Skinny Daily Post

Invincible.

Don’t worry. This story has a good outcome. Not a perfect one, but that’s OK.

Last week was awful with the Alzheimer’s mom (AM), and it came to a head last Thursday, when she had a doctor appointment first thing in the morning. I got her up at 7 am, and from the moment she got out of bed until I left her at 10, it was non-stop questions. Full of apprehension and confusion, we endlessly reviewed where we were going, why she had to go, who she was seeing, the concept that there was nothing wrong with her, and if this doctor – the neurologist – wasn’t going to pay attention to her knee, she didn’t want to go.

I felt myself tensing up as I tried to cope with the morning routine: her breakfast and clothes, the cats, my clothes, my lunch and snack, tidying up, fielding questions, walking the dog. By the time we got in the car, I’d had enough. I stopped answering.

AM leaned over and yelled at me! And it continued in the doctor’s office, with the addition of ‘I’ve waited long enough.’ I stopped answering, and just kept on knitting.

The appointment was uneventful. On the way home, she started again, but this time in the past tense. I ran into the house, settled her in, and ran out to do one or two errands on the way to work.

As I settled into my car, I started crying, just a few minutes. And then, I started planning what I would eat – large bags of chips, cookies, pretzels, whatever. And then it hit me over the head: JANE, STOP THIS. YOU DON’T HAVE TO EAT YOUR WAY THROUGH THIS.

Wow.

Believe me, my hands were shaking a bit. I did the errands, none of which involved food, or anyplace that had food, thank goodness. I admitted I was upset and stressed. I understood why, and then forced myself to relax and breathe. Then, it was into the new tea shop for two very large teas – lemon spice and peppermint – with sweetener, no milk, and then to work.

I called one of my colleagues to tell him I was running a little late, and in response to his ‘how are you, is everything OK?’ I told him the truth: If one more thing happened, I was going to cry. And after we hung up, I started. Then sipped the tea. It tasted so RIGHT.

I wish I could tell you that the rest of the day went well, but it didn’t. Not that it was terrible, but I ate two cookies. Just two. Not a box or a large bag. Not a single chip.

When I was finally calm, the progression became obvious: inescapable stress, holding it in, needing to soothe myself, and being totally conscious of what was going on, even though it was painful. But when I realized that I’d managed to stay aware and to take care of myself in a very real way, I felt a bit of pride.

In the past, this whole process happened without my knowing anything about it. I felt numb, both physically and emotionally, and was complete unaware that I was eating. Not perfect yet, but getting there!

7 thoughts on “Anatomy of a Binge

  1. HeatherC says:

    Jane, you’ve just described what has been “eating” me for the past 6 months. I lost 80 pounds, and stress from work and a nagging knee injury caused me to undergo this recent binge/diet cycle. I’ve been trying to work through it, and I’m slowly getting better at not pacifying my emotions with food.

    Kudos to you for realizing what you were doing and stopping before it became a full-blown binge. I hope for your strength during the inevitable stress-filled periods of my life.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. mary jean says:

    All I can say is WOW!! What you did today was amazing, Jane. That is the crux of absolutely everything when it comes to avioding that binge.

  3. stretchy says:

    Jane,
    Your post reminded me of something Jonathan said in his past posts… taking care of our emotional selves… We sometimes medicate oursleves with food when what is really needed is an anti depressent, a therapist, or some other positive way to deal.

    Sometimes eating two cookies can be just the start of an “Oh I am a failure anyway, might as well” full on binge, sometimes two cookies can scare you into saying “OK, calm down, rethink this!”

    I will never go far off track, as long as I have this post of yours to read. It was amazing, and a great help. Thank you.

  4. jonquil says:

    “Courage under fire.” That’s what they call it in the military, and you’ve got that quality in you, Jane. You’re getting the job done.

  5. Lexi says:

    Jane,
    Thanks for your post. It really hit home with me. I’m taking care of my AMIL. I had a very stressful day yesterday with her dr. appts. Along with her ALZ and other health issues, it really stresses me out. I’m trying to deal with food wisely, and your post was really encouraging. Thanks!

  6. Victoria Sheehy says:

    Jane,
    I think you should be very proud of yourself. Acknowledging your desire to binge but not giving in to it is such a fantasic thing to achieve. But knowing why your have the desire is, in my personal opinion, even more of an achievement. You are having an incredibly taxing time, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. However, I felt fleetingly envious that you are so in touch with the link between your emotions and your desire to eat. I feel an almost constant obsession with food that never seems to be linked to any external events in particular. I can’t figure out if that means the need is emotional, habitual or just greed and lack of self control. I’d appreciate your thoughts on how you got to make that link in any future blog. Thanks.

  7. charmin says:

    Jane~
    I soo appreciate this. I have recently discovered the power of tea…. but more importantly than the tea. I have learned that I have the power, and owe it to myself to “deal” directly with what’s got me standing in front of the “icebox” or the cabinets for the “umpteeth time”.

    I think initially after surgery the mindset is soo ” I will never go back there, I will never allow mysel to get in that predicament again..” but I know it has been more than just one event that got me to almost 400 pounds….

    And Now I am having to daily/sometimes by the second conquer my feelings. while I bring my body into submission.

    I screams for all the the stuff sometimes… and when the high voltage yelling happens… it is sometimes too late. I am learning to listen to the body whispers.. when they start… and look at what it is. I have cried a lot lately. The same things I would have at one point literally just sat up and kept in and ate away….

    I deal with as I sip my tea.

    Thank you soo much.

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