Little Lies We Tell Ourselves
And can't seem to quit telling.
I didn't have a single binge eating episode for nearly a week after writing Starting Over Every Damn Day.
Nearly a week. Then I got my period.
Obviously, all bets were off.
Back in the day when I was losing so much weight on a mostly raw vegan diet, I had my cheat days. They were both delicious and positive cheats since I was pretty well-adjusted to my lifestyle change. When I got my period, I'd eat fair trade chocolate and bananas. No binge. On other cheat days I'd make a soup with lots of my favorite veggies and ground turkey or salmon. Still on other days I'd roast my favorite winter squash and eat it with no-salt Eden pasta sauce.
Back then I lived across the street from the farmer's market in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Also next door to a Japanese noodle shop, and just blocks away from some of the best Thai and Italian restaurants in the Twin Cities. We had plenty of options for good pho.
I remember it being a positive time in my life because I was learning about how to eat and really enjoy my food. Without guilt. How to live an imperfect body. I think it's possible to feed your body and your soul. I think that's important, actually. To do both. That's real nourishment.
Of course, I wasn't a mom back then.
And I don't know if I was exactly an addict back then either. It's hard to say since we addicts lie to ourselves all the damn time. We have to. That's how we stay stuck.
I fell back into food addiction to cope with the challenges of my life as a single mom. It isn't cute or healthy. It's far from reasonable. That's because like every other addict, I lie to myself. I make excuses. I settle. I get angry and defensive in my own skin. I feel lost.
Addiction is addiction is addiction.
My food addiction is really not so different from another mom's alcoholism. We both tell ourselves we can stop. Well, we thought we could stop.
When we can't seem stop we lie to ourselves instead.
Lies like tomorrow. This time will be different. Let's keep doing the same damn thing. Lies like I can buy this whole box of crackers and only eat six. Or telling myself that certain foods aren't my triggers. And believing that one type of emptiness can be filled with literal food. Or moscato.
Every addict believes in some kind of last dinner.
Most of us have had 500 or more last hurrahs.
Just like every addict wants to believe in the day they can say "I haven't been on a bender for so many years." But who knows how many more benders it will actually take?
The problem with our little lies of course, is that they all add up to something big. Something that takes us far away from where we want to be.
We have to be honest with ourselves.
I make too many excuses because I'm uncomfortable. I'm scared. I'm lonely.
Because I sometimes feel hopeless.
And because it's so freaking easy to slip back into bad habits. Bad habits that run much deeper than the average issue.
This is addiction. This is disorder.
This is disease. And war.
But all hope is not lost.
I have to quit living like this is any way to live, because it's clearly not.
Eating to numb pain. Being sedentary to numb pain. Standing back and out of the way to numb pain. None of it really works.
And, I've read all the books any sane person can read on how to eat, what to eat, why we eat, when to eat, and what hunger means. I've read all about Parisian diets, the Okinawa diet, Mediterranean and Nordic diets. Fasting and fasting mimicking diets. Keto and plant-based eating. Gimmicky and sound--I've read it.
None of it cuts to the root of the issue. None of it works when you can't stick to a plan.
The biggest thing I've learned lately about all of this is that I've got to write down what I eat. Track it. That's the only way I can remotely be mindful and slow down and feel an ounce of less pressure. Yet there's something so annoying about tracking your food and entering it into a phone app when you are trying to eat intuitively.
It's something the complainer in me must get over... if I really want to get anywhere.
We all have something.
Not everyone is an addict like me. Not everyone is an addict at all. Still, we all have something we're trying to beat. Some kind of bad habit we could do without.
All of us have stress and coping mechanisms--some more healthy than others.
Others much worse.
Without a doubt, we all have the little lies we tell ourselves, the lies we can't stop telling, the lies that amount to something much bigger than we want to admit. Something in our relationships. Something in our work life. Something somewhere. Even so...
Wherever you struggle, whatever the label, you are not alone. And you are not your struggle.
Even if it means starting over every damn day, keep at it. Keep getting up, dusting yourself off, and keep trying. Keep giving yourself another second chance. And another.
I have faith that we can do this, if we start recognizing all our little lies.