It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to do some good old fashioned blogging. I’ve attempted and reattempted to stick with consistent blogging for the better part of the last three years and have continually failed. To quote the Goonies; “NEVER SAY DIE.” I will call the newest relaunch of my blog version 3.3 because this is about the third time I’ve had a very long delay in my blogging. But, now I’M BACK FOR GOOD!
I’m truly at a turning point in life where soon I’ll be left with an empty nest. Yes, I’ve only one son I need to help usher into adulthood. After having to care for seven children once upon a time, I’d say having one adolescent to supervise has lightened my load considerably. I always suspected I’d become ultra productive as soon as I could get rid of all those darned kids!! That was part of what it took to begin a solid foundation for this blog. It turns out, there were many other things I needed to get in order before fully committing to my beloved blog. When I started Under The Gloves three years ago, it was a great idea; though I jumped in a little prematurely but I have no regrets. If a fortune teller would’ve told me it could take me the better part of 3 years to really get my ducks in a row; I’m sure I’d tell them to “stuff it”, and attempt blogging anyway. I’m just glad that from now on, I’ll have more time to devote to UNDER THE GLOVES.
My topic today is something that not only affects many tattooers I know, but also millions of people caught up in today’s rat race. It’s something I caught myself doing and have seen many tattoo artists and non artist friends alike repeat over and over again. What’s important to know about this situation is that we all have the ability to change this one nasty habit that’s responsible for excessive amounts of weight gain. It’s an elusive, counter productive, snake for those of us striving to stay healthy…. It’s BINGE EATING.
The definition of binge eating is: The consumption of large quantities of food in a short period of time, typically as part of an eating disorder. What I find interesting about this definition is that I never considered myself as a binge eater. I believed I was a healthy eater(or at least most of the time). I didn’t think of myself as someone with and eating disorder and I maintain that I’m not. In fact, when I hear the term “binge eater” I picture some overly tan, overly thin teenage girl with a complex who eats a whole shit ton of food and then throws it up in the bathroom later. NOT TRUE. Binge eating is happening so often that it’s nearly an epidemic among Americans. And, for a little while, I actually fell for it.
After I retired from roller derby last summer, I discovered that I was vitamin D deficient(as most people in the Midwest have a propensity for). My husband insisted if I started eating meat I would feel better. Well, it didn’t make me feel better, but I did gain 8 pounds in three months. I expected to pack on a few pounds now that I no longer had the type of intense practices I was used to enduring. I wasn’t worried. I assumed my body would adjust and things would all go back to normal.
After starting an anti anxiety drug for the first time ever in my life, I gained another 8 pounds. I was sure the cause of this weight gain was the result of meat eating and medication, so I stopped eating meat and was positive my excess weight would melt off my bones in a month or two. After all, I’m in the gym five days a week and I log in about 15 miles weekly running. I’ve revised my weight lifting regiment and no doubt I’ll have my abs back in time for summer. Three months after going back to my preferred vegetarian eating habits and changing my work outs, I gained 8 more pounds!
Frustrated and angry, I went to see my doctor. It must be that stupid anti anxiety pill! I’ve never used medication for my anxiety before and I was SURE it had to be it! After all, everything on the internet listed “weight gain” as a side effect for my particular medication. At this point, I weighed the heaviest I’ve ever weighed in my life not pregnant! The extra weight was causing me anxiety. I had to stop taking those God Damn pills!!! I kept track of every calorie from every meal and still couldn’t figure out what was going on. My doctor insisted it wasn’t the medication and to look closer at my diet, what I’m eating and WHEN. He insisted I take a much closer look. My doctor saw the problem immediately; I didn’t. He urged me to stick with the medication, because it has helped cut down on some of my obnoxious habits considerably. This was something I couldn’t argue. I went home angry thinking I need to find another doctor who won’t give me riddles I can’t solve. I reviewed all of the data I had stored in my phone on this app. What I discovered shocked me. I was a binge eater!!! Plain as the nose on my face. I had somehow become a binge eater. The irony here is I don’t even like to eat. I don’t really even like food much. I never considered myself a big eater. How the hell did I become a binge eater?
This is a busy time of year for most tattooers, myself included. I hardly have time for a bite all day and when I get home, I’m shaking, starving and half delirious from extremely low blood sugar. This is when I’m so over the top hungry, I’ll eat anything in sight. It takes all of my self control not to break into my kids cookies because they are so readily available and I don’t need to prepare them. I often ignore the cookies(okay once in a while I eat one or two). I cook up what I consider a healthy meal. I still have about two or three more hours of drawing after I grab food, so I get to my “homework” almost immediately after eating because I know if I don’t hurry…….. Here comes the DROP. This isn’t a good drop like anxious, sweaty people, tripping on E, filling up a dance floor; this is a glucose drop. When you binge on food, your body gets a rush of desperately needed insulin, but after the insulin in your system spikes, it then does the drop! There is a great explanation of this here: https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/What-Happens-When-You-Binge-Eat-42709253 When you hit a sugar crash late at night when you’re supposed to be sleeping anyway, it’s time for bed whether your ready or not.
