Sometimes I should be more careful what I wish for. I started keeping a journal – actually I started keeping TWO food/exercise journals. One is basically a mock-up of a WW journal, with spaces for points (I’m just couning 50 calories as a point, and ignoring the other WW rules) and protein (because I’m supposed to be eating a LOT of it, according to my doctor). The other is something I found at the bookstore, and it’s got daily spaces for food (which I’ve been mostly ignoring, except to fill in end-of-day calorie counts from my OTHER journal), exercise, start-of-week stats and end-of-week stats.
And there it is, in black and white.
I’ve known for a long time that when I stop bingeing, I binge on other things. Usually I either end up drinking too much or spending too much. Since I’ve spent the last several years digging myself out of debt (for things like coffee and makeup), I’m not a big spender anymore – or more accurately, I’m better able to keep a lid on it now. I still have days, but they’re relatively few and far between.
That leaves drinking. When I don’t binge, I drink. A LOT. (And when I DO binge, I don’t particularly drink.) For a long time I worried that I was an alcoholic, but after looking at the data this last week, I don’t think that anymore. The drinking is just a substitute. Truth be told, I’d rather eat ice cream than drink wine, but wine will do in a pinch.
So when I started realizing (a few days in) that I was drinking quite a bit, I started writing it down in the weekly book. I wrote down what I drank, how many I had, the approximate calorie content of said binge, AND the calories from any food I ended up eating (that I wouldn’t have eaten if I hadn’t been drinking).
Holy hell. It was a lot. A. LOT. The drinks alone ended up being about 2000 calories. Yes, you read that right. Yes, a shot of liquor is about 100 calories. Yes, that translated into 20 drinks in 7 days. Now, in all fairness, this was a new low for me. I do not, as a rule, drink that much (I can’t actually remember the last time I had that much to drink over a week). But this week was the first week of the new “diet,” and since I wasn’t eating for stress relief, I swapped out for alcohol. Oh, and don’t forget the extra food, because a couple of those nights I got really drunk and inhaled junk food. So add another 1500 calories in alcohol-induced binges. Thirty-five hundred calories. The proverbial pound. (“Proverbial” because yanno, people’s bodies don’t really work in quite such precise measurements as “3500 calories = 1 pound.” It’s an estimate, at best. But still.)
It’s funny: I’d never written down weekly totals. I’ve kept track of my drinking and bingeing on a daily basis, but I hadn’t ever stopped to add up a week. I’m reeling a little bit right now, I have to say. Somehow the daily numbers don’t have quite the impact as the weekly total did.
And the true irony here is that the thing I’m most concerned about is not my health. That SHOULD be what I’m most concerned about, but it’s not. What I’m concerned about is how drinking/eating that much will affect my weight-loss efforts. Straight-up vanity is what I’m worried about. So I find it ironic that vanity, that sister to deadly sins pride and envy, that emotion that got me into trouble with food in the first place, might just be the driving force behind my efforts to FIX the food issues, and by extension, the alcohol issues. Talk about coming full-circle.