How an Ex-Binge Eater Survives the Holidays

Hey I’m an reformed binge-eater!  Did you know that?  Now you do.  Want to know how I don’t binge during the holidays?  Well let me tell you a secret, I totally do binge.  Thanksgiving was last week.  The day before Thanksgiving I weighed the lowest I have since I rowed for UT.  Part of me was like “well, might as well not eat Thanksgiving dinner or I’ll ruin it”.  But the other part of me was like “NO, this is life and Thanksgiving only comes once a year and I’m going to enjoy it”.  So there’s that.  I went to my grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving with my cousins and handsome fella.  Not only did I eat a plate full of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, hashbrown casserole, creamed corn, and rolls, but I went back for seconds (and a little bit of thirds).  Oh and I had fudge, cupcakes, and cheesecake for dessert.  Did I feel heavy and stuffed afterwards?  You bet your bottom dollar I did.  Did I feel guilty afterwards?  Nope, not a lick.    And you know what?  I lived.

my cousins are finally taller than me.

my cousins are finally taller than me.

I left feeling oversatisfied.  Technically dinner was a binge because I basically ate way past satisfaction and I ate in an uncontrollable manner.  But there was no guilt there because I really felt Thanksgiving Day was a day to indulge.  I saw lots of people on Instagram posting “healthy” concoctions of their meals and I’m not knocking that at all since staying on track takes a lot of willpower but I just went big and didn’t even care.

Although I didn’t feel bad on Thanksgiving Day for what I ate (or even the day after), I still chose to eat poorly in the days following including a Friday outing to a Mexican restaurant and a Saturday night date starting with REAL hot cocoa at a friend’s house followed by dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.   123cheesecake

homemade cocoa in an oversized cup?  yes, please.

homemade cocoa in an oversized cup? yes, please.

But today is a new day and my Momma and I were up this morning hitting the gym for a class called Pure Muscle.   Hopefully I did work my muscles because my arms are still hurting.  I ran another timed mile like I have done for the past 2 Mondays and today’s was in 9:07 which makes it 20 seconds faster than the first one I did two weeks ago.  I’m loving that Monday mile.  Tonight I’m heading back to the gym for spin class with the Biggest Winner team.  I love watching them step out of their comfort zones and I love helping my Momma.

Pure Muscle class.

Pure Muscle class.

So, while I chose to “binge” on Thanksgiving Day and eat whatever I wanted in unlimited amounts, I did not feel guilty.  That is a huge step because I spent months in therapy focused on the emotion of guilt related to eating.  Not feeling guilty is a major step in recovery.  The only thing I failed at was continuing to eat poorly in the days following.  My body felt heavy, my clothes fit tighter, and a few tears may have been shed yesterday but recognizing that it’s okay and to move on is a good realization.  Christmas is around the corner and of course I will indulge in the usual holiday treats but I’m going to work extra hard to not take home leftovers and to make sure the “bad” eating stays at the party and that the next day I get right back on track.  I lived through one holiday and I know I can live through another.  Being mindful that it is a holiday (one day) and not a month-long or even week-long thing will really help me come Christmas.  Bring it on!

How do you deal with food during the holiday season?  What did your Thanksgiving meal consist of?

Runner’s Picnic

Every year, our local track club hosts a big shindig for our club members and it serves as a way to socialize with fellow runners as well as recognize some people who have volunteered several times throughout the year.  While this is an annual tradition, this was my first year going.  My boyfriend and I had planned on taking advantage of the amazing food catered by Chandler’s Deli (read: soul food)but didn’t want to go by ourselves so after a quick convo with Brittney  I talked her into coming too.  I told her about the heavenly food they would have and we both decided to get in a workout before going to the picnic.  Turns out that was a fantastic idea.  The picnic was the at Knoxville Botanical Gardens which was a gorgeous location but was smack dab in the ghetto.  Needless to say we locked our doors on the drive there.

After setting up camp with some bag chairs, we got a massive plate of food.  Wait, massive is an understatement.  The fixings included fried chicken, fried catfish, mac n’ cheese, green beans, and rolls.  I racked up and didn’t feel an ounce of guilt about it.  The entire affair was very casual and informal.

eat all the food.

eat all the food.

We don’t really know very many people in the track club so we mostly kept to ourselves but it was great to catch up with Brittney and chat about dream vacations, running plans, and future teaching careers.

so happy to have food!

so happy to have food!

Brittney with chicken the size of her face!

