I always said there had to be something wrong with me because my relationships were pretty much like a storm in the desert. You know what was the speech, right? “No, there is nothing wrong with you, they are the ones who did wrong…”, but now I recognise and I admit that in fact there was something very, very wrong with me. To attract so many unavailable and emotionally abusive men into my life, I have been at least 50% responsible for that to happen. There was never a time in which I probably didn’t act from a place of need, unworthiness, or low self-esteem when already involved with those men.Continue reading “When the Way You Love and Seek Love is All Wrong”
Right. Once again I was doing good, wasn’t I? I even wrote about going beyond the critical day 3 just a few days ago, and today I messed up for real: one litre of ice cream and an entire package of paprika crisps. Afterwards, of course, and as I always do, I desperately looked out for answers, for the trillionth time.
Seriously, I’m becoming sick of myself. I have been on this rollercoaster for decades and every attempt becomes a total fail. I have tried to buy new gym clothes, a sports watch, I downloaded different weight loss apps, I did counselling, I tried anxiety pills, weight loss pills, protein shakes… I already did raw food, vegetarian, protein only… I tried smoothies and immunological diets… I tried to stay accountable through a lifestyle instagram account, I started out an online group… why the hell am I still failing?
Well, apparently I have been dismissing three important things that I never consciously linked back to my binge eating. I am sure these three reasons are the ‘why’ behind my eating compulsion and they all have been secretly mining my recovery since I can remember. These are:
- anxiety a.k.a. excess of future,
- too many commitments, activities, and responsibilities,
- no time to relax and do stuff that energises me (e.g. go to the beach on a Saturday instead of going to work)
All these relate to my earlier post on high performers. I was managing so well my work-life balance earlier this year, but as soon as my mid-year review deadline kicked-in, things went crazy. And now that I passed it with flying colours, my workload hasn’t reduced at all. In fact, it has been increasing exponentially, with 2 conferences to attend, 2 public speaking events, and 2 different workshops I’m co-organising between June and July, plus a thesis to be written and ready to submit by September. How the hell do I always put myself into such a big mess of things?
No wonder I use food to stop and relax; actually it seems to be the only moment in time that I literally stop! While I’m eating, I’m not trying to manage everything on my plate. While I’m eating, I force myself into a temporary state of pleasure and relaxation, just right before guilt and shame come in, and my body feels overwhelmed with the amount of food I ate in seconds.
This is all pathetic and ridiculous. I feel angry at myself and a big impostor. I feel like I should know better and at the same time I think I should stop torturing myself, accept my vulnerability, that I’m not bullet proof, and that no one is going to die if I fail at something that needs to be done. And in the meantime I need to allow myself to not do anything at all for a while – but God dammit, I have a presentation to deliver next Tuesday before my flight to Lisboa, reason why I spend the weekend in the office!
Oddly enough, the guy living in the room next to mine just muttered the following words “Relax your mind”… The question that now needs to be explored further is why do I overwhelm myself with so many ‘to-do things’?
Last year, I went public here about my food addiction.
Since then I recovered at least twice from it and relapsed three times. Right now, I’m recovering from my third relapse and it’s Day 4. In a nutshell, uncertainty and the fail of another “almost relationship” led me here – well, actually, my ancient unhealthy mechanisms to deal with emotional pain drove me here.
In each relapse and recovery I learn something more. When looking back, this time I noticed that Day 3 is a very critical day and it’s usually the day I jeopardise all my recovery efforts. Day 3 is the day my body starts to kick out all the toxins. The result is an intense and paralysing headache, body aches, light sensitivity and nausea. And what do I (usually) do about pain? I eat (crap).
So yesterday my food cravings went up 200%. I could only think of gummy bears, Big Macs, french fries loaded with ketchup, chocolate cookies, donuts, and so on. I wanted to put everything in my mouth and spend the rest of the evening eating, so I would be distracted from the physical pain I was going through.
But suddenly I remembered the time I spent on the retreat doing my coaching certification. For one week, we did raw food fusion at every single meal. On the third day, I got the same reactions I was having yesterday: a paralysing headache, body aches, light sensitivity and nausea. It then struck me: the physical pain was part of the recovery process and in order to continue I had to be with it. If I gave up to the sweet taste of a whole box of donuts, I wouldn’t be able to reach the following step on my recovery journey and I would be back to stage zero.
Hence, instead of numbing the physical sickness with food, I did what I had done before when I was at the retreat: I laid down, I took the fetal position, closed my eyes and tried to fell asleep. In the next day, I was totally fine and the intense cravings were completely gone. This is exactly how I feel today – I have been thinking way less about food and my body feels much healthier on the inside, so I’m glad I managed to go beyond the Critical Day 3.
This week I came across the group “Overeaters Anonymous” (OA) after desperately searching the internet for help. And as long as I grasped, this is how I would present myself in an OA session:
Hi, I’m Vanessa and I am a compulsive overeater.
It’s not a new problem for me. In fact, overeating has been part of my life for at least twenty years. First, I became a morbid obese teen. Then I recovered. And now I am plagued by it again, on and off. Suffice to say that my real problem with food was never solved.
I am not fully conscious of all the reasons why I am addicted to food, but I think it is a way of self-sabotage and avoid pain. Whenever I feel physical pain, I eat. Whenever I feel emotional pain, I eat. And whenever I feel totally lost, I eat even more.
Each relapse is usually worse than the previous one and each day becomes the “last day” I promise myself I will binge. However, often than not I break that promise.
Today I decided to buy the Overeaters Anonymous book, hoping it will arrive before my flight, and I posed myself a 4-day challenge. My aim is to follow a simple meal plan to gently start pulling my body towards a healthier state.
Here is my 4-day plan:
Breakfast: 2 egg omelette with tomatoes and avocado
Snack: Cucumber slices with ranch dressing
Lunch: Chicken, lettuce and tomatoes
Snack: Celery with cream cheese
Dinner: Salmon, salted spinach and grilled squash
Breakfast: shake with strawberries
Snack: cherry tomatoes
Lunch: burger with avocado and tomato salad
Snack: cucumber with ranch dressing
Dinner: Chicken, mixed green salad
Breakfast: scrambled eggs, bacon, salted spinach and tomatoes
Snack: cucumber slices with dressing
Lunch: shake with strawberries and banana
Snack: carrot sticks with dressing
Dinner: Salmon, streamed broccoli and chopped spinach salad
Breakfast: shake with strawberries
Snack: carrots sticks with dressing
Lunch: tuna with avocado, cucumber and tomato salad
Snack: cherry tomatoes
Dinner: grilled burger, baked sweet potato, mixed greens