The Hangover Part III

I’m sitting here writing this with a fuzzy brain and queasy tummy.  I’m suffering the ill effects of a sugar hangover.

Yesterday (I wrote this post Monday morning) was our graduation party for our son.  It went well.  But I went on a bit of a bender.  I fell prey once again to my “all or nothing” mentality that has so often in the past proven to be my dieting healthy lifestyle downfall.

It started with “I only get to have my mom’s white chocolate brownies once ever few years so I am going to allow myself a little splurge” and continued with “and while I’m splurging I’ll just have a bite (or two) of pumpernickel and pita since I don’t keep bread in the house anymore” which quickly evolved into “now that I’ve eaten this much off-plan crap I might as well just stuff my face with anything and everything today, get my fill, and start over tomorrow.”

And so it went.  Until I had cleaned up the kitchen at the end of the night and packed or tossed the leftovers and gone to bed worn out and with a stomach ache.  Yes, a literal stomach ache from all the crap I ingested.  And a bit of a metaphorical stomach ache from the bit of regret I was feeling.  And, as you might have expected, I slept through the night with my pee-o-meter registering zero.  Never a good sign.

So, now is when I could predictably go on about how this is so not “normal,” or at least my own vision of normal:  the goal I have for living a life that is about living a life and not about food.  And, truthfully, that “all or nothing” “I’ve cheated so I might as well cheat big and eat everything in sight” mentality is NOT normal and I do want to change that.

But more importantly, I want to tell you that despite feeling regret today at what I ate yesterday, I don’t feel discouraged.  Mostly.  And I don’t feel pessimistic.  Much.  I feel like yesterday is in the past and was a one day blip on the radar screen.  A big blip, to be sure.  But today I got up and knew, absolutely KNEW, that my eating would be back to what it was before the blip.  Back on track.  Because despite clearly not making as much progress as I need to, yet, I have made progress all the same.  Because in the past a one day bender would have turned into a two day bender and that might have snowballed into another day and then a week and maybe months.  But I really feel in the deepest part of my “on a quest to live a healthy life and have a normal relationship with food” soul, that this time is different.  Better.  Progress.  A baby step.  When I’d rather have made a huge leap.  But I’ll take it for now.  Because, honestly, that’s all I’ve got.  Progress.  Slow and steady.

And as I edit this post the day after the day after, I can’t help but be struck with thinking, once again, about the expression that nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.  And I can’t help but remember how many, many times in the past after a major bingapalooza, I said to myself that if I just remember how crappy I feel from eating crap I wouldn’t do it again.  And how after that first bite or that first brownie, the second and third aren’t nearly as tasty.  Or satisfying.  Nothing satisfying about any of it.  Oh, yes, I am feeling a bit like a broken record as I reflect on my grad party eating frenzy.

I debated even posting this.  But I thought that some of you would be wondering how I did with the big event.  And I’m trying to be honest with what I say here, so I guess I felt this needed to be said.  Call it a confession, if you will.  Or a status report.  Or a progress report.  Or we can pretend it’s a fictional account of an event that never happened:)  Okay, I guess that last one won’t fly.

Bottom-line:  I do feel I’ve been making progress but this huge little relapse clearly shows there is much work still to be done.  Maybe there will always be work to be done and progress to be made.  But that “all or nothing” thinking has to go!

So, time to write my sequel to this movie.  It won’t be Hangover Part IV, that’s for sure.  Any suggestions?  “Blazing Salads?”  Or “Guess Who’s Not Coming to Dinner?”  Oh the possibilities:)




Filed under cheating/overeating, restaurant/social eating

60 responses to “The Hangover Part III

  1. Ewa

    I know I cannot allow myself even one bite of the “bad” stuff. I am a food addict and some foods are like cocaine is for drug addicts. So for me there cannot be ‘just one bite’ or it can turn into a binge.
    It is quite a journey, isn’t it?

    • Karen

      I really struggle with this idea. I have clearly found that some foods set me off and I do best to avoid them entirely. And feel best when I do. And eventually don’t even miss them. But then I wonder about the thing I call “normal” and if someday, but maybe not now, that could include occasional moderation. Maybe not. Or maybe only when it is portion controlled with no buffet to eat from for hours!

