Crash and Burn

The true testament to the power of truly eating clean, unprocessed food? The moment you stop eating that way after, oh, 10 days straight. Not long after I hit “submit” on yesterday’s blog post, I was struggling mentally with needing to take the “edge off,” and indulging because, look how well I’ve done so far. I deserve this. It’s only today.

Well, I got what I deserved.

It first began with a very large, overflowing bowl of oatmeal. Sounds innocent enough, right? Not when you’re me. Not when you’re gluten-intolerant and any serving above 1/2 cup makes you bloat like a beached wale. My serving was somewhere around 4 full cups. Then, with shaking hands, I squeezed in honey, poured in almond milk, added a large handful of plain almonds and grabbed my pitchfork spoon. I hunkered down on Michael’s leather couch, watched CNN, but all the words were incredibly inaudible. I could only hear myself pathetically crying into my massive bowl of oatmeal. I was numb.

After stuffing myself, I quickly washed out the bowl and spoon, leaving no traces of my wrong-doing and put them away. I collapsed onto the couch once more, stuffed, with my iPhone in hand. I tried to escape what I’d done with Facebook, Pinterest, the News… ANYTHING.

Fast forward two hours and the nagging, you’re such a failure message was on repeat inside my head. Yes, I know. I’ve already blown it, so might as well have some other things I like. Five minutes later finds me back in his kitchen, flipping some gluten-free pancakes. Finished those off, then moved onto an apple, a banana, then back on the couch. The sugar coma hadn’t set in just yet, but I feel demolished emotionally.

A while later, I can’t escape the fact that the treat I really longed for was an entire slice of cheesecake. I took the current book I’m reading to Barnes and Noble, sat inside the Starbucks Cafe and drowned my sorrow in a slice of the Chocolate Creme Cheesecake and a tall Chai Tea Latte with skim (my only virtuous fragment of this story). A normal person without food issues could happily sit down and slowly enjoy that slice, savoring every bite. With my still-diseased mind, I frowned down at the plate, knowing it would be insufficient to fill in this gaping hole. I ate it as slowly as an addict can, attempted to focus on my book, but a little bit later, I was out of there and on my way to the next crime scene: a bakery for a cupcake. My reasoning? This bakery had won Cupcake Wars on Food Network and I wasn’t going to be one to miss out. [I am so pathetic.]

The caffeine and sugar are beginning to course their way through my once free-flowing and healthy blood veins and I’m feeling more than a high. I’m dizzy, lethargic, but hyper all at the same time. I decide on a salted caramel chocolate cupcake, pay, and make my way out of there. I eat like a true binge eater out in my car, checking out both windows as I commit my deed.

Oh, my friends, the tale is not over yet. Sunset is upon us in the valley and I decided that it’s been a while since I’ve made Michael a dinner from scratch, so on my way back to his place, stop at a grocery store and pick up things for dinner… plus a slice of Black Forrest Cake. Living large, you guys, living large. I fill up my shopping cart with all sorts of righteous eats, from snap peas, salt-free canned vegetables, quinoa, and low-sodium soy sauce. I check out and head back to his place, stomach rumbling and upset from a carb, sugar, fat-fest from the afternoon. Even the insides of my belly button hurt.

I whip up the meal, impressed with my cooking abilities and surprise him with a great seafood meal when he arrives home. During our table conversation, he casually asks how my nutrition was for the day. I can feel bullets of sweat beginning to form across my forehead, and mutter out, “Oh… fine! I actually allowed myself a little treat today.”

“Good to hear,” he replies and I feel my heart sink, lying parallel to my inflated stomach. I hate lying to Michael. I hate it.

The evening passes and continue our recent hobby of watching an episode of Breaking Bad. It’s our new thing. I slink along with my 50-oz water bottle, guzzling it like I’m putting out a fire.

10pm hits and my eyes are closing, exhausted. I fall asleep during the last 10 minutes of the episode and he pokes me back awake. A tidal wave of gross rushes over my body. I feel flush, my body’s radiating heat, and I suddenly have the runs. Michael watched in surprise and I’m dashing to the bathroom… more like sprinting. I return within 15 minutes, pale, and he is questioning me up and down, concerned about what’s going on. My body starts shaking and I simply cannot calm down or get warm. He snaps into gentleman mode, gets my favorite blanket, throws it into his dryer to warm it up and then wraps me up in it, sending me off to bed.

My friends, there are very few things I hate worse than being sick. It’s being sick in front of a boyfriend. Puking my guts out is not something I’m comfortable with, especially not in the view of a guy.

I spend the next 4 hours, absolutely miserable, constantly in the bathroom, but not allowing myself to throw up. Michael thought I was just ridiculous and joked that I should quickly grow my female “cajonas” and get it over with. He’s a big boy and has thrown up around me about 3 times now during our relationship. I’m sobbing again now but for another reason- that I thought I could get away with sugar, caffeine and gluten again, not to mention all in the same day. In copious amounts.

By 2 am, he finally has me calmed down and my body has stopped shaking. I’m nervous to lie down again, certain that I should stake out camp in front of his bathroom “just in case.” He laughs and convinces me back into bed for the night. I’m finally asleep at around 2:30, but am up a few times to run to bathroom. When his alarm goes off at 7, we both lie there, dead to the world. What a night. I learned my lesson the worst way possible and all it took was the experience of last night to assure me that I can happily live a life without those poisons. I still can’t believe the effect they had on me, after only 10 days going Cold Turkey.

Coming clean to him about everything I’d consumed during my binge was embarrassing, but he just did what he always has: listened intently. It’s been a month since I’ve been in to meet with Heidi. Looks like it’s time for my next appointment. Clearly, when you claim yourself “cured” is when you need therapy the most.

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