Last week at my friends wedding was one of those tests in this process of #bikinicompprep On a mental level that only someone who has struggled with binging may truly understand. For me it used to be one of my downfalls. I could eat healthy, I could not eat alot, I could go work out, I could stop drinking for a few months... but someone ask me to go to an event where food was being offered freely and I could not for the life of me NOT #binge I binged on foods I would buy, let alone free for all buffets. I had grand plans of going to the wedding and not having dessert. Or not touching one drink. #bikiniprep is a serious notion for me and one I want to get right. But I still want to live a little. And theres the crux of the matter. The idea that eating and drinking is 'living' Im not saying its not, im just saying that I have an attachment to that side of things that has enabled me to make alot of unhealthy choices along my journey. Food and drink equals fun. And more often than not, my own fear of being boring meant I would eat and drink (in excess) So attending something where you are dealing with a few deep set issues... the fear of being boring, the fear of missing out, the fear of messing up comp prep... its a headache and soul ache that I wish was fully gone but also I want to share that its still in there somewhere, that food for me isnt as easy as (eat it/dont eat it/make the right choice/or dont) The journey is longer, harder, deeper than being black and white.
Someone messaged me asking, how do I deal with binges... and this is how I do. I clock the urge, I fight it or sometimes I don't, I ask myself my thoughts, I become aware of them, I speak on it, I share it and I (try with all my might) to let it go.
Eating what you want is a joy. Eating alot of what you want is even more joyous. Not being able to control yourself and getting the feelings on anxiety when faced with lots of food. Is quite frankly. Shit.
The aim with my fitness journey has always been... eat well, controlled and just act like any other normal human being.
Unless the journey consists of comp prep. Im not going to be deprived of food for long. I have 7 weeks until I can strut my stuff on stage, and then go enjoy the delights of Bali cusine. It seems simple enough. In the lead up, or in general, to have some self control.The wedding meant I had to face a lot of demons. And I think I survived, unscathed more or less. Honestly. I made good food choices. I had(lots of salmon n veg) I had a small portion of plaintain, took ssome veg lasana and then left it. (I just need to feel like I had the option) and I was sorted.
Then out came the deserts. And I knew right then and there that I was going to have one. I did the story... "its one dessert, you have 8 weeks till comp, one dessert wont hurt... yolo!"
And all those things I told myself are inevitably true. I would fit my weekly macros around it. I would not screw up my progress with one cheesecake. Would I step onto the stage and think 'I wonder what my results had been like if id not had the cheesecake?' Maybe, maybe not. But the point was, I wanted to do this competition with all this in mind. How much of my real life could I let seep in and still gain progress and results good enough for the stage.
When the binge is on the horizon, when your palms get sweaty and your heart beats faster, the question isn't "how do I stop binging?" its asking yourself why. I havent binged in a long time. I used to every weekend wihout fail. And often for months at a time. I can thankfully say I can count on my hand the amount I have binged in the last yr or two.
Binging isnt just eating loads. Its a mad panic of adrenilin rush, fear, panic, loss of control. Binging is not "opps I ate a bag of crisps' or 'dam it I ate an extra samosa' Binging is a mental struggle of crazy, unthought out, mixed bag of emotions that lay out in a weird head game mess of struggle.
The 1st thing that goes through my head is the fear of missing out. The fear of missing out on my taste buds tingling. The fear someone will get tingly tastebuds and I wont. The fear that I'll never have tingly taste buds again. The fear that I will regret not having the tingly taste buds. The fear that I will hate myself for turning down all the foods. And the truth is, I dont need all the foods, but the fear pulls me to a place of illogical thoughts (or no thoughts at all) and therefore I just go cazy and eat ALL the foods instead of some. Then there is the fear that, the food will run out, get cold, or worse, get eaten by someone else. Someone who won't appreciate it as much as you would...
Then there is the thought that lifes too short to not eat all the foods. That if I don't eat all the foods I will be a boring bore who doesnt eat all the foods. And noone wants to be that person. People who eat the foods and do not care, are fun, interesting people. People who laugh and get laughed with. People who care more about joy and peace and love. Not how much cake they ate. Other people eat all the cake, so you wanna eat all the cake too.
This right here is why DIETS are no good. DIETS DO NOT WORK FOR ME on the mental scale. This is why my journey has consisted of this ethos... minimalise binging, eat a balanced, treat yo self, nourish your body,nourish your soul, kind of vibe. And it works for me. Its slower, but it works.
