The Anti-Social Butterfly

Woman with butterfly in curly hair.

Some of the worst and most uncomfortable situations we find ourselves in as binge eaters, are those that are placed in a social setting. We find ourselves dredged with so much internal pain, that often enough a good time with pals seems to cause more anxiety than excitement. We make up excuses why we can’t attend, bail last minute with “the flu”, or simply do attend with the hopes that we can self soothe via enough booze and/or food to ease the internal pressures. Basically, BED causes us to become pretty good avoiders, in mind and body. Not only have we become good mental escape artists, but we’ve also become pretty good Houdinis when some social event rolls into town.

There are several components to the “internal struggle” of placing ourselves in a social function. Mine was mostly body image and self-confidence. You could usually find me before an event stamping my feet (yes, stamping) on the verge of tears complaining to my spouse that I had nothing to wear. Truth be told, I had plenty of articles of clothing to produce an outfit well worth the occasion. What I didn’t have however, was the positive self-image to face my peers. I had gained weight and whether it was noticeable or not, I felt so uncomfortable. Bottom line here was I felt so gross that no matter what I pieced together on the outside it wouldn’t mask the truth about the sad, depressed, lonely binge eating me on the inside.

When feeling so darn down about ourselves we tend to retract to our protective cocoon. We have this need to stay wrapped tightly in our own environment and not face the outside world. The problem becomes when we frequently bail on friends time and time again our social lives tank and we become antisocial hermits. Our forced anti-socialism causes us to become bitterly lonely, leading us to the darkest of places that yuckiest of creatures are found. It is all about surrounding yourself with people that will make you a better person; surprisingly enough they could be the least likely suspects. If you truly feel your current social group really is dragging you down, than change it. Allow yourself to spread those wings and explore new, healthy social environments and people. The important thing to always remember is to never let yourself fly solo for too long.

We need to face the fact that we are human and we are a species that thrives on integrations with other people. When we mess with those integrations we tend to be left feeling worse than before. As part of our recovery, if we can learn to look past the moments of fear that arises from having to approach your super-great looking group of non-bed friends, than that’s the first step. We need to focus on the fact that our avoidances only hurt us more than they help. We need to find our inner strength and fly on it to become better mentally and physically.

“Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being.”- Gandhi

Update!

First and foremost, thank you for following sex, lies, and cupcakes! Having a base of people compelled enough to jump on board and follow along is a feeling of incredible satisfaction for any first time blogger. So THANK YOU!

Secondly, I am a big liar. Yup, a big, fat, liar. I have not posted (with the exception of one “good” day) to “My Daily Plate” as promised. This section is much harder than I expected. I am not giving up, just not giving in, not yet at least. Please let me know your thoughts, opinions, or any jabs you may want to throw out about what a pansy I am being.

Also, I’m re-titling the tag line. No big deal, I know, but just thought I would give you all a heads up. Truth is, it takes a hell of a lot more time than I expected to write a quality post every day. I find it silly to not live up to the “365 days” if I simply am not posting consistently. So in an attempt to keep the grade “A” posts flowing, I’m going to have to sacrifice quantity for quality. I’d rather fill your inbox with useful posts and not my daily, unnecessary babble in order to fill voids between good posts. I’m sure you would all agree 🙂

Thanks again!!

S.

I’m Not An Addict (Maybe That’s A Lie)

If anything, BED has taught me about life through the eyes of an addict. About the types of physical and emotional pain they suffer through in order to break the addition and make it through to the other side squeaky clean.  The torture however, isn’t at the end of the road when it comes time to squash the addiction; no no no, it is everyday, and what seems like every moment.

Drug addiction

According to an article titled “Addictions in Society” regarding the 7 hardest addictions to quit [10], heroin came in at 4. Potato chips numero dos. This was their idea of a funny ha-ha, but in all seriousness fatty foods ranked number 2 on the list. Some may wonder how or why foods are  more difficult to kick over cocaine, cigarettes, and alcohol. Let’s look at the life span of addiction. Addictions can be seen as “the process by which drug-taking behavior, in certain individuals, evolves into compulsive patterns of drug-seeking and drug-taking behavior that take place at the expense of most other activities and (2), the inability to cease drug-taking; the problem of relapse”. The brain pattern of addiction is based on a memory reward system [10]. According to research “repeatedly taking drugs can change the brain cells and make the memory of the pleasurable effects very strong.” [11] They claim that the “pleasurable memory” has a lasting effect allowing relapsing to always be an option. Plain and simple, the solid memory of dopamine-induced utopia is enough to keep you going back for more.

