Ever Know Exactly What The Smart Thing to Do With Food Is, But You Do The Opposite Anyway?

Scary—just like some foods can be to people in recovery.

There have been times in my recovery from binge eating disorder that certain trigger foods were off limits. In order to make myself feel safe, and reduce the chances that I’d slip into a binge, there were many months when things like cookies, crackers, and peanut butter simply weren’t on my menu.

Now, everything’s kosher. But that doesn’t mean that once in a while some little morsel doesn’t make me uncomfortable. Like yesterday—I told you about that chili I made, right? Well, it called for an ounce of semi-sweet chocolate, chopped.

I felt a little weird when I bought the bar of semi-sweet for the recipe. I even said to John, “Hm, I don’t know if I want this in the house—we’re only going to use two squares of it for the chili.”

One part of my brain said, “OK, so just break off the squares you need for the recipe and throw the rest of the bar in the garbage.” (Since recovering from BED, at least things in the garbage are safe from being eaten—that wasn’t always the case, as many of you can no doubt can relate to!) But some other part of me said, “No, that’s wasteful. Just don’t think about it.”

Can’t you just picture the proverbial angel and devil on my shoulders? Even though I knew that when I feel “weird” at all about food it’s important for me to think about it, and think about how to help myself do the healthy and smart thing, I chose to do the opposite! And when I got the chocolate home, I immediately opened it and ate a few squares.

Eating a few squares of chocolate isn’t the end of the world—but the truth is, it was an emotional reaction to a food, rather than a measured one in which I made a clear-headed decision to eat or not to eat something. It was a reminder that I can’t get complacent—when I get a “weird” feeling about food, I need to listen to my instinct and intuition. Just because I’m recovered doesn’t mean I can’t slip into old habits.

Do you guys ever have these “angel and devil” moments where your intuition and instinct tells you not to buy something because you may binge on it, but you do it anyway? xo…Sunny

8 Responses to Ever Know Exactly What The Smart Thing to Do With Food Is, But You Do The Opposite Anyway?

  1. Trish says:

    This happens to me all the time when I’m stressed and in a hurry. My biggest vice — chocolate of all kinds, including Chips Ahoy classic chocolate chip cookies. If I “allow” myself to buy a package of those cookies, I will literally sit there and eat an entire sleeve, dipping each one in my glass of milk. The sad part about this is that usually if I buy them, I’m using them for something else and I end up eating them (I crush them up in a food processor for a pie crust or make mini ice cream sandwiches for a party). The recipes I use them for have become friends and family favorites, so I don’t want to give them up and disappoint everyone — but if I do buy them and eat them, I’m disappointing myself. This is one part of BED that I haven’t conquered yet…

  2. Kat says:

    I love to bake for any occasion, but I know it’s just a chance for me to binge. My friends love my baked goods, but I know it won’t turn out so good. As for foods I’m afraid of- Poptarts and any kind of packaged cookies.

  3. I find food fears so interesting. We tie so much meaning into food - our old reactions, our childhood experiences, not to mention that the nutritional composition of different foods can make us feel various ways. Just like any fear - it’s about facing it head on. Great post!

  4. Heather says:

    Spending some time now moving on from disordered eating, I think it is a relatively normal thing to do to sometimes eat when you aren’t hungry. It’s what most people seem to do from time to time. It is normal.The problem for people with food issues is when you either a) do it so often it becomes a habit or b) try never to do this and then feel bad when it happens. Neither of these are healthy responses, and I think it’s important to remember this.

    My view is that this is a problem with the whole idea of “recovery”. It implicitly suggests that someone is over something, when the truth is more likely to be that we can’t ge over it but that we can move on from it. If we’re emotionally attached to food - and everyone is a little bit sometimes - we’ll eat it for reasons other than hunger occasionally. By having it around, and risking that we might just eat it for eating its sake, we help to get rid of the charge it has and we want it less. I’ve had two bars of chocolate in my house now for about 3 weeks, and have one and a half left to prove it starts to matter less!

    • Victoria says:

      I think sometimes it’s ok to eat without hunger. I still use food for emotional reasons - tonight I had a much bigger dinner than normal followed by some chocolate which I normally love but which, tonight, I didn’t really enjoy. But still, I knew what I was doing, and I stoppped eating when I was full (and before I was uncomfortably full), and the food actually calmed me. It achieved its purpose!

      This, for me, is enough. I’m aware that what I did tonight was emotional eating but I don’t actually feel guilty about it. For me, this is recovery.

      • Sunny says:

        Yes, I think you’re right Victoria: I also believe it’s sometimes OK to eat without hunger. “Normal” eaters do it! Not feeling guilty is definitely a sign of recovery-a BIG ONE.

  5. Brit says:

    Question, though: I’m past the “guilt” stage definitely (I’m even becoming okay with my shape, figure that!), but I’m still regularly eating unhealthily or in excess! What is the step past this?

    • Sunny says:

      Hi Brit. Well, it’s different for everyone. But for me, it was going to a support group. I had read a lot of books and gotten to the stage where you are—past the guilt, actually liking my body most days, but I was still bingeing once in a while. (I talk about it more in-depth in this 5-minute video.) Check out the support group area of the site, and the therapy info too. Both of them are steps I took that helped me fully recover, and I highly recommend them! xo…Sunny

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Sunny Sea Gold

About the Author

Sunny Sea Gold is a media-savvy advocate and commentator specializing in binge eating disorder, cultural obsessions around food and weight, and raising children who have a healthy body image.