Friday, August 09, 2013
Have you seen those “I lost weight” success stories on the Huffington Post? I’ve been reading a lot of them lately and drawing inspiration from peoples’ stories. But I’ve noticed many people saying things along the lines of “I used to eat an entire large pizza and two liters of regular cola for dinner, but I never knew that was a bad thing.”
Really? Because I’m skeptical. Oh, not about how much they ate. I know that’s possible from personal experience (more about that in a minute!) but did they really not know that eating an entire family size pizza in one sitting is not a good idea?
I grew up in the 60’s and in my family of origin, we didn’t know anything about nutrition. The “clean plate club” was enforced and all vegetables were drenched in melted butter. Salads were swimming in bottled dressing and there was bread and dessert at every meal (well, there was no dessert at breakfast, but the cereal had so much sugar that there might as well have been). Sometimes my father would say “let’s be daring” which meant cutting the entire pie or cake into four pieces and serving one to each of us.
Still, by the time I was an adult, I knew that wasn’t healthy eating. So I tend to be skeptical when people say they didn’t know that eating fast food three times a day was not a good thing. And if some of you truly didn’t know, please accept my apologies for doubting you. I’m not trying to offend you, I’m just trying to say that my problem was a little different: I knew that what I was doing was bad for my health, but I did it anyway.
It is time for me to come clean about my eating. I am being honest with you so that I can be honest with myself. Because I have never really admitted to myself that I am somewhat of a binge eater. Most of the time I eat pretty well, but then every once in a while I just go crazy. Here are some examples.
Yes, I have eaten an entire half gallon of ice cream. Not that often, but part of my brain still tells me that a pint of Ben & Jerry’s is a single serving.
I have also eaten an entire family size pizza on more than one occasion, and in college I once ate an entire large package of Oreos. Even after joining SparkPeople, I have found myself on a binge and going through the drive-through at McDonald’s and ordering TWO extra value meals. Even as I did it, I knew it was wrong and I was ashamed. I would order two different meals with two different drinks in the hope that the server wouldn’t realize that they were both for me. More about the shame factor in a moment.
I am often pretty good when the food is packaged, but watch out once it is opened. The 8 oz. block of cheese can sit in the fridge for a week, but as soon as it is opened, it is gone.
I subscribed to the theory that if nobody sees or knows that I ate something it doesn’t count. This is particularly true with ice cream. My wife is one of those amazing people who can open a pint of ice cream and just have one scoop. I frequently would finish the rest of the pint and then think “oh, no, she’s going to know and she’ll be mad at me.” Some of you already know what I would do then, because you’ve been there yourselves, am I right? So I drove to the store, bought a replacement pint, and ate it down to the same level that the original pint was. Then I’d stick it back in the freezer.
It was a problem when I couldn’t find the same flavor. Once I drove to three different places in an ultimately failed attempt to find the flavor I had just polished off. Another time I was successful in finding a replacement pint, but dropped the receipt as I got out of the car and my wife found it!
I can laugh at myself, now. The shame is gone because I have made some real changes in the way I eat. But I’m worried too because I feel that tendency to binge is still a part of my psyche and I have to figure out why that is, if I am going to be successful in the long term.
Thanks for listening.