Toto, We’re Not in Healthy-Eating-Ville Anymore

While on my recent road trip, the song (and potential blog post title) that kept running through my head was “I can’t get no… satisfaction.”  Because what I realized, and maybe already knew but conveniently forgot, is that when I go on an eating binge, it doesn’t matter what I eat, or how much I eat – I’m never satisfied.

If I eat bread I want ice cream.  If I eat ice cream I want candy.  If I eat chocolate candy I want chewy candy.  If I eat something sweet I want something salty.  If I eat something creamy I want something crunchy.  If you give a moose me a muffin, I’m gonna want a lot more to go with it.  One craving leads to another.  When I go “off plan,” I fall hard and deep into my “all or nothing” thinking.  I don’t just fall, I crash and burn.  I eat.  And eat.  Rushing to get it all in before the proverbial restart that comes “tomorrow.”  Or in this case, when I got home.  So I ate myself into a stomach-ache.  And felt no sense of satisfaction.  Fullness, yes; satiation, no.

This binge didn’t start when the car pulled out of the driveway.  The first, very long day, I ate my packed sandwich and my healthy snacks.  For dinner I ate a salad at Wendy’s.  Out of Kansas, through Colorado, into Utah, where I woke up in a budget motel the next morning, with no regrets yet, and heated my beans for breakfast.

And then it happened:  viva Las Vegas.

We were making such good time and were so far ahead of schedule that we decided, rather than arrive at the LA motel too early to check in, we’d take a little detour and eat lunch at a local joint in Vegas.  I have two words for you:  fry bread.  (I don’t usually eat fried food and I pretty much avoid bread!)  We don’t get that particular delicacy here in the land of Oz.  So, against my inner voice of reason, I ordered a lunch that was a heart attack on a plate.  Then topped it with honey.

What happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas!  Once I got the taste in my mouth, my mouth was singing.  And not in a good way.  And thus the binge was born.  By the time I went to bed in Los Angeles, I didn’t even delude myself that “tomorrow” would be another day.  Pizza and candy and fro-yo, oh my.

On a positive note, I did make some good choices along the way.  And walked so much on my only non-driving day that my feet were killing me!  But overall… let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.

I had many, many hours in the car on the drive home to contemplate my eating.  I thought about all the little things that went into the binge transpiring.  And what it would take to ensure it didn’t happen again.  Because, I’d like to think Mick Jagger is wrong – I CAN get satisfaction!  But it comes from eating well, not eating crap.  The satisfaction comes from my actions and my emotions, and from being in control, not from food.

And as far as my healthy lifestyle, Dorothy was right:  there’s no place like home.  I’m happy to have my my little home gym, my roasted veggies in the afternoon, and maybe most of all – my routine.  And when I head out on my next adventure, which will likely be a return to LA, I’m going to reread this post.  And pack my ruby slippers:)  And remember that, in the words of Glinda, I had the power all along.




Filed under cheating/overeating, vacation

66 responses to “Toto, We’re Not in Healthy-Eating-Ville Anymore

  1. It used to be that, when bingeing, I would only be satisfied once everything was empty. It didn’t matter whether the package was big or small, as long as it was empty in the end. I have started to slowly wean myself of that particular habit – if I feel done and there is still something in the bag of crisps or… – I throw the rest away. Sometimes I regret that later, but like this it is gone.

    But since you are not on road trips that much… don’t beat yourself up over the food choices you made. I hope you at least enjoyed them. ^^

    • Karen

      Well, some I enjoyed more than others. That’s the thing about them not being satisfying. And, after some point, the enjoyment isn’t there, really. It’s about just eating to eat. But I’m a big fan of tossing things:)

  2. What an awesome post. You have described me to a “t” when a binge begins for me. My favorite thing you said is satisfaction comes from your actions, emotions, and being in control- not the food. I had never thought of it that way. I am going to write that down and tape it to my pantry! You are also right about having the power in you all along. Sometimes we forget that- don’t we?! Now that you are home and in your regular routine- I just know you are going to get back to business and continue with your success!!!

    • Karen

      It’s so much nicer to go to bed without regrets and to wake up the same way:) I wish that I remembered how horrible I feel when I eat all that crap so that it kept me from doing it again!

