I cheated. Big time.
It’s been about 2 weeks since my last cheat. I’m not sure “cheat” is the right word for it; binge is probably what most people would call it. For me though, it was kind of the way I was eating when I was living off of the DoorDash app, so I’m not sure I personally would call it a binge. Binge for most people, cheat for me (but that’s part of the problem, isn’t it?). Now, this is nothing against DoorDash. It’s a great service. It’s just that in my hands, it made overeating ridiculously easy because I could place large orders and no one would know that they were being delivered to just one person. Once I started using DoorDash a year or two ago, it pretty quickly became a daily thing. I tried to ween myself off of it after I started seeing the toll it was taking on my bank account (again, nothing against DoorDash; I was the one spending the money on more food than I needed (and as I write this, I feel ashamed knowing that there are people out there who have trouble even putting food on the table))–not to mention, the toll it was taking on the size of my ass–and got down to once or twice a week, although surges in activity definitely occurred. Pretty regularly, in fact.
By the way, I don’t really want to write about this. It’s hideous. Guilt, humiliation, anger, self-hate, I have to sit with them all if I actually spend time looking at this. But that’s what this blog is about: being accountable, looking the why, what and how of being grossly fat in the face and making the attempt to overcome it, making the attempt to be healthy, happy, confident and to feel pretty, to feel sexy.
I relocated for a new job about 2 months ago. It’s a pretty big life change. And I am alone a lot on a daily basis because I am single and don’t know anyone in my new city. Generally, food is my friend–but I am trying to change that. So, I started my VLC LCHF diet during vacation time from work. I’ve been at it for about 7 weeks and just finished my first week at my new job, which is all orientation. Orientation week is filled with the nuts and bolts of working in the organization and a lot of team building and social activities. Breakfasts, lunches, coffees, and some dinners are included. It would have been easy to go off of my diet, but except for a couple of glasses of wine and a whiskey and Diet Coke, I didn’t. I stuck to it. I planned. Brought Tom’s Turkey Sticks and cheese sticks for breakfast and whenever I couldn’t bring my own food, I made choices that were as close to my diet as possible. I stayed on track and although that free tiramisu and pasta looked heavenly, I avoided it and continued to see my progress. The scale proved it. It was something to feel proud of.
Until. Until I ate some broccoli and cauliflower. WTF?! Who knew reasonable portions of steamed broccoli and cauliflower were not good for weight loss? Somebody could have told me that! I am actually really pissed about this whole situation because it set the cheat in motion and I don’t need to stall my progress–or gain weight. I am morbidly obese for fuck’s sake!
Here’s what happened. So, Thursday we finish and I am going to get home early enough to actually feel energetic enough to cook something. I think about my usual go-to’s…you know, the meals that have kept me on track…but they’re not appealing. I decide to stay within the parameters of my diet, but have a new dish. I ended up with steamed broccoli and cauliflower with shredded cheddar on it. It amounted to about 338 calories. 88 from the vegetables and 250 from the cheese. That’s it. It was delicious and it felt good to enjoy the meal AND stay on my diet. I go to bed happy–and within my calorie limit for the day.
As I do every morning (because it keeps me on track and helps me to know when to make adjustments), I woke up, peed, and stepped on the scale. I fucking gained 1.6 pounds! Broccoli. Cauliflower. Saboteurs. Traitors. I’ve been misinformed. Clearly, there is something in these foods that doesn’t allow me to lose weight. Seriously?! Well, I was seriously bummed. Like, in a big way. But, I grabbed my usual breakfast and packed a good lunch and dejectedly headed off to work. I was doing well until I was running some errands that required a 30 minute drive. 30 minutes I don’t usually have where I am doing nothing but driving. No multitasking, no TV or radio, no reading, no iPad, nothing. In creep thoughts about that 1.6 pound gain.
You don’t understand. I know that sometimes we retain water and will eventually lose it, and that women’s hormones complicate things like weight loss, but this particular 1.6 pounds were really important to me. Really important. Because I was going to be in the next ten (as in the next ten down: 270, 260, 250, etc.). Because I was close to hitting the 30 pound mark (as in 30 pounds lost). This is important because I can always lose 10, even 20 pounds if I try. It’s keeping it going, it’s losing one hundred and fifty that’s the problem. Even when I eventually get down to weighing 200 pounds, I will still have 80 to go. That’s a lot to anyone. It’s a lot of opportunity to quit, to stay fat. I don’t wanna stay fat. So, you see? Hitting the next ten and that 30 pounds gone was important. Is important.
Back to what happened. Driving around, I have those thoughts and then I remember it’s Friday. Friday is important, too. My mom and I had this tradition where every Friday after I got out of school we would do something special, usually eat out. I can still see my favorite hero sandwich and remember the feelings of weekend freedom and time with my mom. Powerful elixirs. So, it’s Friday and I begin to think about cheating. I don’t want to. And I do. I run through all of the DoorDash options in my mind. Pasta? Chinese? Do I want to order cake? How I will get back on track? I decide not to cheat. Then I think about the broccoli and cauliflower (which I know I shouldn’t be vilifying) and those 1.6 pounds, the next ten and the 30. I am doing some serious cheat planning when one of my friends texts me. We text about dieting (she’s on a diet too, but she has maybe 10 pounds to lose). By the time we’re done, I feel better. I feel like the moment of weakness has passed. Feeling good about that, I finish up my errands. It’s an hour or two later and I’m hungry, but I still feel like sticking to it. I think that’s fabulous. I go through the McDonald’s drive thru and only get a Diet Coke for the ride home. It’s about a 45 minute drive. By the time I am 10 minutes from home, I’ve placed an order with DoorDash. $80 worth from the Cheesecake Factory. I don’t want to say it out loud, but I ordered two pasta dinners, a cheeseburger and chocolate cake (I did want that cake, after all). I had ice cream for the cake at home. I don’t finish everything. In fact, I only finished the cheeseburger. I didn’t even try the cake. I think it’s partly because it was 8pm by the time the food arrived. If it had arrived at 10 o’clock in the morning, I would have had all day to eat every last morsel. It doesn’t matter; I still overate. I just didn’t tip over into being a complete pig.
There it is. That’s my cheat. I woke up this morning feeling disappointed in my lack of self-control. Guilty. Frustrated. Ashamed. Fat. Fatter.
And the cycle begins. To compensate for the cheat, I haven’t eaten anything yet today. It’s 6:30pm and I probably should eat something. Or maybe I shouldn’t; don’t I have enough fat for my body to live off of for today? Won’t those excess calories work for today? I don’t know. I think about it for awhile, then I remember that I have to go to a dinner for work tomorrow. I decide that I should eat dinner today because I will go light on breakfast and lunch tomorrow in anticipation of not being sure of what the dinner options will be. I’ll need to bank a few calories. Ugh. This feels challenging. And I feel like it shouldn’t be. I feel pathetic.
Don’t think for a second that I don’t see all the things wrong with the behavior and thinking I’ve describe here (banking calories? cheating? food as reward? food to self-medicate?). I see it. Too plainly, I see it. It’s a sad picture. A sick one. And one of my own doing. Which makes it even worse.
And now I’m mad at my self-pity.
I look at that last sentence, at what’s supposed to be the last sentence. Except for these sentences. Anyway, I look at it and I feel angry at myself. And I feel like crying. Because of the anger. For a lot of what I’ve written, I feel like crying.
(I suck it up and make a healthy dinner instead.)