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Exercising- My Confession

Posted Mar 26 2012 4:08am

Morning lovely people!

***This post is LONG and it took me about three days to write…(on and off of course) but yes, a slew of honesty, truth and emotions are in this. But it’s something I really needed to do, to confess to. If you are sensitive to numbers, weight, calorie chit-chat, please read with discretion or not at all. Thank you! :)

I am officially back at school- settled in, organized for the week and quite ready to get back into a schedule! As much as I love free time, I do freak out after awhile when I have too much of it. Plus requirements and routines tend to fall by the wayside when I don’t have a set schedule, not something I am a fan of. That was a major reason for the break from blogging, plus just wanting to take the time to focus on other things while at home.

There is nothing that happened over the break that led me to take a break from blogging and to be honest, nothing was “learned” or realized as a result of the time off… as I almost expected to happen. It’s not that I even completely went off the computer or stopped reading/commenting on other blogs- in fact I continued to throughout the week!

It was more that I was taking a mental break from constantly thinking about all aspects of a post- what I want to talk about on a particular day and how I am going to go about executing my own words. Trust me, I love my blog, this community, and everything that has to do with it. Amazing Asset and the support from readers is a major component of my recovery thus far and I could not be more thankful for this opportunity I have made for myself and aided by countless others (you all!) along the way.

Expressing myself through writing on this blog has not only been a fulfilling process, but has also both helped and made me bring particular issues to the surface. Most of these issues have been about the eating disorder, the illness that changed me physically and emotionally in countless ways, and continues to plague me on a daily basis.

I am always honest, blunt in some cases, and hold nothing back in my posts. This is not a “normal” HLB so why would I attempt to talk about oatmeal, cooking, shopping for food, workouts and such, without revealing what is lurking below the surface? Don’t get me wrong I love all of that stuff, but I simply cannot blog without being genuine.

Now I am leading up to something here… working on it! No wonder my posts are all so damn wordy and lengthy, I can never seem to get right to the point! What I am attempting to articulate is I feel I have been being DISHONEST with you all for quite some time now.

Exercising, workouts, running… the compulsive “need” to burn calories. Yes I have talked about this before (in this post here if you care to read), but it’s a topic that requires attention once again.

I am addicted to exercising. No, not to the endorphins that are released (although they are nice). I am addicted to the drop in anxiety/stress/fear levels within my body when I workout. I know that when I get my fitness on, I can eat more of what I want to… the fear of gaining weight subsides (to a certain extent at least) and I can relax.

I will say it again, I feel as though I have been dishonest with all of you... for awhile now. I have been eating more than I have in YEARS… consuming foods that I would never have even considered touching not too long ago. I continue to challenge myself, and while I do fall into food ruts and tend to stick to “safer” options, I am substantially better than I was about two years ago. I have put on weight and am in the middle of the healthy BMI range for my height.

However, all of this has been done because of EXERCISING… I can face all of this food because I know workouts will help to balance all of it out. I eat these scarier items with the thought in mind that they are helping to fuel my workouts, running, swims and such, and that they are also enabling my body to recover and perform at a later date.

Working out= burning calories= needing the right nutrients= refueling properly= recovery= burning more calories= not gaining too much weight (or fat!)…. a viscous cycle it seems.

I can rationalize the amount of food I eat with the physical demands I put my body through on a daily basis. It’s not even the “indulgent” or fearful foods that I rationalize, it’s items I have a troubled relationship with- nut butters, cereal/excess of carbs, avocados, any former no-no food that I am continuously trying to make a normal part of my life.

I have said this a number of times now as it’s something I want to make very clear. I am BETTER physically than I have been in years, and while the mental part of this is still playing catch up, I am healing in that regard as well. I eat particular (former) banned foods with minimal or no hesitation and have managed to get it through my irrational, disordered eating self that in fact, all of these calories and nutrients are 100% necessary.

However, an enormous part and reason for my progression is because of exercising. I feel as though I am constantly making deals in my head, or having internal conversations about eating certain items, amounts, etc.

