Category: ED Symptoms

16
Sep
2019

A decent stretch, but old habits and all that….

So I’m gonna write this post a bit differently. First, the TLDR; then, if anyone is interested, they can read my longer explanations and thoughts. It’s cathartic for me to get that stuff off my chest, but at the same time, I feel as if it’s probably not very interesting to most people – so perhaps the take home messages are the most important thing – so here goes.

  • Last night, I had another binge. It had probably been two and a half, almost three weeks since the last one, which must be close to an all-time record.
  • I’ve forgiven myself completely. It’s OK. It really is. Even people who’ve never suffered from any form of disordered eating overeat sometimes! I had a solid breakfast this morning and don’t feel like I’m going to spiral into a days-long episode of self loathing.
  • I’ve been really enjoying the Breaking Up With Binge Eating podcast lately. It’s full of real world experiences and common sense advice, the episodes are not too long, and interestingly it appears that some of the emotional strategies borrow heavily from ACT therapy – I have been reading The Happiness Trap lately (a book on this very subject – link on the Resources page) and found it very helpful, as well as aligning very nicely with Stoicism.
  • The latest episode of that podcast, which I listened to on my way to work this morning, happened to outline how a client only recognised their progress in retrospect. That was a really timely reminder for me that I’ve come a long way, and these setbacks will happen – it’s not the end of the world.

Today, despite all the things rattling round in my brain, I continue to move forward. That is my vow.


Now – here’s the long version.

The last few weeks have been generally excellent – I’ve managed to keep my stress under control, feel like I haven’t yelled at my child or my dog in weeks, and my eating has fallen into a pretty regular pattern. It was date night on Saturday night, so the wife and I went out for a restaurant meal which was awesome – and although I still made my choices with health in the back of my mind, I wasn’t super anxious about macros or calories and even enjoyed a decent dessert. To be fair, the dessert was shared with my wife, but that was genuinely out of fullness, not fear. And I still ate a damn lot without feeling any concerns whatsoever.

At home though, I’ve been tending towards low calorie desserts again, mostly out of fear that eating a more ‘normal’ high calorie dessert will trigger off a desire to binge. This feels a little like restriction, which has been concerning me, and perhaps the fear is legitimate given what happened – but I don’t think that it was entirely the dessert that did it this time around.

The thing is, I’ve got a little bit of a minor groin injury, which has been bothering me for a while – yet I still keep squatting. I’ve also had a pretty sore biceps for ages (it started months ago, when I was doing curls almost every gym session) which I self diagnosed as tendinopathy. This has never really got any better, and every time I perform movements which hit the biceps it gets a little angry – then on Thursday last week I did some heavy rows (knowing full well I shouldn’t have) and really made it hurt a lot. This started off a bit of depression and disappointment in myself because I should know better by now, and it’s definitely going to impact on my lifting til it heals. I went in and trained on Saturday as normal, and during that session managed to hurt my back on the leg press (an injury I have experienced before – very painful, but will be right as rain in a couple of weeks). So you can imagine me going out for tea on Saturday night, hobbling round with a sore groin, a very sore back, and an arm that can barely lift anything – I was feeling pretty sorry for myself.

Sensible people would probably take some time out of the gym, but I still trained on Sunday as well. The session went OK, but I guess in the afternoon I was feeling pretty sore and sorry for myself and depression set in. Sunday night happened to be my fortnightly evening alone, when the girls go to visit family without me – I generally enjoy these nights as they’re an opportunity to eat whatever I want in peace and quiet, but unfortunately they all too often turn into hours of obsessing about what to eat, and this was one of those times. It’s a bad recipe, scouring restaurant menus and Facebook food groups trying to decide on a food option for hours at a time, as well as feeling yukky about myself, so this is probably the first problem. Lately, I’ve been very good at letting those thoughts pass and saying ‘worry about dinner at dinner time‘ and not allowing myself to obsess and preplan too much. This time, I failed at that.

