Self Compassion (Rather Than Self Degradation) After a Binge

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In the grand scheme, everything is just fine.

Hurricane Irene blew threw NJ and hit it pretty hard, although I have to say that our area was largely spared any real damage, which is simply amazing. I live in the woods, we have incredibly tall trees, and generally if someone sneezes hard enough, we lose power. We had a few dips and surges, lost a few manageable limbs, and otherwise escaped unscathed. However, it was incredibly stressful to watch the trees bend, the river and stream flood, and I got not a lot of sleep--I spiraled this weekend turning to food for comfort and anxiety relief. As per usual, even after the cause for anxiety had long passed, I still struggled to get myself back on track and still made some over-the-top choices regarding food. I'm feeling grateful this morning for a fresh start and a clean slate.

I did do something I don't normally do in these cases--I tracked every bite of food I can remember eating in the past two days. It's an incredible amount of calories, as much as I used to eat when I was far, far heavier and the binges were more frequent, and it explains why I was so physically uncomfortable at the end of the day (I weigh half what I weighed then, but the binge was just as big). I'm certain today will be pretty uncomfortable. "Coming off" of those kinds of processed foods is already typically terrible, but added to that, I generally abstain from--or limit--my intake of dairy and wheat, and I ate a lot of both of those things in the past two days (that's what was in the house).

The good news is this: while this morning I woke up feeling terrible about the choices I made, I've since managed to shift my attitude and remember that I don't need to tell myself a storyline to go along with what happened. The choices I make don't make me "bad" or a "Failure," or "off and running," or any of a slew of other things the old tapes in my head would want me to believe. In the past, when I attach so much weight to things like this (no pun intended, really), I end up feeling worse and struggling more to break the pattern. If I stick to the facts, this was two days of bad food choices made in a (poor) effort to cope with stress. Even better, rather than beat myself up for those choices, today I'm deciding to treat myself with compassion. This means acknowledging that it sucks that I felt so anxious, and I understand why I chose food in the face of that--it's familiar and easy, and I didn't have access to a lot of my usual "coping strategies" courtesy of the limits of the weather. It also means recognizing that it sucks to wake up feeling so terrible about something you can't go back and change. It means not stepping on the scale to see what water and food weight my body is hanging onto as a result of the past two days and using that information to punish myself--because in the grand scheme, whatever weight I might possibly gain as a result of my choices doesn't matter and won't stick around anyway. Just allowing a little sensitivity for myself in my heart makes this all seem less huge and overwhelming. Being angry at myself, regret, punishment, or any other form of self-degradation just increases my stress level and makes me more apt to turn to food--in that light, why make any other choice?

It's a new day. I hope those who were in Irene's path made out as well as we did, escaping terrible damage. Love and light to you all.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    How wonderful it is that you are able to be honest with yourself, and loving. And you're willing to look in the mirror, that is sometimes the hardest part about life. emoticon
    2724 days ago
    can relate to your blog. binges are horrible but i really like your way of thinking. thanks
    2726 days ago
    I see this is an old post, but I just wanted to say, thanks for writing this. I too struggle with binges for self-comfort (I'm struggling with ending it!) and this is a great attitude to have! Thank you for reminding me that a binge doesn't need to be compounded by humiliation and beating yourself up!

    And Great job tracking the binge; I'm sure that couldn't be easy!! emoticon
    2728 days ago
    I am binge-free for several weeks now...quite an accomplishment for me, considering what the prior six months consisted of. I am grateful to have have stumbled upon you, your blogs, and your success.

    2728 days ago
    I realize this is an old post...but apparently I needed to find it today because I’m going through the exact same feelings this morning. Thank you for reminding me that self degradation has never worked in the past and that bad eating is exactly that--bad choices, not a moral issue. It’s so easy to beat ourselves up...but that only feeds our bad eating behaviors. I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season. :)
    2746 days ago
    Good for you...we go through enough without adding to it with self negativity and beating ourselves up...compassion is the best way to go...:)
    You know why you did it, and you are moving on.. moving forward, so I say you are emoticon emoticon emoticon

    Really glad that you were spared the worst of the just reading about it gave me shivers.

