Category Archives: Serious Stuff

Controlled By Routine

Good Morning everyone! Another lengthy post ahead… 😀

I went on a run this morning despite the on and off rain we have been experiencing since yesterday. It is quite warm out at least, and I ran in shorts and short sleeve, more evidence that we are approaching the wondrous warm weather 🙂 Running the rain (as long as it’s not too cold!) always makes me feel intense, kind of bad ass? Haha, I am slightly embarrassed to admit that but I usually feel really powerful in this kind of weather, which I did today.

(source of picture)

I completed 9 miles in 1 hour and 10 minutes and felt increasingly more energized as the distance went by. Like I mentioned yesterday, I listened to South of Broad by Patrick Conroy on my iPod and once again, made the time go by quite fast. This book is really compelling so far and some of the descriptions make me want to move to the South pronto!

On my run this morning I realized how much I love working out in the early morning, to start my day and to get it over with the rest of the day. I usually do enjoy my workouts, but I still like to complete them, shower and then do whatever else I need to do without a workout impending on my thoughts. This goes along with my addiction to exercising, but I also can’t remember the last time I didn’t work out in the morning- this isn’t at the crack of dawn though! I don’t have class until 11:15 each day so I go for a run/gym around 7:30 which gives me plenty of time to shower after and get ready for the day.

Reflecting on this workout routing allows me to see how much I am love, depend on and am attached to my daily routine. I get up, workout, sort of eat breakfast, go to class, have an hour to do work until lunch, eat lunch, go to my remaining classes, blog, or do homework the rest of the afternoon depending on the day, go to dinner or have dinner in my room, go on the computer a bit more/watch tv, and then go to bed preferably before 10:30 pm. Yep, not exactly a thrilling routine but one that I have become used to and when this schedule is disturbed, or a requirement comes up that was unexpected, my anxiety flourishes, I am irritated and cannot handle the change well.

I can understand now that my routine provides a sense of “comfort” for myself, which goes right along with desiring to have complete control over what I eat/when I eat, exercising, and how my own body looks. I get truly nervous and upset when any part of my routine is disturbed. For example, if I have an unexpected meeting around the time I usually have lunch, I get pissed because my usual lunch time has to change, and I have to maneuver what I am going to eat, or if I have to bring it with me, etc.

Last summer, I would wake up run/workout, eat fruit for breakfast, get anxious if I ate anything else, pack my lunch (salad, no fat sources, egg whites), go to the beach (if I was not working that day), come home and try not to snack until dinner (I always did because duh, I was hungry) which would include a large sweet potato with Greek yogurt, an apple and spinach. I would try not to eat dinner before 7:30 because I feared being hungry before going to bed. Well why not just eat something then right? Nooo because that would be a disturbance in my schedule of course!

My older brother Tucker was living with us for a few weeks last summer and sometimes he liked to have friends over, which gasp, coincided with my dinner time. I didn’t like eating in front of anyone besides my family so I would get so angry when someone unexpectedly came over and disrupted me. I felt I was being judged by his friends, which was not true at all, and they are people I have known for years. They probably couldn’t care less what I was doing and came over to see Tucker, not to see what I was eating. I was so crazed at that point and my attitude lead my brother and I to fight a lot last summer, something I truly regret. I hope he understands it was not completely about him, and that any changes to my daily routine were simply not allowed with me.

Another story:  as an RA, emergencies occur usually on the weekends and in the middle of the night which require me to get up. “OH NO! I’m going to miss out on my usual 8-9 hours, my workout the next morning is not going to be as successful, I am going to be tired the rest of the day, and my eating will be off!” During these incidents I turn into an unpleasant bitch, as if the world is revolving around me and I am the only one that is affected by a disturbance in sleep. However, the other members of my staff obviously have to get up too and they put on a smile and deal with the situation in a necessary fashion.

 

We had to clear these boxes in the middle of the night after move-in day! Fire Safety Issues

This is all about food, which I have come to realize and can admit to. I want to eat the food that I want to eat, when I want it, and in the environment of my choice. This is why going out to a restaurant that is unfamiliar causes me to become a nervous wreck. What if there is nothing I want to eat? Or what if everything is smothered in butter/oil? What if we have to wait and I have to eat later in the evening then I want to? I might still be hungry after eating! <– These are all the thoughts plaguing me when I go out to eat and prevents me from enjoying the company I am with and the chance to be in a new environment trying something new. All I can think of is how this unfamiliar food and change in my routine is going to make me FAT.