Ultimately I decided I wanted a nice takeaway steak sandwich with sweet potato fries – but that’s logistically difficult as I’d have to cook the fries at home – none of the local takeaways do them. I decided to go and buy steak and bread and make it all at home instead – and to many this would be considered a trigger, substituting a ‘healthy’ option for what you really want. However, and I’m sure this isn’t the ED voice talking, deep fried takeaway chips make me feel crap and genuinely aren’t nice/flavoursome enough to me to be worth it, so I don’t know whether I did the wrong thing or not. For better or worse, I made a steak sandwich on sourdough bread, with scotch fillet steak, an egg, full fat (shock horror!) cheese, sweet potato fries and salad. And fuck, was it good. Good enough that I decided to go all out on dessert and have strawberries, blueberries, ice cream, real (not sugar free) chocolate topping and a smattering of M&Ms. And that was bloody good as well. So good, in fact, that it made me want more. So. Much. More.

I typed out all the food I ate here, then decided it might be triggering for some. It was a decent amount, and it was all high calorie dessert type food, but I’ve certainly had much worse binges in the past. And, funny (not really) story – normally I make a cup of tea for the wife every night, and have a decaf or tea myself at the same time. When she got home, I was absolutely stuffed, but still wanted to have a hot chocolate with her tea so I had that, and also ate half a Kit Kat. Because, like, I knew I was extremely bloody full, but it was a limited edition Ruby Kit Kat which I hadn’t tried before and I just wanted it – but I really felt no urge to eat the whole thing. Even that, in itself, is progress – in the past I probably would have just eaten it all. And the Aero bar and the Cherry Ripe that were in the fridge with it.

So here I sit, a day later, reflecting on things. I’m putting this one down simply to the fact that I was sad and in pain, and I let myself obsess about food too long instead of accepting those feelings and letting them pass without acting on them. But having said that – I had a pretty decent night’s sleep and a good breakfast. I’m feeling a little heartburny, but not dreadfully so. Life will go on, these injuries will heal, and I will be a better, stronger person. Next time, I will do better.

 

 

 

02
Aug
2019

Another small step…..

I posted this on my Insta this morning, but as I’m trying to keep this blog kinda anonymous, I won’t link and will repost with a bit more detail here…

It may not be obvious but the difference in size and weight between these two bags is enormous.

I got the bag on the left in June 2017 in my Avatar Nutrition days. It’s an Innovator 500 by Six Pack Fitness. Let’s be prepared, I said. I loaded each compartment with different varieties of snacks, my own tea and coffee, protein powders and shakers, cutlery, as well as my standard lunch and the other foods I planned to eat for the day. I was gonna hit my macros come hell or high water!

I’ve been carrying this bag to work every day for two years. For the last few months or so I’ve not eaten anything out of it except my standard lunch. And it’s so big and unwieldy… I have to stop and wait for people in the hallway so I don’t bump into them with it, and given that I also carry a backpack with my laptop and other equipment in it, it’s a pain in the bum.

The stupid thing is, my lunch is only in it from the kitchen to the car, then the car to the fridge. I’m office bound most days, with access to a fridge, microwave, and a fair few shops within walking distance. So it’s completely unnecessary, but yaknow… habits.

Today I downsized and put my lunch into this smaller bag instead – it’s maybe a quarter of the size and weight. It might seem like a pretty minor thing, but this is another (small) step in the process to fixing my relationship with food. The smaller bag is so freeing – and ya know what? Food is just food. Meals don’t have to be perfect. If I’m hungry – I’ll go buy something. And in fact, I plan to – because shop bought sandwiches taste so much better than what I make at home, and actually, I might feel like a burger.

Don’t let food become a chain around your neck. Don’t let a fixation with your body size and shape ruin your life. I did, and I regret it so much. So many arguments at mealtimes, yelling at my wife and daughter because I was hangry, avoiding social and family events because the food didn’t suit me, or (worse) attending and starving myself because I refused to eat sausages because OMG SO MUCH FAT… or compulsively walking day in and day out to try and burn off the calories and make sure I stay lean.

It was a pale imitation of a life and it’s one that I refuse to live any more. Food is good. All of it. It’s there to be enjoyed. My body is the least interesting thing about me. It really is – and the benefits of eating enough food to fuel my body are evident in my energy levels, my gym performance, and my overall happiness.

That’s not to say I want to get fat again, or that I don’t care what I eat. And it’s true that I’m bigger than I want to be right now. But this is all part of the process of attaining balance in my life, and some sort of peace with food.

I refuse to diet again until I am confident I can do it without turning into a monster. Til then, I’ll just have to live with how I look. It’s really far less important than how I act and how I feel.

