When I first heard this theory, it made sense to me and I believed myself to be an abstainer. It’s true that the best way for me to not binge eat is to not have the foods that I tend to binge on in the house. But ultimately, this categorisation of myself wasn’t very helpful because it meant that if I did eat a piece of chocolate, I could justify eating the whole box because “I’m an abstainer so I actually can’t stop.” Then, feeling sick with sugar and shame, I would vow never to touch chocolate ever again. And I wouldn’t. Until the next time I ate far too much in one go.
Eventually, I decided to try just eating one piece of chocolate, or having a few spoonfuls of ice-cream without devouring the whole tub. And while it is difficult, I found that it is perfectly possible to put the food away and not finish it. After a while of doing this, it became easier to enjoy a small amount but know when to stop.
So, I much as I admire other things that Gretchen has to say, I’m calling bullshit on the abstainer-moderator theory because at it’s best it gives us an excuse not to try and change our behaviour, and at worst encourages the cycle of bingeing and purging. It reinforces the message that we are “just like this”, that there is no other way. Continue reading →
Today I have been feeling anxious, so I wanted to eat sweet things.
I was full of lunch, but still bought an extra chocolate flapjack and smoothie. They were supposed to last me the afternoon, but I devoured them in minutes. My craving was not satisfied. And I still feel anxious. Only now I feel sugar cravings and anxiety and shame about giving in to my cravings.
I hate the feeling of my stomach feeling full. Even now, years on from starving myself for perfection, I feel guilty when I feel I have “indulged” in too much.
I know this is bullshit. I know I should be kind to myself.
One of my clearest memories from primary school is everyone being handed a paper plate and asked to recreate our favourite foods. While I vaguely recollect building pizza slices out of cardboard, what I can picture most clearly is mixing pva glue and white paint in search of a substance that could pass for mayonnaise. A little more paint then a little more glue: a careful balancing act that made me the most intensely focused seven year old in the room.
It’s tempting to buy ready meals when you’re cooking for yourself, especially when you can get soup for £1 from Tesco that will do for two meals. But I was starting to feel lazy and vaguely guilty about not being able to cook for myself. So a few weeks ago I made a resolution to cook everything from scratch.