  • Alright so I ran x amount of miles this morning… well I suppose it will be okay to have that extra serving of cereal.
  • I did a total-body circuit workout earlier, I ought to add more protein to my lunch salad right now. Do I need those calories though? Right yes yes I do, need that protein!
  • How great, I ran today and walked so much more than usual! Good, having that extra (1, 2 or 3) tablespoons of nut butter won’t make me feel so fat and guilty!
  • Easier workout today… well I’ll just got back on lunch or something to even it all out.

So I clearly do have an obsession/addiction with exercising. Yet it’s not the traditional “I need to spend 5 hours a day in the gym” situation. It’s more like, I need to do SOMETHING at least 6 days per week or else I will gain weight with the amount of food I am supposed to be eating. I ALWAYS take a rest day once per week now, but I really can’t fathom doing more than that!

I am closer and closer to reaching that 2,400+ calorie number I ought to be having each day, BECAUSE of exercising- running, burning calories, weight lifting… to avoid too much weight gain in the form of gross, mushy, horrific fat… That number is just so damn high to me STILL and yet the calorie amount I ought to be consuming is calculated without taking into account the high-intensity workouts I do.

Plus my new found love for circuit training and lifting weights has allowed me to gain “safe” weight.. aka muscle. So now I feel I cannot possibly stop lifting as extreme as I am because my muscle will diminish and turn into mush. How rational and intelligent am I sounding right now eh?

I worked out today, therefore everything I eat is fine. But I am not LOSING weight right now, so if I stop exercising what will happen to me? Balloon time.

The sad, scary truth is though, I am quite aware of the fact that I would not be eating the amount I should if I was not exercising. Yes I can do it once a week, as I talked about in my WIAW-Rest Day Edition a few months back, but more than that? Hells to the no. Like… my heart is starting to flutter just thinking about this, I simply would not eat as much as I “should” if I were not working out!

I can’t believe how true this is…

And it all comes down to the same damn reason, weight. Staying at a certain size, a specific number, a shape that I am “comfortable” at. One that is simply unachievable, unhealthy and disordered. After all of this time, how is it possible that I am STILL (at least a part of my mind) working to reach a certain weight?! WHY is it always about that?! When will I learn that a certain body shape does not equal happiness? When….

Damn it.

I decided to come clean about all of this after all of this time, for a few different reasons. One being I am understanding that this is simply a way for the eating disorder to take control in another way. If I am going to eat “a lot” (aka the amounts I need) well then something else must be compensated. Making sure to do an intense amount of exercise each and everyday? Perfect!

One obsession to another…does it ever end?

Another reason- Well I still do NOT have my period (even with healthy BMI) and I know exercising has something to do with this. Plus the anemia thing, my exhausted legs for the past several months, oh and this new super awesome situation I am dealing with… an inflamed tendon near my right ankle.

What the hell is it going to take to make it CLEAR that my body needs a rest? A legit injury perhaps, one that sidelines me for an extended amount of time? Oh my goodness how would I deal with that?

I would deal with it by restricting my food intake, that’s how. If I can’t exercise… well fine then, I just won’t eat as much. I’m pretty sure I am capable of doing this too. The fear of gaining more weight than I am “allotting” is just so obscenely scary to me. I am already unhappy at times these days, and knowing I can control my body gives me a bit of relief at least.

Gosh what classic and stereotypical eating disorder behavior. Everything “sucks” right now (my illogical mind exaggerates), but AT LEAST I know that when I eat certain foods and exercise a specific amount, I will look a way that I am alright with. But take the exercise out of the equation? Well then I will restrict… I need to hold onto the control.

Alright, I feel as though I have repeated myself numerous times throughout this novel of a post… and yet I really do not have an answer or a realization of any sort. I am so freakin frustrated with myself right now, so angry that I am allowing these thoughts to be a part of me after all of this time. And also, I’m upset because I feel as though I have been deceiving you all. I have made tremendous strides in my recovery, but exercise has always been there for me to enable this process to continue.