  3. Glad you realized what makes you feel best. It’s doing it that sometimes gets very difficult. Oh how I know.

  4. That is a powerful post for not only you & others Karen.

    You know, it is precisely the feeling you got PHYSICALLY from all that food eating that keeps me from doing it. I am not saying I might eat a little this or that but I have been there & done that too many times with the UGH feeling so now anytime I head that way, I recall how I am going to feel & that stops me in my tracks!

    Glad you are safe & sound at home from it all! 😉

    • Karen

      I need to remember that feeling! It should be a deterrent for me. It is really amazing how that stuff makes me feel. Ugh.

  5. Hi Karen! I’m really trying harder to get my food choices in order. I definitely am going to keep reminding myself that “I had the power all along!” What a positive thing to say to myself. Great post!

    🙂 Marion

  6. I’m glad you wrote about it! Having it out there, so to speak, may help make a difference in the future! A statement in one of the comments reminded me of something I struggle with and sent me back to a much earlier post in my own blog. That’s a good example of how we help each other with honest disclosure of our own trials! I think your pain with this is probably more mental than physical. You’ll get the pounds off quickly, I’m sure of it, but the memories of the meltdown won’t leave you so quickly. Let ’em go – you’ve made so much progress in your relationship with food. Don’t expect to be perfect. You were letting go of your youngest child. It had stress written all over it. You’ve regrouped and are back on track. Let it go, let it go, let it go……and now you can hum Let I Snow for the rest of the day! LOL!

    • Karen

      LOL. Before we left, I definitely was aware of stress making me want to eat. Funny that on the trip I didn’t think about that. Someday I’ll have to pick your brain about how you spend all those hours in the car and don’t snack your way from state to state.

  7. I love this post! Welcome home to the Land of oz 🙂

  8. It is funny how binges really are never satisfying at all. Why do we keep doing them, I wonder. It is hard whn you get out of routine, but at least those binges are easier to halt than the ones that happen at home.

    • Karen

      I was just making a cup of tea and thinking about this whole thing and reflecting on how other people handle their eating so differently. Like you:) Allowing for special treats frequently. Makes me wonder if I did that more then maybe I would not go all crazy on a binge bender. Maybe.

  9. js

    What’s done is done and hopefully the temporary binging is over. It’s just something that people do. I don’t know if I was a “Binger” or if my old eating habits were a kind of permanent binging.

    We go to Las Vegas 6 times a year. It’s only a 280 mile drive, but since my system has never gotten along with fried foods, I watch what I eat when traveling because I don’t want to be that guy in the bushes in the middle of nowhere taking care of “Business.”

    • Karen

      This was my first “visit” to Vegas! And we didn’t even get to the strip! Someday I’ll have to go back for the full experience. And I will NOT be stopping at the same little restaurant:)

  10. Michele

    It is so hard to stay on any healthy eating plan while traveling. Too many variables to control. But the positive side is that you made it through at least one day and almost two. Maybe that was your first ever, so that would be a success story! Now that you are home I am guessing your old habits will come out again. They were just on vacation. Have a great start to your week, Michele

  11. Donna

    Oh, thank Heavens! I thought I was the only one in the world that would go off on a binge like that. I love the way you are correcting it, too – you’ve inspired me to do the same. Thanks, Karen!

  12. Ann

    I can so relate to your description of no satisfaction. That is exactly how I feel when I’m in the midst of a binge. At least now I recognize them and most of the time can head them off. Thanks for this great post!

    • Karen

      It’s odd, isn’t it, that we are looking for something in food, not finding it, so just eating more. Makes no sense, really.

  13. Jan

    There isn’t much consolation that I can offer because during and post-binge (no matter the amount or length of time) feels so icky. I empathize and appreciate you sharing this intimate struggle.

    For some of us, at least for me, there is an addition-like component to certain foods. “Hi, my name is Jan.”

    And fry bread with honey, oh, baby… Do not leave the confines of Canyon Ranch and venture to any of the local reservations!

    • Karen

      Oh, CR actually has its own eating challenges! Have you ever eaten there? The food is “healthy” in that they make it as low-fat and low-calorie as possible. But it still is a lot of stuff I don’t routinely eat at home that makes me a bit crazed in my eating. Like the muffins of the day. And the cookies of the day. And the many delicious desserts. Oh, I could go on. The upside is that it is portion controlled and I work out most of the day:)

  14. But look at you … you’re acknowledging what happened and you’re getting back on track. You stopped the over the top eating, maybe not as soon as you would have liked, but it hasn’t led to days and weeks and months of overeating. You slipped, you fell, and now you’re picking yourself up, looking around to see what tripped you up, and moving on.