30
Jul
2019

Good and bad

I haven’t had a great couple of days, to be honest.

I had a birthday last week, and enjoyed some cake and slices and generally had a really good day.

But we’ve had a sick puppy on our hands, so a bit of extra stress and sleep deprivation has taken its toll – at least that’s my excuse. On Sunday night I fell into old habits and hit the dessert hard in front of the F1, and then followed that up with another giant feast on Monday.

I don’t really feel any guilt over it any more, which is good. On the contrary, I’ve been using the feasts as opportunities to conquer my fear foods. I can honestly say that I’m no longer scared of eating takeaway burgers, having had three (plus a few other takeaway meals) in the last week.

I’ve also started on the chocolate milk. On Sunday night (pre-dinner) I stared at it in the supermarket for ages; looked at the nutrition info on two or three types; put them all back and didn’t buy any. I feel as if that may have triggered my overeating later that night. But I actually had one yesterday during the binge, and another today, and have one more in the fridge for the next time I want it. Pretty soon I won’t be scared of this either. Chocolate bars are another that I’m starting to knock over. Enjoyed a double coat Cherry Ripe yesterday and ate half a Snickers before bed – honestly thought I’d be sick if I ate any more or I’d have finished it!

For funsies, here’s photos of some foods I’ve eaten today. Obviously this is not a balanced diet. But if it helps me normalise these foods in my stupid brain; it’s worth it.

Lunch – takeaway wrap and a takeaway chicken kebab. Yes, I did have some ‘safe’ foods with it still (salad and yoghurt/berries).

Snack – I’ve wanted to try one of these for ages. Verdict – overrated. I should have had actual chocolate milk.

More snacks. This chocolate milk is the shiznit. I know I shouldn’t look at the macros because it’s proper full fat milk. But damn it tastes good.

I ate the chocolate chip muffin with some proper (not low calorie) vanilla ice cream; proper chocolate topping and a hot decaf mocha. And by jingo, it was good.

So that’s been my day today. I haven’t binged and have eaten unrestricted; no doubt I was in a calorie surplus but I’m feeling comfortably satisfied. Let’s hope tomorrow is another day like this one.

 

24
Jul
2019

Recovery Progress Update

I feel like most of my posts lately have been fairly negative reports about what I have been calling binges (but are really extreme hunger). Today I received a nice email from J who has been reading my posts here, and while it was kinda nice to know that other people are reading and finding it helpful (thanks, J!) it reminded me that this is also supposed to be some sort of record of how I’m going, not just a neverending catalogue of my eating habits.

So, it’s time for a review of my symptoms and where I’m at with addressing them.

