I originally made it through lunch without excess and as I walked back to the office I started to think about how I should pop my head back up out of my pit and post about it. I thought a little about how ridiculous my story is – triumph followed by crash, rinse and repeat – but those thoughts didn’t stop me, I still felt OK, a glimmer of control and positivity. What did stop me however, was the thought that if I post, I can’t binge this afternoon. That single thought sent shivers of panic through me and I practically ran out of the lift to the cookie jar.

Food has once more become my crutch. It’s not even a very good crutch, I’ll be the first to admit. But the idea of taking it away seems horrific to me. Logically I know it might only take a few days of fighting this discomfort before I gain momentum and build up strength again, but I’m not getting there anytime soon.

I’ve ballooned back up to 99kg, I look tired and bloated. Babies are back off the agenda, I’m unhappy and very lonely (both of which I know are in my head and my doing, people have reached out to me but I’m unable to come forward, I don’t know how to right now). I’m still spiralling and I don’t know how to short circuit it.

I’m still away on business and my work is suffering badly. This in turn is affecting my insecurity as I know I’m letting myself and my client down with a substandard effort. I need a break but I’m not sure that in my current state of mind, annual leave at home on my own is going to be the best course of action. I get to go home on Wednesday night and won’t have to travel again until at least a week. I have a meeting with my manager this Friday and plan to ask that I don’t have to travel again for as long as possible. It might be a career-limiting request but I’ve learned I’m just not suited to it, this is the 9th week out of the last 11 I’ve been away from home (though moving house in the middle has only compounded matters).

My goal for the week is to have 2 good days. That's all my new trainer asked of me at the weekend when I showed up 2 kilos heavier than when I'd met him for the first time just the week before. Today was to be one of those days. He said for me to plan intentionally which days to aim for so I didn't run out of week. Of course in my perfectionist-thinking head, I was only paying lip-service to just two silly days, no e-v-e-r-y day was going to be perfect, two days just seemed silly and too forgiving of the other 5... see how All or Nothing tips the balance for Nothing every time!


This is what self destruction tastes like.
  • banana bread
  • caramel slice
  • slice baked cheesecake
  • 6 arnott's cream biscuits
  • slice regular cheesecake
  • chocolate muffin
  • 2 pizza twists
  • 6 mars bar cookies
  • 8 chocolate chip cookies
  • a box of Sarah Lee baked cheesecake bites
  • regular onion rings
  • boost bar
  • salted kettle chips
  • timeout bar
I'm becoming such a cliche.

So blind to myself.

My day started well. I was feeling really good, wearing a new dress, reading the newspaper over breakfast at my fancy hotel, feeling quite the city slicker. Sushi rolls for lunch, all's good. But then as the afternoon drew on I started sinking, feeling out of control, wanting to stick my head in the sand because I haven't got enough to show for the time I've been on-site at this client's. Starting to feel the weight of all the work I've to do and not knowing how to get a handle on it.

As I started to eat I told myself that I have to be 100% cognisant of what I'm doing. If I was really going to do this, I had to make it count, learn from it, understand the processes at play and make it right, learn enough to see it coming and know how to avoid it next time.

I spend my working life telling clients the folly of fixing a short term need without consideration of a long term strategy. Yet that's exactly what I'm doing, satisfying an immediate food fix despite the negative long term outcome. So what exactly is the short term gain? What is it the food does for me? And how do I meet that need without food?

Is it just giving me space? Letting me stick my head in the sand? When I'm eating I'm not spinning, not thinking about all my worries. Is that all it's doing? If so, there are many far healthier ways to relax, why don't they occur to me?

What's going on? I had 4 good days then fell at the very first hurdle again. Why give up so easily? Why when I've been doing so well and feeling so good?

The more I was spinning and getting anxious about my work, the more every aspect of my self-belief was being eroded. It's no wonder I gave up so easily. In that moment I had zero confidence in myself. In my head I was already a failure. The very same feel-good-city-slicker-chick from the morning, now seemingly worthless - can't both be true.

How do I give myself the space to see all this for what it is, right there in the moment when I most need it? The moment when I have the choice whether to eat or not, whether to deal with an immediate need in a way that also helps towards a longer term goal.


So far so good. A clean day. I've just ordered room service from the "Healthy Selections" section of the menu and the road ahead is looking clear.

I decided on a change of scene. Instead of the apartments I stayed in last week, I chose to come back into a CBD hotel. It means getting a train to the client every morning, but this hotel was the location of my triumphant couple of uber-stress-filled-but-ultra-healthy weeks last month, and I could do with some positive reinforcement right about now.

Association is a very strong force for me.

When I used to smoke, which I did for 14 years, I had strong cigarette associations with all sorts of things: coffee, phone calls, car journeys and of course beer. I'd put the phone down after an hour of blethering away to a friend and there'd be two or three fresh cigarette butts sitting in the ashtray that I'd barely even registered smoking.

