The theme of the past 4 days has been that there is a single food I’m craving each day. Thursday was M&Ms, Friday was pretzels, yesterday was garlic bread (with extra mozzarella cheese), and today was shrimp fried rice. Despite the temptation of how easy it would be to just eat a bite of any of the above, I am holding strong. With every craving I get, I am reminded of why I am doing this program in the first place, over the many other weight loss options out there.
Throughout my struggles with depression, I have always had issues with binge eating. My particular vice while in college was Domino’s Stuffed Cheesy Bread, with garlic dipping sauce. At one point I gained 60 pounds in about 6 months which I never ended up losing. It wasn’t until more recently that I found out that a large part of my binge eating was fueled by one of the hallmarks of borderline personality disorder (BPD) – impulsivity.
As with any mental disorder, BPD is different for everyone. The impulsiveness for me manifested as binge eating and occasionally reckless spending (but that’s a different story). It can be hard to understand why I couldn’t just stop myself from eating the whole loaf of stuffed cheesy bread followed by half a bag of chips, or from going through the McDonald’s drive-through and getting a full meal even though I knew I would be eating a few hours later. Impulsiveness driven by BPD isn’t just a compulsion, it becomes an obsession for a few minutes to a few hours. Though it may not always lead to binge eating, it definitely contributes to my unhealthy eating habits.
Picture this – you’re driving into work, like you do every weekday. You’ve already decided you’re going to eat some of the oatmeal you have at your desk. Maybe you were thinking about an argument you had the night before, or the weekend plans you had to cancel because you couldn’t force yourself to socialize, something that makes you upset. Suddenly, the thought flits into your mind to stop at McDonald’s on your way in. You remind yourself that you’ve already had it once this week and that you’re trying to eat healthier, but the demand slowly grows in volume until you’re having a silent screaming match with yourself about getting breakfast. Finally, the car slows down and you realize that you’re in the drive-thru lane. While you were distracted arguing with yourself, your auto-pilot went on the path of least resistance. You’re so tired from not sleeping well and so frustrated with yourself that you just order the food.
It’s really, really hard to not give into the impulsivity. Over time I’ve learned to split my attention during these mental arguments so that I can be hyper-aware of my physical actions while the battle is raging inside my head. It doesn’t always work, but it is better. Unfortunately, to my brain many of my impulsivity foods are now binge foods and comfort foods, and I have a very, very strong emotional connection to them. The purpose of this weight loss program, as it is structured, is to help divorce yourself from the emotional ties to food that make other diet programs unsuccessful.
With every day that passes and with each new craving and temptation, I decided that is me saying goodbye to my connection with that food. That’s currently enough to make it through each one for now. Sure, I know I’ll eat M&Ms and pretzels and garlic bread and shrimp fried rice again, but I hope to have a completely different attitude towards food when that happens. I’m so ready for this change in my life, and so ready to be over the emotional captivity that food has over me!
For now, I’m taking it one day at a time.