The Deep End

I’ll start off with the light hearted part of me, then we’ll get to the Ask Me Anything!, which will be pretty intense…(and long!)

Anyhow, I was up nice and early at 5am to go out and catch some Wood Storks!  We set up huge mist nets and sat in the trucks, to wait. 

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It was a long wait, and sadly we caught no birds, but we had a great time getting to know each other!

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We were out the door by 5.45 and I knew I wasn’t going to be hungry, so I brought my breakfast with me: Banana Nut Odwalla Bar (my favorite!) and an apple.

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It wasn’t long before I was hungry again, so I went for my banana and carrots (which were supposed to be for lunch, but didn’t last.  oops!)

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I couldn’t wait any longer and dug into my lunch at 11am.  I was starving!  I had one of the last pieces of Dave’s Killer Bread w/ a tablespoon of natural pb and some crofters jam.  So good.

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Lunch obviously was a bit small, so I dug into my bar reserves; It has been so long since I’ve had a Peppermint Luna bar!  Sweeter than I remember!

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When we got home I took a 20 min nap and in preparation for my workout this evening had some cashews.

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I then went out for a sort-of-runI ran 3 miles, walked a 1/4 mile in between each one, and the last 1/4 afterwards.  My legs and knee felt great!  A bit tight, but good!  I’m going to have news about potential races or ditching some on Friday!

I came back home with strength training in mind since I haven’t done any in a bit and promised myself to do it 2x a week, so I did the same session I did last week!  I’m still walking wobbly if that tells you anything!  Whoo!

I needed to use up the refried beans I had saved in the fridge, so I sautéed up some garlic, onions, bell peppers and cauliflower in taco seasoning, then  mixed it with salsa and the beans.  Whooeee yum!  I put it on top of spinach and topped it off with more tomatoes.

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I’ll probably have a snack as I can already feel the hunger coming back! [[Edited to add: I had some Kashi h2h cinnamon and chocolate chips!]]

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Ask Me Anything: My Eating Disorder

Do you find that you struggle with your ED daily?

I like to say that I’m in recovery, that I might even be recovered, but I still struggle with my eating disorder EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.  It influences different parts of my life in different ways, and I go through different sorts of phases, but it always seems to be there.  Only once have I ever felt really free of it, and it was sadly only for a short time, but I hope and know that one day I will be able to get back to that.

As of late I have been having a hard time because I got injured after the Miami 1/2 Marathon.  I have not been able to exercise, actually just running, since then and it has been ripping me to shreds.  This has been hard for me for several reasons:

-Not exercising makes it hard for me to understand hunger signals.  Not that I can’t understand what they feel like, but why they are actually there.  It’s hard for my ED mindset to grasp that even when I do barely nothing all day, I’m still going to be hungry, and some days more than others.  Running has always been associated with eating for me, and after almost 10 years of pounding out the pavement I always feel like feeling hungry has to be justified by some sort of activity I do throughout my day.

-I feel horrible.  Not so much physically, because I have been strengthening my body in other ways that running since being injured, but mentally.  When I don’t exercise, my mind (ED mindset really) has this ridiculous idea that all my hard work is just going to fly out the window overnight; that I’ll lose the fitness I’ve acquired, become less athletic looking, etc.  It’s pathetic really, because I know and understand it will never occur, but the thought is still there.

-It makes me jealous.  Yes, I get exercise jealousy.  When I see my coworkers and read all the blogs about the exercise everyone is doing, I get jealous.  I feel lazy just sitting around letting things heal when I could be out running with Brit, or trying out routines like P90x or 30 Day Shred.  It drives me up the wall.  It makes me feel weak and frustrated.  I just want my body to cooperate and let me do the things I enjoy and help me get through life without being driven crazy.  All in all though, I know I’ll be able to do those things eventually, I just need to be better first!

Did you ever have therapy for your ED?

When I was in college, a friend of mine forced me to go to the counseling center on campus because she knew I was starving myself and was making myself sicker as time went on.  It wasn’t anything official, but I did see my general counselor for the spring of my Freshman year, all of Sophomore year and the first half of Junior year.  Every year I went and saw him less, going from once a week, to once every two weeks, to once a month, to once every two months.  I only saw him once my Senior year, and it was basically to just go and catch up (and he had moved out of the general counseling center into a different section).

We didn’t talk about many things that really focused on my eating disorder as he wasn’t an eating disorder specialist or anything, but more about the things in my life that might be contributing to the occurring problem (moving away from family, starting at a new school, losing two grandparents in a very short amount of time, etc).  I would have (and in a sense still do) liked to have actually worked with an ED specialist and dietitian/nutritionist, but never got up the guts to do it (and never had the $$ either).  Maybe one day.

I am working my way through recovery from anorexia, but I am still very strict with my eating/mealplans/etc. Just wondering how you got to where you are today with your eating. You eat healthy, yet don’t deny yourself treats, and don’t seem to follow a set meal plan. Is eating and calories still a fear for you?