  • As noted, I don’t track or weigh my food at all any more. I don’t obsess about perfect macros, I still try to get 30g of protein in every meal particularly after a training session, but really – close enough is good enough. A decent helping of meat and maybe some yoghurt or eggs if I’m in doubt, and everything is happy.
  • I don’t look at nutrition labels very much these days. Every now and again I do, mostly just for interest’s sake, but it’s not usually a compulsion. Although I did look at the label on an AMAZING cookie I ate the other day… AFTER I’d eaten it. And since then I have been scared to buy that cookie again, even though it was so darn good – so clearly I still have some work to do here. But that being said, I can eat out at a restaurant without fear or favour these days. I even had a burger and chips the other night, and enjoyed them with no guilt.
  • I am getting better at not restricting food all day, most definitely. I have been working with a dietician who has really drummed into me that I need to eat every 2-3 hours whether I’m hungry or not, and sticking to this has really helped me become far less food focussed. Also, and this should be common sense, but I’ve realised that if I’m not starving at dinner time, I’m in a far better mood to be spending time with my family, and I’m far less likely to want to eat a half a dozen servings of dessert afterwards. Which is great, because it leaves me time to spend on other, productive habits. So, my suppers these days tend to be very small, if anything at all – and I think that cutting back on that evening splurge, as well as moving to lifting in the morning again, has really helped me sleep better too so it’s a win all round.
  • Refusal to eat non-healthy food? Nup, nada. I still try to eat ‘clean’ 80% of the time (because there’s nothing wrong with caring about your health) but I can’t remember a single day when I haven’t had some kind of chocolate, cake or biscuit in the past couple of months. And that’s kinda taken care of the fear of excess carbs/fat as well…..
  • Multiple trips to the supermarket every week? Rarely happens. I make do with what’s in the fridge or in the cupboard, and quite often if I can’t be bothered making lunch I’ll go to the bakery (or the takeaway) and buy a bloody sandwich. Imagine that!
  • Seasoning foods? I don’t do it anywhere near as much now – half the time I don’t bother, if a food isn’t tasty enough to eat without seasoning then perhaps I shouldn’t be eating it? But yaknow… chips need salt, salad needs mayo, and I even had sweet chilli sauce on my noodles last night. 3 months ago that would have been unthinkable because OH, the CAARRBS! The SUGAR! I do still use 99% fat free dressings, and having been watching a lot of Megsy Recovery lately, it’s reminded me that this is something I need to address. Same as my fat free yoghurt obsession.
  • Microwaving tea and coffees? Nup. Nada. Can’t remember the last time I did it. Although I do occasionally now make a frothy coffee, with lots of milk, and I do warm that up first. Because it’s the closest thing to a latte that I can make at home.
  • Bullguarding food? No, not really. I do still get a bit moody at mealtimes if I’m super hungry – but mostly I combat this by trying to never let my hunger get below about a 3 on the hunger scale.
  • Craving carbs? Well yeah… as I’ve posted many times, my extreme hunger almost always involves some carb heavy food. But the erythritol out of the packet thing… nope. When I committed to gaining weight, I completely dropped artificial sweeteners from my drinks and went back to beautiful, lovely, sweet tasting raw sugar. I might have used erythritol or stevia two or three times in the past few months, the thought barely crosses my mind.
  • Compulsions to move? Well no, not really. I still like to have a bit of a walk after lunch, but I don’t do it if I don’t feel like it, or the weather’s bad, or if I have lots of work to do. Since taking the Fitbit off I’ve felt the most free I’ve felt in a long time. I still get into the gym and lift weights – lots – but that’s something I enjoy even when I don’t feel like it.
  • I’ve cut back on supplements a lot. Nowadays I’m down to 3 that I take regularly (creatine, vitamin D, and digestive enzymes) as well as a few actual medications. Most of the others are still in my stash but just get ignored.
  • My bladder has been much improved since I gained weight and stopped drinking so much black coffee.
  • I’m still a bit obsessed with gut health – partly because of the huge quantities of food I’ve been slamming at times, I feel like making sure my digestive system can handle it is probably not an awful issue to have right now.
  • Extreme hunger – if you read this blog at all you know it’s still an issue. But I’m coming to terms with it.

After throwing this post together in a bit of a hurry, I feel like there’s far more positive things going on than negative, even if I still feel out of control around food at times. Things to focus on are finding better ways to deal with stress than eating (last week was… very bad in this respect) and making sure I don’t restrict. At all. Just eat when hungry and move on with life. And there are fear foods I need to work on. Chocolate milk is a classic that I haven’t mastered yet. But I will get there.

Lots of positive things going on in my life outside of the food world. Work is going fairly well, and I feel more productive than I have in a long time. We have a beautiful new puppy at home, and I just signed a contract to build a new gym in our backyard – soon I will have a lot more space for my man cave. It’s my birthday later this week, and we have some fun stuff planned including a nice night out and meal with the family.

Life is good.

21
May
2019

Exercising in recovery

As noted in my list of symptoms one of my issues is compulsive movement. Mostly, it’s the fact that I wear a Fitbit and enjoy challenging myself to hit 250 steps every hour and 10k steps every day. However, if I can’t hit these targets it often causes anxiety. Even trying to sit still for 90 minutes to watch a movie can be difficult.

However in addition to this, I really like to lift weights. I’ve been doing this since midway through my big dieting phase a few years ago (the thing that started all this!) and it could probably be argued that I’m a bit compulsive about this too. I enjoy training hard, I pretty much never miss a session, and I have been known to use it as punishment (after overeating) or as a reason to eat more (as in hey, if I train, I deserve more food). The last two are problematic, because I don’t deserve punishment for giving into hunger and I certainly don’t need a reason or justification for eating until I am satisfied, that’s just a basic human need whether I’ve lifted weights or not!

