Disorderly Eating

eating_disorder_triathlon_athletesYesterday morning I was perusing through Twitter when I cam across Lindsay’s Tweet that said Running On Empty and it had a link.  Being ever so curious and knowing Lindsay’s posts are informative about nutrition I couldn’t wait to read.  I must have ignored the fact that it came from Runner’s World.

What I read left me thinking and scratching my head.  This wasn’t an article about how to run while your glycogen stores were depleted.  This wasn’t about how to convert fat to energy and train your body to do so efficiently.  No this article was about the obsessive mentality of weight and running.  We have all read about how we are faster when we are lighter.  We pay attention to what we eat, sometimes to when we eat and even more so for some how much we eat.

I am not a calorie counter.  I tried it for a few days and it didn’t work for me.  Hated the time it took to look up food and get the numbers.  Plus I was thinking to myself what is the point?  Just step on the scale and see what happened then adjust from there.

I have tried food logs and until this very week I have been terrible at it.  This week I am keeping a food log so that I can display on my Frugal Grocer post what I bought and what I made.

What I did do and continue to do is get on the scale.  I don’t get on the scale once a day.  I get on the scale multiple times a day.  I am obsessed with changes in my weight and what causes them.  Sometimes to the point of ridiculous and I have to laugh at myself.  I can tell you that my clothes (jeans, t-shirts, socks) weigh approximately 3.4 pounds.  If I wear sneakers on the scale too you can make that 5 lbs.  I started to figure out the weight of my clothes because if I forgot to weight myself in the morning I was not going to strip all the way down…..call me lazy but doing the math was easier.

Now I tend to fluctuate in a 3 lb range (144-147 lbs) unless I am one month out from a race.  For a race I want to weigh approximately 140 lbs.  That has become a magical number for me because I always feel my strongest at that weight and have seen my performance peak at that weight.  Approximately 4 weeks out from a race I can be seen weighing ~145 lbs and this is on purpose.  I know I can lose 1 lb per week leading up to a race without any decrease in my ability. Losing 1 pound is a matter of math and removal of the emotion. I say it is a matter of math because it comes down to a deficit of 500 calories per day.  Over the course of a week that is 3500 calories or 1 lb.

What I don’t do is beat myself up if at the end of the week I am not down a full pound.  These things happen and I just need to focus more on my hunger queues and make smarter decisions.  Last week there were 3 Vegan cupcakes left on the counter (I am less than a month out from 70.3 San Juan) and I was hungry.  I ate one and it was so good that I ate another, then I ate the last.  Yup, all 3 in one sitting.  Did I feel guilty and beat myself up over that?  Nope, I just said to myself…..’Self, there are no more cupcakes so no more temptation.  Good job at getting rid of those tempting treats and now tomorrow do better.’  I have done better and on Wednesday morning when I weighed myself I was at 143.4 pounds.  3.4 pounds to lose in 25 days or a little over three weeks.

There will be people who read this post and say that I obsess too much over my weight and knowing what my clothes weigh is a sign of that. Maybe they are right, but what I know about myself is that I don’t eat to eat nor do I starve myself. I don’t count calories and I have a healthy relationship with food.
I enjoy cooking and eating, as evidenced by the title of the blog. I get in the kitchen and I sample as I cook. I make sure that it tastes good and then I eat it. What I don’t do is eat with excuses. I don’t say only this once or never again because I don’t restrict myself. I focus on my body telling me its hungry rather than the emotion telling me its hungry.

As a matter of fact the article has a link to a quiz to test your relationship with food. I answered True to only 1 question on this quiz and that told me that I enjoy eating balanced, healthy meals and don’t sweat the occasional splurges.

When you read this article I think you can see the difference between disorderly eating and what I do. This article points out compulsive workouts and well because of my OCD I only do what coach prescribes. I hired her to do a job because she can do it better than I can and I will leave that to the experts. My training year is planned out and we follow along and make adjustments as needed but otherwise when I get my schedule on Saturday night I stick to it.


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  1. Jen says:

    I couldn’t access the link for some reason but I will tell you, that I’m *finally* kinda finding a normal relationship with food.

    I will always have to be aware of what and why I am eating because in the past I have self-soothed, medicated and used food for comfort. While I strive to be normal and balanced I know that I always have the potential to abuse it. I have been a food binger and a food restricter.

    Running has helped me to find balance with everything in my life, including my relationship with food.

    I try to no longer tie so much emotion to it “I’m good if I ate healthy” or “I’m bad if i ate a cookie” – the guilt can really undo you.

    Thanks for an interesting post!
    Jen recently posted..Saying goodbye to your toxic friendsMy Profile

  2. BDD says:

    Probably the biggest thing I hear from endurance athletes regarding this is “I train so hard, yet I am gaining weight, I thought I would lose weight” It all come down to what they chose to eat and how much. Alot of articles and info out there, but one would think this shouldnt be that complicated

    • CTER says:

      You would think but it is amazing that people just don’t pay attention to what goes in. And really by how much, plus I think the focus on all things protein affects people as well.