It has taken me a very long time to get where I am today.  I went from eating very restrictive in both foods and calories to, even now, still trying to integrate foods that I am afraid of (pastries anyone? bagels? candy?).  Coming into recovery I was not provided with a meal plan and never followed one I might have found anywhere, but basically did it all on my own.  It was hard, but I did it.  Slowly I started to add in, granted in very small amounts, foods that I had nixed from my diet, and up the amount of calories I was eating.  I won’t provide numbers, but I had certain “trigger numbers” for certain foods and days (ie ones with or without exercise) and I think that was the hardest part of moving through my recovery.  The calorie counting had been ingrained in my head and no longer was food looked at for it’s nutritional value, but simply as a number.  Basically I just had to keep pushing myself, as hard as I knew it was going to be.

Today I still struggle very much with numbers.  I got through phases where I won’t calorie count for a bit, then something will click and I’ll go back to it, and then fall back out of it again.  Right now I’m currently counting and measuring everything, but I’m trying to get away from it by hiding measuring cups where I can’t get them and using bowls/utensils I’m not used to using.  It’s hard, especially right now with the injury issue I talked about, but I know that as long as I keep trying, I’ll more than likely move forward than backwards!

Still on the discussion of numbers, I’ve fortunately been able to walk away from the obsession with the scale (since I move around so much and don’t own one, or have one at my disposal wherever I go).  I used to weigh myself religiously every morning after I woke up, to probably around 20 times a day when I was at my worse.  Now a days, I’m lucky if I weigh myself more than 4-5 times a year!  That’s exciting and uplifting to me! 

I also don’t have much of a problem with clothes and numbers because I hardly ever go shopping (since I don’t have much $$ to spend!) and have been wearing the same clothes for years.  I did have a hiccup about this when I came home after working in Texas this summer and fall, but got over it when I realized that I had worked parts of my body differently than ever before, ergo changing how I would fit into my previously owned clothes!  Now I’ve just accepted it!

Do you know approximately how many calories you eat daily?  It doesn’t seem like you eat a lot on the blog, so I’m just curious!  Also, I’m not suggesting you calorie count, just wondering!

I answered this yesterday, but I’ll say it again: I get in around 1600-2100 a day, depending on my activities.  I never eat less than 1600 and often can eat more than 2100 on a day when I am doing a lot of field work or exercising.  It just all depends…and I try my hardest to listen to my tummy! 

And I’m concerned you’re concerned I don’t get enough to eat!  But my answer to my next question might help remedy that!

Do you document everything you eat on the blog?

Simply put: No.  There are many times where I eat the same snacks day in and day out and are grabbed on a whim, so I don’t take pictures or talk about them.  I have been trying to get more of a focus on the blog, and trying not to bore you with bowls of cereal or carrot sticks and apples.  Therefore you’ll probably see more pictures of just my meals since they’re maybe a bit more interesting…but like I said, many of the munchies that I get are left out of the blog.

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Hope you made it through the monster!  And I’m glad to hear everyone is enjoying to get to know me better.  If you ever have any other questions you can always email me (trying[dot]to[dot]heal[at]gmail[dot]com) and I’m here to answer!

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22 Responses to The Deep End

  1. runsarah says:

    Thanks for sharing Melissa, I get exercise envy too at times – I wish I had the time and money to join a gym or yoga studio, or friends tih run with.

  2. *Andrea* says:

    i can completely relate!! not sure if my ED mindset (both starving, restricting and binging) will ever disappear :( therapy is great but i don't do it anymore. exercise, family and my spirituality are my new therapy ;)

  3. Angie Eats Peace says:

    Thanks so much for your honesty. Best of luck on your road to recovery.

  4. Jessica @ The Process of Healing says:

    Thank you for sharing, thank you so much. I know how hard that must be.

  5. Olga @ Healthing It says:

    Thanks for answering all the questions so honestly and with such great detail. I loved learning more about you and learning more about your struggles.

    You are truly brave and incredible :)

  6. moretolifethanlettuce says:

    i really enjoyed reading this post. it started off fun and light, and got a bit serious, but i loved all of it! i'm glad you consider yourself in recovery or even recovered now, but i know how hard it is to still struggle with your ED on a daily basis. i really admire your honesty and the hard work you've done to overcome this horrible disease!

  7. Doris says:

    Hey Melissa! This entry certainly has helped me a lot.. it's hard to find a blog that honestly addresses EDs and the very, very, very long recovery process, especially when it comes to the lasting psychological consequences of EDs. Glad I'm not alone :) Hope Florida is going well for you!!!

    Love,
    Doris

  8. Heather McD (Heather Eats Almond Butter) says:

    So interesting to read this Melissa. Thanks so much for sharing. First off, you are not pathetic for worrying about losing your athletic look and all the fitness you've gained. I promise every one of us has those same thoughts. I know I do.

    Oh the calorie counting. I've counted for so long, that it just comes automatically, and I always have an estimate running in my head, even when I try not to, and other days I'm online entering every morsel that crossed my lips. I think it's something I'll always do.

    Thanks again for sharing, and take care of yourself my friend. I'm glad you're listening to your body and letting it heal!

  9. itsawrapteacher says:

    Thanks for being so open and honest with us!

