It’s Been Over A Week!

It dawned on me last night that this blog has now been up for over a week. It’s only been about a week, but so much has changed it seems. Here’s a recap:

I have had two (small) binges during the week, one yesterday and one on Thursday (or was it Wednesday..?). I have discovered that when I go for long walks in the morning I start to crave sugar in the afternoon and find myself snacking uncontrollably. I have had to force myself to stop each time, but it was still a challenge.. though not as difficult. As for overeating, I’ve only done it a few times (maybe 3-4?) this past week, which is remarkable, because it’s usually during every meal.

I’ve discovered that by a) exercising for a good hour in the morning, b) not overeating, and c) working hard to control the binges, I have started to recognize some of my hunger cues and am starting to remember again what true hunger feels like. I have also improved a bit on being able to differentiate between being hungry and actually being thirsty. As for drinking water…. I still need some major improvement in that department. I am trying. I think part of my problem is I am cold 24/7 here in the winter (think of it as a damp cold with all the humidity we get from being on the coast) and the last thing I want to do is drink a glass of cold anything. Perhaps I should start drinking lots of tea again. I was on a bit of a tea kick last year around the holidays and loved it! Especially having green tea in the afternoons.

I’ve started wearing my FitBit again (if you are on there add me as a friend and we can compete in challenges with each other 🙂 ) during the day to track my steps and I have also been wearing it at night to monitor my sleep. I’ve forgotten how much I enjoyed using that device. Maybe later this year I will buy myself the wristband. I have the FitBit One that clips onto your waistband and I swear it’s going to pop out one day and I will lose it forever. I like using the FitBit though because it also tracks the number of floors you climb each day (which is great, because I live on a hill, surrounded by hills) and also reports back the number of calories you’ve burned each day. I don’t focus too hard on that number, but use it to guide me when I select meals each day.

Though I have been going for some long walks in the morning (~3 miles, ~1 hour), I have also tried to switch them into intervals of walking and running. The first day I tried this was Thursday and I did pretty good. I actually just went for two small sprints and my legs felt a little tired, but nothing too bad. On Friday I tried switching between walking and running and ended up having to stop because my shins started to hurt again. I am not sure if it was the running that did it or the running down a hill that did it. I am going to let my legs rest for a couple days and then try the intervals one more time on a flat (maybe softer.. so less impact?) surface and see how I do. I have to remember to be patient with myself though. That’s often the hardest part for me.

Earlier in the week I forgot to mention that I won a book in a contest on GoodReads! It’s called New Life, No Instructions: A Memoir and is written by Gail Caldwell. I am excited to read this book, because I think it will give me some insight and hope into new beginnings in life, especially those that come unexpectedly, with little warning, and no instructions. For those who know me personally, you’ll probably know what I’m referring to.

If you like reading books (or could live in a library like me), you should check on The FirstReads Giveaway Contests on GoodReads 🙂 Each morning I scroll through the newly listed contests and enter contests for the books that interest me the most. I also stay active on the website and use it to update my progress as I read books and keep track of previously read books. Ever so often I (sometimes a couple times a month or twice a week.. depending) I will win books. I always say it’s how I “support my (reading) habit”, otherwise I would go broke in a bookstore in under thirty minutes flat. The only catch is if you do win a book, it is highly requested (and recommended) that when you are finished you provide an honest review on the site 🙂

Finally, this week I finished reading A Life Apart by L. Y. Marlow. It was one of the books my sister sent me for Christmas and I absolutely loved it! It was one of those books that grabs your attention from the beginning and keeps it through the entire book. I also started reading Black Canyon by Jeremy Bates and hope to have that finished by mid week next week. Although I didn’t win the contest for Black Canyon, I did win a separate contest held by the author in which he was kind enough to send me an electronic copy of his book 🙂

You Have To Learn To Walk Before You Can Run

So.. yesterday and today were pretty interesting as far as exercising went. Both days I covered about 3 miles roundtrip and felt pretty good afterward, but could still feel my body craving more.

On Thursday I accompanied Fen on his walk to work. On the way to his work I sprinted a couple times to see how my legs, knees, and back would respond. I was expecting one of the three to start hurting due to previous injuries I’ve had, but I felt fine afterward, except for a little burn in my calves. I walked the rest of the way home, deciding not to push myself too hard and just enjoy being outside and active.

Today I dropped Fen off, came home, grabbed my earbuds, and headed back out. I took the same path and for about a mile of it I walked and ran in intervals. I would essentially walk for one street block, then run the next street block, then walk, etc. I found that after the third or fourth interval of running I was in a lot of pain. My shins started to feel like they were tearing (yet again) and my calves started to ache. So I walked the rest of the way there and back home again.

By the time I got home I was pretty disappointed. I recognize that I won’t go from couch to 5K in a week, but I am bummed that I am having so much trouble running! I don’t understand why my legs are having such a difficult time either. My legs have always been strong and I have been a hiker for years. I am starting to suspect that I may need to shed some weight before I can start running again. The other problem is there are hills everywhere in this town and it’s pretty difficult to find some flat terrain to start out on. I am thinking about looking for a track, maybe at the local high school, that I can use after hours to practice those intervals on. We’ll see.

