Monday, 25 August 2008

Waking Up

After so many months of wishing and hoping and compromising and waiting for BN2 to want to go exclusive, I no longer think that’s what I want. It’s like chasing a diamond and suddenly realizing it’s a rhinestone (or, so as not to date myself so badly, a Swarovski crystal). It’s also very liberating – and very scary.

The problem is no longer other women – or really, the major problem is not just other women. I don’t want to be treated like this anymore. I don’t want to be talked to like this – told about my “B minus” conversation (yes, really), and asked “What did you add to this weekend?” I don’t want to be told that what I’m feeling is “unjustified” or “counterintuitive” – or told that I’m not allowed to feel hurt by his (often harsh) criticism. In the past two weeks the rage and indignation have bubbled to the surface, demanding to be acknowledged. I’m almost relishing the anger. It’s a sign that I have woken up out of this crazy trance where I end up apologizing for the fact that he’s treating me like crap.

It’s terribly embarrassing to admit that I’ve allowed this to happen. In the past two weeks I’ve had two old friends visit, and – because of the black hole I’ve been in for months (a black hole partly born of my relationship with BN2 – they knew precious little about BN2. I told them both the story from start to finish, alternately cringing and – yes – crying.

Now all that remains is to end this for good, and I’m just trying to determine how and when to do it. It is complicated: he’s coming with me to the Venice film festival tomorrow, and then I’m supposed to stay at his place in the 12 hours between me returning from Venice (he’s coming back to London a day earlier) and heading to Miami. What’s so complicated about that? My ticket to Miami is on his miles – which he gave me way back in April, the last time I was in Miami (and returned from that trip to find earrings on the nightstand that weren’t mine, but never mind about that). I think that – given enough time (and on miles tickets it doesn’t take much) -- he’d be just vindictive enough to cancel the ticket, and I absolutely have got to be there for my grandmother’s 90th birthday. (I know, I know – this is all very mercenary. But sort of necessary at this point. The flights at the times I need are over a thousand pounds. I wouldn’t say this plane ticket is the only thing I got out of these eight months – that’s unfair – but…)

So… possible options include: On his last morning in Venice (probably unwise for plane ticket purposes), in the morning when I leave for Miami (just seems wrong), or by phone when I’m in Miami (I’ve long considered not doing it in person, since I’ve been unsuccessful with that on two previous attempts). A friend suggested I send an email – since every time I speak to him he seems capable of Jedi mind tricks (see “I apologize for the fact that he treats me like crap,” above) and then follow it up with a phone call.

I just want this – all of this, post-breakup pain included – to be over. Earlier today I was checking one of my email accounts and deleting a couple of messages from him, thinking: If I don’t I’ll see these after we break up and I’ll be pained by them. The trouble is, I think everything is going to pain me for a while. More or less than being with him? I don’t know. I guess I just have to close my eyes and jump already.

* * *

In spite of, erm, the weight of all this, I’m doing OK with the weight.

I haven’t binged in 15 days. In fact, today – should all go according to plan – should be 16, one day more than my previous attempt (which ended in sausages and chocolate in France). If I can make it past 35 days, that will be more than I have managed this year. But between Venice and Miami – and what I wrote above – it isn’t going to be easy.

Weight: I have no idea. A few days ago it was 11 stone 13. I can live with that.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Still Fighting It

“So how’s l’escapee?” my friend O. said the day after I returned from France.

“If I told you I’ve never eaten so much sausage in my life, that would sound kind of bad, wouldn’t it?” I said.

O. laughed. He knows my host in France – an artist who likes to get off, as they so charmingly say in England, with the models (women he sees naked every day). O. also knows that S. discovers one food he likes and finds easy to cook – in this case, sausages – and makes it endlessly.

And I ate them endlessly – along with bread and 200g (yes, 200 g) bars of chocolate. And I don’t even like sausages. And the bread wasn’t great fresh-baked French bread from some Loire boulangerie. (At least the bars of chocolate were French.)

Honestly, I almost could have forgiven myself if I were bingeing on amazing pain au raisin and patisserie. (Loads of people eat their way across France – I certainly wouldn’t have been the first.) But that’s how bingeing is – what you’re eating is almost besides the point. I can – and did – binge on the 90-calorie fig cereal bars I’d bought in the 8 a Huit grocery store to prevent myself from getting too hungry between meals. I reached what felt like new lows, lying about having left my handbag upstairs so I could run up and grab a few more squares of chocolate.