  2. Ahh.. sugar hangovers.. the worse!

  3. Jan

    It isn’t the confession that is good for the soul – it’s the reflection, learning, problem solving, analyzing what went awry so one can prevent it from occurring again. Good for you!

    • Adina

      You’ve got it Jan…it’s learning from the situation, replase, whatever and putting into motion ways to handle it in simpilar situations.

    • Karen

      I think you are right. And I am being a slow learner. But there is some progress going on. I really need to come back and read my own posts before the next time I go to put a brownie in my mouth!

  4. Your post reminds me of the wonderful saying from Michael Pollan: The Banquet is in the First Bite!!!

    Love the fact that you are not beating yourself up. I have no doubt that you will rebound well, plus it is BIKING season!!!

    • Karen

      Biking season! I wish:( So far the weather has not cooperated and now we are babysitting my little nephews so can’t go. Haven’t been in weeks! Next week though, fingers crossed.

  5. Thank you for this post. It is very nice to know that this whole process is a struggle for so many… not just me. I have fallen off the wagon and stayed off for too long. I agree with @Michele, I am so glad you aren’t beating yourselft up, pick up and learn… You’ll do great!!!

    • Karen

      One of the great things about blogging is the comfort in not being alone. And the support. And the great advice I get:)

  6. Karen, I call this a win for you because of the learning for sure AND that you got right back to it! That is a big YES based on past experience for you. Move on & get back to it and drink your water to flush the UGH feeling out & get the bod moving again!

    I think a good sign for the learning! You CAN do it!

    • Karen

      Thanks for always being my cheerleader, Jody. Now I just need to remind myself how crappy I felt when I am at our family reunion this weekend:) I’m thinking that no sweets this weekend will be my best plan.

  7. For me, sometimes episodes like this have to happen to make me appreciate the “norm” of eating healthier. Looks like a beautiful spread for the big day. All or nothing is a hard one to balance out – but since the rest of our lives have more shades of gray to them, shouldn’t our eating habits do so as well?

    • Karen

      I sort of think the same, that there should be some room for special occasion shades of gray. But I think I went a bit overboard. Okay, I KNOW I went a lot overboard.

  8. And I know how much progress was made in the “pre-cheating” catergory. Don’t beat yourself up over one day. This event could have very easily been a month-long eating frenzy leading up to the event AND IT DIDN’T!! Sure there’s progress to be made, but don’t underestimate how far you’ve come. I’m amazed and so proud of how this was only a one day thing (and face it, this was a BIG day in the life of your family that only happens ONCE) and now it’s over. The food is gone – there’s no more baking. Relax and enjoy!

  9. It’s exactly that kind of food that I fall prey to…dips with breads, crackers and cheese…yum! I can say no to the sweet stuff, but not that yummy “real”food!

    I love that you are not beating yourself up, but continuing on with the blip in the past.

    • Karen

      Well, only beating myself up a little bit. I wish I had remembered Tami’s saying that she never regrets something she DOESN’T eat.

  10. JourneyBeyondSurvival

    So much about getting better is about processing. I love that about blogging. It feels so much healthier when I’ve cleaned up my head along with my gut. You’re doing really well Karen. You really are. Messing up is part of growing.

    • Karen

      Yep, I love that about blogging too. And the great wisdom that comes from others. And the support. Oh I could go on and on. Now for that growing up part…

  11. I’m so sorry you (might, possibly, perhaps) have regrets over the celebration! I also (might, possibly, perhaps) have regrets if I wasn’t right back to plan the day after. (As YOU are.)

    To me, there will always be causes and events of feast and celebration (as you know, I look forward to them), but as long as we *always* get back to the business of good portions and choices, we’ll be okay. That seems to be what the “normal” people do. At least, the ones I aspire to emulate. 🙂

    • Karen

      I just wish I had not quite so crazy. That would have been more “normal” to me. Still working towards it. Still thinking I’ll get there. Eventually.

