Saturday, 20 June 2009

Celebration Turns into 6-Day Junk Food Rampage, Part 1

Last Thursday I weighed 11-5. On Wednesday I came in at 12-4. This phenomenal weight accumulation was the result of an epic food and alcohol binge that spanned a full 6 days and saw me insanely rampage through the A-Z of junk food like a lunatic on a shooting spree.

Before I go into the details, let me make a few things clear:

It's not big and it's not clever. I may now appear to take pleasure in recounting the events and entertaining you (I hope) with the sheer lunacy of it - but don't let this give you the impression I am happy about it.

I am lucky, in that I have the capacity to adopt a profoundly strit Paleo/Primal lifestyle on the turn of a pin and maintain it for as long as necessary to get back to where I started. By binging like this, I abuse that good fortune and undo the good work that cannot be seen - i.e. the health of my organs.

This was a one-off event - a big, 3-day celebration I was closely involved with. I take solace from the fact that this will never be repeated, so at least one excuse to binge has been removed forever.
6 glasses champagne
10 canapes
2 coffees

Fish, meat, cheese, quiche, salad
table chocolates x 10
fruit salad and cream
chocolate cake and cream
crème brûlée x 2
large wine x 3
The Family Party - Champagne and Buffet
The event kicked off on Friday with champagne at 2pm. Until then I had fasted, anticipating the evening feast.

The thing about champagne is that it appears to keep arriving. It's the only drink I know of that finds its way into your hand by magic.

6 glasses and two hours later I was rifling through the canapés and slurring my speech. Time for some coffee. This is something I don't normally drink, but was strategically imperative (I'd decided,) given I had to remain lucid for the imminent dinner. Of course being drunk, I went for two of the strongest coffees I could find.

The buffet format was a bad start for a latent glutton like me. The caffeine propelled me around the feast-laden table, where I garnered copious amounts of meats, fish, mozzarella, quiche and soft cheese pastries. Back at the table, I nailed this lot in fairly short order, during which 3 large glasses of red wine somehow also negotiated entry to my gullet.
Enraged Sweet Tooth
I had fostered deeply unrealistic hopes that I could hold out until the following day before caving in to sugar, but by the time dessert was wheeled out I had already pillaged the table of various chocolates and mints, no doubt intended to be eaten later with the coffee.

3 cheeseburgers & 3 lamb burgers with mayo, ketchup & cashew nut butter (80g)
various salad and cheese
2 slices of chocolate cake with clotted cream
fruit salad with clotted cream

50g hummus
a burger
2 bottles of red wine
unknown quantity of champagne
Rather like injuring a lion with a sharp stick only makes him more dangerous, my sweet tooth was now enraged. A time-lapse photograph of the dining area would have revealed a blur between my seat and the dessert area as I systematically demolished one or more bowl of each type.

Then, finally, boom: I hit my limit; and while the rest of the party danced the night away I wandered around sweating lightly and willing myself to feel better.
Burger Spectacular
Saturday, day 2 of the celebration, began with the return of the catering staff, whose job it now was to execute a lunchtime barbecue for 50 people.

While burgers, meat and seafood sizzled on grills, a spread of salads, cheeses and relishes was prepared.

I was initially pleased with my restraint. Not drinking alcohol helped maintain some semblance of control. I took the decision to allow myself dairy but avoid the bread. Thus was I able to comfortably consume 6 burgers - an unlikely feat had the buns been included.

With the burgers I had copious helpings of mayo, ketchup and cashew nut butter - the nut butter coming from a private stash of Paleo/Primal food which I had naively thought would help me avoid eating bad food.

With the sugar genie now out of the bottle from the previous night (and no doubt further kindled by the ketchup), I had little chance against the dessert. I once again launched a valiant assault on the chocolate cake and fruit salad while the caterer-in-chief nervously monitored my clotted cream consumption.
The Friends Party - another Barbecue
When the lunchtime barbecue was over, the caterers and the family guests left. Meanwhile, a new set of revellers continued to arrive, armed to the teeth with booze and food for a further 24 hours of celebration. From now on, it was DIY.

The venue had 4 large refrigerators, which were now being tested to their limits as food and drink for the evening barbecue was crammed into every shelf and drawer.

