I am really struggling. I survived yesterday without any too-naughty treats. Despite obsessing ALL day about biscuits and biscuit batter. I had some champagne and red wine and too much rice for my dinner so I am sure I went over points BUT I held off on my craving all day.
I didn’t think I would. In fact when I had the GF flour out to thicken my satay flavoured sauce as I was cooking dinner, I left it out. By then I had moved on from biscuit batter to this soft crumbly pastry thing with apple in the middle. And I fully expected that I would end up making some after dinner. I mean, I had all of the ingredients, so there would be nothing to stop me. Right?
I can’t say it was willpower. After 2-3 cups of brown rice with my large service of chicken satay stir-fry thingy I was essentially full. I was flat out finishing my last glass of red wine. But, of course, that hasn’t stopped me before. Nevertheless, the night came to a close and I returned the flour to the pantry and wiped off the benches.
I’m not a self-help book junkie. In fact I roll my eyes when friends quote from them and I hide those I have from prying eyes out of shame… But I have read a couple in my time that I (sort of) liked and thought made sense.
In the 1990s I read many of Geneen Roth’s books and they made a lot of sense to me then. I cannot recall now how out-of-control my binge eating was, but I expect I was still purging at that time and do remember that I spent almost all of the 90s on a constant diet. In retrospect had I NOT dieted all of that time I would have probably not gained the weight I did. Instead I restricted my food obsessively but then would break down and binge, just as obsessively. So for me – much of Roth’s thinking rang true. But some of her methods also scared me. Eating what you want, when you want is empowering. But scary. I know we were supposed to trust ourselves to eventually come to some enlightened decision to ‘choose’ healthier options, but I could seriously eat nothing but chocolate or chips for weeks on end and the lack of control was too frightening for me.
A psychologist I saw in the early – mid 2000s suggested I read Rick Kausman’s If Not Dieting Then What? which focuses on ‘normalising’ our eating behaviours. Essentially it gets to the same place as Roth, where we are eating with awareness. We are more in touch with our bodies (and feelings of fullness or otherwise) and – like a sane person who hasn’t struggled with weight issues or an eating disorder – we eat whatever we want, but only when hungry. And, of course, we do not eat our feelings!
In the past, when I have had constant cravings or obsessions – like my current fetish for biscuit / pastry batter – I give into it. I usually figure that it isn’t going to go away and… as is often referenced in those self-help books I have read, I will end up binging on a million other things before eventually getting to the batter or the biscuits. I think the logic goes something like… if I just have what I want to have in this instance, it will feel a bit like an anti-climax and my obsessive and distracting thoughts will essentially be sated. Supposedly.
So, I remain in a quandry. Do I or don’t I? Is it a matter of willpower? Do I continue to resist the batter, feeling strong and in control? And, how long with that last? Will I eventually feel deprived and depressed, then angry that I must go without, before binging on everything in sight? Or should I just make the bloody batter and eat it, getting it bloody well over and done with?