I had lunch with a gal pal, who is also on a transformative journey with weight and her relationship with food, and this point was brought up and I feel it appropriate to blog about. Now, I write this from my place of observation and never a place of judgement. You know your nutrition, diet and emotional needs, so please keep that in mind upon reading.
Binge eating, per my google search:
A few years ago when I felt I needed a new tool to cope with my relationship with food, I attended a few meetings at Overeaters Anonymous at the suggestion of a friend who had gone. While the program was not what I needed for my life, it was what I needed for that summer. The meetings took place in a church near my apartment on Monday nights, in the community room which had a circle of chairs and no air conditioning. The first night I got there I sat in the car and waited until the last possible moment to go in. I was nervous and ashamed and embarrassed. Admitting that I had a binge eating problem was scary. But now, looking back, it was the next step to move forward in my food relationship and weight loss journey.
The structure of the meeting involves someone being he speaker, and then a group share session for anyone who wants to just talk about how they are feeling.
The first night I went, the person who shared their story spoke about the value in writing down everything you eat – not for counting calories, but for the value of being honest with yourself about what you’re eating and if you’re bingeing. I shared one thing the whole summer I attended and cried the entire time I tried to share. I said I had a hard time accepting my binge eating because it’s so easy to binge on things that are healthy (for me, fruit) and not have someone bat an eye – especially when you exercise excessively and people laugh because “wow you must need to eat a lot of calories because you exercise so much.”
Just because something is “good for you”, or the numbers (calories, points, macros, etc) tell you that you can have a whole lot of something, should you?
Right now a big food trend is high protein frozen desserts. With them being about 300 calories a pint, I’ve seen people saying they’ve eaten the entire pint in one sitting. The entire thing is four servings. This directly contradicts the lessons on portion control.
Now again, the numbers say you can do that – but why do we do it? Do we do it because we have “permission” to eat the whole thing by way of the numbers? Or do we do it because we are hungry? We wouldn’t think to eat an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s when considering the calorie count, so what makes it acceptable to do with these frozen desserts? (Side note: I once ate an entire Ben & Jerry’s pint in my younger days because this guy I had been mad flirting with for months told me he didn’t actually like me, so no judgement if you’ve had a whole pint by yourself)
Even though one might not necessarily find themselves face first in a bag of cheetos, you can still binge on “healthy” foods. And is that ok? I once ate three mangos in one sitting. I’ve also eaten so much watermelon in one sitting that I almost had to call in sick the next day because I felt horrible. But fruit is healthy, so it was ok…. or was it?
My friend I had lunch with said that food culture can allow binge eating through these types of scenarios. And although I never thought of it that way, I am inclined to agree.
Today, our portions are huge. Food industries are feeding into low calorie diet foods, and for those of us who haven’t coped with our bingeing habits, we are finding it socially acceptable to stuff our faces silly with “good for us” food. And while the numbers may say it is ok, I know that it’s not a healthy habit for me. An important lesson I learned while attending OA. One I need to constantly remind myself of. A constant battle, but an important part of the journey.