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From an RD’s perspective

Posted Jan 16 2013 2:42am

***I do want to clarify one thing from yesterday’s post: I am not a “binge eater” and I am not “bulimic”. These occurrences happen very infrequently but they bother me a lot when they do happen, which is why I brought it up. That being said, the overwhelming support I received yesterday via comments, texts, messages, and emails yesterday was incredible. I have never felt so loved before by a group of people I’ve never met. I really hope those of you who struggle with similar things were able to benefit from my experiences, because that was my intention for posting. It was enough for me to write it down; I shared it here so I could reach out to all of you and encourage you to ask for that same support.***

Learning. That’s what life is about, right? This break at home, I have learned more than I can even begin to describe. I talked a little about it yesterday and my sudden drive to become a “normal” eater. Normal is actually a terrible word. But it kind of describes what I’m trying to get at. Today’s WIAW will be very different than normal. I’m going to show you what “normal” should look like for an athlete, according to a nutritionist’s standards.

This vacation, I decided to stop the self-destructive pattern I talked about yesterday , once and for all. That’s when I made the appointment with my nutritionist who I haven’t seen in a couple years. I asked if I could see her, something I used to dig my heels in about just two years ago. That’s also when I created my own “meal plan” to try and handle it myself. And guess what? Immediately I was able to reverse all of the habits I had picked up. I had very few episodes of those late night “snack sessions.”

As my nutritionist said to me when I met with her on Saturday, I counseled myself out of it.

When I addressed my concerns with her, she literally burst out saying “Sarah! Of course you were finishing off a whole bag of sesame sticks in one night! You weren’t feeding your body carbs or fats all day long. It needed them.” And all of a sudden, everything clicked. I felt relief. All of that shame disappeared. I realized my body was just reacting to my damaging behaviors and it wasn’t my fault. Sure, I lost control, but my body was trying to fix itself.


We spent the rest of the session coming up with a plan. While the plan I had come up with for myself was good, it wasn’t perfect. I was still restricting. I should be eating at least an additional 1500 calories in my diet given my activity level, although she knows that’s not realistic nor does she recommend calorie counting (which I don’t do anymore anyways), so we came up with some options of ways to enhance my diet during the day so I wouldn’t be left so hungry at night that I’d feel a need to eat an entire box of cereal, or a whole bag of sesame sticks to satisfy the craving.

Breakfast: I have been eating 2 kashi waffles and hot chocolate. That’s fine, but I need to eat a bigger snack.

Snack 1: My “plan” called for an apple. She wants me to add a trail mix to this. I hate store-bought trail mix and when I was gaining, we created the “pickyrunner” version. It consists of 1 cup kashi cinnamon cereal, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, and 1/4 cup chocolate chips. Don’t knock it till you try it. My friends used to chase me down at swim meets when I carried this stuff around. It’s delicious.

Lunch: I was eating a chicken wrap and a boatload of carrots. I’m supposed to add a smoothie to this. Actually, she suggested a milkshake but I already eat enough sugar. I’ve never had a smoothie so I’m not sure how this will go. I’m going to start with a chocolate banana one made with chocolate milk (I don’t like bananas, but I’m hoping they will be masked by the chocolate). Worst comes to worst, I can start drinking chocolate milk at lunch and add in a zbar or something.

Snack 2: Kashi bar. This won’t change. It’s close to practice time and I can’t eat a lot before I run.

Dinner: Also won’t change, although she suggested adding some pesto into my pasta at night if I felt up to it.

Dessert: whatever I want. Again, I’m fine with this (are you surprised?)

She has always been really focused on the balance of proteins, fats, and carbs. We chatted for over an hour (into her next appointment) about all of this and how food is actually a prescription drug in natural form. When you take a drug like prozac, it’s doing very similar things that eating a balanced diet can do (obviously this isn’t for everyone, but for a lot of people, it really does work). I also have to check in with her once a week. We have decided to call it a “government briefing” where she’ll send me recipes and articles she finds and I’ll let her know how my life is going with track (she’s extremely concerned about the influence a lot of the girls with disordered eating patterns have on me) and with my new food intake.


I guess you could say we have a pretty great relationship

I think the part that really lit the spark in me was how much making some of these little changes would change my running. I’ll have more energy and the ability to run faster and further. I want to be one of the top runners in the conference. It’s a goal of mine and if changing some things about what I’m eating and when is going to help me, then so be it. I believe in her and I know that I can get there. I’m a goal-driven person. If I want to break that 10k record, I’m going to do anything and everything I can to do it. This time, food isn’t going to get in my way.


You’re all probably wondering how I feel about this new plan. And I feel relatively optimistic. Like I said, I haven’t had the desire to binge (does anyone else hate that word?) at night and that is huge. I’ve slowly incorporated snacks back in during the day. Sunday morning, I ate an extra big pancake breakfast before my run so I wasn’t hungry for a big morning snack, but that’s okay. I’m slowly understanding the need to eat more during the day. I shouldn’t be starving come dinnertime. Yesterday, I ate two cookies that the lovely Kaitlin sent me and they were just what I needed to get me through yoga. I wasn’t even that hungry for dinner which I consider a huge success (Don’t worry- I still ate every bite my mom gave me)!


who knew cookies with dates in them could taste so good? Even my mom approved.

Having friends I can finally open up to for the first time as well as a weekly check in is going to help keep me accountable. To be honest, I’m terrified of having a big lunch and multiple snacks throughout the day. But I know I can do it. It may not be exactly what she “prescribed,” but I will be making a solid effort to eat more. I know I’m going to be happier (and feel better) if I do it. I already am.

Thank you all for your support. It means the world to me. I’m completely open to any advice anyone has for me on any of this (or even some yummy snack suggestions to make those meals a little less scary).

Feel free to comment below or email me at if you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns. I’d love to hear from you. It makes me feel like I have friends ;)

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