    • Karen

      And that WILL be different this time, Siobhan! In past years I might have let this start a long spell of regain. Not this time. Now, I just need to get this thing managed so that I don’t repeat it on my next trip:)

  15. Your timing with this post is amazing. Last night I had a “small slice” of a loaf of bread I bought at Whole Foods…ginger peach bread. Good grief, my word, OMG…it was sensational. My cells and tastebuds were quivering and singing. I was in trouble immediately, so to cut my losses (or gains, as it were!) I horizontally sliced off the top of the smallish loaf, where the brown sugary, crackly and succulent crusty part was, and ate that – after discarding the loaf itself. Truly ridiculous, but it was unbelieveably succulent.

    After about ten minutes, I started thinking, “Now I need something crunchy and salty!” And it came to me that nothing would “do it”, and if I ate the next thing, then I’d need another – ad nauseum. So this post is very timely.

    I had nothing else to eat (after the zillion calories I probably consumed with that horizontal slice!) – just flossed, brushed and went to bed. GROAN.

    • Karen

      I kept thinking yesterday about the road analogy that a reader once shared with me… so fitting for this. That if you are driving down a highway and miss your exit, you don’t keep driving. You get off at the next exit. You, dear Leslie, turned that car around. Me… I detoured miles out of my way. I am impressed – I’m not sure I’d have handled that bread so well. The trash can is a good friend, unfortunately.

  16. The worst part is that you didn’t really enjoy it! I know that “last meal” mentality all too well. Trying to stuff in every last carb in sight before the “morrow”.
    Well, you’re home now (right?) and can find your groove again.
    I can tell, even now that I”m following my diet so strictly and have no intention of falling off… that if I were to eat, I would still not be in control.
    I’m thinking about this a lot and trying to have some serious plans in place.

    • Karen

      I guess this is why so many will espouse that we don’t “diet” – because if we go “on” a diet, then we go “off” a diet. I struggle with the notion of abstaining from certain foods. When I don’t eat them, I don’t go crazy like this. But some would suggest that by not eating them I am destined to do exactly what I did when I get a taste! Sigh.

  17. KLA

    It happened and you stopped and now it’s over. It’s important to just move on.

    Are you sure you ate as much as you think? It’s hard to tell from your post, but I suspect you may have had a subjective binge (you perceive yourself as eating a large quantity of food) rather than an objective binge (actually eating a large quantity of food).

    For many sessions my therapist had to convince me that what I thought of as a large quantity of food, really wasn’t.

    • Karen

      Well, not really sure. But I do think it was a lot. Regardless, I can say for sure it was way more than I would normally eat and wayyyyy less healthy food. But, it is done.

  18. ya know, I about 99% “stay away from fried foods”, but my recent bout of Staycationing refused to allow a non-fried vacation. So in short? “Ugh”.

    • Karen

      A part of me thinks I should be able to eat fry bread once every blue moon! But, not if it leads to this kind of craziness!

  19. I screwed up so bad when I did the whole move. I started out eating well but after a while it’s like WHO wants a salad for each meal cuz the other options are the place we are resting are limited? I’m paying for it now but at least the scale is going back down again 😀

    • Karen

      I KNOW! Sigh. I will say that I did have a couple of Subway subs, not their salads. And I made the best of choices for those.

  20. Fry bread huh?

    There is comfort in control and routine. I love road trips but they cause me great anxiety foodwise.

    Glad you are home safe. All sorts of safe! Do you diet after binging or just watch it – get back on your routine?

    • Karen

      Good question. I started with the latter… just going back to how I was eating before I left. Then I realized I still was craving stuff so yesterday kicked it up a notch and returned to “dieting.” A few days or so of this and I think I’ll be fine with the cravings. For me, it is more about that now, than the scale. Although it will be comforting to get back to where I was there before the trip too:)

      • Hmm. That is really interesting. Still craving – kicked it up a notch. Good to be able to recognize that and nip it. Normal weight being the byproduct of healthy thinking. Harumph! What a concept.

