was either too skinny or fat. There is no happy in between. Trying to make other people happy is a perfect technique for self-destruction.

Another trigger she mentioned is stress. She mentioned her episode of eating 12 doughnuts at once, which reminded me of me eating 17 candy bars at once – I couldn’t stop until I ate it all. It is funny how people don’t consider those kinds of things alarming, but when someone is skinnier than others (and I am talking here about normal skinny, not intentional starving in order to fulfil some esthetical standards) everyone has an opinion about it. I guess in our society it is more normal to brag how much we can eat and still maintain the perfect shape. Or to be careless about it. Where does that come from?

Next trigger: loneliness, having no identity and/or feeling the lack of love
This is a tough one and so uncomfortable to admit it.
She was in a bad relationship with no idea how to get away from it because she did not know what to do with herself or where to go.
Lonelyness, emptiness and axiety works perfectly with binge eating.
Again, it is pretty much what happened to me when I moved abroad. Let’s get one thing straight: I wanted to move. I was not happy where I used to be. But also I moved completely abruptly, alone, with a job I couldn ‘t identify with. Who am I now when I need to introduce myself and started all over again?
That even affected my relationship attempts. I felt like I don’t have anything to offer because there was nothing firm to hold on, which makes me both angry and sad. It has even less sense when I write it down. How could I treat myself that way?

To be honest, all of this what I am writing here makes me feel ashamed a bit (if not really super ashamed), but it needs to get out instead of being kept inside.
Main conclusions:

  1. it is not about the food, it is about dealing with the triggers. Eating comes as a way of dealing with emotions that are making us feel bad (guilt, boredom, loneliness, lack of love, feeling like a failure) because we tend to link food with feelings that we are missing.
  2. Food diary – Writing down everything you eat and how you feel at that moment is helpful for realising what are the triggers. The food diary should last at least for a month.
    My triggers: loneliness, feeling lost because of not having a clear goal/idea of where I am going/what should I do. Having high standards that I fail to accomplish and then blaming and criticizing myself for that (what the hell is that?? Why would anyone want to do that to themselves??? AND WHY DO I DO THAT?)
  3. Binge eating is real and it doesn’t just go away, but I can go away from it.
  4. I did not buy cookies today after thinking about it for probably two hours or something. So the craving does stop eventually.

The story behind it

I don’t know when I realized it could be an eating disorder. Was it when I needed to buy at least one chocolate each day. Plus other kinds of sweets. Plus regular food. Plus lots of pastry. Was it when I noticed that I eat even more when I want to lose some weight. Or was it when people around me began making comments about my constant eating. Or feeling ashamed when being in the kitchen. Eating. Losing control and crashing plans for getting it back again. Binge eating, that is how they call it.

I cannot blame her, but my mum was always telling me that it’s not about hunger, it’s about necessity. There is one beautiful video on TedTalk, where the speaker says: „Don’t fake it till you make it, fake it till you become it.“ So I faked it in the beginning with eating when I am not hungry, but somehow it didn’t work in the opposite direction later when I tried to reverse that edgy ideology with which I went too far. Disorder didn’t happen at once, but it would reinforce/boost/get worst each time I would face a crisis. It is not about hunger anymore, it is about dealing with life. About lack of fulfilment in life or of my idea of what am I supposed to be like.  And it is not about the physical appearance here. I am not fat. I dont think being skinny would make me a better person. It is about punishing and comforting myself at the same time. Basically, it is a compulsive behaviour. And I am, unsurprisingly, fed up with it.

The whole thing culminated when I moved abroad. I wanted to change something and I found a job immediately and completely unexpectedly. I was overqualified for it, but the conditions were perfect so I just went with that wave. The pressure of starting all over again and introducing yourself over and over with no clear idea of whom you are – both in a personal and a professional way – can create quite a mess in your head. If not the whole existential crises.

Sometimes it felt like I let myself down with working a low-qualified job after finishing master. New people, confusing loves, unfulfilling job. Feeling too much, being too self-critical, lonely, happy or anything else then sure about what I am doing resulted with having food as a stabile accompany to it all.

Finally, it culminated when people started to make comments about my constant eating. I started to feel ashamed of being in the kitchen. Having other people see me eating. It occupied my mind completely. When I decided to stop with it, I told it to everyone. I shared it all, my plans, like it will oblige me to stick to it. It didn’t. It just made me feel ashamed and guilty for breaking my own game. I had to justify myself. My self-confidence, in general, went down. I didn’t know where my career is going, I got left for the another girl (this is what happens when you overcriticize yourself and overlooking read alerts about others, so I would suggest to not try this at home). Even though I needed all that shit to finally stop expecting to get help from others instead from myself, it still hurts to see other people treat you the same way you treat yourself.

Being perfectionist with myself and overtolerated with others cannot end up good – it turned out that red alerts are still red alerts, regardless of the side you are turning your head to.

To avoid feeling down, I started to use food to give me that sudden hit of enthusiasm and there is nothing better for that than sugar kick. Sugar energy after eaten chocolate. It’s an addiction that starts with bad eating habits while growing up and culminates with feeling less. Less everything. Less capable, successful, smart, capable, beautiful, less. I blamed myself for everything. And the only thing I did wrong was that I looked down on me. I know that, but still, I have that feeling stayed. Asking for support and encourage in others. And for every problem, I was punishing myself. With food. Overeating. Sometimes it makes me feel better. So I am filling out that empty space. After that, I feel disappointed. Quilty. Self-hating. All those things I read about from the boring articles about those people with addictions. Self-image problems. Childish things. Girly things. My things.

Today was supposed to be my second sugar-free day. It is not. It started yesterday when I felt firm and with no craving for sugar. Then a guy I’m dating came to see me just to give me a chocolate. Because I was having a bad day. But I have lots of bad days. I could have got angry with him for challenging me on the very first day of combating my weakness. I could have stayed strong and just ignored it by giving it to someone else. But I felt obliged to take it, such a nice gesture it was. We have a saying in my language – It is not so difficult to make a frog jump into the water. I ate all of it and went back to the vicious circle.  Today I bought cookies. Bag of it. After that a candy. After that, I ate lunch. After that, I went for chips, bought a bottle of wine, cheese and olives and bread. I ate 200 g of cheese, can of olives, 4 or 5 bagels, oil and salt. Then cookies. Again it was a bad day.

Binge eating, that is what they call it. I don’t know how many times have I tried and failed this way. And honestly, I think I am done with it. This is the story behind it and, hopefully, the first part of the new one about how did it stop.

The Journey Begins

Hello!

I decided to join this virtual community of writing about a certain field of interest. Having quite a mess recently in my personal and professional life, I started having a very self-destructive relationship with the food. This is my attempt of getting better again, quitting compulsive eating and changing that kind of lifestyle for good.

I will write down and document each thing that will get on my way during the process of quitting binge eating. It might not be of big interest to others, but with all of those perfect Instagram lives, I need something different. At the same time, it will be my process of learning more about blogging and dealing with this platform. I don’t know which of those two is more urgent.