BUT... when your prepping for a comp. The idea of this rainbow and fairy fart lifestyle of 'balance' is less a reality and more something of a distant dream you wake up from and sort of half remember. But, I discovered an amazing bikini comp prep girl called Cory_fit and she has the same ethos I do and it has encouraged me to decide to continue my prep in the same flexible dieting manor. That was the whole point of this prep.
Binging for me is/was like an alcohol or drug addiction. You get the urge, the rush, the serious high of stuffing your face and then you are left in the aftermath of guilt and disorientation. You cant quite remember what happened or why you did it, but you did it anyways and now you feel like a hideous, gross peace of crap. Will power to diet is one thing, will power to not go to your deepest place of excessiveness, is another.
I binge to self sabotage, to rebel, to fit in, to live life... but the reality is, when I went to take my 5th sweet potato pakora and I was eyeing up my 2nd cupcake... no one else was hunkered down by the buffet table waiting with baited breath keeping guard of all the battered deep fried goodies in case someone came by and devoured it all. No one else was anxious all the pakoras would go and you would be left with none, no one else couldn't hold a conversation because they were battling the 'should I shant I' of going all out with the mental preparation of pulling my plate high to my face and sitting in a corner alone inhaling the onion rings.I wanted to fit in, to not miss out. To live the life I've only been given one of (in this bod) and yet, my thoughts were not enhancing any of the above. I wouldn't be fitting in with anyone, I wouldn't miss out, because there will be other onion rings and the one life I have been given (in this body) will not be a better life if I stuff this body with onion dipped in batter and oil.
You have to believe the notion that you can eat reeces cups again. That opting to buy the steak and salad over the pork belly and calamari to start is not saying you will never eat the pork belly again. Sharing a dessert rather than having 3 to yourself is not you NOT living life. It is you making a healthier choice for your body. Going out and having 3 G and Ts over 8 cocktails is not you being boring. Finding comfort in healthier alternatives does not mean that you will never buy a bag of crisps again. Believe that there will always be more food, more cookies, more ice cream. If you need to stop eating some of those foods for a short while to build a habit and take away a routine, do it, it will benefit your decisions in the long run. But don't feel deprived as if that will always be how it is, because it doesn't have to be. Once your triggers are found and put to bed with some realistic thinking, once you have got through some hurdles (choosing the beetroot salad to start instead of the goats cheese and caramelised onion tart; once you have seen some results you can start adding those things back in more often. But chose where you want and CAN make sacrifices and decide where you cant. Pick yur fights.
At my friends wedding I was willing not to drink copious amounts of champagne and opt for cheesecake instead. Nope I wasn't perfect and maybe it will effect results, but, I needed to feel like I wasn't in a headspace where I felt deprived because come 8pm I would have scoffed more than 5 pakoras. It would have been 20 (and that's not even an exaggeration)
If on the other hand we do go all out and our mind gets lost in stories of how (we.must.eat.every.piece.of.food.that.was.ever.made... right here and now or the world will end...) and this we may do here and there sometimes. Then in the aftermath of it, do not lose sleep over it. Do not wallow in self pity or beat yourself up. Stop rethinking every bite of salted caramel profiteroles and how you wish you could take it back, erase it, get rid of it. That is a dangerous mind game to play. If damage is done, its done. But truthfully. With binges, there is a more psychological damage than physical. Yes your body may reject all the sugar and physically make your skin hurt and you may have a severe headache or feel really depressed. These physical things do happen. But... you have not ruined all of your progress. You haven't damaged all your hard work. You can dust yourself off and try again. You can make better choices the next day. You can drink lots of water, eats lots of protein. You can avoid most starchy carbs and eat clean, whole foods. You can do your usual workout, and not some crazy cardio insanity blast of hrs on the treadmill in an attempt to counteract the foods. Just keep it simple and sane. Get on with life the way it was. Don't create stories that will encourage you to eat more rubbish because well... "you've messed it all up now." You haven't. You are human.
Binging happens to the best of us. But dont let it get the better of you. Trust me, I know from experience... a whole bag of onion ring crisps and a tub of humous, followed by cheese crackers and chutney after a big mac and an apple pie. Then later perhaps some cheese on toast and then a tub, to myself, of hagen daz. And if I was still peckish perhaps a bowl of crunchy nuts washed down with fanta or lucazade... followed by a pizza cos, "faaaak it, might as well" Trust me. I have been there to the depths of my bingey soul. And I have come out the other side.
So... my advice is this...
Dont diet or deprive yourself
Pick your fights
Have 'some' of all the foods
Find your triggers
Be kind to yourself
And if in all of this ramble any of this rings any bells. Truly trust that you have not failed just because you lost a battle of will power. You are trying. Daily. And that there is suceeding in itself.