How to eat a gross amount of fast food and still make progress with your diet

Today I'm coming out of a full two-day food binge and I wanted to talk a little bit about how it started and what typically happens for me.

This isn't some sort of excuse or an appeal for sympathy, but instead a look at how I can make decisions in times of stress and how I look at binge eating nowadays so that it doesn't throw off my goals.

As you might already know, I've dealt with food binging for a good part of my life. I can't remember exactly when it started, but some time around college seems accurate.

I believe they occur because the excess food acts as a sort of numbing analgesic to the stress in my life. It's like an escape, the same reason people smoke cigarretes or pot or other drugs, but in my case, eating food and the related physiological effects that come from that act as the drug.

I tend to look to my childhood for it's origin. When I was young, eating the dinner my father prepared for me was (to my undeveloped brain) one of the only ways to please him. I inevitably made the connection that eating more would equal more good behavior, so I would often eat second, third, and fourth servings of dinner until I was bursting at the belt loop.

(Keep reading below the video...)

Who knows if that's truly the cause, but it seems logical to me. A belief that overeating = good boy, causing me to feel like I wasn't done or satisfied with my meal unless I had that "stuffed" stomach feeling.

The natural flow of that engrained belief plays out whenever I eat out. I have a tendency to over-order, not wanting to finish the food and still have room in my stomach.

How It Started

The chain of events start back three days ago when I ended the night with dessert. Dessert isn't bad in itself, but I went to bed with a bowl of cake and ice cream and it left a sour, unpleasant feeling in my stomach the entire next day.

On top of that, I had some bad luck at my Groupon car detailing appointment. I had to leave my car there for the entire day and since I hadn't planned for that, I was stuck in a random area outside of town where I had to walk 25 minutes to the nearest coffee shop to so I could work. The cost of taking an Uber or cab would have nullified the savings from the Groupon... long story short, I was walking around on the side of the road in the hot sun like a jackass for the whole day.

A gross stomach feeling plus jackassery is the perfect recipe for not giving a fuck what I eat, so McDonald's it was.

On top of that, when I choose to eat crap, I don't just eat a little crap, I get everything on the menu that I want. Chicken nuggets, fish filet, Big Mac, McDouble, large fry, Reese's McFlurry. Probably anywhere from 2000-3000 calories in one sitting.

I won't bore you with the details but this causes a downward spiral, as the shitty feeling that started the night before continues and is increased into the next days. That night I made the same excuse and ordered a takeout po' boy sandwhich and stuffed potato skins, then sealed the deal with a pint of Ben & Jerry's.

Then finally, yesterday, after thinking I was going to straighten it all out, still made one pleasure-food choice that spiraled again to end the night with the exact same McDonald's order from the previous day.

Today as I write this is the morning after that episode. I weighed myself this morning at 193 pounds. I weighed 179 just three days ago, so that's an increase of 14 pounds.

Sure that seems like a lot. I haven't weighed that much for over 6 months now, and it's definitely setting me back at least a week from progress. My skin will also probably suffer from this with a breakout.

However, I'm not worried one bit.

It's true, I wish I could flick some switch in my brain so that these stopped happening, but for now it's still a deep neurosis that I've yet to overcome. I'm guessing the solution will involve a very long behavior swap where I somehow switch from eating to exercising as the analgesic. In the meantime though, I've learned that it has absolutely no power over my long term health goals.

If you read my last post, you'll know exactly how I see such a situation. The 14 pound weight increase is almost entirely made up of water from all the salt and carbs I ate and will be quite easy to eliminate just by drinking extra water and getting back on track.

I also probably took on an extra pound or two of fat but I can shave that off in a matter of a week or two of good diet adherence.

I'll simply start today by constantly sipping water and having a nice healthy meal to square things away.

It's this confidence in the process and in myself that stops the downward spiral.

It is here where many people throw in the towel and gain most of their weight back.

Don't do it. It's not as bad as it looks.