Part of my frustration too comes from the fact that even though I can walk 3 miles up and down hill, it’s not enough for me. I come home and feel like I haven’t even burned through half of the stress from the previous day. I need more cardio and a more intense workout. I have considered a gym membership and maybe trying something like Zumba for the time being to help me get the cardio I am craving and also help me tone up and shed some of the weight.

On the way home today, I was thinking about my body and I had to remind myself that I need to be more patient. I really am not a patient person. I don’t think I ever have been. I always want to go from A-Z faster than is practical and then I get frustrated when I can’t.. but I really do need to be patient with myself, celebrate the small victories (I did after all cover 6 miles in the last two days, not to mention all of the other walking I’ve done), and set reasonable goals along the way.

While I was thinking about being patient, I was also thinking about my sister, who has always been a (natural) runner.. and I remembered something she told me a long time ago: You have to learn to walk before you can run. Now.. when she told me this, she was talking about something unrelated to exercising (I think it was my schoolwork), but it’s something I’ve held onto all these years and remind myself of often. So yes. Perhaps my body is telling me to become an even stronger walker before I can become a runner.

Stereotypes (and Misunderstandings) of Eating Disorders

The last week or so I have spent some time thinking about some of the stereotypes and perhaps misunderstandings that surround eating disorders. I think part of these thoughts have arisen from my own issues in admitting to others that I have an eating disorder.

First, let me say that it’s extremely weird to say that out loud, or even in my own head. It’s weird to think that I have an eating disorder, or to even type it here. Although I have never been officially diagnosed, nor have I ever sought diagnosis, I do exhibit all predefined symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder except for purging. Regardless, whether I have a clinical diagnosis or not, I do know from my own patterned behavior that my eating is disordered.

I remember the first time I thought to myself, “I might actually have an eating disorder”, I paused in reflection, only to look in the mirror and think to myself how absurd that sounds because I am not underweight, I am overweight. I suppose I always assumed that having an eating disorder meant you were malnourished and underweight, but I recognize now that isn’t always the case. In fact, in recent years a variety of different eating disorders have been newly recognized, to include Orthorexia and Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID.

This long-held assumption made it difficult for me to tell others about my issues and extremely difficult for me to even admit it publicly, through this blog, because I figured no one would believe me or take me seriously.

In talking to others about my experience and eating disorders in general, I also started to realize that some people tend to forget that even though it is an eating disorder it is still associated with mental health. In my case, food has become an addiction and a vice. I am addicted to it, because I use it to make me feel better about different things in my life. I am also addicted (in a different way, I think… and that will have to be addressed in a separate post) to certain foods, namely those high in sugar.

Addiction to food is a tricky thing. If one is addicted to cigarettes, the ultimate goal is to quit smoking them. If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, the ultimate goal is to quit using those substances. We can’t quit eating food though. It is a necessity. And I often find myself wishing I didn’t have to eat or think about or deal with food, because it would make things so much easier to manage. So instead of quitting the substance I am addicted to, I instead will have to find a way to live with it in some capacity that is healthy and not damaging to me.. and that is what I need to figure out how to do.

Only A Minor Setback..

Yesterday wasn’t the greatest day for me for a number of reasons. One of those reasons was me accidentally locking myself out of the apartment. I was doing laundry and had put a load in down in the laundry room and came back upstairs to grab a second load. I walked inside, set my keys down, grabbed the laundry, and stepped back out and shut the door. And then it dawned on me.. I was officially locked out. I called Fen at work and luckily he had his keys with him, so I left the laundry by our door and walked to his work to get them. It’s about a 1.5 mile walk one way. I was so mad at myself I walked there in under 30 minutes.. and then had to walk all the way back home. I was still mad at myself on the way back home, but decided to try and let the walk relieve some of that stress and frustration. And you know what? It did.

By the time I got back home I was a) tired from the walk, but b) felt REALLY good. It reminded me of how I used to go for 2+ mile walks almost everyday with the dog when he was younger and sometimes by myself too.. and I miss that! Especially in the summer, when I could feel the sunshine on my skin (for those who don’t know, it is perpetually cloudy in this state for most of the year).

I have been chatting with Jillian (a blogger I met on here) about how she got into running, among other things, and my conversation with her, coupled with all the runners I have found on twitter and wordpress, coupled with my 3 mile walk yesterday inspired me to do the same thing today.

Except….. I decided to go another route in the opposite direction, up an incredibly steep hill. Big mistake. My legs were burning at first which I am used to from the hiking I’ve done before. But once I turned around both of my calves were starting to ache and I felt like I was getting shin splints. By the time I got back there was a dull stabbing pain in my right calf. According to MapMyWalk I only walked 0.71 miles.

I was pretty disappointed in myself. I knew I needed to stop and turn around before I did any damage to my legs, but honestly.. what happened to my body? I had no idea how out of shape I am until today.

I don’t want to give up though, because I am still feeling empowered and craving physical activity, but I need to start off small and work my way up.

I also wonder if I need to focus on losing some weight first before I start pushing myself even harder. What are your thoughts on that?

I will have to plan a different route for myself. It’s a bit challenging out here, there are hills everywhere and not a lot of sidewalks! So I will need to wander around and find something that works for me.