True Life: I Binge(d) On Nut Butter

by Sarah on July 25, 2013 · 20 comments

I know in writing this I’m going to offend someone, if not a lot of people, because it feels like being honest in this crazy blog world often opens you up to criticism. I’m not an expert on binging, or overcoming the full-blown DSM disorder, but I needed y’all to hear what I had to say. I wrote this for ME, and for the sake of full disclosure, hoping that maybe some of you can relate. 

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At the end of June, I went up to D.C. to reconnect with Calee, and have dinner with her and Ashley at Founding Farmers. The talk turned, as it always does with bloggers, to food and quirks and our current health or diet quandaries.

And I confessed something to them that I am going to confess to y’all now:

I binge(d) on nut butter.

Even when I was at my most intense level of calorie counting obsession, I would get to 10:00, maybe 10:30, at night, and I would stick my spoon into a jar (or two..or three…)and just go to town.

spoon in a food processor. same idea.

No matter that I had been counting calories all day long, and that I was probably consuming twice as many in 10-15 minutes as I had consumed all day.

Sometimes I would whip up a batch of nut butter late at night just so I could have an excuse to taste it and lick the bowl.

I want to say I had an addiction, but an addict, I believe, would eat it at any time of the day, constantly craving. No, I was a butter binger, meeting--in many ways–the characteristics of binge eating episodes as defined by the DSM.

Usually I would legitimately begin hungry–most likely because I hadn’t been eating enough during the day–but then I would eat that nut butter like it wouldn’t be there tomorrow, until I couldn’t even really taste it any more, and often alone in my kitchen, with guilt plaguing me the next morning.

For years, it seems, I’ve joked about  finding my spoon hitting the bottom of a nut butter jar without me knowing how it happened, but that kind of ‘accident’ happened a lot more often than I would like to admit.

I guess owning your own Nutty Butter business is a bit like someone with no self-control around alcohol working in a bar.

(Although, truthfully, when I was spending entire days whipping up product, I could go the whole time without ever wanting or eating  any at all.)

i also can hold on to the single-serve packets for months (years?) without ever needing to taste them

Do I believe I had full-blown Binge Eating Disorder?

No, I do not.

Although I have had a few instances where I consumed a rather excessive amount of granola at once, I can put away watermelon like you wouldn’t believe, and sugar sometimes makes me do crazy things* around cookies and cake, or eat a whole lot of undercooked cinnamon rolls (in what I now refer to as “The Cinnamon Roll Incident”)–

*Calee wrote a nice post about this.

–I think those had more to do with not eating enough during the day and just lacking some self-control on occasion.

But the ‘butter’ was different.

Ashley wrote a great post–the day we met, actually–about quitting the food that plagues you, just not buying it any more.

So I took her advice and I quit. Cold turkey.*

*OK. After I finished what I had left.

even when i would hide it out of sight, that wouldn't stop me.

I went almost a month with no scoops from the jar, no homemade creations in my food processor, not even a dollop on my oatmeal.

And then I brought it back.

First, I made a Zesty Peanut Dressing, and I licked the spoon, put it in the sink, closed up the jar, and was satisfied with the flavor of the dressing. (I’m not saying I didn’t then eat a whole lot of kale salad covered in it, but it was in the middle of the kitchen at dinner, with my family, and I was hungry.)

Then, the night before my wisdom teeth surgery, I drizzled some creamy nuttiness over the top of my just-before-midnight snack, and that was enough.

And I’ve been eating Almond “Fluff” (from homemade almond milk) with no problem, no desire to keep shoveling it down like a squirrel socking away nuts for the winter.

I made homemade nut butter for the first time in what felt like forever and a day…without binging on it. [And when I made a SECOND batch, I let Mama Smart lick the bowl instead.]

And there have been a few nights when all I wanted was some peanut butter before I went to bed. So I had some. And instead of just zoning out, diving head spoon first into the jar until I’d consumed WAY more than I really wanted, I’m  actually listening to the voice in my head saying, “Are you still enjoying this? That was good, now put it back.”

Will I have a relapse? Will I one day eat too much peanut butter and feel guilty?

Probably.

But, I’m learning to put that spoon down and just….walk away.

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