  12. Donna MacDonald

    *sigh* Thanks for this post – I’m so glad I’m not the only one this happens to. Congrats on getting back on the horse – tough to do, but shows your character, for sure!

    • Karen

      Yep, I’m getting better at getting back on the horse. One of these days I may just manage not to fall off anymore. Or to just take a little spill rather than tumbling head over heels into a pile of dill dip.

  13. I think this is a move in the right direction!! You are able to step back and evaluate what happened, see WHY, and move forward without bashing yourself over the head.

    One of the strategies that works for me is estimating calories in off-plan foods I eat, just ballparking, so I can say, “Okay, it’s all right to go over 500 calories one day, but if I go 1,000 calories over I’ve ruined the deficit I worked to create for THREE DAYS last week. Is this cake/pie/ice cream worth three days of work?”

    • Karen

      I need to remember this next time. Seems I hear the greatest strategies but in the moment not one is in my head along with the screaming brownies.

  14. Adina

    Wow, it’s almost like you lived my entire month of May! I was not as strong as you and allowed one day to turn into three weeks, but as I always like to say, “I’m a work in progress.”

    I’m human, so are you. We will make choices that don’t always agree with our healthy eating lifestyle. It happens. Reflect upon it, learn from it and maybe, just maybe the next time temptation arises, we’ll be better able to handle it.

    Thank you so much for sharing. I know now I’m not alone.

    • Karen

      It is nice to know we are not alone, isn’t it. One of the great things about the blog world:) And thanks for reminding me that May was actually an overall good month for me. I went to a slew of other people’s grad parties and didn’t eat any crap at them at all. So I could have done much worse.

  15. That sugary stuff is so addictive! Sorry your day turned out like that. Been there and done that more times than I care to remember!

    We can only do our best and some days our best is better than other days.

    • Karen

      Why didn’t I remember your great saying that you never regret something you don’t eat until the day after!? Next time:)

  16. Oh all or nothing. How I live by you. And how you kick my a*s everytime. If you discover the secret to moderation, please share.

    • Karen

      Isn’t it crazy how some people do so well with moderation!? Not me. I used to think I could SOMEDAY. But now I question that. I know several bloggers who are just abstainers for life from certain foods and maybe that would be best for you and me too.

  17. What I love most about this post is that you’re not beating yourself up. I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but I think it bears repeating here: it’s not about “never again” it’s about catching myself sooner. We all know that one day of overeating isn’t, all by itself, going to make us gain weight. Sure, it might make us feel icky but that’s about it. It’s when we string together a whole bunch of days of overeating that we do the real damage.

    • Karen

      True, true. But I wish the scale agreed! I hate that the one day shows up on my scale for a long time afterwards. But, I know, it isn’t about the number. Just whining. Sorry. I’m going to focus on my eating and forget the numbers again:)

  18. It was indeed a minor blip on the radar and your response to get back on track ASAP was huge! You are definitely changing on the inside in your mind, where it matters most. None of us is ever going to live in a world without sugary treats every now & then. It is our response that makes the difference. I think even ‘normal’ people binge every now & then.

    • Karen

      I agree, my vision of normal always included allowing treats, eventually, now and then. But maybe next time that could be one or even two brownies. Rather than… hmm… I lost count how many. Sigh.

  19. This is what “normal” people do. They overindulge from time to time and then they don’t. It’s not a failure, it’s really a sign of normal. It’s not an ascent into the deep abyss of the past. It’s a one day deal and now it’s done – just like millions of people who do not have a history of food issues. Good job!

    • Karen

      Well thanks:) And I guess I should focus on the fact that the rest of the month I had tons of other people’s grad parties and handled them all so well. One blip.

  20. i had a bad day to ate everything in sight. guess it’s time to get back in the saddle

  21. Do you realize what you said about the brownie…how the 2nd and 3rd bite don’t taste as great as the first? Can you conceive that some day, THAT kind of thinking will be the impetus to get you to portion-controlled eating. Having a bite or two or three of something, recognizing that was enough, and stopping right there. But at least fully, totally enjoying those 1-3 bites.

    you can get there. I know you can! 🙂

    • Karen

      Ah, but knowing and doing are so not the same thing:( Maybe someday. Maybe not. I think the best thing may be that any treats are somewhere other than my own home or when it is portion controlled for me. If I bought one brownie rather than having a buffet spread out in front of me, for example.