What a way to live right? No, this needs to stop and I think recognizing this is a necessary first step. Again, this goes along with my addiction to exercise and my anxiety when I take a day off. Resting for a day is a change in my intensive workout schedule, and my irrational thinking= I will lose everything I have worked for, lose muscle, gain fat, blah blah blah. For so long I have believed that my controlling my routine and every aspect of my life would make me happier, but in fact, holding on to my “schedule” has increasingly upset me and make me cling to even more. I am petrified of letting go of this routine but know I need to.

Perhaps people can relate to this? Does anyone else turn into an irrational bitch if something is slightly off? I do not think this is a great quality to have at all, and “going with the flow” is a goal of mine I am determined to achieve and make a peace of mind with my once controlling schedule. 🙂

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Filed under Confession, Disorded Thoughts, Disordered Eating, Exercise, Recovery, Running, Serious Stuff, Weight

Addicted to Exercise?

Good afternoon! My attempts at doing homework today have been a large fail. After lunch, I drove my car to my favorite location to do work, Barnes and Noble, and managed to take fall asleep in my car for a half hour before waking up to the sound of someone’s car alarm going off next to me.

I have finally moved my bum into Barnes and Noble to do work, but I am writing this post instead because it is a topic that I need to talk about, especially after I am feeling today! This is my story of compulsive exercising and is on my mind right now. I am taking a “rest” from working out today and I am flooded with anxiety.

I like to think of myself as an athlete. What defines someone as an “athlete” depends on the opinion of the person you are asking. I consider myself one because I work very hard to stay in shape, usually have a specific fitness goal in mind, and participate in running races and triathlons to prove the physical ability I have worked so hard to attain.

There are days that training is exhausting. Tempo runs and interval work, difficult strength training day, and even those that are both mentally and physically tiring because your mind is simply not into the workout and need to recover. These are the days where listening to your body is vital, it asking you to take a break. Recovery and rest days are the major component to a successful, healthy performance.

During recovery, our bodies replenish energy stores and repair tissues that have been damaged during physical activity. This is how muscles are built up and toned, and how a person’s endurance is improved. Without sufficient time to repair, the body will continue to breakdown from intensive exercise and can lead you very susceptible to injuries. This seems pretty obvious; if you feel a twinge of pain in your knee and continue to run on it, the pain will get much worse and could leave you with an even worse injury.

It doesn’t matter if you are a professional athlete, a person who workouts out every so often, a casual runner with no specific goal in mind, everyone needs to rest once in awhile! Makes sense right? Well, I need to listen to my own preaching on this!

This morning I woke up around 9:15 after getting about 10 glorious hours of sleep. After that amount of time I should have felt refreshed and roaring to get my day started. Instead, my alarm went off and I felt as I often do, sleepy and my whole body is exhausted from the workout the day before. Despite this physical feeling, I did my usual routine of coffee and breakfast and was getting ready for a run. Knowing the importance of a rest day and fighting against my own thoughts, allowed me to realize how much I didn’t want to run. It would have been “junk” miles, a distance pounded out with no benefit physically or mentally. I texted my friend Danielle instead and we went for an “easy” walk, which turned out to be 5 miles up and down hills. This is what I consider a rest day.

Getting what I consider to be enough exercise is something I achieve most days of the week. In my crazy mind, doing some kind of physical work for at least 60 minutes is necessary and 80 minutes is even better. Sometimes I will do a combination of things to meet this time criteria, running, spinning, elliptical, plyometrics, strength training, fitness classes, etc. For example during cross-country season, I would do about 40-50 minutes on the elliptical in the morning, and then practice later that day.

I have felt that it is no longer a choice, but an obligation. What is the fear behind this? Gaining weight of course! Without this exhausting amount of hard-core exercise every day, I will balloon, and lose everything I have worked so hard to achieve! For example, during last summer, the peak of my disordered eating, it was easy to mask my long runs, and two-a-day workouts with the excuse that I was training for the upcoming cross-country season. Although partly true, I was trying to keep my weight down/lose some. Here is the irrational side of my brain taking over the part I know that is not true. I have become addicted to exercise and become very anxious, uncomfortable and upset if I do not complete the “necessary” amount of exercise per day, at least 60 minutes of strenuous activity.

I know I meet the criteria of a compulsive exerciser, someone who feels they need exercise to maintain a peace of mind.

