Something that's been on my mind lately are weight and healthy eating. And while I've never had an eating disorder, I do struggle with body image. My weight has fluctuated a lot in the past 12 years, here are some of the memories that stick out the most to me...
I guess it all started (or came to a head) last week when a coworker Im friends with asked me how my training was going and then commented how I eat "so healthy." ugh. Not the first time this has happened in the lunch room. I never make comments about their choices of food- like "wow! Even if you can pronounce the chemicals in your frozen dinner, do you even know what they are and what health problems they cause?" this happens almost daily when I go sit in there. This week I decided to eat in my office because I like the quiet, no TV, no mindless chit chat and only my thoughts and the rumbling of the EL every once in a while to keep me company. I'm loving this.
This got me thinking about when I was in high school many moons ago and ran a couple of seasons of cross country. My weight was around 90-95 lbs, mainly because of good genes, super quick metabolism and of course, running. I got sick at lunch one day and when I went to the school nurse, she flat out asked me if I was anorexic or had some other eating disorder. I was even called back to the nurse a few weeks later only to be asked the same questions agin, which I might have answered rudely with something like "I run cross country- have you seen the other faster runners? I eat like a pig and my parents are pretty skinny too." **I have no desire to ever be this thin again. The health issues I faced which contributed to my numerous running injuries in such a short period of time have convinced me this is an unhealthy weight for me.**
Almost 5 years ago I was leaving a verbally/emotionally abusive relationship and was sick to my stomach with stress about what direction my life would take next. For about 2 months I didn't have an appetite, and mainly ate roasted veggie tacos... when I was hungry. I saw a photo of myself from this period of time and was shocked at how gaunt I looked.
After picking up the pieces of a shattered life, I put myself back together again and "fattened up." Then I found my old friend, running again. After 4 marathons in the past 2 years, I hadn't lost much, if any weight while training. I used the whole- "I just ran 17 miles, I can eat whatever I want" excuse which caused me to gain some weight (along with the much slower metabolism of a near 30 year old).
Now, while seriously attempting a BQ run in the fall, I'm being more diligent about indulging in food (less often) without denying myself proper nutrition so I can drop some lbs the healthy way. This means more veggies, lean meats and very few processed foods. It also means around 2 beers a week instead of the usual 4-6. And I'm starting to see and feel results.
The main problem I'm finding is that seeing results on the scale can be addictive- as well as the feeling of working out. Once I hit my goal weight in another 6-8 lbs, I will need to work harder to maintain that weight than the effort to lose it. And I have no doubt it will be a challenge. I can see how working out, eating very clean and losing weight along with seeing "the ideal" of very lean models in print and in TV can cause disordered eating.