Food Hangover – A crazy weekend bender doesn’t always mean booze.

This weekend, I went on a bender.

My roommates were out of town, packing up the last of their belongings still left behind in their old apartment, and they won’t be home until later today. This left me, for the first time in a long while, to fend for myself. I wish I could say I had risen to the occasion and prepared for myself some delicious and nutritious meals that fit perfectly into the lifestyle I’ve been working so hard to commit to.

I didn’t.

I went out Friday, immediately after work and got a bucket of chicken, a full on 10 piece, and I went home, and ate, alone, in almost entirely one sitting. Funny thing about doing something like this, is the justification you force into your own mind. ‘I worked extra hard this week, I can afford to cheat a little.’ It’s a slippery slope, though, for a person who is basically addicted to fried chicken. All evening Friday, I felt like horrible crap. I had pushed myself all week, and probably over did my workouts, and then I literally gorged myself with chicken… delicious, delectable fried chicken. In the course of one evening, I consumed what is basically an entire day’s worth of calories for me, and would be 1.5 times the calories of a person that didn’t weigh as much as a giant panda.

That wasn’t the end of my fatty filled weekend.

After spending all night Friday night eating chicken and watching Studio 60 on Netflix, I arose Saturday to experience what I can only describe as the horrifying combination of strained muscles, greased bowels, and the sicken shame that only comes from consuming 125% of a dead bird. The healthy choice of course would have been to stretch my aching muscles, and go for a walk or do some tai chi. To work out the toxins and excess in my body with some low impact but high sweat. Instead, some insane part of my head convinced the rest of my brain that the better solution would be to play World of Warcraft without eating until I could no longer ignore the hunger pains, and then order a pizza, and 15 chicken strips… and 3 2-liter bottles of Coke Zero, because, you know, it’s zero calories.

For posterity, that would be about 1.35 times as many calories as my RMI, in one meal. I say one meal, because that’s how I forced myself to eat it, like if someone saw me munching an entire large pizza, it would suddenly intensify the shame from the fact that I did it in the first place.

Wow, that really does sound like the mindset of a person with an addiction.

They say that addiction is a biological marker found in your genes that is triggered, and once activated, a true addict will never be able to fully recover. They also say that if you have the predisposed gene, that the addiction manifests as progressive behavior in the face of consequences that range from work, health, financial, legal or even personal relationships. When I look at myself in the mirror, and realize that at age 27, I weigh in at 350lbs, with a 50″ waist, I know that I am killing myself when I eat the way I do. I talk on the phone with my father about how he has a hard time walking, because the gout has gotten that bad, but he can’t treat it because it would interfere with his diabetes. He tells me, in his jovial, casual way, that he’s changing what he eats because he got a blood clot that has caused him to have a large blind spot in his left eye. He was even very nonchalant about the stress tests and medication he was on because any moment now his heart could mutate into a giant condor and rip from his chest like a fresh burster in alien. In the way I learned from him, I make a joke about replacing his defective parts with new robot parts. Inside, I’m terrified, because I know deep down, I am a thousand times worse than he is.

I know that I’m not alone. I know that I’m not the only person in the world with an unhealthy relationship with food. I’m struggling to keep myself from relapsing into a heart attack, but it isn’t easy. So, here I am, Monday morning. I feel like I’ve been through hell and back all weekend long. I actually feel worse this morning than the worst alcohol induced hangover I’ve ever had, and I know deep down inside its because I don’t have a problem with alcohol. I’ve never given in to it and let it fully control me against my will.

I wish I could say the same thing for food. You trade one addiction for another, they say, addicts are addicts. You can never stop being an addict. I should probably go to a meeting.

“Hi, My name is Matt, and I’m addicted to Fried Chicken.” It would be funny if it wasn’t true.

Today, today, I start again. Today is day one of sobriety.