The binge cycle

6.10pm after work, I am feeling so under-stimulated and bored. I’ve already given into drinking milo throughout the day (7 heaped teaspoons of powder, barely dissolved in water) and snacked on biscuits. The all-or-nothing mindset has got me thinking, screw it, just go eat something. You can always start again tomorrow. So I give in to the urge. 2 rounds of cai fan, 2 buns, 1 curry puff. I’ve eaten more than what most people would eat in a day within 20 minutes. But I don’t feel the slightest bit full. That’s the strange thing with binging. When I eat normally, a standard meal portion fills me up. But when I binge, I really become a bottomless pit. Maybe it wasn’t even hunger in the first place, it’s just the emptiness of my soul and mind that can’t be filled with food. I already know this deep down, having done this countless times. But I just give in to the instant gratification because I need to stop myself from thinking, and enjoy that intense bit of sensory pleasure.

Then reality hits, I look at my thighs, with fat jiggling all over. I had already painstakingly lost 4kg over the past few months. Now was not the time to throw it all away. So I crouch over the toilet, desperately jamming my finger down my throat. If I’m lucky, some of it comes up. I’ve mastered the art of doing it relatively quietly. The trick is not to gag, but just push the hole open for the food to come out. But most of the time, I get rid of barely one-quarter of what I’ve eaten. Sometimes, the puke or the water from the toilet splashes back on my face, making me feel like utter shit. But I’ve already gone so far down, what’s a little dirty water. After it’s done, I sit there, stoned for a while, mindlessly scrolling through social media posts on my phone, wondering why I can’t be normal when it comes to food.

And so, I promise myself that this stops tomorrow. But it never does. It goes on for 4 to 5 days, until I feel too fat for comfort. The carb and sugar overload reactivates that addictive need for more of them. I bloat from water retention as well as from fat gain. And that makes it harder for me to will myself to work out. But the cycle always breaks. Thank god.

So I start again. Salad for lunch, fruits for dinner, maybe 1 biscuit to keep myself sane. I get back to my original size within a week. But then, that nigging urge for stimulation always comes back. And I always give in. God knows how many ways I’ve tried to stop myself and come up with alternative ways to fill that emotional void. I’ve tried reading, writing, going to the gym more often, talking to friends. But it just pushes the inevitable binge back by a day or so. What I would give to see food as just sustenance and not something to make me feel better emotionally and mentally. They say sugar is as addictive as cocaine. Well, I haven’t tried the latter, but this addiction is hard as fuck to break. You don’t need cocaine to survive, but you still need to eat no matter what. Going cold turkey is not an option.

Sometimes, I wish I had the willpower of my teenage anorexic years. I managed to not give in to the urge to binge for years. And yet now, I can’t even last for more than two weeks. The only time it goes away is when I am traveling. But that’s because I’m more than stimulated. I’m filling my time with things I like to do and have no need to further engage my mind. Maybe this binging habit isn’t my addiction. Maybe my lifestyle is the issue and I don’t actually have a problem with food.

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