Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Eating poorly and thinking about Patrice O'Neal

The usual pattern for me is for my eating to get worse as the day progresses. If something is stressing me out, I make even worse choices.

Today I had a bagel with spinach, turkey, cheese, and mayo as my first meal. Drank a glass of milk with it. Then a turkey wrap at a restaurant. As a writing deadline approached this evening, I went off the rails (as is typical under stress). I ate a Green & Black's peanut and sea salt chocolate bar, followed by an almond and coconut Kind bar. Met my deadline, then ate a bowl of 15 bean soup and the second Green & Blacks bar I had purchased: milk chocolate toffee. (These bars are huge; looking at the wrapper of the toffee one now, after the fact, I see that it contained 525 calories and 55 grams of sugar.)

I was midway through that second chocolate bar, and browsing online, when I read that Patrice O'Neal had died. This is a comic I respect and had recently watched and enjoyed, dead at 41 from a stroke related to diabetes complications--or so the news outlets are currently reporting.

You know what's scary? O'Neal talked about the fact that he needed to lose weight to stay alive, and even that knowledge wasn't enough to motivate him. And I continued to eat and finish a chocolate candy bar--my second one of the evening--while reading about his diabetes, stroke, and premature death.

Food addiction is scary, serious shit.

Monday, November 28, 2011

This is what disordered eating looks like

Today, I was worrying about the carb content of my meals. I had leftover bean soup for breakfast, grabbed a bagel with cream cheese for lunch, and ate three small chicken tacos for dinner. I felt bad about the lack of vegetables and the amount of starch I had consumed. I chastised myself for not drinking enough water and for skipping the gym. I wondered if eating oatmeal later in the day (complete with raisins and milk and honey and pecans) in the event of post-dinner hunger was "exactly the type of behavior that keeps me fat." I didn't come to a conclusion on this question, but it was on my mind.

At the end of the day, I found myself in Target and compulsively grabbed Limited Edition peppermint Oreos off the shelf and ate them all in one sitting when I got home. Not that I had been wanting Oreos--and they didn't taste like anything special.

I had no intention to binge, but I have to wonder if being down on myself throughout the day for "not being perfect" set me up for this: the old all-or-nothing thinking. I also have an assignment due tomorrow night that I don't want to complete, and my resentment and procrastination on that front probably fueled the fire as well.

My point is that I worried about the fattening effects of a bowl of oatmeal, but didn't think twice before consuming an entire package of Oreos. Really. At no point did I stop and have the conscious thought: THIS is exactly the kind of behavior that keeps me fat--downing a box of sugar and chemicals.

Yet it is. Oatmeal and beans aren't the culprit, for crying out loud! Yes, it would be great to reduce carbs, but the worst sources need to go first.


Daily records of food and exercise are just about the most boring kinds of blog entries imaginable, yet I think it would do me good to publish the truth on this blog.

I had big plans for the blog in the beginning, but backed off when I realized I was merely hoping to echo some of the successful weight loss bloggers out there that I read and admire. I wasn't positioning myself to be honest and genuine. What's more, I don't want weight and food issues to be the center of my life, identity, or writing activity. It's a real part of me and something that needs to be addressed continually, but there is so much more to me; devoting massive amounts of time to a blog about binge eating disorder and attempts to lose weight is not what I want to do or who I want to be at this moment in time.

So I stepped away for awhile. And by stepping away, I've realized a few things.

1. It would be best for me to not read other weight loss blogs for awhile so that I can rediscover my own voice.
2. I'd like to try a daily food and exercise log, and to post my weight regularly. It's boring, but it gives an honest picture of what is driving the scale up or down.
3. I think going to the gym three days a week, for me, would be an accomplishment. And exercising a fourth day at home would make me feel even better about myself. I do not expect myself to have a formal exercise session every day.
4. I'm only going to post actual essays on the blog when I feel moved to do so. Right now I'm thinking daily records and one essay a month is perfectly acceptable. I want to spend my time changing, not talking about changing, you know?