Fortunately, booze was being drunk at a sufficient rate to allow an equilibrium to prevail; and one or two guests selflessly acted as self-appointed fridge guardians, consuming as many cans as possible themselves whilst offering ever-more erratic assistance to those arriving with supplies.
2 bowls of 'special' fruit salad

3 'chip butties' with mayo, ketchup butter and cheesechicken curry

90g cashew nut butter
2 chocolate puddings with clotted cream
'special' fruit salad with clotted cream and chocolate bar chunks

red wine

The evening barbecue, executed with great aplomb by the guests themselves, was a superb spread - better, arguably than the first; yet I managed only a single burger with hummus, thanks to the sheer calorie count from earlier.

The alcohol toll was a different story, and may also have contributed to my eating less food. My best guess is two bottles of red and at least half of champagne. As I say, not clever.
The Hangover and Aladdin's Cave
And so to the hangover. Possibly the most powerful inducer of bad food binging. Sugar and salt balances all over the place, a weakened psychological state and the profound need for comfort of any kind. Clearly, after what I had drunk, I had one.

Also, picture, if you will, the place in which I awoke. It was like Soddom and Gommorah and Aladdin's Cave rolled into one. Work surfaces festooned with part-eaten burgers and precariously stacked bowls of congealing cream and cake. Empty food packets and part-empty food packets. Bottles of booze, glasses of booze, cans of booze. Overflowing bins and part-filled, abandoned black bin bags.

Yet amongst the devastation, a wealth of uneaten food remained. One fridge was still full to the gills with unopened containers of cream, relishes, fresh meat, fresh bread, cheeses of all kinds, strawberries, chocolates, beers, wines and desserts. Tubs of homemade hummus and potato salad had only partly been consumed.

Meanwhile, the guests were departing, seemingly oblivious to the riches they were leaving behind.
'Special' Fruit Salad
I discovered the huge tub of 'special' fruit salad one of the guests had brought. This was something I had been eyeing the day before but never got to. It was like normal fruit salad, but made with yogurt and chocolate chunks. I had a bowl. This definitely hit the spot. I had another one.

By early afternoon, most of the guests had left, leaving a small group of us who intended to stay a further night at the venue (since it was a 3-night hire.) The trusty barbecue was cleaned up and Mrs M and I stood before an open fridge, basking in the golden glow of possibilities. Emissaries were dispatched to the supermarket to acquire more coals and curry sauces.

By this point, I was well beyond any reasonable care about what or how much I was eating. This had become an exercise in covering all the bases. Satisfying every possible craving. A kind of while-I'm-at-it mentality.
Chip Butties and Absurd Relish Slathering
'Chip butties' have always been one of my weaknesses. I think this a UK term. Essentially, fries in a sandwich with butter and whatever relish you choose. In my case, mayo, ketchup and melted cheese. Can you think of anything worse? I constructed and ate three of these, each more absurdly slathered in relish than the last, and each progressively more difficult to control, as the combined volume of sauces inevitably found its way through my fingers to the plate or the ground.

Between butties I paid due homage to real food by working on the chicken curries (nice when the chicken has been barbecued, by the way) and some cooked salmon steaks. Oh, and red wine. At least a few large glasses.

Unfortunately I ate more than I should have, and the combination of hangover and the sudden rush of blood to my stomach sent me drowsily to bed, after being up for only 7 hours. I was heckled by Mrs M and our companions, and felt personally cheated that I had not had any dessert; but the call was too strong.

Some hours later I woke up. It was dark but I could hear talking. Others were still awake. Now the refrigerator was calling. There were more riches in the cave.
Heroic Intenstines
My heroic intestines had clearly been working hard as I slept, so my appetite was back. Oddly, my first instinct was to finish the jar of cashew nut butter in my room.

Then, to the kitchen, where I found evidence of recent dessert consumption. Chocolate puddings, chocolate bars, cream. In the fridge, plenty more. I assembled the first of 2 bowls of chocolate pudding and cream. Later, more 'special' fruit salad, augmented by me to be 'specially special' with
clotted cream and chunks of chocolate from a chocolate bar.

Having clearly not learned the lesson of earlier, I was once again driven to bed, having managed a further hour.

This is where part 1 ends. It's making me feel faintly nauseous recounting the events, so I think I need a break before posting part 2.

Note: none of these photos are of the real food: I was far too focused on eating to take pictures.

See Also:
Celebration Turns into 6-Day Junk Food Rampage, Part 2
Articles about Fasting, Bingeing and Appetite


Jedidja said...

