It’s a common thing. Have you taken this drive in your car?
Car binges. Car overeating. Binge/restrict. Restrict/binge.
Many, many people have done this and still do. Eating disorders are a real thing. They are very prevalent in our society. It can be super hard to overcome, without some kind of help.
If you know me and have followed me for a while, you know that I had an eating disorder when I was in high school a billion years ago.
I was lucky, in that I overcame the disorder, but some tendencies never go away.
Car binges. Car overeatings. This behavior can be really hard to overcome. I still struggle with this. It is so easy to feel that pull of restriction. The pull of thinking I can’t have something. I have lost over 40 pounds and have kept the weight off for a long time. And even though I eat what I want, sometimes it can still be hard to ditch the diet mentality. The feeling of being restricted. The feeling of “Oh, I can’t have that.” When you find something that works for you and is sustainable for you, you have struck gold. It doesn’t mean that all those former behaviors just disappear however. It’s a constant work in progress. I am a constant work in progress. I have to be on top of my mindset all the time, or that voice tries to pull me out. LIke in the 1979 movie The Warriors – “Warriors come out to plaaaaaay.” You know that one. Your inner critic.
If you haven’t seen this cheesy movie, here is the clip I am talking about. You can skip to about the 1:25-ish mark to hear what I am talking about.
Here’s scenario one:
You go to the store for your weekly shopping trip. You are trying to stay on your “diet.” Everything looks good. You just want something, something sweet. It ends up being cake. For someone else it might be something else. Candy, donuts, cookies, or even pizza if your trigger is salty. You can fill in the blank with what foods you have a hard time not eating all of it, if you have one. On this day it’s cinnamon rolls. Other days it may be cake.
You start to get the feeling. That feeling. The – I shouldn’t be doing this – feeling. It can happen in an instant. You can be strong as hell walking into the store and walking out you feel like a weakling. Pretty soon you hear the voice. The -I deserve this -voice. The -I have been sooooo good- voice. I haven’t had cake or cinnamon rolls in months. It’s the all or nothing. It’s the diet mindset. The rigid diet rules. The deprivation feeling is strong. It’s winning. You tell yourself you will just have one bite of the cake or one middle of a cinnamon roll on the way home. You even stopped in the deli for a fork so you don’t have to just use your fingers. Been there, done that. You get the 8 pack of cinnamon rolls. Because you think you can control yourself. Why get just one. Seriously.
The car scene can be a train wreck. You put your groceries away and you throw the trigger in the front seat. Close range. Easy to grab. Easy to eat. It’s like a ritual. You don’t want to look like an ass, so you get it opened and ready. You back out of your parking spot and slowly move through the parking lot. It starts. One bite, then two then three. You tell yourself you are just going to eat the middles of the cinnamon rolls. If you eat all 8 that equals one full roll, right? WTF??!!! Look at that logic. Pretty soon, a bite or two out of every one of them. But you don’t want to go crazy. You don’t want to eat ALL of them. So to make yourself feel better, you just go back to the middles and eat the middles out of all of them. By the time you get home, you may have eaten 3 or 4 full cinnamon rolls or the entire piece of cake, or the full dozen cookies, or six donuts, or 3 slices of pizza. Whatever it is, it’s been eaten. And you can’t even believe you did that. Mindless eating is a thing. You just did it.
You feel like crap. You feel like you failed yourself. Miserably.
This used to be me. I still want to do that sometimes. It’s definitely hard to break through that mindset.
But let’s move on to scenario 2. A better scenario. Something to work towards. Something I do now.
You go to the store for your weekly shopping trip. You know you want something sweet and you know you still may struggle with trigger foods. You buy one cinnamon roll. You know you don’t need 8 rolls and the excuse that the rest would be for your family is bullshit.
You get to the car and you put ALL the groceries out of reach, even the cinnamon roll. You drive home. You put all your groceries away and then make some coffee or tea. Once that is done, you get your cinnamon roll and you put it on a plate and you sit down at the table with your coffee or tea. Then you savor and taste every single bite of that cinnamon roll. You eat it slowly. You enjoy it. By being mindful and by realizing it’s okay to have a cinnamon roll, you don’t feel restricted or deprived. You can enjoy it without feeling guilty and without feeling ashamed.
Plan treats into your program. It does not have to be all or nothing. Trying to eat better or trying to make changes does not mean you have to eliminate all your favorite foods. Be smart about fitting them in. Be mindful! It takes practice. By slowing down, listening to what your body is telling you and then enjoying that food in moderation, it gives you a level of freedom from food jail. It gives you a sense of power. Keep practicing. Take ownership of your behaviors. Know that this takes time and it does take patience and it does take consistency. Keep going.