Beating the Binge

Britain is well known for it’s binging culture. Mostly for the binge drinking of alcohol, which I think is a misnomer, because “binge” suggests a period of not partaking followed by complete gluttony, and generally I think Britain is a regular excess drinker. But the binge that I’m talking about today is not booze. It’s my own personal struggle against decadence until I want to vomit: sugar.

I like to think that my sugar intake is actually quite moderate, but the first step in recovery is admitting there is a problem. I don’t drink coke or anything carbonated (although I just discovered the marvellous La Croix drink, which is sparkling water with just a hint of flavour, and I love it), I don’t eat sweets or candy. My fast food intake is higher than it used to be, but it’s generally under duress or complete absence of alternatives, and I wouldn’t call it a habit. My sugar high of choice is chocolate, and cake. Even better if it is chocolate cake.

I love to bake, so cake is readily available as long as I have some ingredients on hand, and I usually do. Cowboy doesn’t eat cake, so I eat all of it. All of the cake. Chocolate is something I have stockpiled from various deliveries and trips back to the UK, as the chocolate in the US isn’t as palatable – which doesn’t stop me from grabbing a Twix at every opportunity. Or devouring a Costco sized container of chocolate raisins. Or eating a multipack of chocolate chip cookies. I just save the really good stuff for when I want to really enjoy my binge.

It’s time to reset the sugar benchmark.

This is a tough one for me. I often have trouble feeling like I have finished a meal if I don’t have something sweet to round it off. I used to be satisfied with one or two squares of dark chocolate, or some yoghurt. I find most yoghurt to be, ironically, too sweet. I have tried to just wait it out, but after supper I sit and ponder what I could find to scratch the sugar itch. It’s usually something that makes me quietly hate myself afterwards. Something that I don’t even really enjoy eating. Recently, it was a multipack of lemon and white chocolate cookies, which are sickly sweet and I can barely eat a whole one, but somehow I still soldier through them.

My sister brought me a box of sugary treats when we met up in Vegas. I’m going to admit it right here: I ate one whole box of jaffa cakes while still in Vegas, and the other box disappeared within two days of me getting home. I have maybe a quarter left of the large bar of whole nut Cadbury’s chocolate, and I’ve cracked into the shortbread fingers. I think all that remains is another packet of shortbread and a small packet of chocolate digestives. Oh, how I have binged…

One of my favourite places to obtain sugary treats is Panera Bread. I’m not sure what kind of drugs they put in their bakery items, but I can’t get enough (except those lemon cookies, those I can do without). Panera used to be a place only accessible if I went all the day down to Seattle, or most of the way there at least. I just found a Panera Bread in the next county, a mere 40 minutes or so away. I treated myself to a box of triple berry scones, and the aforementioned disaster lemon cookies. I so looked forward to binging when I got home…

…Until I got home and started the binge. I felt the nausea set in. I put off the rest of the binge for another time. I still have one scone and one cookie left. I think the cookie will go to the chickens tomorrow. The scone will probably disappear with a cup of tea, but I don’t feel any particular rush. I may have finally reached the point where my body takes over and reminds me that we are not 22 any longer.

Did I binge beyond my limits? Maybe. Did I beat the binge at last? For now.

Some sugar doesn’t sound so good these days. Blueberries and apples sound good. Cookies and cakes don’t sound good. I’m going to take small steps to answer the body’s requests. It helps that I have blueberries growing outside my back door!

P.S. My kitchen has been clean for a whole week, now. There is no laundry waiting in the washing machine or the dryer, and both Cowboy and I have clean clothes to wear. My chicken coop is cleaned out. We’ve had real food for supper for several days now, despite the cupboards being pretty bare (it’s time for a Costco run). He and I have laughed together more in the last week than in the last three months. Change is good.

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