And yesterday was all three!
Having had the kids for the weekend, which had been fine, we walked up a hill and had a picnic and such funness but then – horror!- Sunday struck. Neil took the kids to the train station and I stayed at home… They had eaten every last crumb of ‘bad’ food in the house. Every biscuit, every piece of cake, every last Celebration (leaving behind the seemingly full wrappers in the box to goad me – I had to scrunch each wrapper to check its tempting plump but empty crinkles – I felt so cheated!) like a swarm of junk locusts they had passed through leaving only crumbs. I felt the rising panic of no binge foods in the house.
So what did I do? Have a cup of tea and resign myself to a low calorie morning? Go for a walk? Otherwise distract myself and think about why I wanted to binge?
I set about baking myself a binge mountain. Nothing may stand in my binging way! Out came sugar, butter, parsnips, cheese, sultanas and flour and I cooked up a storm which I then proceeded to eat more or less all of. Half a batch of cookies and half a loaf of parsnip bread later, I came to and reviewed the devastation. Flour everywhere, the rabid look in my eye and the straining trouser button… Sigh… I had done it again and not even tried to think about what I was doing or why.
Still some good things came out of it…
The Parsnip Bread – see earlier post
Binge Cookies (you don’t have to call them that but I find it the most honest and descriptive title)
125g soft butter
75g light brown sugar
50g granulated sugar (or 125g of whatever the hell sugar you’ve got in the cupboard that you can see through the descending red binge mist, golden syrup if there isn’t sugar and treacle if you’re desperate and only minutes from ramming the raw butter/sweetness mix straight into your gob by the fistful)
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
165g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp salt
(You can also add, tblspn of peanut butter, handful of sultanas, chopped nuts, chopped chocolate, smarties, rolled oats, dates, dried apricots, mashed banana, tsp of cinnamon or anything else you fancy – go mad, if you haven’t already)
Cream butter and sugar, beat eggs and add a bit at a time, mix in the chopped whatevers and then sift in the flour and bicarb and salt, spoon blobs onto a tray and cook at 180 for about ten minutes until they are golden brown. Take out of the oven and hunch over the deck, cramming the burning sugar into your mouth and cursing the heat until a) all cookies are gone b) the mist had cleared c) cookies going into mouth are met by rush of cookies exiting the mouth.
Beat self up.
Other good things included:
1) Once I added it all up, it wasn’t such a bad binge. Not even half a batch of cookies (as lovely Neil helped me eat them) and there were some left at the end, and only half the loaf of bread. The bad thing was that it was still bingeing and I still felt bad afterwards. The strange thing was that it seemed to be set off by the terror of finding nothing binge-worthy in the house. Strange indeed. What does it mean? I don’t know.
2) It got me thinking again about how much is a normal amount to eat and what is ‘ok to eat. I’ve realised that as soon as I eat anything that I consider ‘bad’, my brain decides that I’ve already screwed up and that I might as well gorge myself stupid and then ‘start again’ tomorrow, or next week or whenever that isn’t now. So that meant that as soon as I’d had one piece of parsnip bread (that had cheese in it! Evil cheese…) that I’d fallen off the wagon and might as well totally screw up. Seemingly, somewhere in my head I’ve decided that I shouldn’t eat anything that isn’t salad or tofu with recriminations of some kind and that, as I’m fat, eating anything with any fat or grease or non-natural sugars in it is automatically ‘bad’ and means I’ve screwed up. So…. well, I don’t know but.. there we are. It reminds me of an experiment I read about in The End of Food done by Herman and Mack in 1975 (I tried to find this study but it’s pretty tricky – lots of people cite it so you can find it if you look). Basically they had a bunch of people in diets and a bunch of people not on diets. Within those two groups they gave some people one milk shake, some people 2-3 and some people none and then they offered all of them some ice cream to eat. In the non-dieting group, as you would expect, people who had more milk shake ate less ice cream. However, of the dieting group the people who ate the most were the ones who’d had the 2-3 milk shakes first as they had removed the ‘cognitive boundary to their eating’ otherwise known as the ‘what the hell’ effect – in other words, they thought ‘Fuck it, I’ve screwed up and had 3 milk shakes, I might as well gorge myself stupid on ice cream’.
3) Interesting, linked to above, Lesley Kinzel of Two Whole Cakes blog looks at an article in the New York Times about the use of primates in obesity research. It’s interesting anyway, however you feel about animal testing, but it’s particularly interesting as it mentions that when they were feeding up the monkeys to make them obese in order to experiment on them only 3 out of 5 of them got fat, despite the fact that they were all fed on the same diet. So maybe (as we already know, if we’re honest) some people are susceptible to weight gain and some aren’t and maybe the amount of food that is a binge for one person is just fine for another and maybe it’s bingeing or maybe it’s just that I’m hungry but maybe, if I didn’t think I’d eaten too much (which may not be too much for me, just too much in the eyes of society) I wouldn’t feel compelled to make it worse and eat more? I dunno. I’ve lost track….
4) We went for a walk which made me feel better about bingeing and Neil was so delighted that his newly dubbined boots were waterproof that I cheered up too.