The problem with the binge eater’s drug is it is necessary. It is legal, offered, and unavoidable. It is probable that this makes the addiction so difficult to recover from. Let’s pretend cocaine is a socially acceptable drug regardless of the known addictive qualities, the damages it causes to our bodies, and the risk of death. I’m sure if we had plates of cocaine passed around to us at every dinner party we attended instead of plates of pie, we would probably indulge in the feast. The thing here is, to us, the offering of food is the same anxiety-induced stress that a “drug” addict would experience upon being offered.

See the point is not the occasional forbidden item or overeating here and there, it’s the very bad relationship we have with food and triggers that set off our addiction. This simply relates to trigger foods. Triggering is a HUGE part of addiction. Treatment programs relocate addicts to avoid places where last consumption took place.  [11] They remove them purposely for the sake of not being triggered, but that is impossible, as we know it, for BED. Take away food and you take away life.

While it is the most difficult addition to break (next to love apparently) it needs to be done. My suggestions are to keep busy. Work out to keep physical hunger pains at bay, meditate to clear your mind of stress, get up and out to a place far from food, to the beach, woods, or water it doesn’t matter. Try to remember least of all recovery can only happen one day at time.

“Whether you sniff it smoke it eat it or shove it up your ass the result is the same: addiction.”William S. Burroughs

[10] Peele, Ph.D., J.D, Stanton. “The 7 Hardest Addictions to Quit – Love Is the Worst!”Http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/addiction-in-society/200812/the-7-hardest-addictions-quit-love-is-the-worst. Psychology Today, 15 July 2008. Web.

[11] “New Releases.” Drug Addiction and the Brain: Effects of Dopamine on Addiction. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2013.

[12] “Addiction and Cue-Triggered Decision Process.” Stanford University, July 2004. Web.

Dear Diary

Dear Diary,

Today I had 2 scrambled egg whites, a piece of whole wheat toast (no butter or jam of course), and a few sliced strawberries. Then I had a small handful of almonds as a snack. My lunch consisted of a mixed green salad with grilled chicken and balsamic vinegar. I decided on a yogurt to hold me over until dinner. Then I had a few bite sized pieces of chocolate, two raspberry filled cookie and triple serving sized cupcake. Oh crap.

Love,
I officially suck

Sound familiar? What exactly is it that causes us to derail from the good eating band wagon to the disco fries and gravy train? We start our day off motivated, strong, and full of positive energy. Then slowly the urge creeps up and of course impossible to get rid of until we shove a pint of ice cream down our throats. Nothing is more displeasing than a day’s worth of good eating down the toilet, or reversing the calorie deficit created by a torturous workout. I remember what seems like a far away place and long, long time ago where staying on track was no sweat for me. I’d turn down all sorts of foods without thinking twice. Now if I oppose, my mind becomes completely enthralled in the notion of having to have something, anything. I used to be really, really good about my calorie counting. For whatever the reason is now, counting calories just doesn’t seem to hold weight with me anymore. I’ll start recording them just to quit when doughnut time rolls around. It is so easy to quit the things that actually make us feel good, like working out or logging food consumption (and being at our target calorie intake), and so hard to break those that bring false happiness like blueberry muffins, gummy worms, and peanut butter anything.

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As part of “my recovery”, and yours, I am vowing to log the entirety of each day’s food consumption. Good or bad (yikes!) I’m creating another section of the blog labeled “My Daily Plate”. Here I will dish out ALL of the foods I had consumed the previous day. No lying, no cheating (well maybe), 100% of everything listed. I encourage you to do the same. Feel free to post your own daily diet here as well. Compare and share with others. If you had a really crummy binge day and want to vent, feel free to scream your head off doing so. If you had a kick ass, on track, not one moment of binge, well then you damn well rock and should brag about it. The purpose of this is to feel united in our struggle. Maybe some good vibes will circulate and jump start that extra boost we need to break our ways.

“Please read my diary, look through my things and figure me out” -Kurt Cobain

Type III Diabetes: The Binge Eater’s Diabetes

The real physical tragedies we endure from BED are mistakenly not the extra pounds we tote around with. The true physical damages lay in a less visible area, inside our bodies. Our body is actually an extremely delicate system that needs a very specific recipe of nutrients, minerals and water in order to function properly. Also necessary for maintaining an efficiently running body is the inclusion of healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. “Binge eaters have been known to habitually eat one type of food more often than other types, depending on personal preference. Binge eaters tend to choose unhealthy, fatty, sugary or processed products”. [7] Not only are we ingesting all the wrong types of foods, we are screwing with the proper flow of important components causing our bodies to become disease stricken. Whether we are obtaining too much or too little of all the right things, bottom line is we are messing with the harmony of our system causing ourselves to become sicker than just is the head.

