A series by Green Mountain alum Jacki Monaco on her journey to overcome binge eating. Follow her every other Thursday as she blogs about the challenges (and victories) of recovery.
Even though I haven’t had what I qualify as a binge since I left Green Mountain, this does not mean I have magically acquired perfect eating habits. I still overeat more than I would like (these things take time, people). It’s hard to find a balance between sustaining life with food and harming ourselves with it. This being said, several of you have asked how I differentiate between a binge and overeating.
I have waited all day, dreamed of this moment, and now, here it is just like I imaged. In front of me is half of the pot of pasta I just cooked, which equates to 1/2 pound of angel hair — just for me. To the right of it sits two frozen-to-warm chicken patties. To the left I’ve placed 3 candy bars, a grocery-store tray of sushi, a bottle of wine, a slice of pre-packaged cake, and a bag of Doritos.
I’ve hyped up this moment all day, so I have to make sure it’s perfect. It is perfect… until I shove the first bite into my throat, avoiding my taste buds completely. It is perfect… until 12 minutes later I’ve vacuumed all of that food into my body, never tasting a bite or enjoying a moment. I was trying to numb my feelings, but now I’m sad. The kind of sad that makes me question the point of my life, cry until there is no breath left, throw up (not because I’ve purged) because my body couldn’t hold all of the food I force-fed it. Humiliated, I head straight back to the fridge for more self-sabotaging, punishing myself for eating by making myself even more miserable… with even more food.
For me, this is what overeating looks and feels like:
I am so excited for this meal that I have prepared. The fresh chicken all crisp and brown from it’s extra virgin olive oil fry, the frozen spinach finally unthawed, the bright green pepper and juicy onion sautéing before my eyes, and the organic mac n’ cheese that will soon be flooded with canned stewed tomatoes. I have so earned this meal. (Skip to consumption.) This sh*t isn’t half bad from a girl who’s been cooking for about 6 months of her life. Ok, maybe a litttttle more mac n’ cheese. It’s too good, and there are tomatoes in it, so I have justification… (Skip to post-consumption). Ok, I’m full… a little too full for comfort. Second helping was unnecessary. Ok self, next time, let’s tone it down a noodle or six.
When I binge, I am hyper-emotional pre-binge, emotionless while binging, and frighteningly hyper-emotional post-binge. When I overeat, I am excited pre-food (but it’s not my only excitement of the day), I enjoy eating and actually tasting my food, and then I might experience a little physical and emotional discomfort post-food.
Now that I have figured out how to cook a little, I HAVE to pay attention to what I’m eating. I see the colors, I smell the smells, I don’t just inhale the food like we’re both victims. Instead we sit down together for a meal. I want to enjoy what I’ve just put so much effort into. Just like with everything else, it’s different for everyone, this is personally how I experience both situations.
Do you feel there’s a difference? Do you have a problem differentiating between binge eating and overeating?