I knew this day would come. The day where I fell flat on my face. In fact, it wasn’t just one day. It was a weekend. I had a breakdown and I didn’t know how to stop it. I felt like a kid getting caught stuffing cake in their mouth with frosting all over their face. That feeling of shame, guilt, disappointment, frustration and just exhaustion. It happened.
I was doing so well. I have been doing so well. I have been on this entire journey for two and a half years, and I have had my moments like this for sure. But I will say that they are few and far between. I generally do really well. I set boundaries, I adhere to them. I am such a rule follower that I get scared to break those rules. Even if they are rules I set for myself. I am hyper aware of my mistakes, failures, weaknesses and flaws. I do not let myself get away with things. I know that I could give myself an inch and take a mile. So I don’t even give myself an inch….usually.
Anyway, I’ll quit talking in code and metaphorically. I hosted a bridal shower. I purposely didn’t make any of the food because I knew I couldn’t be trusted in the kitchen to not lick a spoon or sneak a sample. Baked goods are one of my weaknesses which is why I avoid them like the plague. I did so well at first. Eating my normal meals at my normal times, feeling the lack of carbs in my bloodstream….until I felt a little awkward. I am an introvert. Social situations, especially ones where I have to do things, make me uncomfortable. I felt nervous and out of place. I also have this emotional association that community involves/revolves around food. So when I dont participate in the eating with the chatting, I feel like an outsider. So……
I ate a cupcake. That’s where it started…and went down hill. Then I had another. Then I had a chocolate. Then a cookie. Then some banana bread (good God, I love banana bread….like an unhealthy love for banana bread. I will cave EVERY SINGLE TIME. It’s my kryptonite) then more banana bread. Fruit. Veggies (I will give myself credit for that…plenty of veggies!!) Pinwheel sandwich, more fruit…….more chocolate……I legitimately am still extremely ashamed of myself. This has NEVER happened before. I even tried to send everything tempting home with other people. That didn’t work. I was left with cupcakes, banana bread, cookies and chocolates. By the end of the night my husband literally had to dump things down the garbage disposal so I wouldn’t be able to eat them. Now THAT is embarrassing. Part of me was grateful and part of me wanted to cry…
Growing up, when I was in high school and college, I would have to pick up random things at the grocery store….so I would sneakily tack on a package of mini donuts…or a bagel. I would eat it in my car in secret. Then throw away the wrapper or packaging so no one would find out. I knew I shouldn’t eat those items, I knew they were unhealthy, I knew people wouldn’t approve. So I hid it.
Just like I would sneakily try and hide my reward trips to Burger King. I used to treat myself to a chicken sandwich and french fries when I passed an exam or turned in a big project. We hardly EVER ate at places like that growing up, so it was a big deal. It was special. I hid it. Always throwing away the bags, and always trying to use cash so it wouldn’t show in my bank account. My other secret reward place I would go was Panda Express. I loved their orange chicken. I haven’t had orange chicken in about 2 years, but that was definitely my other secret reward.
Anyway, all this to say that I failed miserably. I binged. I felt out of control, shameful and embarrassed. I am still upset with myself because of it. I know that these things happen, that I am human, and that I have to move on. But I am working on figuring out what to learn from it. I think each error, flaw, mistake etc can be used as a learning experience. So what can I learn from this?
I have some emotional attachments with food. They’re not an eating disorder or even a large factor that affects me daily. But they are something I need to be aware of and actively working on. It comes down to one phrase, but plays out in two different ways. I connect food with “missing out.”
- Missing Out on Community: So many social gatherings and engagements revolve around food. Think about it…a birthday for instance. Everyone gathers together at work during a staff meeting and we all celebrate by eating a specially baked/put together dessert in honor of that individual (usually one of their favorite desserts.) Or at a birthday party, what do you all gather around for? Blowing out the candles on the cake and eating it together. Holidays, we all gather around a table and eat food….ALL DAY. Family gatherings, we all bring food items to share and eat together. So when there are these social engagements and they all revolve around eating together at some point, it gives me a subliminal subconscious message that if I don’t engage in eating that I am not engaging in the community. I know that’s not actually true, but that is the trigger. Now I try and at least bring my own food, or plan ahead so I can make things work, but then you get the awkward questions and assumptions. So then I feel like the outsider again. As a whole, I subconsciously feel like I am missing out on the community, the laughter, the bonding, and the relationships.
- Missing Out on One-Time Food: There are dishes and food items that are special. They are unique. They don’t get made frequently. Those food items will not be around every day. I have this subconscious attachment to them where I feel if I don’t get my fill now, then I won’t know when I will get to have it again. Totally gluttonous, I know! It’s like if I don’t get it now, I will have to wait maybe a year before getting it again! This is also played out in why I have a genuinely hard time sharing food or other items. It’s not that I don’t want to be generous, but I just don’t want things to disappear and not get the opportunity to have them again. I know how this got started, and I know it was COMPLETELY unintentional. But it is something that I have to work on.
Growing up, there was a point in time where if you didn’t eat what you wanted of an item at dinner, or you didn’t label your leftovers, they would be gone. You wouldn’t get a chance to have that food item again until it was made again. This was particularly hard for me with my favorite food items or really delicious things. Pizza, leftovers from restaurants, brownies, cookies, granola bars, etc. Those items that I loved….or food from holidays. I entered into the mindset of: eat it now or it will be gone. That mindset hasn’t left me. I literally portion out everything I eat. I know exactly how many Quest bars are in the pantry. How many Skinny Cow ice creams are in the freezer. (Those actually are my special items currently…) But it gets enhanced when it’s a holiday or an event. I don’t keep cupcakes, cookies, chocolates etc in the house. It’s too tempting. But it does make those special occasions harder to say no or only have one.
Anyway, I’m completely ashamed, definitely send some sad emotional texts to my coach. But I had to remind myself that in the last 18 weeks I have only had any sort of derailment 3 times total, I am down 8 pounds and 5% less bodyfat, I reached a PR with pull ups, I’m enjoying more new foods regularly, and overall in a better place physically. I think what is enhancing this is knowing that I am 6 weeks out from the competition. So just trying to remind myself that in the grand scheme of things, this is one mess up. They don’t happen often. So keep going.