The aftermath of my latest binge is everywhere. I carefully pick at the crumbs that have lodged in between the keys on my laptop, and then brush away the trail leading to my chin. A cellophane wrapper lies at my feet, and an empty cardboard package sits next to me on the sofa. Did I really eat the whole box of cookies? I dare not look at the nutritional values — I probably consumed a thousand calories in less than 5 minutes.
Food should provide relief from hunger. But my brain now seeks that same relief for all kinds of unpleasant feelings, from boredom to guilt to anger to sadness. It’s a momentary distraction, a short reprieve, followed by guilt and disgust. I know I shouldn’t be eating like this, I promise myself that I won’t do it, and I am often not even hungry when I start. But here I am, again and again and again….
My last appointment with Enara Health, however, was very enlightening. I had just returned from a two week visit with my mom, where we dined out daily and had often shared dessert. And on this vacation, just like the vacation I had taken 3 months ago, I had surprisingly lost weight!
- Did you binge eat during your vacation?
- Why not?
- There was no food to binge on.
- I stayed with my mom who eats very little. She also doesn’t keep snack food in her house.
Sometimes the obvious is not so obvious to the person who is immersed in a situation. My binge eating is enabled in my home because there are snacks and food that belong to my husband and daughters that I can easily locate. I didn’t binge while on vacation because there was no food to binge on.
My Enara Health provider explains that I am not alone. Studies have shown that environmental factors influence eating behaviors, even for people who do not struggle with binge eating like me. Simple things like the size of the plate, cup and serving spoon influence how much a person consumes. Larger plates, short wide cups, and larger serving spoons encourage larger portions. Even color makes a difference. People eat more of a food that is the same color as the plate that it sits on — since the portion size is harder to see.
So it’s environmental cleanup time for me–need to work on the kitchen, pantry and refrigerator in my home. This means redoubling efforts to get my family to keep all of their snack foods well out of sight (locked?), and my continuing to change their eating habits by buying less and less of the things they shouldn’t eat (that I like to binge on).
I also need to cook single meal portions of their favorite foods so that there are no leftovers for me to binge on, like the bowl of fettuccini alfredo that I ate late one night.
So how can I stop binge eating? Perhaps I would binge less if I Enara would prescribe medically necessary vacations for me, but I don’t think my insurance will cover them. So I guess the answer is: keep away from the “binge” food!