It was the summer of 2012. I was at a friend’s home having some pre-drinks with everyone before heading out. I took a break from playing cards to check out the kitchen for food, because this is what friends do at friend’s homes. Right? #Family
I grazed the fridge and saw some leftover pizza. I called to my friend in the other room asking if she was going to finish the pizza. To no surprise, she laughed and said I could eat it. After I polished off the last pieces of her pizza I mixed the others some drinks and rejoined the group.
There was usually three scenarios that would take place later that night when we got home. I would either eat more of my friend’s food (I was that guy), or pick something up immediately upon leaving the bar or raid the kitchen for anything when I got back to my downtown apartment.
I almost wish I could say these scenarios were rare, but when my cousin declares it funny because, “Shane is so regimented, but the moment he drinks he’ll eat anything and everything!” I have to acknowledge it’s not. Oh, and my cousin wasn’t lying.
A few months ago I had to laugh at myself as I was reminded of the tradition of stopping by the local 7-11 to get 4 Monterrey Chicken Taquito’s as we waited for a cab.
The food I ate after midnight didn’t even have to look appetizing. Okay, it didn’t even actually need to smell good for that matter.
“There was one time we woke up and I didn’t know what concoction Shane made, but it smelt awful.”
I totally remember this. I don’t know what it was, but I remember mustard and egg was the main ingredient.
Have you ever gone through this? Like, you’re regimented, diligent and on track during the week, then the moment you have some drinks on the weekend and you go off the rails?
(Pictured here: Baby Shane, making Pina Colada's looking off where I imagine he's wondering what to eat.)
In my late teens and early twenties I spent a lot of time in this area. I wouldn’t say I was unaware of this pattern because I did know that I was drunk binging on food.
I guess I justified it because I worked out 5-7 days a week and ate “80% healthy”. I convinced myself that this was "moderation". But what I wasn’t aware of was that I crammed so much into that 20% window that it was like a 50:50 nutritional split. Hindsight, this completely derailed any progress I was hoping to make.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not this enlightened super-being who is now immune to the 2am snacks with his friends. But what I am saying is, this is now few and far between. And even if these 2am meals happen, they are not progress inhibiting. I don’t have friends regularly discussing the “Shane Feasts from the other night”. They are now more of an enlightening memory to look back on and laugh.
So, what happened? How did I stop these midnight binges?
1. Real Moderation
I know, I know. This is not sexy, ground breaking and it’s even been thrown around so many times it’s kind of lost it’s meaning. But hear me out.
I stopped putting myself on this strict diet where I would only eat fruit, vegetables and protein during the week and would workout 5-7 days per week. Because, yeah once I had some drinks in me, my inhibitions were down, I did not have the will power to stop myself. I used up all my energy and will power Monday to Thursday “being good”, that when I slipped up, I would crash and burn. I had the appearance of structure and being under control - I wasn’t. I was deprived.
2. I relinquished control
What this really means is, I let go of this idea that everything had to be perfect (because this obviously wasn’t working). I was setting myself up on this Monday to Thursday ritual of “clean eating” and Friday/Saturday “moderation” and Sunday food prep. This routine was literally on repeat, week after week and this routine was not getting me anywhere.
3. I called B.S. on myself
I saw that my behavior was hindering my fitness goals and to be frank, it wasn’t healthy. Once I did this I realized that I was perpetuating this idea to myself that I was living a balanced lifestyle with “moderation”, but I really wasn’t. I was depriving myself to the point where I needed to rebel against my own regime, which hindered my progress.
I said I followed “moderation” because I allowed both the “good” and “bad” foods into my diet, but the fact that I was late night binging is a red flag that something isn’t working.
Have you ever experienced this? I can’t be alone. Please, share your stories. I mean, you couldn’t have also woken up next to a wrapped ham.