I’ve digested so much ED material over the past year or so and much of it seems to suggest that during recovery we should just eat and rest – exercise of any sort is a bad idea. I’ve never quite been able to accept this, to be honest and it’s been a bit of a source of guilt. I know that my walking is definitely a problem, but the lifting, I think in most cases, is generally OK except in the cases I mentioned above – and in fact I think more often than not it is really beneficial for my mental health. I need the time out in my gym, away from the hustle and bustle of day to day life – getting under the bar and lifting some heavy ass weights seems to clear my mind better than almost anything else I’ve tried.

Thankfully, it seems like not all experts think exercise should be completely cut out, and I was pleased to have my own biases confirmed when I read this article by Emily Troscianko  earlier in the week. And this week, I’ve also confirmed to myself that the lifting is really a minor issue (if it is one at all). Due to some work commitments this week I’d planned a lighter week in my lifting, and often times in the past when I’ve tried to deload I’ve found myself just going hard anyway. But this weekend just gone I had two days out of the gym without guilt, have done a couple of light sessions since then, and will be heading interstate for a conference tomorrow (and a couple more gym-free days) with zero guilt as well. I feel like I’ve got some perspective on things.

On the walking front, well there’s progress there as well. I haven’t hit 10k steps quite a few days this week, and I’ve been quite chillaxed about it. It only really took a few days at work in meetings and stuff (which meant I was unavoidably low on activity) to realise that the sky wasn’t going to fall in if I didn’t do it. I just haven’t quite got around to removing the Fitbit yet, but come to think of it, since this conference means hours of sitting inactive in a function room, now is probably a good time to challenge myself so tonight I’ve pulled my old watch out of the drawer and I fully intend to wear it tomorrow instead of the Fitbit.

I still genuinely believe that a ten minute walk after every meal is useful for digestion and overall health (both mental and physical) – I don’t think that’s my ED voice talking, as in my head the post meal walks have nothing to do with weight management (it’s my overall activity levels that do that). I’d also like to make sure I don’t become deskbound all day at work, again just for general health. But it should be quite easy to do those things without relying on external cues to do it – if that means less anxiety (and being better in touch with my body) then that sounds like a win-win to me.

 

13
May
2019

Progress – Macro Tracking And Food Weighing

As mentioned in my List of ED symptoms post, for many years I had been obsessively tracking calories/macros using MyFitnessPal, obsessively weighing food wherever possible, and planning my nutrition to a T. Ostensibly this was to ensure that my diet was on point and optimised for whatever my goal was at the time (whether that was fat loss or muscle gain). There were a heap of food rules around this, such as:

  • Making sure overall daily calories weren’t too excessive, so that I could eat a large enough meal at dinner time and before bed to feel at least somewhat satiated
  • Ensuring that every meal contained at least 30g of protein (but not too much!) to ensure maximum muscle protein synthesis
  • Attempting to spread those protein feedings over at least 4-5 meals a day
  • Trying to keep carbs a little higher pre and post training sessions; and keep them lower at other times of the day, particularly on days I knew I’d be more sedentary
  • To keep fats down as low as possible – especially if I knew the family dinner (the one meal I don’t really have complete control over) was going to be higher in fats/calories

I ate like this for three years solid, with only a couple of very short breaks of 1-2 weeks at a time  when the family were away on holidays and it was difficult to sustain. The end result was that I felt constantly hungry, grumpy, exhausted and sore. Even when trying to ‘bulk’ I almost never ate enough, because I was so fearful of gaming fat, so aside from one short period where I was letting Avatar Nutrition set my macros, my metabolism almost never normalised and I was constantly in energy deficit.

If I was forced to eat food I hadn’t prepared, this would cause me great anxiety. Going out for a meal was a nightmare – I’d always want to know where we were going in advance, so that I could spend hours poring over the menu and trying to figure out what to have. And since most restaurants around here don’t publish nutritional information it also meant spending ridiculous amounts of time looking through MyFitnessPal’s database comparing similar meals to try and estimate what the macros would be, and planning the rest of the day’s meals to try and compensate for the restaurant meal inevitably being more calorie dense than usual.

Don’t even get me started on Christmas dinners and work functions and any other occasion where I had to try and wing it. I actively tried to avoid most of these, with a fair amount of success. But when I couldn’t, they were a major mindfuck, and inevitably I either ate nothing, or ate too much (in my head), felt guilty and compensated by going walking for long periods and/or restricting subsequent meals.

