Saturday, June 22, 2013

June 22, 2013

I’m doing fairly well this week. I’ve successfully eaten breakfast everyday since my last post and my night eating has decreased. Last night I woke up out of a sound sleep to get something to eat. I got the leftover mac-n-cheese from dinner. Thankfully it was not a lot, but enough to be of concern. One good thing, I am cooking less food for dinner so I won’t have so many leftovers. If I were to cook more I would more than likely hoarding a good portion of the meal for a later feed. Temptations...temptations. 

I went back to sleep after eating. Just before falling asleep, I remember having a slight craving for something sweet. I think I will increase my fruit intake today so it will combat any cravings for sweets foods. One less thing to worry about as night falls. That way if I do have “the hunger” it will not be doubly compounded by the savory and sweet aspect.
For breakfast today I had scrambled eggs with half of a chicken sausage and coffee. It is mandatory for me to have quick cooking foods for day time meals. If it gets too complicated I'll end up turning to high carb snack which leads to a bigger down spiral for night time.
For lunch I ate a piece of chicken. Not enough food...I know. For dinner I plan on having chicken with rice and veggies. I hope this will appease my hunger. It’s amazing how the hunger gets to you. It feels like a creeping fog that eventually catches you and engulfs you. I think my eating issues will bet much better as I continue working on healing from the trauma and abuse I endured for so many years. There is a distinct connection. I am also releasing emotions through my art and writing. Therapy is going well also. I’m doing everything I can to beat this thing and live free.
I am going to give myself a pat on the back for this week. I had another bout of stressful events, but I did not crumble as bad as I did last week. Point for me.

Onward and Upward!!!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Slippery Slope

June 2013

Week 2

 I continue to assessing and documenting my life with NES, always keeping in mind that the struggle is ever present especially in the now.

I am a long way from combating Night Eating Syndrome. I’ve made great strides in accepting that I have this condition and am actively working towards a healthier life and lifestyle. My struggle with this disorder is more prevalent now because I am seeing the reality of it. Writing this blog is a way for me to relieve my mind of some of the facts and feelings associated with this disorder. This is my attempt at taking a stand and be accountable for my actions no matter the root source or the outcome.

I’ve been doing fairly well managing my NES this past year, much better than a few years ago. For the most part, I am able to consume more of my caloric intake before 7pm which is monumental for me. In the past my caloric intake was next to nil during the day. Even though I would start eating around 4:30-5:00pm, I would only take a few bites before hoarded the rest for later.

This week I have been experiencing a little more stress then my norm and I find myself reverting back to some of my old ways. I am picking up on a definitive pattern. The onset of binge eating tends to occur when stress levels are on the rise; daytime appetite decreases rapidly as I fast approach full binge mode, that is, if I’m not careful. Note to self…continue working on managing stress. Can’t stop stressors from occurring, but I can change how I deal with them. There is one good thing in all of this...I am identifying the problems and working towards correcting them. Besides, beating myself up about this is not going to help. Let’s face it, it took more than a day to develop this disorder and it’s certainly going to take more than a day to cure it.

My most recent binge happened a few days ago. I hoarded some food from dinner specifically to consume during late night hours. I was fully aware of what I was doing and proceeded anyway. The urge was strong and I gave into it. I did not want to fight it and possibly cause a bigger binge. That night, I tried several things to relax like playing music or writing. This helped for a while, but I still could not fight the urge to feed before sleeping.  So I did. I consumed the foods designated for my night time feed and then off to sleep I went. The next day, I forgetting to eat breakfast. I did not eat a morsel until about 2:30pm. Not good, but not my worst. Of course eating later in the day throws everything off. I still cooked dinner, but opted to eat much later than my new norm.

The next day, I didn’t eat anything until after 5pm. This is getting very bad. I’m heading towards a bigger binge. I can feel it. I have to get focused and get back on track with my eating. It is imperative. I can’t afford to continue going backwards. I’ve come too far and my health is on the mend. I don’t ever want to get as sick as I was before buckling down to combat this dreaded thing.

Since Friday, my stressful period has calmed and all is well. Yesterday and today I ate breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack. So far I do not have the urge to binge tonight. I've already put away the left overs from dinner. Now I’ve got to come up with a better strategy for maintaining a healthy eating plan during high stress times. I've really got my work cut out for me with this one.

There are slippery slopes on this journey and last week I slipped pretty hard. But I’m regaining my footing and so onward and upward…one step at a time…one day at a time.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Assessing the Development of My NES and Other Eating Issues

I’ve been spending more time talking to people about eating disorders. It’s been a freeing experience to talk about my NES and listening to others share stories about their eating issues. I was intrigued to find that there are different feelings associated with binging. Reading about the studies of different eating disorders is not the same as speaking to actual people and hashing out the small details. What’s most interesting is hearing how the binging experience makes them feel. I’m most interested in what emotions they have leading up to the binge, during the binge, after the binge. I’m also curious if the binge is planned or if it’s spontaneous.

Listening to others helps me to think about my relationship with food. I discovered that I have several levels of experiences with binging and food intake in general. From what I can tell, the way I binge depends on the level of stress and perhaps the origin of the stressors and triggers as well. There is a good portion that appears to be a more of a habit. Much like the formation of habitual and/or ritualistic behaviors associated with the development of addiction. It started off as a relatively benign act (or so it seemed) and then it grew into somewhat of a separate entity. The behaviors took on a life of their own and my mind simply adapted. I would even go so far as to say it’s like having an alter ego, being one way by day and another by night.

