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The Refiner's Fire

Today was frustrating. I took Becca’s diapers away. Again. She peed in her panties repeatedly. Again. She seemed to be unaware and unperturbed by the fact. Again. I resisted the urge to remove the positive incentive/positive reinforcement system and threaten her sweet four year old self with all manner of horrors if she didn’t put her pee in the potty already. Again.


It gets a bit wearing.

And then I had an epiphany. This is no great thing really, as I’m so fabulous I have epiphanies ALL the time. Often, I have the same ones repeatedly. That’s how amazing and genius-esque I am.

Anyway, I was munching on some stale candy leftover from my plan to host a cupcake decorating party for my small children (which didn’t happen when I realized that hey! That would be work - work of the HARD variety), and I realized that I had no right to be angry with Becca.

So she’s taking awhile to learn this lesson, but people? I’m taking awhile to learn mine.

I’ve been a binge eater for nine years now. Nine, long, slowly and sometimes quickly getting fatter years.


And yes, being overweight is more socially acceptable than peeing one’s pants, but still. The general principle is the same. We are slow learners, my Becca and me. Whether we’re lacking in intelligence or just too stubborn to change is a matter of personal opinion (both in my case). However, we’re both struggling and failing and striving and failing and giving up and failing all the more.

Eventually, Becca will learn to use the toilet but I’m done with eventually. I’ve been living in the eventually mindset for far too long. I’ve been pretending and hiding and I’m done with that too. So I’m coming out, as it were. I’m admitting it.

I am a binge eater. 90% of my life is spent eating fairly healthy (well, healthy compared to the North American norm anyway). I eat whole grains. I eat fruit and vegetables. I drink a gallon of water a day. And then that 10% of the time kicks in and I eat myself sick on junk food that I barely have time to taste never mind enjoy.

I eat it because I’m bored or stressed or depressed or just-because-it’s-there or, worst of all, because I feel this compulsive need to inhale all the bad-for-me food in the house so that it can be gone.


As if taking it all into me will remove its power somehow. As if I won’t hear the contents of the snack cupboard or the leftover Christmas chocolate I made Neil hide singing to me the way it sometimes does if I can only just eat it.


Mental, eh?

And that’s the thing. I am. But blogging has been an amazing tool in my life. Here, as I’ve written long, deeply introspective (*cough*self centered*ahem*cough*) posts pouring out the contents of my messed up head, I’ve kept one thing back. This sickness. This need to binge. There’s so much shame bound up with it. Like confessing to an addiction, I’m admitting a complete loss of control (not unlike the lack of control currently being exhibited by my four year old…).

I’m not asking for advice. Yet, I’m just struggling to find the right words to communicate what a big deal this is, This admission. This putting aside of the mocking-my-fat-self and admitting to the core of the problem. The sickness. The compulsion. The addiction. Whatever label applies. Words aren’t enough though. Much as I love them, they never are.

A couple of months ago I posted my daily food log on my public blog (let's pause for a moment while I allow myself a silly grin for that unintentional rhyme). It worked, and not just a little bit. My entire eating pattern morphed and my energy levels and self-respect went up as the weight went down. The second I stopped logging my eating my progress came to a halt as well.

That? Was a real blow. A full MONTH I pulled it off. A month! I was despondent and depressed (and ate accordingly). Isn't a month long enough? Shouldn't I have good habits coming out the yin-yang by now?

And then just today, just this very moment as I'm typing this, I remembered what I said at the beginning of this post. Nine years. Nine, long, years. Yeah, a month probably isn't going to cut it. Even a year might not be enough. I might have to fight this for years or possibly even for a lifetime. And on the surface that looks scary and daunting and I'm tempted to give up right now and say bring on the doughnuts!

But . . . But . . .

But then I get thinking about how I felt during that one month. How good it felt to fight and win. To know that I used to give in always, every time, and for that one month I most definitely was not.

Now I'm thinking that maybe fighting isn't such a bad thing. That it's a way to access the refiner's fire, as it were. And really, isn't that what we're here to do? Maybe I should consider myself not a poor pitiable woman suffering from the temptation of the evil Food Demon, but a really fortunate woman who has been lucky enough to identify one of the obstacles to her eternal progression that she is on this earth to overcome.

Put it in those terms, and yeah, I can kind of smile and count myself lucky. I'll probably hold onto this lesson for a good long while. Or at least until I next drive past the doughnut shop.

*image via Google

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