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Lusty Lady

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Binge eating essay at The Frisky

I wrote "I'm a Binge Eater (Sometimes)" for The Frisky. Check it out.

One aspect of my disordered eating habits has remained, an occasional crutch that feels all the more sinful because it’s so rare: bingeing. Usually it involves some type of “bad” carb, be it cereal or cookies or, in this case, potato chips. Once I know a food is a potential trigger, I tend not to buy it, or if I do, I buy a small package of it so that if I want the giddy, joyful, getting-away-with-something feeling of literally shoving food in my mouth, I can do so without guilt. (Thank you, single-serving cereal packs, which I know are bad for the environment, but they let me shovel Lucky Charms into my mouth and not feel gross about it.) Sometimes it’s Cheerios or Raisin Bran; I’ve even managed to binge on Grape Nuts, and that’s a challenge. It’s not that Cheerios are unhealthy in and of themselves, but when I eat anything simply because I want to feel and hear it crunch in my mouth until I zone out, it’s not a good thing. For me, binge eating isn’t only about eating “forbidden” foods. It’s that I’m eating them alone, in secret, with a purpose that I know, even if subconsciously, has nothing to do with hunger.

My boyfriend had two large bags of potato chips in his kitchen; the jalapeño chips were almost decimated, so I decided to open the Kettle sea salt chips. As almost always happens when I binge, I didn’t set out to eat all of them. I just wanted something salty and crunchy, something to take my mind off myself and my problems, and figured I could eat a few, close the bag, and I would look like a normal snacker, not a glutton. And it worked, for a little while; those first few bites were blissful. Then, after the initial handful of chips, I zoned out and kept shoving them in my mouth, long after the saltiness had made my tongue rough and even the crunch seemed dulled. Every time I paused, I realized how much I didn’t want to face my own sluggishness, and the chips seemed easier to deal with … until I got to the very bottom of the bag. I didn’t let myself look at the calorie count, because I knew if I did I’d be tempted to revert to my old ways and stick my fingers down my throat (when I did finally look, I saw that the entire bag contained 750 calories, and was relieved it wasn’t twice that amount). I was like a living version of Heather Whaley’s hilarious and a little-too-close-to-home cookbook Eat Your Feelings: Recipes for Self-Loathing.

The worst part wasn’t my regret or stomachache, but that I couldn’t keep it a secret. Like secret eater Shoshana Davis, I’m used to hiding the eating I don’t want anyone to know about.
Read the whole thing

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