In the past week, there hasn't been a single day on which I haven't either binged or overeaten. There is a key difference, I think, although neither are good things.
For me, overeating is the 'I don't care, I just want to eat what I want and not obsess about denying myself' attitude. It's the attitude that has me reaching for chunk after chunk of chocolate, cutting slice after slice of bread, dolling out pasta and potatoes and cake onto my plate like there's no tomorrow. I want to eat what I'm eating, but afterwards I feel stuffed and uncomfortable and fat.
For me, bingeing is 'I don't even want to eat any more of this, but I'm going to eat it all because... because...' There isn't a reason. Not a rational one. Maybe I'm stressed or worried or hurt or maybe I just feel shit about myself and about what I'm doing, so I compensate by making myself feel shitter. Good old self-destructive tendencies. In a binge, I eat and eat and eat, even if the food isn't nice, even if I don't want it, even if I'm full to bursting, it's as though I have no control. I can't stop. Even if it's stale bread that's so hard it hurts my teeth, or congealing leftovers I'm picking off other people's plates in the washing up pile, or questionable things lurking at the back of fridges. And afterwards, I feel like a hideous, monstrous failure.
So why did I keep doing it? In my months of weight loss since September, I'd only 'binged' maybe a handful of times before and 'overeaten' maybe a handful more. What was it about this last week that made it so hard to stop?
1. I was staying with my parents, which means less control over my food and the presence of a lot of high calorie foods as temptation.
2. Lack of scales, thus decreased accountability.
3. Food that belongs to other people tends to trigger me more to want to steal/overeat it.
4. Emotional issues connected to one of my oldest friends behaving remarkably insensitively.
5. Broader life worries triggered by my turning 20 years old. Being concerned that I don't know where I'm going in life and I'm destined to always be a failure.
6. Tiredness. Tiredness with being so strict. The (illogical) idea that all my effort has been for nothing, that I haven't actually achieved anything after all.
7. Laziness. Not bothering to make the effort to actually stop myself. Letting the overeating become a habit.
None of those really sounds right, although I think they all were involved, and if I do my best to avoid them or at least avoid letting them get to me in this way, then I should be in a better position to cope in the future.
I'm back at uni now, so I have complete control back over what I buy and what I eat, and I'm determined to be good and strict again. Not only because I want to continue losing weight, but also chiefly because eating well makes me feel good, both physically and mentally, and overeating and bingeing makes me feel utterly utterly awful. And that's not what we want.
I'm also kind of terrified that I've gained weight. If I have, it will be my first gain since I started losing in September. I'm waiting until tomorrow morning to weigh-in, and I've only just got home and it's afternoon already.
But, importantly, if I have gained:
a) I can lose it again. It isn't the end of the world.
b) It will be an excellent lesson in the fact that the choices I made this past week (and they were choices, even if it felt as though I had no control, I did choose to eat what I did, no one forced me) do have consequences for my health and my happiness, and I need to accept what I did wrong and accept the consequences, so that I can work on doing it right in the future.