  22. Thanks for a great post, Karen.

    The problem, I think, is not so much the eating, it’s the little voice in the head that can justify anything, from the “white brownie” argument, to the birthday cake issue, to Christmas/Hannukah/pick your holiday, to the I’m-starting-a-new-diet-on-Monday. It’s the voice that lied to me and made me wake up, seriously, thousands of days with regrets over binges large and small.

    More troubling was what part of my life was I missing while I was continuously concentrating on this problem? What was my life really supposed to be about besides dieting?

    • Karen

      I was thinking about you and some of the others I’ve “met” online who are abstainers. I have done so well with cutting out certain foods that I might just want/need to expand that to others. The brownie tastes good for a moment but not eating it has a satisfaction that lasts longer.

  23. Vanessa

    Blazing Salads gets my vote!

    Karen, you are so correct in looking at this as a blip. It happens. The important decision you’ve made: to stop the binge and get back to your plan.

  24. I had the same problem – but my bingapalooza was over the entire weekend. but when I got home from camping I stopped its and started over! I know one thing for sure – I sweated like a pig during workouts this week – I must be sweating out all the evil crap i put in my body. darn those M&M cookies they started it all. But i am to blame i purchased them

    • Karen

      I have to laugh because I baked M&M cookies and had tons at our party and it might be the ONLY treat I didn’t eat! Glad you got back on track so easily.

  25. I think the positive part of all of this process is learning how much of a difference you make in your life when you eat healthy most of the time. Then, when you indulge in something less healthy or sugar filled, your body lets you know!

    • Karen

      It is really amazing how it impacts me! When I eat well consistently I feel better but I think I forget how tired I used to feel when I ate crap.

  26. Roz

    No looking back Karen….only looking forward!!!! Take care and be kind to yourself!!!

  27. Ya know I think that not letting it snowball thing – not going from blip to seismic event is really the key to getting control of yourself and your eating and (for many a food addict) your life. Every time I read about someone waking the morning after and thinking “OK back to plan cuz I can!” it really helps. To orient my thinking, to know it can be done with this weird notion of all being lost because of a blip or a bit of a stumble. Perspective. That is the word. Jeesh! I have my birthday coming up on Saturday and know I will be eating off my plan. But it is only one day. I will enjoy it and my friends, I will make reasonable choices and then I will be right back on plan Sunday. Period. I am also trying to watch my calories this week and shaving a few hundred off before the weekend. I am not sure about the wisdom of that, but I am not unhappy and that is a good thing!

    You may wonder whether to post things like this, but you shouldn’t because it is life and it is very useful.

    • Karen

      Wow do you sound so wise and so sane. Yes, sane. Because sometimes I really feel food is craziness for me. Happy early birthday:)

  28. Oh and more protein in your diet = more activity on the pee o’meter. Maybe your carbs shut off the spigot – so to speak.

  29. Karen, I absolutely love you for your honesty in writing about this little food transgression. The goodies look gorgeous — I couldn’t have resisted either. In fact, your pictures make me want to run out and buy evil foods — bad girl! Despite all of us bloggers wondering and writing about normalcy, I think a one-day food-fest qualifies you for normal in my book.

  30. Wiping the slate clean, Karen. I had this same bender when my husband’s family was in town for 2 weeks, except my bender lasted the entire time they were here. There really is something to be said about having our routines interfered with. I realize that it makes us a little more rigid in some ways, but to be in control of maintaining, one has to have some kind of consistency, right? I’m glad you are putting it behind you. It was one day, and now it’s over.

    • Karen

      Love routine:) But life is full of interruptions. So I still need to figure out how to adjust for those, I guess.

  31. Karen — I call it HUGE progress because you posted right away AND you stopped. Maybe it would help to re-evaluate the eating that day and think about what was truly “worthy” (if any of it was). Use it as part of your learning process.

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