Last night, I was watching the first episode of the new season of “Stranger Things,” just sitting on the couch with my dog in my lap and my husband in his recliner next to us. A character on the show was eating Cheetos. I wanted some Cheetos. We happened to have some of these “phony health halo organic puffed cheese snacks” in the house. So I poured what was left in the bag into a cereal bowl. Another character on the show was drinking a big glass of Coke or Pepsi. We didn’t have any of that, but we did have some ginger ale, so I grabbed a bottle of that.
I wasn’t hungry, or thirsty, or particularly craving or interested in this food. About halfway through I thought about stopping, but I didn’t until I’d eaten every cheese puff in the bowl and drained the soda bottle.
That’s what binge eating looks like for me. Mindless stupid eating. I’ve been doing this for the past couple of days. I’ve gained 2 pounds. As near as I can remember, I ate six pieces of cornbread, six slices of toast with leftover cannoli filling spread on top, four chocolate-dipped macaroons, four snickerdoodles, a couple of mini shortbread cookies, a big ham and cheese sandwich grilled in butter, a piece of a chocolate bar, who knows what else. This was on top of regular healthy meals.
We had my husband’s office friends to dinner Saturday, so a lot of this food was party leftovers. I should have just thrown it out but instead I methodically ate it all. The sweets are the worst part of it – I have a little sugar and I want more more more. I stopped before I ate everything, and now the fever’s passed and I don’t want any more. Whatever my husband doesn’t eat tonight is going in the trash.
I go on a binge like this a couple of times a year, usually when I am very bored. I wanted to share a few tips for getting out of the cycle:
- Drink a lot of water and decaf/herbal tea to flush out your system and fill you up.
- Stop as soon as you can. Don’t fall into this like of thinking: “I already ate a ton of crap, so I might as well eat more.”
- Find something to do to distract you – typically TV, movies, and computer games are the worst and encourage more bingeing for me.
- The trash can and garbage disposal are your friends.
- Write down what you ate, what was going on and how you felt as best as you can remember, to provide some accountability for yourself and to give you something to read over if you feel like bingeing again.
- Set a plan for regular healthy meals to get you back on track.
- Get help if you are able to and you feel you can use it.