  10. jenngirl says:

    Thank you for being so honest and sharing so much in this post. I had no idea about the details of your past experience with an ED, and I think it shows your incredible strength and determination that you were able to work through so much of it without the structure of a meal plan or ED specialist to help you along. You should be so proud of yourself! I can relate to so many of the things you think about and share on the blog, and I think it's wonderful to see you work through any struggles and issues you have had, and come out stronger.

    Love you, happy Friday!

  11. Krista says:

    I know what you mean abut exercise jealousy. I was feeling it when I bummed up my ankles last spring. Heck, I even feel it if I've just run 4 miles and then I read about someone who has done 6. Craziness. I constantly remind myself to get a grip.

    Thanks for being so open with all of us.

  12. Meredith (Pursuing Balance) says:

    I totally feel you with question #1. Depressing as this sounds, I honestly don't believe that there is such thing as "recovered" (past tense). It really is like an addiction and I think it's a lifelong process full of ups and downs, but always moving forward.

  13. Katie says:

    Thanks for sharing this with us, Melissa! I get exercise jealousy sometimes, too… it's hard when you read about other people's activities all the time! I try to just focus on what I'M doing, but sometimes it's not so easy.

  14. Tiffany says:

    so jealous of your dave's killer bread! and congrats on the pain-free run!

    oh gosh, thanks so much for sharing about your ED. i also have a hard time with hunger cues. like if i eat a substantial breakfast at 7:30am, i don't understand why i feel hungry again at 9:30 or 10. didn't i just feed my body less than 3 hours ago?? i suppose a non-DE person would just say that their body needs the extra food for some reason and have a snack, but i would fear the extra calories that are outside my "allotted" amount each day (usually 3 meals and 2 snacks). i would try to ignore the hunger, which is probably bad for my body because it's trying to tell me something.

    i am currently calorie counting, but would love to some day be free of it. it's also hard when eating out, obviously, and that freaks me out. and congrats on moving away from the scale! i still weigh once a week (used to be every morning too), so i'm making progress. ok this is way too long now. just wanted to let you know there are lots of people out there who struggled/are struggling with the same things you are. even though you don't consider yourself recovered, you are still an inspiration to me and i still have a ways to go. :)

  15. JW says:

    Just wanted to thank you for answering these questions regarding recovery. I struggle a lot with recovery being a "process". I just want to be better right now and not ever have to worry about it again. But like you I'm not giving up!

  16. Jeri says:

    you're such a strong girl for going through this and answering these ?s so honestly. thanks for being so inspiring. :)

  17. theemptynutjar says:

    Well, I have not exercised for the last 10 months. And I have a long long way to go. Furthermore, i have no hunger…and I get so full and bloated after 2 spoonfuls of food…it makes me think there is something else wrong…but doctors havent found anything….
    it all started with a lot of depression and past trauma for me…not really anything with food fears…but now all the tummy troubles cause me that irritation with nothing is right….nothing…and not exerciseing…doesnt help…used to be a competitive passionate runner…now i have become a mere mess…
    i force myself to eat 6 x a day and wonder if instead i ought to be more "natural" …my sister used to be a skeleton and that is what she did –continued to exercise and just ate when she was hungry…never forced it…but if i do that — i am not convinced i will gain…i am fed up with it…and unbelievably sad and frustrated….
    kudos to u melissa :)

  18. Mama Pea says:

    You are so brave and strong. You are amazing for sharing so much of yourself. Keep plugging away…you will get there!!!

  19. Gena says:

    What a brave post, Melissa! Thanks for being so honest. In my experience, the road to recovery is very long, and very up and down. But here's the good news: not weighing yourself is a tremendous step. Counting and measuring is another big step, but it'll come when it's ready! Not using exercise to mitigate food/eating will come, too. They won't all come at once, but they'll come, and when they do, you'll simply have even more to celebrate.

    Remember, too, that the habits didn't form overnight or in a month. So they won't un-form in a month, or even over the course of years. You'll simply unlearn them as time goes on, till one day the vestiges of the disorder feel distant and occasional, or perhaps not present in your life at all. That's a promise :)

  20. Amanda - RunToTheFinish says:

    hot dang that was fantastic. kudos to you for being so open.

    I am always jealous when I'm hurt and can't workout out… and not working out makes me feel worse about my body, so I think we all have some mental issues

  21. tiffnie says:

    Thank you for your candor; your story and your blog is an inspiration to me. I have the *exact* same thoughts about eating and exercise as you did. The irony is that even though I know I turn to running and restricting as a form of control…in the end, I find that my obsession ends up controlling me. My hope is that one day I can be carefree about my eating habits but without returning to how I was before I began exercising more regularly. It's a journey to strike that balance–for you, me, and millions of other people out there. I'm glad that you are on that road to recovery and again, want to thank you for sharing.

  22. Jenny says:

    I often times contemplate if TOTAL recovery is achievable. I'm not sure if I could have a life free of ED-related thoughts. It's a day to day struggle.. but what's important is how you RESPOND to those thoughts! You are such an amazing person and I know you possess the strength to beat that voice every time it tries to stand in your way! Thank you for your honesty, Mel.. I think we can all relate. Love you so much! xoxo

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