If you watched my Instagram stories last week, then you probably already have an idea of what I’m about to write…
Not even two weeks ago, I hit a slump in my diet and had gone on a not-so-mini 2-day binge. Like, a few pints of ice-cream down, ate a box and a half of Fiber One brownies in the course of 10 minutes type binge. Retrospectively, I can look back and say, alright, it happens. It’s not good that it happens, but there’s no reason to dwell etc…
However, going through this little period of maybe eating the entire contents of my pantry, plus the exercise that followed, led to some pretty eye-opening thoughts regarding overindulgence while losing weight. These ideas aren’t necessarily groundbreaking, but for those who have issues with controlling (or not controlling) the foods they eat, plus struggle with self-loathing and irrationality post a slip-up, it’s definitely worth discussing. Besides, who doesn’t love finding a little light inside the darkness 🙂
Before I dive too into things, I want to go a bit into my relationship with food so you can better understand where I’m coming from. Whether these habits are learned, due to genetics, or a combination of both, one thing is for certain: I have ALWAYS loved food. And a lot of it.
I can go back to almost any home video of me before I was two and witness my already established obsession with eating. It usually goes like this: me, in my high chair, flailing my hands and arms around while crying at my mom because she wasn’t feeding me fast enough. (It’s important to note she was feeding me JUST FINE!)
And of course, these characteristics only worsened as I got older. There were times when I was 4 or 5 years old and would eat and eat and eat until I physically became sick (RIP the back seat of my parent’s car after an unfortunate night at a Chinese buffet…). My dad used to call me a “gavone” or tell me to stop “gavoning” because I always ate so much.
Fast forward to an older-yet-still-glutenous-me.
My habits became so out of control that my mom would hide certain foods so I couldn’t eat them. Naturally, scoping out their locations became my new favorite game. Not only would I feel like a total badass for finding the box of Tasty Cakes hiding behind the china cabinet, but my reward and payback would be tearing through it. I never binged because I was hungry, but because it tasted good and kept me busy. Also, when I say binge, I don’t use that lightly. I’m talking about gaining 142lbs in the course of 3-4 years because I would, at times, eat ONE GALLON (2 half gallons) of ice-cream in a day. Binging that would result in such disgust as I got older, that I would eventually turn to excessive exercise and fasting just to feel less guilty for falling off track.
I like to think that with Weight Watchers I am able to curb and control my relationship with food. Not think, I KNOW it helps me curb it, but that doesn’t mean I no longer have off days. Usually, these slip-ups don’t last more than a day or two (or if I’m really lucky a meal) and they’re often brought on by bouts of stress, depression & boredom. A.K.A. Lose it Lyss is a not-so-closet comfort eater. 🙂
However, that control was tested last week when I was hit with a handful of stressful work days (what adult doesn’t experience this). I’d like to sit here and write about all of the self-restraint I showed, but unfortunately, that’s not what went down. I went hog-wild! My first day of a 2-day foodie free-for-all brought on my first victims– 2 pints of Enlightened ice-cream. Could be worse, right? And then the second day happened. Bye-bye entire contents of my work’s snack drawer! It was at this point I convinced myself that I was SO far down the rabbit hole, I may as well keep going. Go big or go home, right?! (uhhhh so very wrong…)
My 8pm “snack” is what finally tipped me over the edge: one and a half boxes of Fiber One brownies. That’s about 9 brownies for those who are curious. It was the straw that broke the camels back. All of the paranoia over what I had just done crept in and crippled me. How could I have ruined all of my progress? Not to mention I had never wished for a real-life “undo” button more in my life. The next best thing had to do – the gym. If I couldn’t undo my binging, then I was going to work as hard as possible to cancel it all out.
And I did...kind of. By the end of my 40+ minute cardio, I managed to burn 450 calories a.k.a. 5 brownie bars. Between that and the machines, I was certain the numbers added up. Working out like that felt awesome (I don’t think I’ve ever burned that much doing cardio before) but it wasn’t for the right reasons. Gym sessions should be for getting stronger and healthier, not as a form of punishment.
Towards the end of my adrenaline rushed cardio, my mood completely changed and I was able to think rationally about how I responded to the situation. My mind began to focus less on all the crap I had consumed the past couple of days, and more on the good stuff. Not only that but I was able to reflect on the overall improvement of my eating habits compared to where I was before my weight loss journey. That’s when it sort of clicked, it all came down to perspective.
It’s okay and completely normal to hit some speed bumps every now and then because what’s more important is being able to see the big picture. While I was busting my booty on the elliptical, I remembered all of the healthy foods I had eaten in between the unhealthy ones. The kale smoothie I had for breakfast, the salad for lunch, all of the water I drank etc… Compared to my lifestyle exactly this time last year, I am such a healthier person…stray binge sessions and all!
A little over 365 days ago I was at college running on 3 hours of sleep per night, drinking large Dunkin’ coffees combined with 2 energy drinks a day (shout out to 7/11 for always having that 2 for $5 special). I wouldn’t eat actual meals but rather snacked on cheap junk food at odd hours of the night. Snacks like Chester’s puffs, pints of ice-cream, everything bagels, and mac and cheese from 2 a.m. Wawa runs. Me and the guy who worked at my school’s local 7/11 were friends because I stopped there every single day to stock up on energy drinks and snacks. I once went a whole day eating nothing but convenience store chips and queso with a side of iced coffee. Get the picture?
Needless to say, my body felt horrible this time last year from abusing it with unhealthy foods and lack of sleep. In comparison, some Fiber One bars weren’t looking too bad.
This is what I realized and what I advise you. When and if you develop anxiety from overeating, try your absolute hardest to break that mindset, breathe, and focus on where you’ve been and where are now. It’s so easy to get so wrapped up in reaching that end goal & losing weight fast that we aren’t always attentive to the little changes happening every day. Those little changes that totally add up! It’s okay to fall off track a bit, everyone does. It doesn’t invalidate all of the progress made so far, the world isn’t going to end, and tomorrow is a new day. Hear that?! Tomorrow is a new day. Do not weigh yourself. Start fresh. Carry on being your beautiful, awesome self.
Everyone’s experience with this subject is different. Like I had mentioned in my stories, to many people this information is common sense, but there are definitely others out there who need a little reminder (myself included)! I only hope that sharing my process with can help the next time you find yourself in a similar situation. As for me, I will always have my cheat days (baby Alyssa would be so upset if I didn’t), but now I am able to love myself in spite of them.
Much love always,