“Whatever gets you through the night, it’s all right, all right.” – John Lennon
I’ve been abstinent – the food equivalent of sobriety – for exactly two weeks.
Fourteen days of ..
- Weighing and measuring every literal ounce of food
- Giving up snacks (see Jan 11: I Have Abandonment Issues.)
- Making absolutely sure that nothing I eat contains any form of sugar or flour, including driving across town for the one yogurt brand without tapioca starch, paying twice as much for roasted chicken that isn’t injected with brown sugar, and making the poor girl behind the counter run back to the kitchen three times to find out if the “healthy option!” turkey burger had sugar (it did)
Oh, and I quit smoking six days ago.
The unholy trinity.
I am in currently detoxing from three highly addictive substances: sugar, flour and nicotine. What was I thinking you might ask?
I didn’t have a choice.
Say, that’s a lot of metaphors.
Smoking and eating for me go hand in hand, much like peanut butter and jelly, cheeseburgers and fries, and raisin oatmeal cookies and mint-chocolate chip ice cream, which you make into a sandwich and then dip into caramel sauce … which I just realized may be my own thing.
I smoke to stop eating and I eat to stop smoking.
These two addictions are like drunken Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers tripping over each other and I really want off this toxic dance floor.
So how are you coping?
Along with my usual phone calls, meditation, and writing, I’ve also broken out the Big Guns of Coping Mechanisms.
Sometimes you just have to chew, chew, chew your way through the tough times. Shove a piece of gum in your mouth and call it a day.
I’m actually chain-chewing at the moment: I chew a piece for 15 – 20 minutes, spit it out, stick in another piece, repeat.
This goes on all day.
I go through about a pack and a half of gum a day.
My brand of choice is Orbit Sweet Mint and, at last count, I had 36 packs in my cupboard because God forbid I run out.
Excessive, yes. But so was my compulsive eating.
By any means necessary.
If there’s one thing I know for sure is that in the early days of recovery you gotta do what you gotta do.
My gum-chewing extravaganza is early recovery behavior, similar to newly sober alcoholics drinking gallons of coffee at every meeting. Eventually that behavior dissipates as they learn to live without drinking.
I’m not going to be the crazy gum lady forever.
They are not going to find my cold dead body huddled over empty packs of Orbit Sweet Mint.
Mostly likely I will chew my way through today and then again tomorrow. Possibly even for the next week or month.
And then I’ll stop when I’m ready.
I’m at peace with it all: it’s getting me through the night without bingeing. And for now that is all right.
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