This was probably one of the most stressful parts of my eating disorder, and I am so glad to be able to write about it in the past tense. I used to tell myself that I’m a numbers guy, and I enjoy having good data on the foods I’m consuming, but in reality it was a massive life thief (to steal a phrase from Christy Harrison) – I know some people have success with it (and I did too, to begin with) but with my tendencies towards obsessiveness and OCD type behaviours, it wasn’t good for me in the long term.

The story of how I gave it up is straightforward. I started experiencing more and more regular episodes of binge eating (and I tracked those binges in MyFitnessPal as best I could) and I eventually recognised that the obsessive tracking and controlling was probably a contributing factor. So to start with, I stopped tracking carbs and fats and just attempted to track protein. That didn’t help much, so on Feb 1st 2019 after another late night biscuit and cereal rampage I decided just to stop tracking and weighing and just try to eat mindfully in an attempt to stop the binges. It didn’t work, and I still experienced (and gave in to) extreme hunger many times afterwards, but I just never went back to tracking.

I was so proud of my record with tracking that I continued to login to the MyFitnessPal app and website daily to keep my ‘streak’ going (their system tells you how many consecutive days you’ve used it in an effort to encourage consistency). The last time I checked it was at 1200 plus days, but then in mid May 2019 I realised I’d forgotten to do it and I logged in to discover my streak had been reset. I thought this would bother me, but it really didn’t. So I took the opportunity to delete the app from my phone and cancel my premium subscription, and can’t see myself ever going back.

On a related note, in early May I started using another app to track food called ‘Ate‘. This might seem a bit strange, after everything I’ve just written, but the process and purpose is completely different. It is simply a food journal, where I take a photo of the meal and ask myself some questions about the circumstances of the meal as well as how I feel pre and post eating. It encourages mindfulness and has been really helpful in learning how to eat like a human again – after so many years of ‘eating by numbers’ I’d completely lost touch with my body’s hunger and satiety signals. In my efforts to eat ‘clean’ all the time, I’d also largely forgotten which foods that I really enjoyed and didn’t, and which foods made me feel good and bad.

12
May
2019

The voice has a name

Don’t all the best ideas come to us in the bathroom?

In an earlier post today I suggested that I should give my ED voice a name, then as I was drying off after my shower it came to me:

My ED Voice.

M.E.D.V.

Medvedev.

Dmitry.

Its name is Dmitry.

Not a reflection on the man himself, you understand, I know nothing of his politics or character, but now whenever that voice pops into my head telling me things that I don’t need to hear, I can just say ‘shut up Dmitry’. For added effect, I could say it in a terrible Russian accent and/or picture myself punching him in the face.

And then of course, I need to do exactly the opposite of what he’s telling me to do.

 

12
May
2019

A list of my ED symptoms

Below I’ve listed some of the behaviours and signs that I felt were symptomatic of a full blown eating disorder. Over time I’ll try and expand a little more on what I mean by each one, in case a one line summary isn’t clear enough.

I originally started writing this list in August 2018 but never published it. At the time of writing this post (May 2019) it’s nice to be able to look down this list and realise that I’ve made heaps of progress in reducing and in some cases completely eliminating these things from my life. In these cases, I’ll try to create separate posts to explain how I came to fix these issues as time permits.

Update 24th July 2019: I’ve done another review of these symptoms and many of them are gone or greatly reduced. I posted about it here.

