There's nothing lighthearted or redeeming in this one. Sorry. It may be of interest if you deal with similar.
I think I have a food problem. I mean, all right, I obviously have a lot of problems with food, from periods of extremely restrictive eating to binge eating to even when I'm eating normally just having an an unhealthy, warring relationship with food. (Can you blame me?)
In order to maintain a borderline healthy weight (and I don't mean by any external measure like BMI or clothing size but a weight at which I feel healthy and can move my body comfortably, and maintain my PCOS symptoms at a steady level) I have to choose very carefully what I eat, and how much of it. And all my supposed successes with intuitive eating have occurred during early hypomanic phases, when I had very little appetite, but hadn't yet made it to the near crash point when I start eating entire packages of Oreos publicly. As much fun as that is for all of us.
I guess it's not fair to say intuitive eating hasn't benefited me -- I am very aware of how different foods affect me, and (usually) motivated to avoid the ones that aren't helpful. That list is getting pretty big, though. I tend to binge when I have a bite of any of the foods below, and by binge I don't mean two helpings, I mean eat until it's gone and then eat whatever's on your plate and then scour the pantry for the next closest thing and then eat that until it's gone and I am in pain and STILL ready to eat more if it were set before me. And then spend the next three days feeling bloated and gross, BUT obsessing, still, over that same food -- imagining it, wanting it, waging an internal battle to keep myself from going out and buying it.
It's shocking to me, and more than a little disturbing, how big that list is, and how it's grown to encompass not the standard American crap food that was designed in a lab to make us binge, but healthy foods, foods in their natural state, foods that my dietary gurus would label as acceptable, "safe," unlikely to cause a binge.
Binge triggers that I have discovered the hard way:
- Cookies of all kinds. Thin Mints, Oreos, homemade chocolate chip, sugar free peanut butter, no-sugar-added banana and oats. ALL cookies.
- Cake. Ditto.
- Pretty much anything made with flour. Donuts, homemade challah, whatever. Baked goods.
- Candy bars. Little, big, whatever. Halloween is deadly.
- Ice cream, regular, sugarless, all-banana, whatever.
- Mashed potatoes.
- Cereal. Any kind. Even Uncle Sam or Grape-Nuts.
Those seem fairly standard, no? It gets better.
- Meat loaf. Sigh. With or without carbs added.
- Pot roast.
- Cream cheese, added to anything.
- Plain Greek yogurt, non-, low-, or full-fat. Unsweetened, always.
Bummer, especially since those are Primal or Atkins-friendly foods that I "should" be able to handle. But wait! There's more!
- Dried fruit of any kind. Raisins, prunes, figs, apricots, cranberries...well maybe not goji berries
- Cooked fruit, even without sweetener: so apples, peaches, anything you'd put in a cobbler or pie, EVEN if you made it without sugar and used a butter-almond flour-cinnamon crumble topping with no sugar.
- Some fresh fruit: figs, stone fruits, berries.
- Sweet potatoes. Fried, baked, mashed, no sweetener ever.
I have been known to overdo it on roasted vegetables with a little bit of natural sweetness -- brussels sprouts! Cauliflower! Carrots and parsnips!
I don't really know what to do about it. It's not that I'm weak or lack discipline -- I can keep cereal and cookies and granola bars and berries around, for the other people in the household, since those are so firmly OFF LIMITS in my mind, I don't even consider them food to me. I make mashed potatoes and even homemade baked fries for the rest of the household, and don't touch them. I even bake with the kids, brownies, muffins, and I don't eat a single one! I do have incredible willpower, despite what it looks like!
But anything I think of as "mine" (sugar free, flour free cookies, apples baked with cinnamon, heck, meat loaf) is in danger.
It's awfully hard to be the primary shopper/cook/lunch packer/kitchen manager when you are constantly dancing around your own triggers. If I go too long without eating, like more than 5 or 6 hours, I no longer get shaky or hypoglycemic -- the physical issues are well under control -- but I get my weird disordered eating issues triggered and start thinking, good, that's good, you didn't eat, now you just have to go the rest of the day without eating! Don't eat. You're good if you don't. You're bad if you do.
Now, on meds, I can step back and know that's not right, can ignore the shrieking in my head and make myself eat something good, an egg or whatever. And then the voices turn off.
Jesus. I don't even know where to start with this shit. I wish I didn't love food, or cooking, or any of it. Wellbutrin is what they prescribe to people with binge eating disorder, but it hasn't done a thing for me in that regard.