Have you ever thought of food like you do about saving money — eat less now so you can have more or something richer later? Jacki shares how that thinking can lead to an overdrawn account.
Our Bodies Are Not Bank Accounts
I’ve often thought of my body like a bank account. If I just keep saving up money (or calories)… I can finally go on that shopping spree (or eating spree). But unlike money, which we can stow away until we’re ready to splurge, our bodies need fuel on a daily basis.
Our bodies are not bank accounts. Calories are not coins that we can stash away until a Friday night.
“I barely ate Monday through Thursday, so now I can have whatever I want!”
Restricting Our Wants And Needs
We’ve restricted our wants, ignored our physiological must-haves, and now we’re ready to cash in on our “much deserved” prize.
The outcome? An unhealthy relationship with food… very likely followed by emotional or binge eating.
Ladies (and gents) we’ve got to stop waiting for the weekend… and feed our needs now.
Waiting for The Weekend: A Setup For Binge Eating
As I binged, I used to put my existence on hold – breath abated… “saving” up those calories as if my entire week’s worth of happiness depended on that Friday night binge.
But all along, I knew that I’d spend the next 6 days frustrated and confused by my decision. I’d lose a week’s worth of my life, drowning in guilt. In fact, I lost two of my short 26 years – doing just that.
But after a long journey of self-exploration, I’ve found that food is not the answer. The act of eating is not the answer. And being scared of those calories – oh, girl – that is SO not the answer either. (There’s so much more to food than the big “C” but that, my friends, is a road we’ll venture down another day.)
It’s that feeling I’m after – that high. But ignoring myself 5 or 6 days a week to get that feeling… you guessed it: also, not the answer I was looking for.
But why did I think this “strategy” would work in the first place? Well, society deserves a little slap on the wrist for that one.
A Healthy Lifestyle Don’t: Cheat Days
These types of diet strategies (such as “the cheat day”) actually encourage The Binge, triggering the very thing that we are trying to avoid: eating more food than we need in one sitting. Not only can we not save up for a “cheat day”, we can’t carry over calories.
By the time I’d get to the weekend – my everything was out of whack. My body was exhausted, my mind was disoriented, and I had one goal: to eat it up and numb it out.
I didn’t have the stamina to exercise (or practice movement) or the patience to deal with the 500 other things life had in store for me.
“I had sent the wrong message to myself: YOU CAN’T HAVE WHAT YOU WANT.”
This Was No Way To Live My Life
In fact, I was barely living at all – I was merely going through the motions, waiting for Thursday to come and go.
That kind of negative energy and suppression only fueled the fire of self-hatred that was burning inside me – it never encouraged me to care for myself.
The more I restricted my desires and malnourished my body – the brighter, hotter, and more fierce those flames grew.
And there was only one thing I thought would make it better: getting my reward… by waiting for the weekend.
The “Reward” System
All of my life, I’ve lived off of a reward system. Do something good – treat myself to a metaphorical cookie. Do something bad – give myself a very real emotional beating.
For the longest time, I thought that not eating enough during the week “meant” that I could (without guilt) reward myself with food once the weekend rolled around.
I see the food and the act of eating (The Binge) as two very different things. In fact, a lot of the time it’s not even about the food – it’s about trying to create a process that is dissociative and soothing.
And it continues to be my mission to find other things that give me the same “euphoric” feeling that I used to get while bingeing.
Give Yourself The Gift of Being Present
Our bodies depend on us to make decisions that give us strength, not deplete us.
Since the Binge Eating Diaries was born, I’ve written these words many times before, and here they are once again: looking forward to eating something you love or being excited about a plan that revolves around a meal is NOT a bad thing. It’s not wrong.
Eating should be just as enjoyable as it is necessary. It’s when we stop taking care of our bodies while we wait for those events that things can get a bit sticky.
If we neglect our needs today, while we wait for the weekend, we’re forgetting about the “here and now.”
We’re missing moments, hours, days, weeks (or my case – years) of our lives.
Feeding Your Needs, Living For Today
We require food 7 days a week; whether we break it up into 3 big meals, 6 small meals, or 4 medium meals and a few snacks.
That part is up to us. Trial and error, baby! I regret to inform us all (including myself) that there is no generic, foolproof formula.
But what is true for each and every one of us is that our bodies are an investment. They count on us to listen and take action accordingly.
You can only get out what you put in. Literally.
Weekends aren’t going anywhere and we don’t have to put our lives on hold while we wait for their arrival.
Repeat after me!
I can live for today. I can enjoy today. And I can eat what tastes and feels incredible to this body – this body that doesn’t wait for the weekend to give me what I need… this body that works so hard for me – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
It’s time to start nourishing our lives. What do you say?
Until next time,
P.S. If this post speaks to you, please feel welcomed to leave a comment below. This safe space is just as much for you and your feelings, as it is for my stories. You inspire me to keep writing and sharing as I continue my journey. And for this, I thank you.
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