The associations were so strong they were sub-conscious. When I gave up, I tackled one associated habit at a time. I'd still go out with the girls for the morning smoko break (read: "gossip") but I'd keep my hands and mouth busy with a clementine instead of the cigs. The coffee fag, the driving cig, the morning smoko... each association, one at a time all the way to the booze sticks - the hardest ones of all.

I knew myself, I knew cold turkey wouldn't fly, Telling myself I can't have something is a sure fire way to ensure that's the very thing I'll gorge on, a spot of those deprivation issues you talked about Chub?. For 3 whole months after my last cigarette I still carried a packet around with me, telling myself "if you want one, you CAN have one.... you're just *choosing* not to". I think that half full packet is probably still sitting in a drawer somewhere.

I regularly ponder how to apply those same self-aware principals to my eating. Six years after I kicked the habit, I can still get an urge to have a smoke, but I haven't - not one single cigarette in all that time. Why can't I do that with food?

Some weeks I literally cruise by, whole chunks of time can go by like a breeze, at other times it's a little more touch and go, a tightrope balancing act, and then there are weeks like last week. Last week, all associations were negative. Everything was a binge trigger, a sweet taste didn't mean a pleasurable treat, a full tummy didn't mean satisfaction, everything meant binge. All paths led to food.

I'm hoping for some better associations this week. They've even put me in a room just along the hall from the hotel gym, there has to be a message in that.

the morning after

It's evening and actually a few days after, but I finally feel like the foggy cloud is lifting and I can see a little clearer again. This is a side to me and my life that I wouldn't talk about with most of my closest loved ones, let alone friends and colleagues. It's quite confronting, despite the anonymity, just how public I've made all these private thoughts here. I cannot thank you enough for treating them - and me - with such respect. Thank you for your support and for being so understanding and thoughtful in your responses.

My own thoughts are still a bit of a muddle though I do feel they've been going in a useful direction. The weekend has been clean. I fly back to Sydney again at the crack of dawn and I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I'm rather apprehensive about slipping effortlessly back into the bad habits I practiced all last week.


I have no idea where I'm going to go with this, I just feel the need to get it out there, offload and tell someone - anyone - everything. For that reason I must apologise that I have no idea what I'm going to say and whether it will contain details you'd rather not read.

I'm sitting in a busy food court, in a shopping mall, in the middle of Chatswood, NSW, having just binged then purged in the restrooms. How the feck did I get here?

The day started clean, I had toast and coffee for breakfast and was taken out for lunch. Lunch was disgusting taste-wise, but it wasn't too much of an issue health and fat-wise (next time anyone asks me if I like Yum Cha, please remind it's an emphatic "NO"). I was hanging out for my afternoon coffee to take away the taste. I had slight concerns that the lack of satisfaction I felt about lunch might present a potential danger for me, but it didn't prove to be a problem. I ordered a skinny cap, didn't give a second glance to the cakes and cookies and happily went back up to my desk.

So what happened?

A bloke came around the office with leftover cakes from a training course is what happened.

The tray was mostly lamingtons with a few friands sliced in half. Now I hate dessicated coconut, so if only that whole tray had been lamingtons I may have gotten through just fine, not even tempted. But no. I took a piece of friand and that's the very moment where I gave in. The first of many moments in fact, there were numerous turning points presented to me and I chose not to take the right path at each and every one.

At the taste of the almondy muffin, my brain just clicked into binge mode, "oh goody, we're bingeing, fantastic! what's next on the menu?"

I'm just so damn fragile at the moment. The slightest thing triggers the slightest thought, and then that slightest thought assumes enormous power and control.

Just two weeks ago my brain was quite happy to cope with the taste of a cake and would know to leave it there, enjoy it, but don't let it spoil all my good work. But not now.

So where was I? "what's next on the menu? I happen to know there are cookies in a jar right next to the kettle"

Off I trot to the kettle. Logically I know this is not something I want to do. Logically I know this does not meet a single need or fix a single problem. Where's the logic?

I ate 2 cookies.

I'm still reasoning with myself, telling myself just to leave it there, "it's OK, so you ate half a friand and a couple of cookies, that's OK, stop now. It's simply not a problem".

But I couldn't leave it there. It was a problem (where's the fecking logic????).

I took the lift downstairs and went back to the cafe whose cakes I'd previously ignored, ordered a toasted banana bread (indeed, bingeing on things I let myself eat when I'm being clean - now there's a personal rule broken and a line crossed) and a strawberry cup cake on the side - for while I'm waiting for banana loaf to cook of course.