We all NEED to exercise for the countless healthy benefits it provides. In fact, I have always been an active person, seriously starting around age 9 when I joined a swim team which practiced 5-6 times per week for hours at a time. I worked out because I loved it, and well, it’s just what my family was involved in, and it was never about calories and weight.

And while there was a time where I would only exercise to burn calories, I have actually changed that mindset during recovery. I love how working makes me feel, I really do! That feeling you get after a good run, a great lifting session, when I show myself how far I can push my body, I THRIVE off of that. But I managed to take it to the extreme, so often it happens with all of this…

But when your body starts to fall apart on you- four years without a period, low iron levels, constant fatigue, heavy legs… where the inability to do what you love (in my case running) is becoming a reality. Yes I have had a few fulfilling runs here and there these past few months, but overall? I have felt like complete crap.

I need a rest. I have been going too hard for too long, and I am paying the price… physically of course but mentally as well. What I am doing to myself right now, my personal compulsive exercising, is not making me happy at all.

I honestly have been crying at times while writing this post because I know what I need to do- rest- but I know what I WILL DO if I back off my workouts, I will restrict. At times it seems I am never going to be able to stop this effing disease….

This always comes down to the same thing, weight and yet, I also understand how much more there is to an eating disorder than just the physical aspects. Those damn underlying issues need to be understood and addressed, whatever the hell those might be. BUT with all of this “knowledge” well here I am, confessing and at a loss of what to do and how to handle this all.

I love being the “healthy”one, the runner, the person who works out, who looks lean, who can run several miles without stopping… but I cannot be those things without taking a proper, legitimate rest. I will soon become the injured one.. the over-trained one who no longer can perform the way she used to. (sorry third person)

This goes back to the lack of trust I have with myself as well. I don’t trust my body to handle the food I eat, so I have to put it through hell in order for it to look a certain way. I am also the “exception” in that certain foods cause me to gain weight compared to others, but also, I don’t need rest, not really…. I feel as though my workouts just aren’t hard enough to deserve such off time. Well tell that to my physically declining body.

The conclusion to all of this is well… I need to REST! Durr. But how can I do this without try to compensate in yet another unhealthy way? That is something I am attempting to understand, to figure out… now that the “cat is out of the bag” and that I really do not have a choice. I want, no I NEED to be able to race this season because I really do love to run, but cannot without first challenging myself MENTALLY to give my body the break it both needs and deserves.

I am aware how this entire issue is quite beyond the physical- weight, calories and all of that. But while I work to figure out why this illness continues to manifest in my daily life, taking care of myself is a requirement. I just can’t do the demanding workouts anymore, but I also cannot restrict my food intake.

Now the journey begins on how to do this, and to handle it as well. I know it can be done. I have come this far damn it, and this is simply another challenge I must overcome. Albeit possibly the HARDEST physical and mental issue I have undertaken thus far, but oh well (sucks to suck), have to keep on pressing forward anyway.

If you read this entire beast…well thank you it is very much appreciated. And if not, well totes fine as well, we all have stuff going on in our lives and I know reading something like this takes a while. More than anything, it was helpful for me to at least get this out there, so I can finally start to deal with it.

-If you have an eating disorder/disordered and are recovering or attempting to, do you exercise? How much do you feel it’s a part of your daily life?

-If you exercise often, how do you deal with the times you are not going balls-to-the walls, in regards to your food intake? Do you cut back or keep it the same? Is this weight-related?

-How do you know when your body needs a legitimate rest? How do you like to treat yourself when this feeling comes?

-Have you ever been a victim of over-training? What was your experience with it? How did you both physically and mentally deal with the rest time (if you took it)?

-Have you experienced an injury before? How did you handle the rest period?

-Do you use exercise as a method of de-stressing, weight control/loss, or perhaps a combination of both?

-And because I need some positivity up in hurrr.. how was your weekend? Tell me 1, 2 or several great things you did :)

I really hope the rest of your Monday goes by super fast! Have a great one.

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