As I do housework alone I typically have a show playing in the background on my phone. My sister-in-law introduced me to Netflix’s “Insatiable” a week or so ago and I worked my way through season one (quite literally, as I did laundry, dishes, straightening, etc.). I resolved in the shower this morning that I was going to dig in deeper and try to push through this plateau I’ve hit. My mind was making game plans for how I’d do that.

More self control. More gym time. Less snacking. I have to get it together.

Then as I sipped my coffee and waited for the rest of the house to wake, I watched a scene from “Insatiable” where the main character, a formerly obese high schooler who got punched by a homeless person and had to get her jaw wired shut that caused her to lose a tremendous amount of weight and now she competes in beauty pageants, convinced herself that if she could just lose a little more weight and get a hotter boyfriend she could get revenge on the ex-boyfriend she caught smooching someone else. I didn’t say this show was wholesome. In fact it is pure trash in an over-the-top way, like soap operas.

So this main character is in her kitchen determined to get results. Her mom offers to make her pancakes and she rejects the breakfast, saying she’s on the Paleo diet now. She goes to make herself some egg whites and her mom leaves for work. Inner monologue details the thought process of how she’s decided egg whites won’t be enough, so she goes into the fridge for a yogurt. Then she sees the chocolate cereal on the counter and adds a sprinkling for crunch. Then she goes for a second handful. It then shows this character binging the entire box of chocolate cereal. She then realizes what she’s done and goes on a cardio binge at the gym to try to burn it all off.

First let me say I am not at that point. But I have to commend the writers of this show for humanizing disordered eating. They’ve shown Overeaters Anonymous meetings, they’ve shown the logic used during binges and they’ve shown how this character hides the troubling behavior from everyone. They also strongly connect this disordered eating to coping mechanisms.

This trashy TV show helped me see what I didn’t want to become. I’ve mentioned before how one of my coping mechanisms is eating. It isn’t a healthy way of coping with stress, and after going through a coping binge I end up in the same mental place as this fictional character: shame and overcompensation.

Stress is guaranteed in life. I just need to find a healthier coping mechanism.