  • Overly obsessive about tracking and weighing – even weighing things like salad greens. I am completely free of this now, see my progress post!
  • Overly obsessive about the ‘perfect’ macros. Getting 30ish grams of protein every meal etc. Also gone, see my progress post!
  • Obsessively looking at nutrition labels when shopping. Mostly gone, see my progress post!
  • Anxiety when forced to eat anything without a nutrition label – to the point of avoiding family occasions and eating out, and taking over virtually all the cooking at home. This is totally gone now, and I just don’t care any more – see my progress post!
  • Restricting food all day in order to hoard macros for an evening feast. Progress here – see my progress post!
  • A ‘scarcity mindset’ – going to the supermarket multiple times per week to ensure all the staples are always available to make the ‘perfect’ meal with the right macronutrient breakdown. See https://tabithafarrar.com/2018/05/brain-malnutrition-scarcity-mode/ I’ve made progress here too – see my progress post!
  • Refusal to eat certain types of foods that aren’t ‘healthy’. No chocolate, no regular (high fat/carb) ice cream, very little cheese (or any full fat/high carb dairy), no pastries, very few biscuits/cakes, etc. Good progress – see my progress post!
  • Fear of excess carbohydrate/fat – to the point where I was generally eating under 40g fat per day, and sometimes under 30g. Tried to eat low carb whenever I didn’t feel like I was active enough. Also good progress – see my progress post!
  • Seasoning all my meals like mad to try and make things tasty. Pepper, salt, low calorie sauces like sriracha / Walden Farms, mustard etc. Tick this one off – see my progress post!
  • Microwaving teas and coffees right after making them so that they’re nuclear level hot – to try and make them last longer so I enjoyed them more. Tick this one off too – see my progress post!
  • Very moody especially around meal times if I wasn’t left alone to eat. ‘Bullguarding’ food. Not so much now – see my progress post!
  • Started craving carbs (especially stuff like breakfast cereal and sweet stuff like sugar) really badly particularly after I started on TRT. Would eat some erythritol straight out of the packet every time I made a hot drink. Still love the carbs – but think that’s normal – see my progress post!
  • Compulsions to move. Getting anxious when not hitting at least 250 steps/hr and 10k steps/day – to the point of walking round the room in the middle of meals, or tapping my thigh to get step counts up. Almost gone – see my progress post!
  • Walking after every meal; which is not in and of itself a bad thing (in my opinion) but getting anxious about it when the weather is bad or I’m otherwise unable to go for a walk immediately after eating is disordered. Good progress – now I walk for joy, not because I feel compelled – see my progress post!
  • Over reliance on supplements. Creatine, whey protein, casein protein, vitamin D, BCAAs, Ashwaghanda, ZMA, Pre-Workout, and others at various times. I still take supps but not so many – see my progress post!
  • Over reliance on caffeine especially as an appetite suppressant. Drank a lot of black coffee – which I don’t dislike – but it was one of the causes of major bladder flare ups. Good progress – see my progress post!
  • Obsession with gut health. Started consuming lots of different stuff for this – regularly drinking kombucha, apple cider vinegar, and eating sauerkraut, kimchi and those type of foods. Still there, but I don’t consider this a major concern at this point – see my progress post!
  • Binge eating! Although most ED recovery resources would call this ‘extreme hunger’. This didn’t start until I allowed myself to eat more, and my metabolism improved a bit, then the floodgates opened and things got worse before they improved. They’re still happening, but less frequently now, and I’m logging them to identify triggers.
12
May
2019

The Association Between Food and Movement

So today I lifted weights again, for the fourth day in a row. I’m pretty sore, and really wasn’t super keen to train, but I’m planning to deload next week so I want to really put in a big effort this week and get as much stimulus to build muscle as I can while I’m eating in a surplus.

At least, that’s the sensible part of my brain talking.

Underlying that (relatively) sensible thought, was my ED voice. (Sidebar: maybe I should give that voice a name – I’ve heard of others doing this and I think it’s a technique used in CBT). Anyway, the ED voice was saying something a little more irrational. At breakfast, it was something like ‘if you train, you can eat a bigger breakfast, because you’ll burn off those carbs’. So I ate two extra pieces of toast at breakfast.

It also had a followup, which was something like ‘you have a 300 gram rump steak in the fridge for dinner tonight. If you don’t train, then it would be such a waste of all that protein and you will probably just get fatter!’ – I always feel like I have to ‘earn’ my food. This is so fucking irrational. I need to eat. I deserve to eat. I don’t have to bloody well earn it. It’s something I NEED to do no matter whether I train or not.

This association between food and movement is an ED hallmark, for me I have a bit of a double whammy in that not only do I have lifting (which is really important to me, as I still have aspirations of looking somewhat muscled at least once in my life) but I also have the Fitbit giving me anxiety around whether I achieve 250 steps every hour and 10k steps every day. The latter is less of an issue these days – honestly, I could probably take the Fitbit off, if I wanted to – I’ve had many occasions lately where work or other commitments have prevented me from getting up and moving and the anxiety about that is significantly less these days. But I do still believe there are legitimate health benefits to taking a 10 minute walk after every meal in terms of digestion, blood sugar regulation, and those sorts of things, as well as just a chance to get some alone time with one’s own thoughts. So even if I didn’t wear it, I think I’d probably still try to do those little walks when I could.