The Why Doesn’t Matter

Last Friday, I severely overate. During the day, I had my breakfast, lunch and snacks like I always do, but it didn’t seem like enough – not because I was hungry, but because I let a restless, unsatisfied maniac take over my mind.

I bought a large 4-serving bag of Frito’s at lunchtime and ate the whole thing. Then on the way home, I stopped at Walmart, of all places, so I could buy junk. I ended up with a large snack box of Oreos (13 cookies), half a dozen Krispy Kreme cake donuts and a dozen chocolate chip cookies from their bakery. I ate two bakery cookies and threw the rest away because they were, quite frankly, terrible. I’m not sure what I expected from the Walmart bakery, but they were atrocious. The Oreos I ate in the car, along with two of the donuts. I ate my third one later that evening and then Steve had the other three between Friday and Saturday. He didn’t know about the Oreos or the bakery cookies. I simply didn’t tell him. I ate chicken and potatoes and rolls for dinner with him on top of that, plus a bag of almonds, plus a chocolate protein bar from Steve’s boxes he keeps for after long runs. I thought I was going to explode.

I don’t know why I did it. Like, I am at a total loss to explain. I also know I don’t need to know why. There will always be a reason, an excuse, some stressful trigger that makes me behave that way. The why doesn’t matter. It all leads back to the same thing – that mean, restless monster inside.

I will always be compulsive to a point. I don’t think that is entirely avoidable for me. However, the way I look at it, I can at least focus that energy on positive things – my running and my nightly strength work, cooking and meal planning, keeping our budget and household paperwork straight, files and photos on the computer organized. I rock the methodical stuff because of the way my brain works. At least it has its benefits.

But no more of this damaging crap. I may no longer see any immediate or long-term physical effect from overeating once in a while – partly because I run the way I do and partly because I eat so nutritiously the rest of the time – but it doesn’t make it okay. When it is accompanied by that kind of insane, compulsive thinking, the kind I recognize from other addictions, it is totally, absolutely not okay.

When I was sneaking to the store, buying the junk, and opening and eating it in my car, I felt blank and out of control, same as I used to when I would buy alcohol for the second time in one evening, bring it home and chug it down until it was all gone. When I lied to Steve by omission, it was no different than when I was hiding my smoking and my inhalers from him.

I know I have repeated numerous times that food addiction is the same as any other. Sometimes, like last Friday, I am reminded, shockingly, just how much. No matter what the outlet, it’s a painful way to think, and a blow to my body, mind and spirit. I felt nothing but emptiness when it was all over. So pointless, so stupidly pointless. I don’t want to do that again.

So, I told Steve. Thursday night as I was doing the dishes, I confessed the whole sad story. I also told him that next time I am tempted to run off and do something like that, I am going to lean on him. Sometimes all it takes is verbalizing my crazy to him, the person who loves and understands me the most, for me to realize just how irrational it really is. Deep breaths and honesty are my friends.

(though tea and gum don’t hurt, either)

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