February 29, 2008 at 7:16 am
Sometimes healthy living is so easy for me. I eat my snacks at the scheduled hours. I have a salad for dinner and genuinely enjoy it. I walk past boxes of Girl Scout cookies in the office kitchen without reaching my hand out to grab a bite and it’s not hard at all. Then there are nights when I’m sitting in the Marsh parking lot at 8:00 at night thinking, “There is something seriously wrong with me.” Because it is not normal to eat a box of ice cream sandwiches, two donuts, God-only-knows-how-many bowls of oatmeal, and a lot of other stuff I can’t remember two weeks later, and still want to drive to the grocery store to buy a stuffed-crust pizza.
Thankfully, it’s been so long since I bought a Tombstone stuffed-crust pizza that they seem to have stopped making them, or my Marsh just doesn’t stock them, so that was one small chip of the iceberg my personal Titanic avoided. I did wander around the freezer section for literally 15 minutes trying to decide if I wanted to buy another pizza or a Lean Pocket or a box of mozzarella sticks. Ultimately I decided that if I was going to cheat I wanted it to be with the lover I wanted and not his ugly cousin, so I only purchased some paninis and fudge pops I needed anyway.
I’ve partaken in vampire eating habits more frequently recently. My cravings play nice during the day and bare their fangs at night. Even if I get rid of all my favorite binge foods, I just plow into what I can find. I’m trying to remember if I’ve always behaved like this, and I don’t really know. When I was younger, I didn’t give a shit about what I ate. I’d eat half a gallon of ice cream and didn’t feel bad about it at all because I never dieted. I also gained 200 pounds. The difference now seems to be that I actually care about what I shovel into my pie hole, especially if it’s a whole pie. I’m actually trying to resist the urges, which I didn’t really do before.
I’ve never known what to think about the concept of “food addiction.” Even after my abnormal binge, I’m still not sure what to think. The term “addiction” implies to me that you need to give up whatever you are addicted to. How can you give up food? When I read the definition for compulsive overeating at Wikipedia, it doesn’t jive with my experiences. Even when I was driving to Marsh, I didn’t feel out of control. I knew exactly what I was doing and I didn’t care. I also didn’t eat any quicker than normal during my binge. And I’ve never felt intense depression or guilt over it. I’m telling the whole freakin’ Internet. How guilty could I actually feel? Reflecting on the event now, I’m unhappy that it happened and I’d like to prevent it from happening again, but I don’t feel a need to apologize to anyone for it or to be ashamed for what I did. I like to eat. I probably gained two pounds. Whoop-dee-doo! I only felt guilty when I parked in a spot really close to the store. I usually park way far away and walk.
A part of me wonders if there’s anything wrong with going on a crazy binge every now and then. Assuming you have good cholesterol, normal blood-pressure, and all that jazz, does it matter if you stuff a box of cookies in your mouth once a month? If you get shit-faced drunk several times a year, is it really a problem assuming that you don’t drive drunk and you don’t cause liver damage? It’s a conundrum.
The only thing I connected with in the entry about food addiction is the theory that it is a mechanism to increase serotonin levels in the brain. On the day of my binge, I felt incredibly down for no reason that I could think of. I just wanted to sit around all day and I felt unmotivated to do anything (except eat, obviously). I don’t usually feel like that, but if I did, it’s possible I might go on crazy binges more often. I don’t know. I know some people are really into figuring out all the emotional and psychological issues associated with eating. Personally, I’m not that interested in it as long as I’m doing okay. If I get obese again, I’d probably explore it. I consider eating to be a complex behavior motivated by many components including emotion, hunger, and the content of your diet. Sometimes I wonder if thinking about food so much just makes me hungry, like catching an ad for McDonalds on TV makes me want to get a Big Mac.
BTW, this happened two weeks ago and nothing insane like it has happened since, so there is no need to reassure me or hug me or whatever. I thought about not mentioning it at all, but I prefer to be honest. I also want people to know that you can go completely off the rails sometimes and get right back on track. I’ve been exercising and eating well since then and I’ve lost all the weight I gained that night.
Earlier: Tasty vs. Easy – Illustrated Fruit Graph from xkcd.com
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