In addition to the well-known outcome of becoming obese, research suggests that BED could cause some of the following complications: [8]

  • Subcutaneous abdomen injectionType 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease and strokes
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Sleep apnea (pauses in breathing during sleep)
  • Osteoarthritis (a disease where the joints wear down, causing stiffness and pain)
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Irregular periods and infertility in women
  • Pregnancy problems, such as high blood sugar during pregnancy, high blood pressure, and increased risk for cesarean delivery (C-section)

The first disease on this list (and most commonly acquired from BED) is type II diabetes. Type II diabetes is when “the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy”. [8] Acquiring type II diabetes from weight gain is a misconception. Actually, those at a normal weight with type II diabetes are twice as likely to die from it compared to their overweight counterparts.[9] It is genetics and lifestyle attributions that contribute to this disease.  “Research has shown that drinking sugary drinks is linked to type 2 diabetes” [8]. I particularly don’t like sugary drinks. What I do like is cupcakes, ice cream, cookies and pretty much any other type of sweet treat. Since I don’t like sugary drinks though does that mean I am safe? I wouldn’t go that far. Using common sense the difference between sugary drinks and non-sugary drinks is, drumroll please, SUAGR. And sweets are, well, sweet because of sugar. I think it would be safe to assume that any sugary item in excess is a huge contributor to of type II diabetes.

The increased risk of diabetes as a cause of  sugar consumption, has definitely crossed my mind, and with utter disgust. I’ve always thought what could be more embarrassing than getting diabetes because I had one too many cupcakes in life?  In my eyes there should be a third type of diabetes, “Type III Diabetes: the Binge Eaters’ Diabetes”.  The one you get from living a super unhealthy, binge crazed lifestyle. What could be more appalling than facing friends and family, being if anything mildly overweight (like a pound our two), to explain I have type II diabetes? It would be considered the equivalency of a cigarette smoker getting lung cancer, or an alcoholic having liver damage. While their vices cause (a good percentage of the time) irreplaceable damage, so could ours.

Motivationally speaking, being aware of the complications that BED causes inside and out, it would be in our best interest to try harder than we already do to put a stop to it. It is extremely frightening to think that we spend time, energy, money, sweat and tears on causing these damages to our bodies. Is there anything uglier than purposely wreaking havoc on our, very beautifully created, biological system? Probably not.

“What’s the whole point of being pretty on the outside when you’re so ugly on the inside?”
Jess C. Scott, I’m Pretty

[7] “Binge Eating Disorder.” WIN –. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 May 2013.

[8] “Diabetes Basics.” Diabetes Myths. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 May 2013.

[9] “Normal-Weight People With Type 2 Diabetes Have Higher Death Risk: Study.” US News. U.S.News & World Report, 07 Aug. 2012. Web. 31 May 2013.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

Feuer

I think it is safe to say EVERYONE lies. And if someone claims they don’t, well, they are lying. For whatever the reason may be, we are born to deceive each other and ourselves. These tall tales can range from little white lies we tell in an attempt to avoid unnecessary conflict to those we tell to just just save our own asses.

BED causes us to be pretty extreme liars, not only to the people around us, but to ourselves. We consistently tell ourselves, “I’ll stop tomorrow”, or “I am going to have just one.” The problem here is that it is more than just a lie, it is an apprehension. We comprehend these lies as truth. These lies we tell ourselves are vicious because they set us up on a long road for failure. We actually believe that these things will happen and get beyond discouraged when they don’t. Adding fuel to the fire, we let the binge begin.

The second batch of lies we tell are to those around us. We mislead others with false information and actions in order to protect ourselves. We fear being perceived as powerless or weak, damaged or broken. Since we tend to see ourselves this way much of the time, we shy away from creating any type of group consensus. We are aware that exposing ourselves is very permanent. There is no taking back the words that have been spoken. Once we have revealed our dirty little secret there is no turning back, and we are forced to face the judgments that follow (negative, neutral, or positive). It all becomes very real.

BED can be very selfish. It is all wanting and taking. In order to get what we want we lie.  We purposely don’t expose ourselves because we want to continue our behaviors. Deep down inside we know if we revel our behaviors we may be forced to actually stop. By shedding light into our dark hole, those around us are better aware and more receptive to our tactics creating a less than fertile ground for lies and binge eating.

Perhaps we could be a little self-less. We should make a conscious effort of being more aware that our actions cause more damage than to just our scales. Being less absorbed with ourselves, we wouldn’t have to fabricate our life and dwell any longer in the illusionary world alone.

“I lie to myself all the time. But I never believe me.”S.E. Hinton, The Outsiders