      I am not a huge believer in the all things protein and so I don’t worry about that as much as the marketing would lead you to believe you should be worried about.
      CTER recently posted..Disorderly EatingMy Profile

  3. lindsay says:

    i scored the same as you. Although i can definitely relate to the article, i think that comes with the territory though. So we must let our minds focus on good food and well being, not calories, pounds, and a number. Well said Jason!
    lindsay recently posted..Sorry or Not?My Profile

  4. I teach you about the Batcave you teach me about the net weight of my daily outfit. Symbiotic relationship.

    I honestly don’t think weighing yourself multiple times is obsessive when you are looking for data to analyze, which you are. I get it.
    Patrick Mahoney recently posted..Stuff That’s Been Working For MeMy Profile

  5. Maria Simone says:

    I read this article from Runner’s World – and your blog post about it – with great interest. I have had a troubled relationship with weight, body image, and eating since I was about 12. No need to go into all the details, but I have fallen prey to quite a few of these disordered eating patterns throughout the years – and I still catch myself from time to time. The best way to combat that is to be aware of it and not let myself fall into it. For other athletes like me, I think these articles are important to focus our attention on good nutrition and healthy attitudes toward food and the body.

    While not everything in the article was necessarily a sign of disordered eating – by itself (i.e., weighing yourself) – there is a pattern of behavior that can get an athlete into trouble. For e.g., I weigh myself several times a day – like you. I tend to obsess over the timing of eating certain foods. I berate myself if I “cheat.” I have a distorted body image. and so on…

    I think it’s important to spend time discussing these issues because it’s easy for some of us to fall into bad patterns – whether that means eating too much, too little, or in some other disordered pattern. When I read something like this, I know I’m not alone, and that this is one of those things I have to work on – just like being a faster runner and triathlete.

    thanks for sharing.
    Maria Simone recently posted..I’m ready to raceMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      Maria –

      Thank you for reading and your thoughtful comment (as usual.)

      It is true in that we are a community and need to help each other out, even if that means that we let each other know that they are not alone.

      We are fiercely competitive but the overall health is far more important than a finishing time and we can help others that may suffer from these issues by bringing light to them.
      CTER recently posted..Disorderly EatingMy Profile

  6. katie says:

    Oooh…I tried the food logging, and it created some pretty serious disordered habits around eating. Even when I stopped logging, they lingered for a few days. So I’m all about doing it for information, but for a limited time, because it really can go down a bad road.

    Eat those cupcakes!
    katie recently posted..random friday factsMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      I noticed that when I did a few days of calorie counting I wound up beating myself up if I went over even though I worked out for 5 hours. Or if I fell short I would eat to just get there. It was ridiculous.

      The food log was sort of the same way but now I’m more interested in showing people that you can make amazing meals on a frugal budget and so it is more about showcasing the meals than using it as a way to monitor my intake.
      CTER recently posted..Disorderly EatingMy Profile

  7. Kovas says:

    Sounds like it might be a bit obsessive. But maybe it’s focused. Who am I to say? :)
    Kovas recently posted..PinterestMy Profile

  8. Rose says:

    SUCH a good post! The unhealthy relationships with food that so many people have drives me insane!!! Also, it’s usually those with food issues who critique how much I train (that’s unhealthy) and having a coach (a bit extreme, right?). Ugh. Weight loss is alories in, calories out. Nutrition is the value of those calories. Efficiency in training often means having a coach. Great post!!!

  9. lindsay says:

    i have “room for improvement”. which i do agree, my diet has room for improvement. i’m playing my cards though and allowing myself to eat a bag of potato chips if i want to — i can’t run and my skin bothers me 24/7. so darn it if i want chips i am going to eat them. haha.
    lindsay recently posted..five for fridayMy Profile

  10. marlene says:

    It’s an ongoing learning process (and sometimes, battle) for me but I continue to work on it. I only answered yes to 2 questions on the quiz, so I think that is good!

    I have people (often non-athletes) “accuse” me of obsessing over diet/calories/weight sometimes. They don’t get it and that’s okay.
    marlene recently posted..When it doesn’t get betterMy Profile

  11. misszippy says:

    Hey–links are broken, fyi.

    I see quite a bit of disorderly eating among a couple of my running friends. It’s a shame. They both still perform well, but could probably enjoy life and maybe even do better, if they relaxed a bit. I don’t have that problem at all. I enjoy food, probably too much sometimes! But like you, I’ll never be a calorie counter or food logger. I don’t even get on the scale–my clothes tell me all I need to know!
    misszippy recently posted..The virtual run everyone should doMy Profile

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