A pathetic binge.
It happened the day after I found out Lindsey was going to Knoxville. I was a bit of a mess, and in a state of shock telling myself I “deserved” the comfort of food. It was expected, sadly even I EXPECTED myself to do what I had always done, so I set off after work to do the deed. I went to the area of town that I call the Rodeo drive of gluttony. It has all the good places where caloric catastrophes are made. I tried, but I did not turn into any of the extra value options along the path of fast food destruction. Okay, fine. I must want cake and the grocery store that carries my favorite baked goods is right up the road, that is where I will find some comfort.
I zipped into the parking lot and could already taste the icing, anticipating the sugar rushing through me as I slammed my car door shut, slinging my bag around my neck hastily making my way to the front of the store. I walked in and turned left to the bakery area, where I would find it staring at me…an empty counter. Nothing… it was bare. There were no cut up birthday cake pieces that did not sell, no donuts wrapped up in four packs stacked neatly for the taking, not even a lousy cookie. I felt panic on the rise then I saw the pre packaged boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts stacked like the leaning tower of Pisa in the middle of the aisle. I am NOT buying 6 donuts…ohhh but they did look good. I found a way to try to pinch the little round chocolate suckers through the plastic at the top of the box to see how fresh they were….hard as a rock. Damn. I am not paying $4.99 for rock hard donuts…Am I? Noooo, I am NOT! I moved on down the aisle.
This store is known for their fried chicken, which smelled like a giant, warm hug as I approached the case where the glorious golden piles were on display. THAT is what I will get …crispy, juicy fried chicken. If that is not comfort in food I don’t know what is! I ordered two big pieces, and it was handed to me in a brown cardboard box, piping hot. I needed something sweet, something to replace the donuts. I looked at options but unlike the bakery goods I usually go for, everything else had the calories plastered on the label. Hmmm Hostess fruit pie those are good, in a gross kinda Crisco way. Holy Shit, 480 CALORIES?! Oh my God, Lindsey would kill me. That is when my inside voice kicks in “This is a binge NOT a fitness workshop, this is what you do, you eat crap till you’re sick to forget about your pain and then you feel horrible and have to confess and be ashamed, it’s who you are!” Oh right, got it. I put the Hostess pie in my cart and rolled on. All I could see when I looked at that pie sitting in my cart was a giant flashing 480….and I just couldn’t do it, I ended up shoving the little pie on the shelf in the cereal aisle behind the raisin bran. That is when I saw the chocolate covered granola thins, 80 calories each, which I did put in my cart along with a Snapple peach tea as I walked to the check out line. My inside voice was not impressed, I think I heard it mutter the word “pathetic” as it sulked off back to the dark place it came from.
There I sat in the grocery store parking lot surrounded by the neon glow of fast food signs all around me, ready to do some damage, ready for my binge to somehow make this day better. I stared at the box of chicken, only now it did not smell so good. I opened the grease soaked box and thought to myself, you can’t eat that coating, I peeled the thick layer off and eyed the naked chicken only to decided I didn’t want any of it. I closed the box and put it into the bag from which it came. Twisting off the cap I sipped the tea slowly as I unwrapped a granola thin and took a bite. In that moment I was not sure if the experience was a success or just a fluke but after some time and much reflection I am now sure it was a step forward, it many not have been pretty but I got myself out of that store. I stood on my own two feet and stumbled out of the situation unscathed, and on some level knew what I was doing and was able to make a better choice. I did not go to the drive-thru(s), I did not get the cupcakes and while maybe not the perfect choice, a choice that did not involve consuming a couple thousand calories and waking up with a giant shame hangover the next morning.
There is no magic cure for years and years of toxic behavior, it’s so hard to break the cycle but as my view is ever changing my triumphs and successes look completely different than when I started this project. I see myself differently, I see the world around me differently and gaining a bit of clarity around the choices I have made in the past is a welcome sight.