Binge eating is the worst way possible to eat and it’s pretty obvious from the look of many of us tattooers that binge eating has taken its toll. Binge eating adds weight quick and it’s sneaks up on you to like illegal dumpers in the middle of the night, dumping all of their construction garbage until your dumpster over flows. Just like illegal dumpers, it’s a dick move to do that to your body over and over again. Your body will do nothing but gain weight and begin to break down if this habit keeps up long-term. Binge eaters are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. This makes total sense. You can only mess with the insulin levels in your pancreas so much where it just won’t work right for you anymore.
But wait… There’s more: Binging can damage your liver, kidneys, stomach and intestines. Below is a link to one of the best, clear-cut articles I have ever read regarding overeating(as it pertains to binging): https://hubpages.com/health/Before-Your-Next-Binge I feel this is a great article to use as a scare tactic for any concerned binger looking to remind themselves of how important it is to change this habit. Just in case you need one more article to drive this point home, here is another: http://www.inspirewellness.com/your-body-on-a-binge
Of all the information I gathered, I discovered my recently acquired habit of binge eating can cause all of the following, but not limited to: Diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, cancer, fatty liver, pancreatitis, sleep apnea, digestive disorders and more. I can’t spell it out any other way; it’s bad, bad, bad to binge eat. Another precautionary word about binge eating is that it’s addictive. Once you start eating in a pattern like this, your body gets addicted to the“high” the brain receives from food overload.
I thought long and hard about how my eating got out of control, why and when? How could someone as health conscious as myself fall into such terrible eating habits? Well, for me it was the act of the binge that caused more binging. I get so exceptionally busy this time of year I like to do what I call “Tattoo Binge”. It’s when I pretty much sit with my ass in the chair tattooing from noon until who knows what time in the morning in an effort to reduce my client’s wait time. It’s something I love. I’m addicted to tattooing myself into exhaustion and getting up the next day and doing it over again and again. Because I focus so much on my tattooing, I literally forget I’m hungry and forget to eat until the machines are put away. Tattoo conventions are very similar situations to my binge tattooing. It’s an entire weekend of binge tattooing and binge eating. The big question at the close of the floor every night is; “Where can we get food?” And all the artists take to the streets at the end of the night walking stiff and groaning like zombies desperate for booze and food.
A little planning ahead will help that late night convention binge. Bring some snacks to eat through out the day. You can scoop up things like, bananas, almonds, beef jerky, yogurt and granola at local gas stations or party stores on your way in to the convention floor. Most hotels have some shitty, little, overpriced store in their lobby where you can grab a few snacks to get you through the day. Taking a little time out to grab a snack will reduce binge eating later at night. You’ll find that if you fill up a little bit through out the day, you won’t feel like eating everything in sight once the floor closes. Meal planning is huge in general to help eliminate binge eating whatever the circumstances.
If you suspect you might be a binge eater, one very helpful tool to give you insight on your eating habits is an app called “Loose It”. It’s an awesome calorie counter app. which is free(though it offers an upgrade for a fee). This app breaks down your food into nutrients and percentages of what you’ve consumed throughout the day. Track what you eat for a few weeks and make special note about when you eat your largest meal. If your largest meal loaded with calories is your last meal before crashing for the night, you may have caught a binge habit and it would be wise to further investigate this. You owe it to yourself to take a moment and pay attention to what you’re eating and WHEN.
If you’re sure you’re a binge eater or if you suspect you have some binge eating habits, the good news is that there are a great many resources out there to help break the cycle of binge eating. One of my favorite apps and resources regarding working out and nutrition is: www.bodybuilding.com Here is an article I found helpful : https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/how-to-stop-binge-eating.html
Here is a great article by Prevention magazine which has some pretty interesting strategies to avoid binging: http://www.prevention.com/weight-loss/weight-loss-tips/how-prevent-binge-eating
One of the things I found interesting about this article is using the HALT system to identify if you’re really hungry. I works like this : H= hungry, A= angry, L= lonely and T= tired. My answer when I’ve just walked off the convention floor at midnight; Yes to all, yes and yes and yes. Have you heard the phrase “hangry’? You know, so hungry that you’re angry? Well, by some form of magic, me asking myself this question should help prevent me from binging. I’m not sure that one will work for me though I find it amusing. If you have A LOT of extra time on your hands and this binge eating issue had you riveted, I strongly recommend checking this blog out: http://www.eatlikeanormalperson.com/how-to-stop-binge-eating/ much to my surprise this person seems to be much more long-winded than myself, but it’s an informative read regardless.
Once I realized what I was doing, I’ve almost virtually stopped my late night binge I’ve grown so accustomed to. I’ve already lost four pounds last week and I’m beginning to feel better keeping my glucose levels at a more constant. This won’t be the last time I write and share information about binge eating. It’s a vast area of disordered eating and there’s so much information out there, I could write several blogs about it. But, for now I leave you all with this; Take care of yourselves. Keep an eye out for that nasty binge bug and don’t let it bite. And never underestimate the importance of “you are what you eat.”
Next week on UNDER THE GLOVES: The first Eternal Ink color of the month of 2017. Better late than never!?? Can you guess which color I choose for my color of the month? Check back next week for the answer. Until next time…. You keep reading and I’ll keep writing!