Look in my pantry and on my kitchen counters and you’ll notice one thing — for a person trying to thin down I have a lot of junk food and candy.
There’s a lot of healthy food, too, but in every dieter’s self-help article one of the first golden rules to dieting is to divest your home of junk food.
That particular golden rule was making me fat.
After binge eating on a package of cookies, pie, potato chips — whatever and sometimes all at the same time — I would feel horrible. Not because of all the crap I’d just put in my body, but because I felt I had absolutely no self control. I’d beat myself up and think, “I could throw this all up.” But I chose punishment instead. “You ate it,” I would think to myself. “Now you’ve got to suffer the consequences, so no throwing up.”
My cabinets were bare of those temptations, but a grocery store was just down the street. If I brought home a package of Oreos, it would be gone in a day. If I brought home a bag of Seyfert’s BBQ potato chips, it would be gone in one episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” (This was the early 1990s.)
Finally, one day it dawned on me: Depriving myself of having junk food in the house was not working. What if I did the exact opposite?
What if I stopped forbidding myself? Isn’t the call of the forbidden more tempting than what’s good?
So that’s what I did. I bought those Oreos and barbecued chips. I stuck them in my pantry and I binged for many months.
Fortunately for me I was working out two hours a day, otherwise I would have gained 50 pounds.
And then one day, the binging stopped.
The cookies, the chips — they didn’t call to me from the cabinets. They stayed there for a couple of months untouched.
I believe my brain finally made the switch from “forbidden feast” to “so what.”
I haven’t had a problem with binge eating since. Do I ever overeat? Yes, but not a binge. Do I ever eat those chips? Yes, but a handful and I’m done.
I found I do have self control.
And thank God, because I don’t have two hours a day to workout anymore! I’m lucky to get in an hour!
So yes, I have a tub of Snickers bars in my pantry, along with a tub of Halloween and Christmas candy. There is a jar of M&Ms on my counter. There is a cookie canister filled with an assortment of mini-candy bars. And my freezer always has ice cream in it.
And 98 percent of the time, I don’t touch any of it or even think about it being there. The 2 percent of the time I do get a craving for it, I know it’s there. I eat a small portion of it and I’m satisfied.
People — especially dieters — walk into my home and shake their head in wonder. “How do you do it?” they ask. “If I had all of this in my house, I’d be fat!”
“You know me,” I tell my friends. “I’ve got to do everything backwards.”
Thanks for reading! If you’ve had any experiences with binge eating or want to share how you stopped binging, please feel free to write me.
“Work hard. Play hard.”