Binge eating disorder. Probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to realize about myself was that I had let my relationship with food become so… broken. I won’t outline the specifics of BED here, but there is additional information and suggestions for support here. My goal is to fix my relationship with food, and my tool is Soylent.
I’m obese, weighing in at 330 pounds last time I checked. In truth, it’s a fairly recent addition to my life, as I was 200 pounds (or less) as little as 6 years ago. This journey is about so much more than weight loss, but I will be tracking my weight starting at the arrival of my Soylent package.
I realized fairly recently that I use binge eating as a means of avoiding stress, avoiding decisions, avoiding social obligations, and ultimately hiding from my life. Stressful day? Eat an entire pizza. Celebrating a complete project? Same answer. Don’t want to worry about dinner tonight? Go to McDonalds… and since I’m here I’ll get some extras “for later”.
The first time I really and truly realized that something was amiss with myself was the first time that I lied to defend my eating habits; claiming that I was ordering for two (or even three) people or going to two different restaurants in one evening to avoid having to explain ordering so much food. That worry only really served to plunge me deeper into shame spirals and eventually I was skipping classes and work because I’d rather eat whatever I wanted while my roommates weren’t around to judge me.
I’ll leave it to psychiatrists and/or those with more wisdom to analyze why it took me so long to truly identify my behavior as unacceptable and that a change was needed. It always seemed like I was just “going through something right now” and I could be back on track as soon as things got “normal”. As a result of my constant binging, my diet and nutrition over the past few years is nothing short of shocking. I’m too embarrassed to even spend time reflecting on the specifics of the things I’ve done to my body. Long story short, I have arrived at a place where change is no longer a desire, but a necessity.
Where Soylent comes in:
I’ve made the decision to change my diet and lifestyle many times over the past few years. All attempts have ended in failure… Much of this is a result of my crippling perfectionism, that is to say “inability to stick to anything if I stumble even slightly”. A single backslide, or a single company BBQ was enough for me to justify devouring a whole pizza later that day “since I already goofed it up”. Trying to balance my diet and achieve some level of nutrition always seems to end up with me back at the pizzeria and wondering when I decided to give up on my diet. Some kind of justification had slipped through and then broke the dam before I could figure out what happened.
I’m quite excited at the prospect of removing food from my life (though I have no illusions that it won’t be a tremendous challenge). There won’t be a balance; there won’t be an attempt to control habits. I’m stopping the system. After working in IT for a good chunk of my life, there’s one simple thing that often works when it comes to technology: turn off the machine and restart it. If someone’s having a problem, that’s the first thing I advise. So it’s time to apply that concept to my life. So removing food as a factor from my life altogether (starting with 3 weeks) will serve as my system restart
The financial decision:
In the end, my curiosity was enough to make me want to try this experiment, but the financial effects it would have in my life pushed it to the top of my list. For someone who spends a reasonable amount of money on food, Soylent can save quite a bit. But for someone like me who (to my shame) has spent an entire days budget (or more) on one meal, it marks an exciting money saving opportunity.