Today I took a baby step by not taking any extra steps at all.
I have lots of rules for myself, and one of them is that I walk as much as possible – often distances that other people would not. And I never change trains: I either walk to or from Union Square if I need to go somewhere on the east side. (When I lived in London I also refused ever to take the Tube and then a bus.)
But I was nearly 4 pm and I was tired and hungry, not a good combination. I was on the east side (I live on the west side) and so I took the shuttle from Grand Central to Times Square. And then I waited for the local train, which drops me a block and half from my apartment, instead of the express, which would leave me with about an 8 to 10-minute walk. (Time is dependent on energy and heel height, not that the latter is much of an issue these days.)
It felt like a big deal: To decide I was tired and to let myself off the hook.
I don’t do that. And I think sometimes I binge because of it.
I binge because I force myself to walk a few extra blocks when I’m tired (and sometimes hungry?), you ask, shaking your head.
But the binge is not necessarily on that walk, or after that walk, or even on that day at all. It is this inflexibility; this pushing past the point of tired; this refusal to let myself slip even a little bit.
I have written before that being trapped is a huge binge trigger. Sometimes, I think, I do a pretty bang-up job of trapping myself.
Exhausted and cornered. And so I binge.
Another step that felt big: Thanksgiving.
In the past few years I have exercised for hours in preparation for the feast. I get to the table exhausted and starving. And usually it’s an epic fail. I eat so much I can hardly sit up. Literally.
This year I was going to take an hour-long spin class on the Upper West Side. I realized the night before that (a) I might have to deal with Thanksgiving Day parade traffic, (b) I’d have to get up ludicrously early to ensure I’d make it, and thus risk being tired all day, (c) the timing of the class was such that it would be hugely, hugely stressful to catch my train to Connecticut, and also (d) I have not been exercising more than 45 minutes a day, and maybe Thanksgiving was not the day to see how hungry it would make me.
I agonized a little bit (OK, a lot) and then cancelled. I went to my own gym, about seven blocks away. It felt… normal. (Or at least, as normal as I ever feel.)
So Thanksgiving. I survived. I ate one plate of food (and it was a huge plate that I seriously piled), but I did not binge. I was very full, but I did not eat to the point that I could not sit up. I did not feel like I wanted to die, and nor was I out of commission the entire next day.
It’s a separate post – one I started a few days ago but didn’t manage to finish -- that this dinner will go down in the list of issues I deal with in therapy. Nothing super crazy – just the usual family insanity.
I went back to the nutritionist today. I’ve lost two pounds.
Considering it’s been two weeks since I saw her last, those two weeks also included Thanksgiving and The Day After (which actually I find harder than the day itself – maybe because you have a plan for the main event but not after), and I’m supposed to be “normalizing” my eating, not necessarily losing weight… I’ll take it.
“This is good,” she said. “It means your body wants to get rid of the weight.”
I hope so.