Thanks southernmaven and bingefree2013 for your advice. Bingefree2013, you do give some very good advice, and this latest advice has been helpful and has helped to figure things out. Not dieting seems like it would be a simple thing to do, but for someone with a long history of disordered eating it can be confusing to figure out the motives behind our food choices. For example, asking a kid or normal eater what they like to eat or what their favourite foods are is not a complicated thing and they can tell you right away. For me it is something that has required quite alot of thought.
It`s funny though because when actually thinking about it, I can see that maybe I am further ahead than I thought. In my years of trying various ways of eating, there are many foods I enjoyed that I banned completely for one reason or another. An example is that at one time during a low carb phase I had completey elimiminated all grains. And I also did this when I was convinced paleo was the way to go. But as much as I liked the vegetable omlettee for breakfast, I missed my beloved oatmeal. It was actually during these low carb and ketogenic phases where my binging was at it`s all time worst. I eventually decided that I liked grains too much to not have them part of my life. And same with fruit and dairy which I had also banned at some point for various reasons. And now I would say I do include most previously banned foods including chocolate and cheese and other things I simply like. But there are a few things I can see I need to to allow and those things are not really a daily thing for me but more of a spontaneous maybe weekly or monthly craving thing which I often deny mysellf. For example, last month I was in a coffee shop with a friend and saw some kind of square with all kinds of nuts and seeds etc. that I just couldn`t take my eyes off of. I considered having it and counting it in my daily calorie allowance, but I just couldn`t accept using that much of my daily calories on it. Often that will be my deterent. I had also just eaten a meal not long before and had a tough time rationalizing why I would need to have it. It seemed like it would have been more for pleasure. But my friend did have one and I was just tortured and I wasn`t even at all focussed on the conversation. And it`s really weird how the mind works. In one way I was mad at her for having it and making me watch her eat it, and on the other hand I felt a sense of superiority for abstaining while she did not. I saw her as weak. I think that part of what drives my control over food is because it can make me feel somehow ``better`` and more disciplined than other people which is so screwed up.
Also, the foods I binge on are not foods I even like and are just the cheapest form of sugar I can consume to get it into my blood as quickly as possible. It never matters what it is. So I find myself denying foods that I truly love like a fresh baked ginger cookie, and then binging on stuff I would otherwise never want. I should note that I never end up eating the ginger cookie or whatever it may be I am restricitng even during my binges. It is really strange. But what do you think of that coffee shop situation when you are restricting something you really want but know you are not physically hungry. I was thinking that next time in a similar situation I could buy the thing I want, but then wait until I feel the hunger signals to eat it. Or should I just eat it because I know I want it. Hmmm, it can be hard to sort this stuff out.
But as far as I am doing, I am doing quite well. I am getting alot more comfortable with this no calorie counting thing and still no binges. And it does seem to make my day alot less stressful. These last couple days I`ve had my TOM with just the worst painful cramps and bloat which is a typical situation where the feeling makes me want to binge to numb the pain and because I feel so gross and down on myself. But I haven`t had the binging urge. I can see how allowing your body to dictate what and when you eat makes resisting other binging triggers like emotions and stress, and just pure habit to be much easier. I can also see how that book brain over binge is making alot more sense to me now once I ditch the dieting mindset and truly focus on wanting to recover from an eating disorder without taking anything else into account.
I think for I long time I knew that the dieting mentality was contributing to the binging, as the people who actually managed to break the binging seemed to have to give up the dieting mentality to accomplish that. But I was so unwilling to give it up. I think I thought there was some kind of loophole that would allow me to do both. When I first joined this website and came accross the monthly binge free challenges, it was appealing to me because I thought maybe that would help me to be ``accountable `` and more ``diciplined`` and learn tips on how to avoid binges. But by going over the posts over several different months I could see a common recurrent theme: dieting, calorie control, guilt over breaking ones diet, binging, and then getting back on ``plan`` and coming up with ideas like drinking more water, more veggies, avoiding being around junk food, control control control. And I can just see that to not binge, it is not about controling every little detail of your life in order to force yourself to resist binging. It is not about resistance. True recovery means just not wanting to binge, whether the cookies are in the house or not. Sorry for being all philosophical. Not trying to preach to anyone, just trying to sort things out for myself. Writing these things down helps to sort out my own thoughts. You are very right bingefree2013 that it is a completely different way of thinking. But I think something is starting to click for me. The proof is in the pudding. Only time will let me know truly if I am onto something.
Also, an interesting link that I think is worthwhile to read for anyone wanting to give up the diet mentality but are afraid to try.