Warning Signs of a Compulsive Exerciser (Source)

  • You force yourself to exercise even if you don’t feel well- Check.
  • You almost never exercise for fun- Check.
  • Every time you exercise, you go as fast or hard as you can- Check.
  • You experience severe stress and anxiety if you miss a workout- Check.
  • You miss family obligations because you have to exercise- Check.
  • You calculate how much to exercise based on how much you eat- Check.
  • You can’t relax because you think you’re not burning calories- Check.
  • You worry that you’ll gain weight if you skip exercising for one day- Check!

Back to this morning, I took a 5-mile walk with my friend and was earlier contemplating going to the gym because I didn’t think a walk was enough. It is and it was a fabulous walk with my friend! But I can honestly say I cannot remember the last time I have not exercised, but it’s been YEARS.

Realizing how compulsive/messed up this is, I have forced myself to do no more activity the rest of the day. However, now the thoughts that I don’t need to eat as much food are creeping in. I mean why not just restrict a bit, then I will feel better, some of the suffocating exhausting will lessen. I mean obviously if I eat the same way as other days, I will gain weight. NO, this is not true! I must fight this, as backing off once in a while is NECESSARY. I need to scream this to myself to get it through my sometimes-thick head!

So how can I recover from this? It is a process, and “practicing what I preach” is certainly necessary. If I want to be the best athlete I can be, I need to rest, but can this be done with the suffocating anxiety that comes along with it?

One thing during the walk that did brighten my day was the first flowers I have seen of the season! Warm weather is on it’s way 🙂

I would love to hear suggestions, hints, and help from anyone on this subject! Can people relate, or perhaps once were able to?

11 Comments

Filed under Confession, Disorded Thoughts, Disordered Eating, Exercise, Friends, Recovery, Serious Stuff, Uncategorized, Weight

Calling All Runners and Athletes!

And just like that, we are almost done with Moan-Day! I got this from Caitlin’s (Healthy Tipping Point) post this morning, made me laugh 🙂

I am currently sitting in one of my favorite places ever, Barnes and Noble!!!, and writing a paper. Let me first say that Barnes and Noble, Borders, or really any other book store, is my favorite place to do work. There is usually a cafe, plenty of books if I need references, and when I need a break- people watching is the best!

The only problem is being distracted by huge magazine rack, or really any other book available to read. Must. Focus. Now.

While I am procrastinating actually writing this paper, I am thinking about it at least! This is for my Nutrition and Public Health class and I am researching about a subject near and dear to me, disordered eating among female athletes. I am focusing on college-level athletes, but also am discussing the trends among regular ones, although only in women (sorry guys!).

If you Google, “disordered eating and athletes,” there are overwhelming results. Overall, these indicate there are higher levels of eating related issues among female athletes as compared to those that are more inactive. This makes sense to me: there are pressures not only from our society to become thin, but also there are certain sports that put pressure on performers to meet a certain weight criteria.

Running is a sport largely related to this. Many elite female runners are lean, mean, fighting machines, with very little body fat.

 

Elite Runners Before a Race

A person that is attempting to get to elite levels might draw the conclusion that the thinner you are= the faster you run. Although there have been studies that showed how weight loss does impact race times, these are only geared toward people that have some extra weight to lose. Check out this Runner’s World article for a more detailed explanation.Unfortunately, some women may learn this information and take it into the extreme, leading to a restrictive calorie intake and setting themselves up for menstrual loss and osteoporosis at a young age.

From personal experience of being a member of my school’s cross country and track team, I have seen the pressure to be thin among my teammates. I can remember on the very first day of practice, a girl was there that was so thin, her legs looked like sticks and she was shivering in the 80-degree weather of September. Eventually she admitted to restricting because she though it would make her run faster. With intervention methods such as requiring her to eat a specific number of calories and education on adequate nutrition and sports performance, she has recovered, gained weight and is running quite fast now.

I have also succumbed to the pressures of meeting a certain weight, as I have discussed in my “About Me” page and “Running” page. Although my obsession with food occurred long before i began runner, last summer I figured losing weight meant I would run faster. Initially this did occur, but my inadequate calorie intake caught up with me and I was constantly feeling fatigues and my performance steadily got worse.

Too Thin For ME!

When an athlete goes on a “diet” and begins to restrict their intake, it actually might look like they are eating normally. Yet they are not taking in adequate calories to meet the demands of their practices or training runs, and their performance will inevitably decline.