Eating at night was a way to release tension and to relax. I also loved the challenge of acquiring food for my night time feeds. I guess you could call it was the thrill of the hunt if you consider chiseling off pieces of frozen cake in the middle of the night hunting.  I would feel triumphant as if having conquered the giant and reaping the spoils. A sense of calm would come over me. Not quite euphoric, but close enough.

I have always associated feelings of euphoria with mouthing. It started with me sucking my toes to comfort myself and quickly escalated into increased mouthing and sometimes consumption of inedible objects. So I guess it’s no surprise to you that I’m diagnosed with PICA as well. As a young child, my biggest craving was bath soap. Ivory soap was the soap of choice. I loved the creamy saltiness of it. I didn’t much like taking baths growing up. Don’t ask me why, I’m really not sure. It just seemed that I could be doing so much more with my time. Eating soap made bathing more enjoyable. I looked forward to it. My mom would run the bath water for me. I’d get in and let the bar of soap float in the water for a few minutes. The soap would soften and then I would begin to eat. Always starting at the corners and slowly working my way towards the center. I never ate the entire bar in one night. It usually took me at least 3 to 4 nights depending. I don’t eat soap anymore and have not for many years; however, I do still have the occasional craving.

Food consumption or the shift of the meaning of food consumption started around the age of 4 or 5 years old. Changes in body mass were more prevalent. It seems that I was developing a pattern of gaining at least 10 to 13 pounds a year. By the time I was 10 I weighed just over 100 pounds. This is the pivotal point that marks the beginning of food deprivation and how that deprivation further locked me into a vicious cycle of cutting meal size by day and having an increased need for comfort by night. As the need for night time comfort increased I became bolder about acquiring the foods I needed. I would almost stop at nothing. Like a drug addict I’d steal money to make food purchases after school. Once home I’d find obscure places to stash my food, always careful to keep the evidence of my eating undetected. That’s why my unnatural weight gain was such a mystery to my parents.

By middle school my life was split was well defined into two levels of existence. During the day I deprived myself of food and at night I would gorge myself on all kinds of sweet and salty treats. I started with cutting out breakfast. Instead I would drink a glass of juice or milk. This made my parents proud which was no easy task. My parents were seldom proud of me. So my thought process was to increase my level of deprivation so they would be even more proud and perhaps love me some day. My mom would pack a normal sized lunch for me to take to school, but would only eat a small portion of it, hoarding the rest for later. I opted to take the city bus home after school because I needed time to go to a nearby store to purchase snacks and other food items.  I’d become obsessed with my new trend. I felt it was really working for me.

My parents, glad to see me making such sacrifice towards dieting would reward me with candy and treats from our store. Funny how history repeats itself isn’t it? I would gladly take my reward and add it to my hoard. Of course, my weight gain was still a mystery. There were countless trips to various doctors and endless dieting and still no positive long term results. No matter how many pounds I was able to lose I would gain it all back…plus.

At the age of 18 my mom decided to buy into a very popular diet. She paid $600.00 for the program plus purchased their prepackaged foods weekly. The food wasn’t bad, but I was forced to document what I ate. I hated eating according to the meal plan. This was a detriment to me, because it was taking me to a very uncomfortable place...eating more during the day. My focus remained on activities of the day including limiting food intake; however the food that I continued to eat at night was no longer acknowledged. It was as if the night feeds didn't really exist even though the behaviors were still very prominent.  

I tried to make myself look forward to eating the prepackaged meals. I was sure to document what I ate and when...forced to bear witness to every morsel I place in my mouth. This was excruciating at best. I hated having to pay so much attention to eating, especially during the day. I hated how it made me feel. I wanted it to stop. I gave though to purging, but talked myself out of it. As my distain grew my ability to eat the foods dissipated. I began starving myself again eating the smallest measure of food possible.  It was starting to pay off. I lost weight and was getting a lot of attention from men. I liked that. At this point I was barely consuming any calories before 6pm. I would chew gum and smoke cigarettes to appease my need to mouth. It wasn’t long before reaching the point where I was unable to keep any food or drink down during the day. I wasn’t purging voluntarily, but I do wonder if I was experiencing some sort of psychosomatic development. I actually thought I was having a reaction to the prepackaged foods. In hindsight I now recognized that I was in full daytime Anorexia mode. The thought of consuming anything in the light of day had become unthinkable.

I managed my night time feeds by eating large quantities of lettuce. Sometimes I would consume an entire head and a half in one sitting. I’d fulfill my need for night time comfort while giving way to appease a new fear of consuming calories. This is how I was able to lose weight for a while, but even that soon ended.   

I eventually stopped losing weight. It didn’t matter how little I ate. I guess I hit a plateau. That is a common occurrence when dieting, but seemingly unrecognizable as such to me. It just drove me to pursue more deprivation. In an attempt to detox for rapid weight loss, I went on a fast only consuming small amounts of apple and water when I felt weak. I did this fast for 13 days, stopping only because my eyes were turning yellow. I stood on the scale…not one ounce lost. I had given up and slowly began to resume old eating habits, still depriving myself during the day while hoarding and planning my binge for the night.

The battled between daytime Anorexia and night Binging continued for many more years.