Relapse: Falling without Failing

I must admit I’m a little freaked out because I relapsed. I had a big time food binge including tons of fast food and a whole pack of Oreo cookies. Yes, I ate the whole family sized pack of Oreos over the course of a couple of days. My Little Sister says I’m always overly dramatic when it comes to the issue of food, but honestly that’s what it feels like to me, like I’m a recovering drug addict that had a relapse. The most frustrating part is that I don’t really know why. I know that I was frustrated that last week I only lost .8 pounds when I normally lose at least two, but I can’t imagine that I would let that seemingly small “defeat” send me completely over the edge.

I woke up Sunday morning getting ready for church and I didn’t want Kashi cereal with almond milk and a banana as I had planned the night before. I didn’t want it and I didn’t want any type of healthy protein. I went to church and when I left, all I wanted was a chili hotdog from Sonic, and I got it with tater tots and lemonade. That food made my stomach upset with all the overly salty greasy fake fast food. But, for some reason I still wanted more. I went to Wal-Mart for my regular Wal-Mart run (dog food, toilet paper, popcorn etc) and ended up in the cookie aisle.  That’s when I saw them.   Birthday Cake icing filled Golden Oreos with sprinkles. What GENIUS combined two of my favorite foods? Cookies and birthday cake?  I ate a whole row of them in the car.  Before the day was over I still wanted more. I went to the movies with my friends to see The Best Man Holiday and loved it!  I had a great time, I was in a great mood, I wasn’t sad or depressed or lonely, but I was hungry…again. I know cookies send me on a downward spiral every time.

It wasn’t a cheat day, but I still wanted junk food. I went to Wendy’s and got a double stack cheeseburger (I added lettuce b/c I’m really concerned about eating enough veggies) with fries and a sweet tea.  At least I actually felt full this time unlike the queasy, unsatisfied feeling after I ate the hot dog. I went home and ate more of the Oreos, just because. I was scared and afraid that I was falling and wouldn’t be able to stop.  I guess I’m just confused because sometimes I can pinpoint what’s driving me, but this time I really couldn’t. Overall, I feel like things are going well. On Saturday I had a meet and greet date in the park with a really nice guy (with a job, a car, no kids and his own place JACKPOT!)  One of my best friends was in town and spent a fun weekend with me and things are great with my family. I’m not sad or lonely or bored or stressed or any of those feelings that typically drive me to eat.

But, Monday was a new day.  I’ve learned that at least when I sleep it off, biologically everything has a chance to reset and I don’t have to fight the physical cravings as much, just the mental challenge. I still didn’t really feel like eating healthy, but I had prepared breakfast and lunch to make sure I would stay on track at work.  I had a decent day food wise, but I did eat a small piece of pecan pie. All day long I dreaded my standing appointment with my trainer.  What would he say? Would he be disappointed that his star student had binged all weekend?  Would he make me drink protein shakes for a week? When I got home I laid in the bed until 5:50 pm, seconds from calling him and canceling.  I had to fight my pride and rush to the gym by 6pm.  I confessed to Dan my trainer almost immediately as we were walking to a treadmill for a quick warm up.  “I had a bad weekend I told him, I ate lots of fast food, and it wasn’t a cheat day.” “Ok,” he said, making a quick beeline back to the desk where we sit and talk. “You’re making me nervous, what’s going on he asked.”    I told him that I wasn’t really sure, because none of my usual triggers were the cause.  All I could think was that I let my Type A, always-trying–to-be-perfect personality get in the way because I was bothered by “not losing enough weight last week.”  He told me that the problem was I was probably “eating too clean.”  And probably eating too much of the same stuff.  “Dirty it up a little, nobody wants plain chicken breast everyday” he told me. 

He wrote down a list of sauces I’d never tried like Sriracha.  “I thought sauces were bad” I said.  “If it helps you stay on track and eat whole food, then it’s okay.”  I trusted his advice because it was mostly his food plan that helped me lose the 32 pounds over the past couple of months.  He also confessed that he inexplicably binges about once every two months. “It happens to me he said, and then you get back on track, I’m living proof, I’ve maintained a 60 pound weight loss.”  I told him about my protein shakes for a week fear, and he told me go back to the normal food plan, including my cheat day, because this is for the long haul, not fast weight loss. “You’ll feel much better after the workout,” he promised.  After weight lifting, assisted pull ups, crabwalks and kick boxing, I did feel better. Much better, almost instantly my head felt less foggy and confused. I made a mental note that working out and kicking that stubborn pride to the side and asking for help works.  I got home and tossed the last few Oreos in the trash. Whew! Deep down I knew the vicious binge cycle was over.  It will happen again, I’m human I will mess up, but I can fight it and I will get out it of it much thinner.   My Gym Cousin came over and we watched an episode of Extreme Weight Loss that I had DVR’d.  For the first time ever, I saw a contestant GAIN 32 pounds in a month while on the show.  It put my weekend debacle in perspective.  She talked about the slippery slope of binging and not being able to stop and being to ashamed to ask for help.  Her trainer told her to get rid of that pride and to “practice falling but not failing.”  I love that!  I might slip and fall every once and a while, but I don’t have to fail and neither to do you! This was hard for me to write, I hope it helps somebody.

  1. Girl, do I understand this! I don’t know if you saw my recent blog about it, but I’m a compulsive overeater. Bam. There, I said it. 🙂 For me, it means moderation is there, but strictly guarded. I can’t make last minute decisions about food. And I’m becoming OK with that. And trying to be gentle with myself. You should do the same. Today’s a new day and the more you beat yourself up the less effective you’ll be. It took me 3 weeks to recover weight wise from my 36 hour food binge that posted an 11 pound weight gain (yes, 11!). But now I’m at the lowest weight EVER as I’ve lost 5 pounds past the binge since then. Be kind and give yourself mercy and grace and don’t quit. You’re doing awesome and I’m so proud of you!

  2. Carli, you made my day! It takes a lot of guts to admit a “fall” but like they say, “it’s not how many times you fall, but how many times you get back up that matter.” Thank you for being a part of my day and inspiring me to carry on. I’ve had a rough two years, going from a super healthy 137 lbs to a very unhealthy weight gain up to 248 lbs. I’m back on track; I’ve lost 20 lbs and I’m walking again, but I crave being able to run my ultras again. I will get back there all the way. Thank you again for your post, your podcasts, and just for being you! Big hugs!

    • LaDonna, thanks for sharing your story. I’m certainly on my journey back again after having lost 50 pounds and gained 70! We can do this together!

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