  21. I never thought I’d say this, but I love the routine home and its predictable food…

    So, I have to ask…did you gain a ton of weight that you now can’t lose? How much “damage” did you actually do? Remember, it’s what we do most of the time that really matters…a one (or two) road trip binges do not a catastrophe make…

    • Karen

      The damage was not quite as bad as I expected, but it will take me a while to see the scale return to where it was. Funny how quickly weight comes on but how slowly it goes back off. Really though, and I suspect you will understand this, it is not about that anymore for me. It is more about the emotional aspect of it. The fact that I ate and ate and was out of control. I have another trip back to LA coming in 2 months and I do not want a repeat. I want to be able to travel without doing this. And without having to think about it either. If that makes sense.

      • I totally get that…I don’t like bingeing or other behavior that feels similarly out of control. For me the greater victory is that “not needing to even be in control” feeling I often talk about…

  22. I love a routine. I hate being off track. You have to love the reset button!

  23. Isn’t the binge cycle a crazy one? If we could just figure it out, how to stop it, how to not let it affect us…It’s very interesting to me that you, a pretty medium to small sized woman, still struggles with this. I think you are small because you do go back home, get on track and let it stay where it needs to. I learned a lot from this post Karen, thank you.

    • Karen

      I actually have a post planned about something along those lines that I will get to some day. I am pretty sure I’d surprise a lot of people if they knew what my eating was like. Because outwardly, I appear “normal.” But I am so far from that.

  24. I think we all have those moments where we binge eat. Hopefully it isn’t just the two of us. 🙂
    My worse time is during the holidays, it is as if I will never eat again. I cannot refuse all the treats that are everywhere!!!
    At home I am pretty good, well because we don’t keep any food in the house. Reminds me, I need to go grocery shopping.
    Anyway, yes it is good to enjoy the yummy treats, but all in moderation…… they say.

  25. Roz

    Love this post Karen! Glad you are back home and in your own routine again. Happy Tuesday!!

  26. I didn’t know about fry bread when I was out west, so I missed it. I’ll make it a point to try it next time, because people speak of it with such reverence. 🙂

    As you know, I kind of ‘mix and match’ when I’m on vacation, eating healthy mostly but with more of the indulgences I don’t get so often when at home. I’m not sure why it works for me, or if it will always work for me, but as long as I get back on track immediately after I return, I’m satisfied. My bigger problem is arriving home sleep-deprived.

    • Karen

      Ah, but you handle moderation so well and me, not so much:( But I am working on it. I am a fan of sleeping pills when I travel. I learned that trick from my mom.

  27. girl i hear you trip down to Disney was all good then i step into the park and smelled the cotton candy and popcorn and the gates opened angels sang and the healthy eating went right out the door. now i’m home and getting back ontrack.

  28. I think the real problem with eating snacks, is the tendency it has to lead into more temptation. I mean, if you just eat something unhealthy for one meal, that’s fine. It’s when the craving continues (as it does way too often with me!) that the trouble starts.

    But you have great plans to get back on track, so you’ll get over it soon enough, I’m sure! 🙂

    • Karen

      Absolutely! My vision for long-term is that if I go “off plan,” it will only be when the potential for quantity and time is limited. Like ONE meal at a restaurant now and then. Or one birthday celebration. And no food coming into the house!

  29. many many times theres just nothing better than getting back to plain ole dull (or if youre me LOOOVE) routine.

  30. Oh wow Karen – I totally relate! All my stuff sorta leads to more stuff. Sweet, salty, crunchy, creamy – a piece of bread with butter at dinner. Really – I hardly ever eat bread! Might has well order a soda – it is diet soca and it is a treat and I NEVER have sodas… How about a little sorbet afterwards?


    Being on the road is hard! hard! hard!
    This is a big time in your life – ch-ch-ch-changes….
    And I topped it with honey. I totally get that!

    Isn’t it funny how we get home and are grateful for our roasted veggies? I went on a trip once and within of walking in the door, threw some chicken on the stove and started chopping squash – WHO AM I???


  31. I swear I read this on Monday but haven’t had a chance to comment until now. I totally get everything you wrote about. One thing that helped me once I was able to internalize it was the saying: If hunger isn’t the problem, food isn’t the solution. Meaning, if I’m eating out of stress or boredom, I’m never going to be satisfied. Lately, I’ve been able to resist the urge to munch or graze my reminding myself that “I’m not hungry.” It sounds simply, but literally took years to put into practice.

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