Whenever I dieted, it was always more difficult for me to stick to the plan on weekends. For me, as a compulsive/binge eater, food and the eating of it was almost always on my mind. When I wasn’t dieting, I’d still obsess about whether I’d have access to the food I needed/wanted/craved. I’d stock up for the weekend and then make regular trips to the fridge or pantry cabinet. Maybe I’d only take a little each time, but multiple that by many times and the food and calories added up.
During diet times, I as most likely to fall off the good plan wagon on the weekends, particularly if I didn’t make lots of plans that got me out of the house. Food was in the house, calling to me, luring me to take a taste, a bite, a sliver, a heaping spoonful.
Alcoholics in recovery are strongly encouraged to keep a dry house — no alcohol or even products that contain alcohol, such as some mouthwashes. That way if someone is tempted to take a drink, the stuff isn’t readily accessible. Seriously, when you have an addictive disease, the compulsion always lurks inside to some degree. Even if someone mentally/emotionally doesn’t want the drink of they’re around alcohol, it could trigger their disease, thwarting their conscious decision making process.
I am in no way suggesting that recovering alcoholics have it easier than compulsive eaters. Let me state that up front so that everyone’s clear. There are, however, some differences, just like there are between alcohol addiction and illegal drug addiction. An adult alcoholic can legally buy his/her drug of choice in any liquor store, bar, etc. A coke or heroin addict needs to score the drugs somewhere and can be arrested and prosecuted for buying, possessing, or using.
For a food addict/compulsive eater, the choice is whether to give into the behavior of compulsive eating or binging. It is not eat or don’t eat. We have to put food in our mouths and stomachs multiple times each day in order to survive. My friends and I in OA used to call it letting the beast out of the cage. It is really difficult for a food addict to keep the equivalent of a dry house. Part of my success relies on me having the appropriate foods available to me for every meal — which is roughly six times a day. It would be highly impractical for me to leave the house and go get something each time. What’s more, engaging in that routine would, I believe, ultimately lead to me eating more junk food instead of healthy choices.
For as long as I can remember, as long as I stuck to the routine of planning my day’s meals and taking my food with me to work, I did better during the week. There were not as many opportunities for me to cheat and those chances that came up were not insurmountable. I was around people and could satisfy myself with a sliver rather than a slab.
Even now, weekends are harder, but I’m finding that I’m consistently doing better at handling them, one meal at a time. I don’t keep junk food in the house. I do my best to have healthy stuff around that fits my plan — like fresh berries instead of packages of cookies. That kind of planning and preparation helps a lot.
Plus, I continue to work on my mindset. I’m learning to reinforce the positive habits and healthier thinking that I’m developing. I do not need to live my life controlled by food and an eating disorder. I can be stronger than my disease.
I tell myself a lot these days that food is not a big deal. I believe if I continue to embrace this thinking, I can reduce the power of the obsession. I don’t have to focus on what’s around to eat, how much can I have, will I be able to get what I want and all of the other obsessive thoughts. I can substitute other thoughts and devote my mental energy to other things, adding in more physical tasks as well.
Am I always 100% successful? At this point, no, but I’m definitely improving. It’s important to remember that this is progress not perfection. One day at a time I believe I can make it so that weekend eating is no different and no more difficult than any other day of the week.
Hope you’re all enjoying a lovely weekend doing things that you enjoy!