My favorite platitude is this: everything in moderation, including moderation. Right now, it’s a handy quote that helps me feel better about my binge eating.
I’ve been working a lot of late. And without going into the banal details, let me say that my life right now is essentially long stretches of labor punctuated by moments of panic that I am missing really important stuff in my kids’ lives. Weeks and weeks of that kind of anxiety can take their toll, and I’ve taken to self-medicating with food, which works great, because I also have no time to work out.
Once unleashed, my lack of self-control knows no bounds.
My mornings start out ok. I drink green smoothies for breakfast. Not fancy ones. I just cram my blender full of whatever vegetable I have, add some fruit, dump in some chia, and try to think of the experience as the price I must pay as a 35-year old for regular BMs. So breakfast, no problem.
Well, one problem. The problem with breakfast is that I drink it at home. Once I get to work, I feel that I should be rewarded for having made it there. But I’ve already had my smoothie. And this leads me to an observation: from the perspective of 9:00 AM, the distance between 9:00 AM and lunch might as well be seven weeks. And no one can go seven weeks without food. If it’s a good day, someone has ordered pastries for a breakfast meeting and there are leftovers to tide me over. On bad days, I have ripped open packets of duck sauce with my teeth and squirted them into my mouth like Lance Armstrong sucking on energy gel to power himself over the Alps. Even with a mid-morning snack, I rarely make it to noon for lunch. As a rule, I set all lunch appointments at 11:30. I tell my friends it’s because I want to beat the lunch rush. But that’s a lie. It’s because by 11:30, it’s been an hour since my mid-morning snack, and I am really, really hungry. Like grizzly-bear-ripping-tops-off-of-cars hungry.
In my 20s, I worked at a PR agency that stocked its freezer full of communal waffles. On my first day, someone showed me around the hip kitchen and beer tap, and casually mentioned the free communal waffles, and I was felt that I had arrived. In any event, the freezer was also stocked with a lot of TV dinners, which I also assumed to be communal, and which I ate for a full month before the day that the receptionist sent out a company-wide email that said, merely this:
“Could WHOEVER is eating my Trader Joe’s chicken bentos PLEASE STOP EATING THEM!?! Thank you.”
That story is basically my professional origin story, because it explains why I had to leave PR and go to law school. I once tucked the back of my skirt into my underwear in the 8th grade and I don’t even think that experience was as mortifying.
Anyway, I digress. My point is that my appetite has led me astray. And it’s leading me astray now, as I give myself over to stress-induced cravings. I justify everything I consume by saying that I deserve it. I deserve to eat a pound of pad kee mao for dinner at my desk, and then to pick up a burger and fries on the drive home at 9:30 PM. Because I miss my boys, I miss working out, I miss fitting into my pants.
The heart knows what it wants, and right now, it wants my husband and my kids, and a return to normalcy. Until I can get that, I’ll settle for food, and lots of it.
Yoona, I also inadvertently did the ‘back of the skirt tucked into the top of the underwear’ thing. Except, I was about 25, and had it pointed out to me by a stranger sitting in the diner where I’d used the restroom. At least I was still proud of my ass at that time…..
kathy, i missed this comment, and i’m glad i did because i got to smile at it when i read it for the first time this morning. skirts are a dangerous thing
Yes, beware the pleat…
This is my life right now.
Been there, done that. On six month cycles. For, um, all my life. (My moderation has been soooooo moderate.)
I’m currently on a “eating healthy” cycle. I haven’t had packaged food or sugar for a month. I feel really good. I feel really hungry.
You’ll get over this hump, I have no doubt. Hang in there. Meanwhile, I’m going to stay clean until at least August when my oldest child goes to college, at which time I’m certain I will self-medicate with high levels of wine and sugar.
joan, i gave up sugar for a few weeks and it was really amazing how different i felt. mostly in my energy level. the really sad thing is i apparently love sugar more than i love energy.
I hear ya… I recently started a “support group” on my facebook… announced to my fb world that I was giving up sweets. Really. Cold Turkey. It worked for about two weeks. I haven’t fessed up yet that I’ve given up. Again. The nights of binge eating that I partake in would play well on “Intervention” or the now defunct “Big Medicine” shows. And I don’t have “working too much with small children” as an excuse… just working too much. And don’t get me started on how much diet soda I drink. Yes, I know it’s all tied together. That doesn’t stop me. Hypnosis used to work. Doesn’t any more. Most days I’m at: I’m otherwise healthy; I can walk, I can breathe. Life is good. I’m just gonna roll with it for one more day and see what happens. Yeah, yeah. Good luck!
i think there is a value in public proclamations of this sort. failure is so much more sweet when it’s done in public. i intend to document my master cleanse when i do it in july. i imagine it will be one intensely whiny post on days 1 and 2 and then nothing further on the topic. and i hear you on diet soda. sometimes it’s just gotta be done.
Gross re the duck sauce and green smoothies. That being said, I can relate, especially to the idea of, “I’m suffering at work so somehow I have a right to ignore my metabolic engine.” It’s a common phenomenon. On a personal note I’ve finally grabbed my fatness by the horns (or maybe by the muffin top) and I’m keeping a detailed food journal of every calorie that passes my lips. Lamest thing ever but avoiding the effort involved with finding my journal and writing down an entry often keeps me from eating and I’m doing okay with avoiding alcohol, which tends to be lots of calories. Sorry you’re working so much these days. I’m looking forward to you coming up for air and having a life again. I feel for you. I’ve been through those times and they are horrible. But luckily they really seem to recede once they pass and it WILL pass. If I can help you in any way, seriously let me know.
the mental image of you keeping a food journal while surrounded by your six cats: priceless. we are going to party this summer, don’t you worry
Your honesty is amazing, and the rest of us are so fortunate to be able to read your hilarious and touching insights on a regular basis. Hope that the end is in sight with this crazy work load … let me know if I can help by dropping off a casserole or something 🙂 Love.
keeping it real dulls the pain of my existence. yes, the end is in sight! and legoland awaits me at the end. what could be better? 🙂 XO
So the Lance Armstrong thing made me laugh, like literally at my desk out loud. somehow I feel like if I explain it that way I am not as lame as typing LOL. Point of the story,I hope things slow down and thanks for the laugh.
it DOES sound better than LOL. but not better than LOLFRealz
I had Ally in daycare for a long time while I was in school, and I felt terrible all the time. I took to binge eating and picked up smoking again (while I was away from her) because I felt like I was missing her growing up. Eventually I stopped. I’m now a stay at home, full time, home manager because I need to be around my kids. I’m looking into doing schooling from home, but not even until September when Ally (my oldest) starts JK. Mom-guilt=eating…nonstop.
i thought it was ennui but you are right, it could be guilt. it’s a perfect circle, because the overeating leads right back to guilt. i should start a support group…
Hahaha! I’d love to see the snacks that people would bring to that group! It may be counter-productive, hahaha.