I know exactly what you mean ... the key, as always, is to recognize, repair, and move on :)

Jessica said...

This is pretty darn amusing. :) Seriously, though, do you have any idea how refreshing it is to have someone talk about their struggles with primal living instead of portraying themselves as without temptation?
We all fall off the wagon. ALL of us. So I am more inclined to admire and learn from the ones that will admit rather than the ones that pretend it never happens to them.

thania said...

I dont know why we have to mix celebrations with food the way we do. I mean the excess of food every where. Why not the right quantity. That is madness, somethimes even after the people are quite full and finished you look at the table there is still food left for twice as many people to eat.

I must admit on binging you bit me, that is not falling off the wagon , it is going on foot!! I am like you too when I drink, I might as well wire my mouth and go to bed. :)

Nelson Beads said...

I'm with Jessica. None of us is perfect, and it's nice to meet someone who knows it and shares it. I'm pretty open about my foibles, but get nitpicked by ninnies about any little deviation.

That champagne is a killer. At least you didn't black out during that drink-fest. I would have had. I had to give up drinking because my body enjoyed it too much.

Jules said...

Wow, that is one EPIC binge! Good thing you know how to recover :)

aurelia said...

Do you mind if I point out the obvious? I can't help but notice that your binges are by and large alcohol fueled. Perhaps just skip the liquor?

Methuselah said...

Aurelia - agreed. I identified alcohol as the culprit some time ago in this post but it's a tricky one to deal with: Thania's point is a good one about food being bound up with our celebrations - because of course the same goes for alcohol, which creates doubles the risk of a celebration leading to excess.

Anyway, I am glad my honesty is appreciated. I don't think the people who know me would let me get away with not being honest, so I don't have much choice :P

Chris said...

Nice one. Glad to see you are human! To be honest in situations like that I'd just go for the binge as well.

Just get back on the wagon now.

Rafi Bar-Lev fromThe Fitness Adviser said...

That's a crazy binge you went on Methuselah!

Rafi Bar-Lev

Judith said...

Wow! To echo Jules, EPIC binge! And that's only part one! There's more? Your honesty is refreshing, I enjoyed reading this. Sort of vicariously enjoyed the bingeing too.

Mini said...

You are a legend mate!
Perhaps you could do what I do and generally eat healthyly, with perhaps the odd treat now and again 'in moderation' As humans we do have an amazing digestive system that takes what it needs from our foods, and is equally able to filter out the crap. Within a few days your body would have sorted it all out.

I would also imagine that a real caveman was almost always lacking in some kind of dietry requirement at certain times of the year, and had an abundance at others so binge eating, one may argue is also part of the paleo lifestyle.

That's what I reckon

Guy said...

I am seriously impressed.

I have been a bit lax too of late. BUt if you are going to binge then you may as well make the most of it.

and rather bizarrely the captcha for this comment is


just missing an h there for munching!

BJ said...

I can relate as I just spent the last 4 days on the same type of binge. One of my best friends got married and all of my good friends were there. All of us like to drink a lot. The sheer amount of alcohol consumed was ridiculous. Not too mention the crap I ate. In some cases had no choice as it was the only food available. Am fasting today and will eat really clean this week and try to stay clean when visiting family next weekend.

Methuselah said...

Thanks everyone.

Mini - I do aspire to moderation in treats but there is definitely a tricky dynamic at work. Frequent treats appear to encourage moderation - because you know you are going to get another one soon. Going for months before letting your hair down encourages binging because you know you have to make the most of it. Victim of my own success? And I wonder which is more damaging. Maybe the net effect is the same...

Joseph - good luck with your recovery. I am more or less back on track now. Some fine Paleo food has been consumed!

Kat Eden said...

Nice indulgence :-) .. I have a 2 day plan for getting my body back into shape after such a binge .. weight training both days, Bikram yoga both days, plenty of sleep, and add lots of organic sea salt to my water (at least 3 liters p/day) .. plus a great food intake of course! It works pretty well.

Shelley said...

Thank you for sharing that with us, that was very brave and kind of like watching a train wreck ;)...I agree with Jessica, more kudos to you for being a human, anyone that doesnt admit it, is in the closet with that cheesecake they just refused to eat publicly ;).

When can we expect Part 2?

Methuselah said...

Kat - sounds like a good approach. For me it has been (of course) good food, lots of water, and carefully avoiding the temptation to overexercise for quick results!

Shelley - thanks - part 2 imminent!

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