What I Learned on Canada Day


I woke up yesterday with a tremendous urge to binge. All I could think about was food. In a matter of seconds, I knew exactly what I wanted to get, where I would get everything, and in what order I would eat everything.

One of the most helpful recovery strategies for me is to never carry money with me when I leave my home. There is the possibility that I may need money for an emergency of some kind while I’m out, but in order to prevent myself from buying food to binge on, I have to take that chance. (Note: Always pack a healthy snack or meal in case you’re delayed while you’re out. If you come home ravenous or having missed a meal, binging is inevitable.) It’s obviously not possible to do this if I’m going out to shop, but I try to limit how much money I bring so that I only have enough money to buy what I intended to buy.

However, I threw my wallet into my bag yesterday morning without a second thought. The urge was so insistent and so powerful. My mind was racing – faster, faster, faster. The yelling in my mind was loud, blaring, and relentless. It was driving me insane. I felt like my head would explode if I didn’t binge right away.

I went out the door and ran to my favourite bakery, trying to quiet the anxiousness in my mind and body with the fact that I would binge soon. I stopped in my tracks. It was closed. I went to all the other cafes and delis nearby, the places I had planned to go to after I demolished my baked goods. Everything was closed.

Today is Canada Day, which is a statutory holiday in Canada. Although yesterday was simply Monday, June 30th, it dawned on me that most businesses decided to enjoy an extended long weekend. Not so for me. I had to get to work.

I arrived at work. I was still feeling anxious. My head was aching. Slowly, I realized that I couldn’t binge today. I wanted to binge, but I couldn’t. I had plans to meet a friend after work, so I didn’t have time to take the bus somewhere in search of food to binge on.

I had a small, but important, revelation: I didn’t have to binge. It sounds so simple, but it seems like such an impossibility when you’re in the moment, battling with an intense urge. I didn’t have to binge. And I didn’t. I added a healthy treat (a banana and Kashi Bar) before bedtime and I really enjoyed it. I felt good about myself at the end of the day. If I had binged, I would have felt awful.

If the shops had been open yesterday, there is no doubt in my mind that I would have binged. But because I was forced into a disabling situation, I didn’t. My head didn’t explode. The world didn’t end. Instead, I felt happy.

In the future, I hope that I will be able to recognize that I don’t have to give in to a binge. While it may seem impossible at the time, it is simply very difficult. Impossible means impossible, but very difficult only means another new challenge.


3 thoughts on “What I Learned on Canada Day

  1. Good on you, Kristen 🙂 That was great to read, and I hope you’re proud of yourself. It is very hard to resist when the urge makes itself known, so your strength is awesome.

  2. Thanks Kelsy and Marnie! I wish I could tap into this strength more often and more easily, but it’s definitely something I will keep working on.

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