I have a bag of food hiding in the back of my car with taboo things like Reese’s Pieces and Nik-Naks for me to bury my feelings in whenever the coast is clear. But as I write this (and pretty much always), my daughter’s favorite Nickelodeon Jr. show warbles in the background. The coast is never really clear.
I’m in my 30s and still going on the 15-year-old in my head. I may call myself a recovered bulimic—and, amazingly, may actually believe it most of the time—but the truth is I’m more of a non-practicing bulimic than anything else. Which leaves me with nothing else to describe myself as but a binge-eater.
Or more accurately, a binge eater who only thinks about throwing up.
Then again it would be even *more* accurate if I called myself a Binge Eater Who Obsessively Works Out, Avoids All Processed Foods And Sugars, And Puts On A Great Show For The Public For Weeks On End Before Secretly Falling Apart And Diving Head-First Into A Pool Of Self-Loathing And Chocolate In A Misguided Attempt To Make Myself Feel Better…Who Only Thinks About Throwing Up.
Funny how I don’t see that listed as a condition in any medical journals.
The irony is I was feeling fine—great even—until I stepped on the scale the other day at the doctor’s office. That’s how quickly it can change.
I was there to discuss my need for a higher dose of anti-depressants, and the number that stared back at me suddenly sent me into a tailspin, through which I quickly disavowed the following: all grains, all forms of sugar including maple syrup and honey, all gluten, soy, and dairy.
Sometimes I’m able to convince myself that it is all about health and not the number on the scale—that health is more important than weight and that I need to concentrate on how good I feel, not how I look when I get off the elliptical.
But then I see that number.
And when it’s not moving in the downward direction, it suddenly matters much more than it should.
So that’s when I go for it: Reese’s Pieces, Nik-Naks, all the sugary and salty goodness that I keep around for moments just like this when I can’t handle it. And once everything has been eaten and the wrappers have all been thrown away, I revert to the only image that gives me some peace. I imagine myself out on the deck, the sounds of Nickelodeon Jr. carrying through the glass door, as I smile smugly about being stronger than my own mind.
I’ll get there one day, but today is not that day.
Via Marie Claire US