For example, on days when I go on my long runs, I now eat like a horse after! I am usually so hungry the entire day and continuous snacking on proper nutritious items helps me to recover. I might look like I am eating excess amounts to a non-athlete, which is why this could go unnoticed from someone who is suffering with food-related issues.

So for my essay, I would love to hear other people’s stories or opinions on this! Beyond influence from images of our culture in magazines, TV, Internet, etc, have you ever felt pressure as an athlete to look a certain way for the sport? Or have you seen this among friends?

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Filed under Disorded Thoughts, Disordered Eating, Fitness, Fuel, Recovery, Running, Serious Stuff, UMASS

It’s a Saturday Night…

(*Side Note: A difficult relationship with food and accepting my body has prevented me from enjoying so many things life has to offer, here is yet another example)

I apologize in advance. This post is all over the place, I just needed to type what is currently on my mind! Sorry it’s a bit depressing as well!

And I am sitting in my room at my desk doing some homework, reading blogs, and listening to Food Network on TV in the background. This situation is quite ideal for me, it’s relaxing, somewhat productive, and comfortable. And yet, something is bothering me as I sit here, getting ready to change into pjs, I am a 21 year old college student who rarely goes out, has minimal close friends, and prefers being alone.

I am the kind of person that thrives off of routine and maintaining control. This often occurs around food, hence why I have had such struggles with disordered eating. The idea of being spontaneous, or “going with the flow” are so foreign to me. I fear being in situations where I have little control, and this does not go well with partying in college.

“Going out” at least for me and the people I know, usually involves hearing about some house/frat/sports party that is somewhere off campus, that maybe will be fun, which could possibly let you in, and oh yeah, it’s going to be so crowded it will be like trying to socialize in a sardine can. Sounds fantastic right?

I don’t want to sound like a complete sourpuss though! I have had plenty of fun nights in college. Going out with my track team is usually a great time, where the number of people is somewhat controlled and I can get my groove on :). I also have been out to a few bars since turning 21, and that has been great too! There have been nights where I have thought, “oh the hell with it, I am going to do whatever anyone wants to do” and those have turned out to be fun as well.

However, there have been so many more where I have struggled to get somewhere and it is too crowded to get in, or the police just broke up the party, etc and we are forced to either go somewhere else or figure out a way home. I have not had a successful or fun night in so long, and at this point weekends aren’t really something to look forward to, well getting a break from classes is nice.

Also, I want to meet a great guy and my past experiences have really set me back of wanting to pursue anything with a man. There have been some guys who I have really liked, things were going well and suddenly they drop off the face of the earth. Other times, they claim I am giving off the “I want a relationship vibe” when all they want to do is hook-up. These are such crappy excuses and I have yet to find a guy that is a genuine person and isin’t just interested in f*cking me (to be blunt). I see so many people with great boyfriends and spouses and am jealous, I want it too! I just want to be respected for once.

I’m sure if I looked, I would find something to do. But it’s always the same thing. Pre-game aka drink excessively starting around 9:30 pm, figure out your destination, make plans in a drunken state to get there, arrive at location usually around 11:30 or 12, perhaps get in, and talk to other people that are most likely as or more drunk than you. I am usually so sleepy by that time that all I want to do is go back to my room and get in bed (unless the party is a raging time, rarely it is!)

This is something I should admit: I do drink sometimes, but it’s not too appealing to me and I mostly don’t like “wasting” my calories on alcohol. Hello disordered thoughts! I can still go out and not drink and have a great time, but the main reason I decide not to is so I don’t gain weight. I am able to recognize this part of my irrational thoughts and everything in moderation is the key to happiness, including alcohol. Realistically, alcohol is a huge part of our social lives and culture so I have accepted this and am fine with it. I just want to get to a point where I feel comfortable drinking a bit, and not always thinking about my god damn weight! This goes to food as well.

Being social takes effort as well. I sometimes am simply too tired to put up a front and act like I am having a great time. It’s easier to be alone. (I know this sounds a bit like Depression, I am dealing with this 🙂 )

I know so many of my feelings are related to wanting to stay in my comfort zone, so I can eat, drink, do and go to bed when I want and not be concerned with others. This is a ridiculous and boring way to live in my opinion, and I often feel I am wasting my youth. I know to meet more people, and perhaps a genuine great guy, I need to go out. But my own fears, the countless setbacks and the times it hasn’t been fun, prevent me from haivng any motivation to get ready and go out.