I haven’t binged consecutively for so many days in years. And each morning I’d wake up with a too-full stomach and the dread of getting dressed, because each day there were fewer and fewer clothes I wanted to wear, mostly because I feared whether they’d fit and didn’t want to try them on to find out for sure. I took my belt off going through airport security and couldn’t face putting it back on. I literally feared my jeans would split. (You laugh, but it happened to me once, when years ago I stuffed myself – erm, sausage-like – into jeans I couldn’t admit no longer fit. I plunked myself into the back seat of the car and rrrippp. One of the worst sounds I’ve ever heard.)

Why did I binge? For so many reasons, some of which I’m still facing up to myself:

--a relationship that needs ending so badly that the psychiatrist I went to Wednesday (the one who told me six weeks ago I was depressed with good reason) spent the entire 40-minute session telling me to dump him.

--because I’d felt hungry the whole day I traveled, and had been fighting the urge to overeat all day. I’d felt grumpy and resentful watching people eating 3-course lunches while I struggled to be healthy. And by 9.30 p.m., when the first sausages were served, I was incredibly hungry and tired of fighting.

Honestly, tired of fighting really sums it up on so many levels. Tired of fighting to eat appropriate things at an appropriate time. Tired of fighting to get out of bed and exercise because I know I won’t do it later in the day. Tired of fighting… well, tired of fighting a lot of things I’m not ready to write about yet (see “still facing up to myself.”)

* * *

BN2 always used to berate me for planning to fail, as he put it. This time, I’m glad I did.

I had 15 binge-free days behind me when I went to France. I had packets of oatmeal and cereal bars. I had optimism (hello, France? When one is trying to recover from binge eating? That’s like going to a wine-tasting in the early days of giving up alcohol). But I guess I know myself better than I give myself credit for.

Before I left for France I booked my favorite Pilates class for the day after I got back to London. You can’t do Pilates on a full stomach, and so I had to get straight back into my healthy eating routine. And I have. It’s been five days now.

I guess I’m back in the ring again.

* * *

I debated not writing weights until I had something better to post, but that’s, um, so not the point of this, isn’t it?

I couldn’t face the scale for a couple of days, then got 12 stone 8 (yikes! Highest weight in a year!) on Tuesday, I think it was. Yesterday was something like 12 stone 4.5. I’m hoping when the dust settles and the binge bloat goes the numbers will seem slightly more manageable.

Part of me would like to spend this weekend eating carefully prepared and measured meals, but that’s not an option. As luck would have it, Friend Bearing Chocolate is back from her job in Asia for a few days and we’re meeting up. I’m looking forward to seeing her, of course, but a little anxious about the food just the same. She’s craving tapas. Eeek. Maybe I won’t even be able to look at the chorizo? One can hope.

Friday, 1 August 2008

What Goes Up Must Come Down

It’s been 12 days since I’ve binged and the difference – how I look (or how I think I look) and how I feel – is marked.

I feel more in control. I feel thinner. I am thinner (weight two days ago: 11 stone 11, or 165.) It’s 9 pounds above my lowest weight ever, which sounds like a manageable amount to lose. It’s certainly a lot more manageable than the 19 I was thinking about when I saw that 12 stone 7 a week and a half ago. (19! That’s nearly 20! I was thinking).

It hasn’t been an easy time to get a handle on my food. Besides the attempted breakup and its fallout, there’s been a slew of long work-related restaurant lunches -- a challenge even when I’m feeling at my strongest. Oh – and a cold and its fallout, which has meant very little exercise.

Oh -- and I’m off on Monday to a remote chateau in the Loire Valley.

“It’ll be stress-free,” says a friend gleefully. Well, not exactly, when you consider that most people go to France for the food. My goal is to get some exercise (apparently there’s a running trail) and not to binge. Wish me luck.

In the meantime, I’m off this afternoon to see a nutritionist. Yes, a nutritionist. I realized recently that although I feel like this is a subject about which I know a lot – and which friends come to me for advice – I’m at a loss when it comes to applying my knowledge to myself. My body has changed a lot in recent years – what should I be putting in it, and (the million dollar question) how much?