Day 7 prompt: Are there certain times that you have trouble avoiding a binge?
Yes! I always binge in the late evening hours. That is the only time I really struggle with binging. I think this has been something that slowly grew on me over a matter of a few years. I remember when I was still living at home, I would snack a lot late at night, on my “snack mix”, as I called it. It was the only “food” I let myself eat freely. It was my own concotion of goodies, literally, and it was something I had to have with me at all times. It would alternate between containing honey nut chex mix, a sweet cereal, broken up animal crackers (either regular or chocolate, or sometimes both), flavored dessert goldfish or teddy grahams, honey roasted peanuts, dried fruit, and sugar babies. So pretty much a bag of sugar when I was all done. I made this mix religiously. Which makes sense, since it was the only snack I allowed myself to eat. I could control what I put into it, which was nothing more than junk (sans the dried fruit and peanuts). But I would prepare it in a large, gallon-sized bag (or two!) and eat it directly from the never-ending, bottom-less bag. That’s where my lack of portion control began, my apparent addiction to sugar, and eating a lot of food at night. However, that was right around the time that the restriction really started to take root, too. I was cutting more and more out of my diet during this time and as a result, I wasn’t properly nourishing myself during the day, leaving my body starving for food in the evening. Enter: bag of sugar.
After getting married, I became much more sick in my eating disorder and restricted almost everything entirely. I don’t remember much from that time period, it all seems a really large hazy cloud. I ate minimally and I don’t remember if I still ate a larger amount at night or not. But as I started to progress in recovery, I picked up the habit of eating a lot at night. While I was in IOP, I didn’t eat much during the day, had a meal at IOP, and continued to eat at night because “I could”, I reasoned. If I didn’t eat much during the day, I allowed myself the ability to eat at night, which was something I liked doing. I think part of it, too, was because Scott would eat at night while we’d relax for the evening by watching tv. Eating was synonymous with relaxing which was synonymous with watching tv. Anytime we were watching tv in the evening before bed, we’d always snack. It became something we ‘did’ together, a new routine that we adapted as part of our marriage.
Eventually I was able to break my dependency and addiction to having my “snack mix” and ceased making it. That took a long, long, long time to break. I loved it. And even thinking about it now, I really truly did enjoy it and miss it. It was a really dang good snack. But I know it was an extension of my eating disorder, and when I was working on behaviors, it was something that had to go. It left, and hasn’t come back since. (I guess that alone should be something I’m proud of…for anyone who has ever had an eating disorder, you understand just how hard it can be to break behaviors/thoughts or to challenge them.)
Throughout the years I’ve had my eating disorder and various stages of my recovery, eating a lot at night, and binging, have come and gone for me. I’ve had periods of time where it was really bad, and periods of time where it improved. Unfortunately, as of late, it seems to be bad once again. In the somewhat recent past I shared how my stomach issues had been particularly bad for a period of time, so much so that eating was extremely difficult just because I felt so awful all the time, had to run to the bathroom repeatedly after eating minimal amounts of food, and having such pain in my stomach. That prevented me from eating much during the day (or at night, in fact) for quite a while. But then, after my stomach started feeling better and on the good days where my stomach wasn’t an issue, I still watched so closely and really limited what I ate during the day. Which…you guessed it…set me up for being starving come night time and giving in to the desire to eat at night, setting in motion my all too familiar nature to engage in overeating and binging.
The cycle is vicious. Once you get caught in it, it’s so hard to get out. I’d go through the motions of eating a lot at night, feeling miserable and sick the next morning/day, and then eating minimally as a result….just to have that night be a binge session yet again. It’s definitely something that becomes a quick habit. But conversely, I know that the more time that I am able to resist, the easier it will become to resist and keep resisting. Then, NOT binging will become the habit.