Brittney with chicken the size of her face!

We enjoyed some fantastic food and great conversation.  Since I volunteered more than 20 times with the track club this past year, I was rewarded with a KTC tshirt, polo, and amazing fleece line rain jacket.  I can’t wait for winter so I can wear my awesome new rain jacket.  It was a great night and I’m so glad we got to go enjoy good company and good food.

twinning.  don't judge.

twinning. don’t judge.

Overeating vs. Under-eating

I’ve touched on the topic of my eating disorder before, but haven’t done the best at writing about my therapy sessions and my ongoing struggles with food.  I did awesome during the month of June with working out and eating a mostly balanced diet.  There were times when I would splurge on a milkshake every now and then and I would still eat at a restaurant on date night, but I never ate bad food with a binge mentality.  I ate it, it was good, I worked out the next morning, no big deal.  I didn’t sit and think about the food and crave the food and feel out of control while eating.  If you have ever experienced binge eating or had a binge problem then you can relate to the difference between a binge and overeating.

It is summer, I’ve overate quite a few times but haven’t ragged on myself about it and I’m looking pretty good in photos and my clothes fit nicely so I’m not over the top worried about it.  I would never pass up a s’more.  Yesterday morning I was running stadiums at the track to “warm up” before taking a yoga class and my stomach got the best of me, causing me to leave a nice present on the bleachers.  It was slightly scary, but I knew it was a result of eating chips and Oreos the night before.  I realized it was a result of overeating and trying to compensate with exercise.  Bad combination, for sure.  smore

I’m not sure if getting sick caused me to not feel hungry all day yesterday or if my body was still full from a weekend of bad eating, but I was not hungry at all yesterday.  I felt fine and did not think that much about it.  After looking back at what little I had to eat yesterday, I can only count about 750 calories that I consumed if even that.  Plus I ran in the morning, did a yoga class, and did 2 miles later in the afternoon.

For breakfast this morning I made some whole grain toast with sugar free jelly, a turkey sausage patty, and some scrambled eggs.  My body wasn’t full on starving, but it was definitely growling from the instant I woke up.  My lovely friend Yvonne texted me to see if I was up for a longer morning walk.  I haven’t walked with her since starting summer school and I wouldn’t turn down the chance to exercise.  breakfast

We went a little later in the morning due to time constraints but I was excited since higher temps equals more sweat.  We all know I love a good sweat.  The day was perfect.  We walked down Little Chestnut Hill then back up Big Chestnut Hill before hitting the trail.  Walking always goes by much faster when you have a friend to talk with.  At the end of the bike trail, we stopped at a local store to use the bathroom and get some water from the fountain. My mouth was parched!  We were about a half a mile away from her house when I started to feel light headed.  The asphalt seemed to spin and I couldn’t even focus.  I didn’t say anything to Yvonne until we headed up Little Chestnut and I thought I was going to pass out.  I started telling her that I needed water and something sugary.  At the top of the hill, the heat, the lack of calories, and dehydration sat in and I had to lay down in the road.  I couldn’t stand and my ears were ringing.  I asked if she could run to the house and get something to drink or something to eat for me.  I laid down for what felt like forever before finally feeling slightly better (and embarrassed) and I slowly got up to go back to Yvonne’s house.  She was jumping in the car as I hit the driveway and she gave me a huge jug of water and a hot biscuit.  I never felt so relieved to have air conditioning and to eat and drink in my life.

I was still slightly light headed once I got back home, but not near as bad as I was on the road.  Looking back, I can’t pinpoint if it was the heat/humidity, dehydration, or under-eating, but it was a scary experience and a valuable lesson.  Even though I had a somewhat large breakfast, I still did not consume near enough calories yesterday and even if under-eating wasn’t today’s issue, it is still dangerous.  Like I said, under-eating may have not even been the issue, but this episode certainly made me stop and think about the hazards of not eating enough.

must. eat. food.

must. eat. food.

From now on I will not make the mistake of not eating enough even if it means eating when I’m not hungry.  This week has taught me the consequences of overeating as well as the negative effects of not consuming enough.  Also, for me, using exercise to overcompensate for eating badly or eating too much is not a good idea.  Everyone is different and only you know your body, but both types of eating can be hazardous to us.  Balance is always best.

Have you ever experienced negative effects of either overeating or under-eating?  Have you ever nearly passed out during a run or walk?  What is your favorite thing to refuel with after exercise?