Last week was a hell of a week. First, work was absolutely frantic, and I was feeling substantially and simultaneously overwhelmed and underqualified. Even though I’ve been in this field (Human Resources, super duper exciting, right?) for over twenty years, and I know, intellectually at least, that my boss appreciates the work I do, I kinda have this imposter syndrome thing going on where I’m sure one day someone will notice that, like the infamous Emperor, I’ve essentially been parading around naked, and they’ll all realize that I’m woefully inadequate for the gig and will hand me a box to pack up my things.
Anyway, in addition to work being a chaotic mess, I’ve been sucking wind on the recovery/eating side, too. I’ve essentially been on a week-long binge that started when I was trapped at the airport last week. By day, I ate healthy snacks, but once I got home, I was a human backhoe, shoveling food directly from the pantry into my pie hole at an alarming rate.
Which, of course, did nothing for my weight, and hence my self-esteem.
So I ended the week anxious, stressed, and exhausted. And to top it off, my birthday was Saturday, I had nothing special going on, and I WAS GOING TO BE FAT FOR MY BIRTHDAY.
(Yes, I realize how pathetic that sounds. I really do. But suffice it to say it was causing me a great deal of heartache. Rational thought be damned.)
I had another therapy appointment scheduled for Friday. I came very close to cancelling it. I mean, by this point, I’d been in therapy for just over three months, and all I have to show for it is a two-pound gain. WHICH IS UNACCEPTABLE YO
But since I’ve already met my deductible, it wasn’t going to actually cost me much to go. (And how often can you say THAT regarding ANYTHING involving health care anymore?!) I decided I’d show up, and if I wasn’t getting anything out of that session, I could always leave…right?
So I went.
And she wished me a happy early birthday (SHE didn’t forget. My auto insurance company called me to wish me a happy birthday, some clinic where I received two facials in 2008 sent me an email birthday wish, and my THERAPIST noticed it was my birthday. But my husband? STILL NOTHING. And yeah, STILL BITTER, party of one, sitting here typing. But I digress.)
Dr. P asked me what I had planned for my birthday weekend. I told her that I don’t really “do” birthdays…but that I was kind of disappointed that the hubs hadn’t really planned anything for our upcoming weekend together. Again.
(One of the things that’s been weighing me down is hubby’s hyperfocus on everything BUT me these days – he’ll spend hours working on projects or playing video games…but when it comes to dates? Nada, zip, zero. Even though Saturday and Sunday come at relatively the same time every week, in his world it apparently pops up out of nowhere and he’s struck with the brilliant, innovative plan of “uh…I dunno….I got nothing…what do YOU feel like doing?” Sigh.)
So, as a preemptive strike, I did some Googling and found that there was an art fair in one of the suburbs. I love art fairs. They close the streets and regional artists come to showcase their wares. You can find pottery, jewelry, handmade clothing, paintings, jewelery, fantastic metal sculptures, jewelry, photographs, leather goods, and jewelry. Did I mention jewelry? PRETTY SPARKLY THINGS EVERYWHERE that you just can’t find at Mall of America.
So, since the hubs hadn’t planned anything, I decided that I was going to the art fair. The hubs said he wanted to come along. I knew he’d be bored in short order. But, dammit, it was MY BIRTHDAY and he certainly hadn’t offered up any alternatives. So that was MY plan and he was welcome to join me.
Then, we talked about my week-long binge.
Dr. P: So, how many calories do you think you ACTUALLY ate last night?
Me: <panicking at not wanting to say THAT NUMBER out loud> Um. Well. 1500? Maybe? <ha, well over 2000, easy>
Dr. P: Uh…are you sure? Because that’s a lot of calories, and…
Me: Well, fine. Let me tally it up for you. First I got home and made a turkey sandwich. 200 calories for bread, 75 for turkey, 110 for lowfat cheese, and I didn’t measure the mustard this time but it was easily 4 teaspoons, so let’s say 20. That starts you with 405 calories. Then came the chips, 130 calories per serving, 7 servings per bag, I ate over half the bag, so about 500 calories in chips. Then a half jar of salsa, which is 15 calories per serving, 14 servings per jar, that’s 210 calories, so say 100 more, where are we, 1000 right there, and then I ate these little chocolate blueberry things, 5 of them are 230 calories, and I know I ate at least three servings, probably four, so 690 calories if it was three which is 1690 calories but could have been more.
Dr. P. <blink> Oh. So you really DID eat 1500 calories.
I don’t know how anyone can specialize in treating folks with eating disorders and have any doubt that WE KNOW EXACTLY WHAT WE ARE EATING. I’ve been counting calories for thirty-four years by now, chica. Trust me when I pitch you a number that I’m not embellishing for the sake of added drama and glitter. (Interestingly, on my initial intake form, she said I didn’t have an “official” eating disorder. She may be eating those words now. Hopefully with some crow and chocolate syrup.)
The good news is that, although I’ve been binging, I’ve been keeping it down. Not that I haven’t been tempted by the calorie-cleansing benefits of a good hurl – but that’s a very dark alley I can’t even peer into – once I stick a toe in THAT whirlpool, I may as well give it up because I’m gonna drown. It’s a black hole…a point of no return.
But I DO need some tools to help me stop a binge before it skates off the rails and into the wall – some sort of virtual air horn that bleats “STOP” before I’ve eaten enough food to keep a room of gamers full on a tournament weekend.
Dr. P reminded me of HALT – don’t let yourself get too
- Lonely or
While I’ve known of that acronym for forever, and actually rattled it off with her, it’s a good reminder; I think this week’s been a combo platter of all four, and I need to start helping myself to a different buffet.
She gave me some excerpts from a book called Hunger Pains, too. I asked her if I should read the book, or if it’d be “triggering.” She hesitated – I think she was a little surprised that I knew that word (thank you, pro-ana sites, for educating me so I look at least somewhat legit when I clearly weigh too much to actually have an eating disorder.) She said she wasn’t sure, and that she’d review the book before recommending it to me fully.
So far, the excerpts aren’t exactly mind-blowing. They’re useful tips like “think about your feelings before you eat” <eyeroll> and “exercise daily and buy nutritious foods” <are you for real?> and “learn to use hunger to regulate your eating.” <choke> HAHAHAHA WHAT? I suppose the “Smoking Pains” book is equally useful, telling you not to buy cigarettes and to avoid lighting them?
Much like quitting smoking, I don’t need someone to tell me my food issues are bad for me. I don’t need someone to tell me to stop.
I need someone to tell me HOW.
But, as of today, after my non-birthday and the resulting disappointment, I’ve done a full 180 from stuffing my face uncontrollably, and I’m back on the restricted-food bandwagon.
Binging is SOOOO last week, anyway.
I’m over it.
Can someone bring this emperor a kimono?