My Last Diet

Without mentioning any names, I want to share with you what it was like during my last attempt to lose weight through dieting.  (This was about seven years ago, during one of my OA “vacations.”)  It was through the use of a famous program that I’m sure has helped thousands of people.  I just happened to not be one of them.

The plan called for exercising rigorously and following a strict food plan all week.  Then you were “rewarded” by having one day to eat whatever you wanted.  The problem was that my food-addicted mind interpreted this to mean that on that “free day,” I could eat as MUCH as I wanted.  Even though the book outlining this plan gave clear examples of eating “normal” amounts of fattening foods at each meal on that day, I somehow was able to filter out that crucial part of the plan and simply began to see Sunday as “My Pig-Out Day,” as I WAY too affectionately called it.  (I suppose that name alone should have alerted me to the danger that lay ahead, but all I could see was a license to eat.)

Even as I write this, I can feel that sick part of my addiction that will always be alive to some degree in the back of my mind stirring and saying, “Oh, yeah!  Remember how in control you were?  That was a GREAT plan for you!  You were getting really thin and in shape…AND you could eat whatever you wanted!  Nothing like this unrealistic plan you’re on now!  You’ve only lost five pounds this year!  Lame!  If you go back on THAT plan, you’ll be thin by Memorial Day!”

Too bad none of that is true.  Not to mention the fact that I was a complete LOON through the entire 2 months I was on that diet!!   Here’s what happened:

Every Monday-Saturday morning I would get up early and follow the exercise routine I made for myself (using the book I mentioned earlier).  This included weight training as well as cardio.  Each day I would eat 6 moderate protein-packed “meals” (I put that word in quotes because calorie-wise I am sure they would be considered meals, but they felt more like snacks because the portions felt small to me.)  As with all my dieting attempts, I had little trouble staying the course Monday through Wednesday.  By Thursday I was bored.  By Friday I was ravenous.  By Saturday I was down-right deranged, thinking of little-else but the mounds of food that would be mine on Sunday morning.  I would have already been working-on the shopping list, secretly, in my mind, all week.

I think this was the only time I ever went on any type of weight-loss plan with my husband.  Of course, our favorite part was going shopping together on Saturday night for binge foods.  It became our date-night activity.  We would actually sit at the kitchen table together and write down all the restaurants we would hit the following day, make a junk food shopping list, and then off we’d go to the store like giddy school kids, loading our shopping cart with foods our moms used to tell us were not good for us.  That part was definately fun, in an immature, silly way.  When we got home, we’d even line-up all our treats on the counter and make jokes about who would get to what first (even though I already knew that he was nothing but an amateur, bless his heart.)  My husband is not a true food addict, and did not share in my passion for the supermarket “hunt” – – I could sense it.  But there were times he came close!  At the very least, for those few weeks he was definitely transformed into my eating buddy.

All Saturday night in bed I would toss and turn, knowing that these foods I had been craving all week were just a few feet away from me in the next room.  So close and yet so far!  It would take all the mental energy I had to keep myself from bounding out of bed and ripping into the bags at midnight.


The witching hour.

That was the time limit I gave myself.  “My Pig-out Day” officially went from midnight to midnight.  But I would force myself not to start eating until I was up for the day.  I was an old pro and knew that if I pigged-out and went back to bed, it would sour my stomach…and I had to keep it in top working condition if I was going to get-in all there was to get-in, if you know what I mean (wink, wink)!!  Sometimes I made it all the way ’til 6 a.m.  Usually, however, the latest I could hold-out ’til was 4 a.m.  (My non-addicted husband, on the other had, would wake-up at his regular time and have his usual cup of coffee, seemingly oblivious to the food-fest going-on around him.  In fact, he usually had no interest in any of our goodies until lunchtime.  (Told you he was an amateur!)

When it finally got to the point when I knew sleep was impossible, I would be out of bed like a kid on Christmas morning making a bee-line for the presents.  I didn’t want to wake-up my husband, so I would suddenly have to switch into slow-motion mode, so as not to rattle too much cellophane or crinkle too much plastic wrap.  Then I would bring whatever food I had been craving the most with me to the living room, turn on the TV, and dive-in.  I suppose that the first few bites were great, since I could supposedly eat without guilt…after all, hadn’t I earned it?  But all I seem to remember were the days of relentless obsession leading up to that moment, followed by the compulsion to keep eating, pretty-much non-stop, throughout the entire free-day.  Again, as I write this, there is a familiar longing that I feel deep inside myself, tugging at me to go back to doing all that kind of dysfunctional stuff I did with with food.  But if I am honest at the reality of what it was actually like, it was no fun at all.  I mainly remember a strange mixture of feeling insanely out-of-control and desperately ashamed at the same time.  But it was so enticing…so easy to believe that this lie – – that I had finally found a way to eat as much as I wanted while avoiding the consequences – – was true!.  But even while I was eating the very things I supposedly wanted, I never felt “good” about doing it.  In fact, I felt really bad about it.

By the time Sunday night rolled around, I had had it.   I was feeling bloated, strung-out on sugar, and at around 8 p.m., I’d started getting anxiety attacks while sitting on the toilet with severe bouts of constipation.  And yet, even while these distasteful “side effects” were taking place, my sick mind kept trying to figure out how I could get-in just one more bite of this, that or the other.  After all, it was going to be six long days before I would “get” to do this all over again.

What is that if not complete and utter insanity?!

Monday morning I would be dutifully back on the hamster wheel, still nursing a sugar hangover, but wondering what was so hard about this whole dieting thing.  This was easy!  I had absolutely no cravings for ANYthing!  It was a MIRACLE!  And there were even leftovers!  I would congratulate myself on how much willpower it took for that to happen while, at the same time, I would “forget” how physically sick I was just a few short hours earlier.  Just the mere mention of the foods I’d eaten on Sunday would make me nauseous…for a day or two.  But by Wednesday, that flimsy motivation would fade away, as it always did, and once again I would start to write a new shopping list…secretly…in my mind.

May 20, 2012 This post was written by Categories: Tales of Terror: My Days as an Active Addict Tagged with:

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