    Love your's so beautiful...:)
    2748 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/16/2011 12:25:43 PM
    What a happy healthy post! Yep, it's a bummer that you fell off the wagon for a second, but you were right back on it the next. Good job limiting the negative self-talk, getting back on track, and setting a good example for the rest of us.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2826 days ago
    Love all your blogs! I added you as a friend last year when I was sparking for a few months. I recently came back to sparks again and I moved you up on my page so I can click on your awesome success story whenever I feel frustrated or anxious. You are very eloquent, and I love your perspective. Thank you very much for sharing.
    2840 days ago
    A spark friend sent me this blog and it has made a big change in my attitude toward myself.. Thank you so much for writing this blog!! emoticon
    2848 days ago
    Wow! You seem to have a good handle on things and your insight has lit a fire under me. A binge is just that and it ends when you say it doesn't have to go on with the self-degradation and torment. Thank you.
    2850 days ago
    I am glad you hear you guys are ok from the storm!!! and yes! Don't beat yourself up over 2 days!!! out of the hundreds of days that you eat over and beyond healthy. Like you said the weight wont stick.
    2855 days ago
    You are doing well to track all the food you ate. And the post binge attitude is good. Tomorrow is a new day.

    So glad you did not have too much damage with the cyclone.
    2855 days ago
  • JLITT62
    A very healthy attitude AND I'm so proud of you for tracking! I'm sure that wasn't easy.

    I'm in NY & while we weren't supposedly hit that hard (was visiting relatives during), we lost power for 3 days! But it went back on shortly before we got home!
    2855 days ago
    sounds like you have your eyes and heart wide open, love to hear it doll, it ain't no thang in the scheme of things ;) keep rockin it!
    2855 days ago
    I so needed to read this. I'm saving this as a favorite because the same things you wrote above for yourself, is what I need to remind myself of when I come down off a binge. It's just that, a binge, and it doesn't define me and won't stop me from putting my best and most healthy foot forward to get back on the healthy train. You have such an amazing way with words that just speaks to me. THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
    2855 days ago
    What a great new attitude!

    2855 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    2856 days ago
    I think another big difference for you today is the amount you exercise. It will help a lot in clearing out the "toxins" from all that processed food. Stress can really be a food trigger.
    2856 days ago
    You are such a smart woman. You inspire me every day.

    2856 days ago
    I needed to read this.

    I got bad news concerning my back yesterday. It looks like I have a nerve being compressed by a disc which causes intermittent and horrible pain in my legs. There seems to be a confluence of opinions on how I should be treated and nowhere in here is anyone concerned about my mental well being (It's in the toilet.) My ability or inability to deal with an albeit low level but constant level of pain that makes me a real joy to live with. I cant exercise beyond walking in the therapy pool and I keep beating myself up for not haven taken better care of myself sooner, etc, etc.

    I am on an escalator going down hill quickly and I keep looking for the brakes. Thanks Melissa for much needed perspective. Not only has the pain walled me off but I've walled myself off from everything and every body.
    2856 days ago
    It would have been pretty traumatic to watch flooding and trees bending . . . I think it would have been easy to turn to food. Your self-awareness is what will keep you on track over all.
    2856 days ago
    Your blog really hit home with me. It was like I was reading about myself - those tapes in my head. Oh boy! It is a new day and new hopes and dreams.
    I live in PA and we live in the woods, too. We had the usual sticks down but not like some storms that would go through. Our power flickered but no loss of power like some homes are still out of power.
    Thanks for your thoughts,
    Lise emoticon emoticon
    2856 days ago
    I congratulate you on being ble to feel good about yourself. im still working on it and have a LONG way to go..old habits are hard to break.
    2856 days ago
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