So hear I am, purging my thoughts and striving to find a way to overcome my own thoughts and actions.

*Any suggestions and can anyone relate?

11 Comments

Filed under College, Disorded Thoughts, Disordered Eating, Recovery, School, Serious Stuff, UMASS, Weight

It's a Saturday Night…

(*Side Note: A difficult relationship with food and accepting my body has prevented me from enjoying so many things life has to offer, here is yet another example)

I apologize in advance. This post is all over the place, I just needed to type what is currently on my mind! Sorry it’s a bit depressing as well!

And I am sitting in my room at my desk doing some homework, reading blogs, and listening to Food Network on TV in the background. This situation is quite ideal for me, it’s relaxing, somewhat productive, and comfortable. And yet, something is bothering me as I sit here, getting ready to change into pjs, I am a 21 year old college student who rarely goes out, has minimal close friends, and prefers being alone.

I am the kind of person that thrives off of routine and maintaining control. This often occurs around food, hence why I have had such struggles with disordered eating. The idea of being spontaneous, or “going with the flow” are so foreign to me. I fear being in situations where I have little control, and this does not go well with partying in college.

“Going out” at least for me and the people I know, usually involves hearing about some house/frat/sports party that is somewhere off campus, that maybe will be fun, which could possibly let you in, and oh yeah, it’s going to be so crowded it will be like trying to socialize in a sardine can. Sounds fantastic right?

I don’t want to sound like a complete sourpuss though! I have had plenty of fun nights in college. Going out with my track team is usually a great time, where the number of people is somewhat controlled and I can get my groove on :). I also have been out to a few bars since turning 21, and that has been great too! There have been nights where I have thought, “oh the hell with it, I am going to do whatever anyone wants to do” and those have turned out to be fun as well.

However, there have been so many more where I have struggled to get somewhere and it is too crowded to get in, or the police just broke up the party, etc and we are forced to either go somewhere else or figure out a way home. I have not had a successful or fun night in so long, and at this point weekends aren’t really something to look forward to, well getting a break from classes is nice.

Also, I want to meet a great guy and my past experiences have really set me back of wanting to pursue anything with a man. There have been some guys who I have really liked, things were going well and suddenly they drop off the face of the earth. Other times, they claim I am giving off the “I want a relationship vibe” when all they want to do is hook-up. These are such crappy excuses and I have yet to find a guy that is a genuine person and isin’t just interested in f*cking me (to be blunt). I see so many people with great boyfriends and spouses and am jealous, I want it too! I just want to be respected for once.

I’m sure if I looked, I would find something to do. But it’s always the same thing. Pre-game aka drink excessively starting around 9:30 pm, figure out your destination, make plans in a drunken state to get there, arrive at location usually around 11:30 or 12, perhaps get in, and talk to other people that are most likely as or more drunk than you. I am usually so sleepy by that time that all I want to do is go back to my room and get in bed (unless the party is a raging time, rarely it is!)

This is something I should admit: I do drink sometimes, but it’s not too appealing to me and I mostly don’t like “wasting” my calories on alcohol. Hello disordered thoughts! I can still go out and not drink and have a great time, but the main reason I decide not to is so I don’t gain weight. I am able to recognize this part of my irrational thoughts and everything in moderation is the key to happiness, including alcohol. Realistically, alcohol is a huge part of our social lives and culture so I have accepted this and am fine with it. I just want to get to a point where I feel comfortable drinking a bit, and not always thinking about my god damn weight! This goes to food as well.

Being social takes effort as well. I sometimes am simply too tired to put up a front and act like I am having a great time. It’s easier to be alone. (I know this sounds a bit like Depression, I am dealing with this 🙂 )

I know so many of my feelings are related to wanting to stay in my comfort zone, so I can eat, drink, do and go to bed when I want and not be concerned with others. This is a ridiculous and boring way to live in my opinion, and I often feel I am wasting my youth. I know to meet more people, and perhaps a genuine great guy, I need to go out. But my own fears, the countless setbacks and the times it hasn’t been fun, prevent me from haivng any motivation to get ready and go out.

So hear I am, purging my thoughts and striving to find a way to overcome my own thoughts and actions.

*Any suggestions and can anyone relate?

11 Comments

Filed under College, Disorded Thoughts, Disordered Eating, Recovery, School, Serious Stuff, UMASS, Weight