At this point, I realise I'm bingeing (how passive "I realise", really? ) and there's no return so I'd best try and do something about it to make sure these calories aren't going to ruin a perfect 2 day run. This is broken perfection, this needs to be righted. I go into a second cafe so I can buy a drink "to help the medicine go down". Oh and while I'm there I might as well pick up a giant chocolate cookie.

Now I'm committed to the binge, I might as well make it a good one: eat a few of the things I've been missing and "enjoy" them (as if you actually can enjoy a binge). So I pack up my laptop and finish for the day. As I'm walking out of the building, I'm feeling pretty bloody pathetic. I was telling myself what a disappointment I am and how I'm letting myself and my husband down. Did you see how fantastic he is? That's not going to last, why would I do this to myself, why would I do it him? But telling myself how weak I am being is only serving to reinforce the weakness, it's not giving me the strength to overcome it.

Even despite the gaps in the process where I'm arguing with myself I'd decided I'm in this for the whole hog now. I go into a bakery and buy a piece of cheesecake and a caramel tart. Once consumed I scout the streets for more cafes and shops and in the next bakery I buy a second piece of cheesecake and a second caramel tart (nothing if not original). While I'm still eating, I continue to walk and find a shopping mall. I zone in on the food court. Here I order a banana crepe with banana and chocolate. I'm starting to feel pretty full and disgusting now, but still not sure if I'm quite full enough that the purge is going to be as easy as it could be. A giant caramel muffin seals the deal so that I'm fit to burst and can make my way to the restrooms to get rid of it all again.

Here's another danger point. This can end in one of two ways. Either I feel the joy of an empty stomach and the high of being back in control again after having had my cake and eaten it, or it could end with me feeling a little full and a bit of a failure, like I didn't achieve a thing and the whole process starts again. This wasn't a particularly big binge to begin with.

Like I said - how the feck?!

So what's different this week than a couple of weeks ago? Why am I stuck in this way of thinking again? What happened? How do I get back out?

I've been wracking my brain trying to work out what's going on. OK, so I'm on a stressful project (again!), I'm away from home (again!) and I've just moved house (again!) but is that really what's at the heart of this? Problem is, whatever the cause is, it's something I'm not dealing with, I'm not emotionally connecting and processing the issue, so when I question myself whether I've hit on the root cause, I'm so emotionally detached, it doesn't feel real.

I've been through eating disorder counselling of various types as well as general counselling (a fantastic counsellor I left in Perth but have reconnected with via email and the phone from time to time). I'm very self aware but yet there's a giant white elephant standing in my way that I simply can't see. I'm hoping that someone else out there can help me put form to it.

I know I'm testing everyone's patience, I'm not helping myself, I'm letting my husband down in ways that break both his and my heart. I know you'll get sick of the wolf-crier who keeps tripping up over the same damn mistakes and falling in a heap. But what do I do?

Now I'm going to stop writing and hit publish. I expect I'm going to feel very fragile and exposed after blurting out all this nonsensical rubbish - AGAIN - but I feel the need to bring my problems into the light and get a bloody good look at them.

What the fuck?!!!!!

2 clean days

Hubby says I'm to celebrate my successes where I can, but I cannae help feeling a tad disappointed to be celebrating something I'd gone back to taking for granted.

I'm a smart girl repeating a lot of dumb mistakes.

But hubby's right. In fact these last couple of days he's not only been right, he's been down right adorable.

I've been having another tough time over here in Sydney. First the airline lost my luggage, then things started not going to plan with my project, I couldn't even begin to tell you how badly one of my presentations went. You know the rest.... I binged bad on Monday, but then on Tuesday, this is what I received in my inbox right around danger time:
Hi Ani Pesto!

This is your 11am motivation ping! I hope you're feeling great, we are!!!!

Feeling tired or a wee bit tempted to try a muffin with your elevenses coffee? Stay away from Bad Mr Muffin and try Miss Nice Fruit instead!!!!

Miss Nice Fruit will give you the energy you need to make it though to lunch, without adding to your hip line! Now isn't that great!!!!

Have am AWESOME day, and we'll be seeing you for your mid afternoon ping!!!!

* This email was brought to you by the *great* folks over at We Smile and Exclaim Too Bloody Much Corp!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then come afternoon tea time:

Warning! Warning! Ani Pesto! Danger time approaching!

Chin up, sweetheart. You can make it though the day. xoxo.

Dr Smith says:

When attempting to take over the universe, it's important to always keep your end game in mind. Being constantly thwarted by 10 year old brats and idiotic robots can wear one down, so always come back to what it is you *really* want to achieve, no matter how distant it seems at the time. Oh, and never monologue your plan when you *think* you're alone.

How gorgeous is he?!

Too funny!! He may kill me for showing you these, but they quite literally made my day, so I just had to share.

And the good news is - I did make it through the day.