Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Celebrate the Small Victories

One of the characteristics of my eating disorder is obsessive thoughts about food. I can only assume that these obsessive thoughts are similar to what an addict experiences. I hear this voice in my head about a specific food and it is so loud that it drowns out everything else. The rest of my entire life goes into auto pilot as this internal battle rages on in my head. The thoughts usually focus on a food that I have in the house (or candy or chocolate, which may or may not be in the house) and my entire focus is on eating it. The battle goes something like this:

You need to eat it! It tastes so good. It's right there just put it in your mouth. 
You can eat better tomorrow. You'll make up for eating this today tomorrow. 

But I've already eaten enough calories today. I don't need it!
I know that I'm not going to exercise it off tomorrow. 
I never 'make up for it tomorrow'.

Just eat it anyways. 
-persistent thoughts about the taste, texture and smell of the food- 
You're not going to stop thinking about it until you eat it.
You need to eat it!

I don't want to be fat. Think about all the hard work
I've done to get into this shape and I want to get smaller. 
Eating this will not help! Please don't eat it. PLEASE!

This thought pattern will continue for hours on end and is often accompanied by negative thoughts of what other people will think of me if they see me eat it. The voice to eat is so loud that I often lose. 

Do you know that satisfied feeling you get when you eat a tasty tasty treat, especially something that you've been craving for a while. You savour and enjoy it. Often the calories and fat are worth that enjoyment. That is NOTHING like when I lose the obsessive thought battle. When I finally give in and lose and eat it there is no joy or satisfaction. I often don't even really tasty what I'm eating. The positive feelings associated with treat eating are replaced with guilt and shame. Moreover, as I eat there is a stream of negative thoughts about how weak, fat and pathetic I am running through my head. To make the whole situation worse the voice in my head is never satisfied when I give in and instead I hear one of two things (1) "that was so good, eat more!" or (2) "what are you going to eat next?"

BUT today I won! 

Lately my obsessive thoughts have been focusing on cheese whiz - an unhealthy product that I haven't eaten in years but is in the back of the fridge - particularly cheese whiz on rice cakes. I've lost the battle many times in the past week and to make it worse I am allergic to cheese. So when I lose, along with all the crappy negative thoughts, I get physical consequences too. I break out, get stomach aches, gas, constipation and an overall feeling of lethargy - like the dairy gets into my muscles and makes them tired. 

BUT today I won!

I tricked the stupid internal voice by eating (dairy-free) cream cheese on rice cakes. I took such pride in figuring out how to shut the stupid voice up that I tasted every bite. I enjoyed it and the calories were totally worth it!

Today I won! 


  1. I loved this. Such a victory. :) And the last paragraph made me laugh - not in a mean mocking way, but the laugh that comes from pure enjoyment of seeing someone do something awesome. What a creative way to overcome in that battle! Big kudos to you!

  2. Thank you Terri for both your support and kind words.

    This success totally reminded me of the pride one feels when they see their child accomplish something for the first time. Yes it may be a small victory but it's a pretty darn awesome one.