Attempting some step work..
Step One, Part 1: We can’t stop once we’ve started
A. Admitting that our bodies are abnormal in that we get uncontrollable cravings when we want certain foods and/or indulge in certain eating behaviors.
B. Being honest about the nature of that abnormality by admitting what foods and/or what eating behaviors causes us uncontrollable cravings.
FIGURE OUT YOUR BINGE FOODS:
What foods are your absolute favorites? This is hard to tell. When I truly allow myself to eat “whatever” I want, I crave flavorful whole foods, such as roasted vegetables, fruit, etc. I genuinely love a good salad or sandwich and that is not the “healthy” me speaking. I also enjoy pancakes, chocolate, and pizza.
What foods put you in a zone (at various times)?
Cookies, cake, chocolate, brownies, ice cream, candy, pastries, donuts, pop-tarts, pie, granola bars, cupcakes, frozen waffles, sweetened peanut butter, some kinds of trail mix, sugar-free gum, bread (on rare occasion), sweetened nuts (such as honey-roasted almonds, chocolate-covered peanuts, etc.), movie theater popcorn, cereal (all types)
What foods can’t you imagine giving up?
Fruits and vegetables. I eat these at every meal and feel uncomfortable if I go too long without having them.
What foods do you eat until there’s nothing left?
This really just depends. If it is not “my” food, I will not eat the whole bag/box, due to the potential shame and humiliated of “getting caught.” However, if it is “my food,” I certainly do not feel worried about consuming the entire amount. Usually, however, I tend to graze and overeat on several different foods (mostly sweets and in large quantities) rather than just finish a bag of something. For example, I will eat several scoops of peanut butter, an entire row of cookies, several brownies, a large portion of ice cream, etc. What have I eaten until there’s nothing left? Pints of ice cream, bags of chips, sleeve of crackers, sleeve of cookies, package of chocolates, frozen pizza, box of Pop-tarts, peanut butter (not the whole jar, but if there’s just some left, I will finish it).
What foods do you find yourself eating while simultaneously saying to yourself, “I have to stop eating this!” but you don’t?
The listed foods that put me in the zone can be hard for me to stop. Others occasionally include: tortilla chips, Saltine crackers, movie theater popcorn, candy in a bowl. Sugar-free gum is also something I chew compulsively (even after my jaw is tired and my stomach hurts). Coffee can do this as well.
If you’re overweight, what high-calorie/non-nutritious foods do you find yourself eating a lot of? Remember that sugar and refined flour have very little nutritional value, and fat in large quantities is nutritionally bad.
I am not overweight.
FIGURING OUT YOUR BINGE FOOD INGREDIENTS:
Don’t stop! There’s more to do!
Given your list of foods, are there common ingredients in ALL of these foods? Look carefully at the list of ingredients. You may be very surprised by what’s in some of your foods.
Salt and fat can be triggering at times, but sugar tends to be the most predominant ingredient I binge on.
Don’t make any assumptions about what your particular problem is until you look at the complete list. You may find a common ingredient that is NOT what you think your problem food is. (For instance, you may think that sugar and flour are your problem, but when you look at all your binge foods, they may include not only pastries and ice cream, but also potato chips. The only common ingredient to ALL of these is fat.)
Fat is definitely in every listed food. Sugar is in most of them as well.
When you look at the list of foods, is it the foods themselves or what you put on them for taste that can make a difference? For instance, is bread a problem, or what you spread on the bread? Is pasta a problem, or the kind of sauce you put on the pasta?
It is the food themselves.
For your favorite foods, imagine taking away one ingredient at a time-what’s the ingredient that suddenly makes the food uninteresting to you? Or imagine substituting one ingredient for another, like whole-grain flour rather than white flour, or artificial sweetener rather than sugar-what’s the substitute that suddenly makes the food uninteresting to you?
Taking out the sweetness makes the food uninteresting (it is still appealing if it is artificially sweetened).
Once you isolate a particular ingredient, imagine eating that ingredient by itself without anything added to or mixed with it. Imagine eating a bag of sugar, a bag of flour, a pound of butter. Could you eat none of it, some of it, or all of it? Clearly what you could eat all of is a binge ingredient. What you could eat some of may be a binge ingredient. What you could eat none of may not be a binge ingredient. Be honest with yourself.
I have binged on sugar cubes and eaten scoops of brown and cane sugar. The thought of eating either plain flour/butter is completely unappealing to me.
Do you generally eat foods that have been livened up with sauces or gravies or condiments that contain sugar, or flour, or fat, or a combination of those? Is taste an issue with you?
Not usually. I do not mind the bland taste of raw food. I like raw fruits and vegetables and I occasionally just use spices to add variety to other dishes that call for more flavors. I do not like many condiments (hate mayonnaise, gravy, most dressings, etc.).
(Now we’re making a transition to eating behaviors:)
Given your list of foods, are there particular textures (smooth, crunchy, chewy) that seem to be common to some of them?
It varies. Given the list, I do like chewy and smooth foods, possibly because they are easier to eat in large quantities. However, I do not feel that I am partial to one texture over the next.
Given your list of foods, are there particular times or situations (stressful, for instance), when one kind of food predominates over other kinds of food? I consume sweets when I feel heightened emotions on either end of the spectrum (example: extremely happy or extremely sad). During holidays, I also tend to like sweets.
FIGURING OUT YOUR BINGE EATING BEHAVIORS (ingrained and volume issues):
Are there particular chewing behaviors you notice?
I chew quickly. I like to finish my food fast. The idea of taking breaks while eating can cause me discomfort and anxiety (unless I am interacting with others). Still, I need to make a conscious decision to slow down my pace.
Do you need to chew all the time? When I chew gum, yes. Moreover, I like “taste” in my mouth, whether it be with coffee, gum, tea, etc.
Have you had a lot of dental work because you grind your teeth or chew a lot?
Are there particular textures that seem to be common?
Are there particular times you seem to overeat ANY kinds of food, not just your binge foods?
Yes; social gatherings, times of stress, restaurant meals, holidays, because it’s Wednesday…!
Are there particular situations where you seem to overeat ANY kinds of food, not just your binge foods?
Yes. See above.
Can you leave something on your plate or do you have to eat it all? Occasionally. This is getting easier, but it is a definite struggle (especially if I serve myself the portion). I trust my eyes far more than my stomach, and if I feel it is a reasonable amount, I want to consume all of it (especially with nutritious foods, such as a large salad). It is hard for me to throw out food or share it.
Do you have any way of knowing, whether or not you ever pay attention to it, when your body really doesn’t need any more?
Yes, I DO know… I just sometimes choose to ignore.
Is there any eating behavior always leading to overeating that you just can’t imagine giving up?
I will give up whatever is necessary.
Do you need to feel filled all the way up?
This exercise was provided to me by: http://www.therecoverygroup.org/wts/2008/2008-01q3.html