Friday, August 19, 2011

Hips, Hunger, and Half the Sky

I finally saw the orthopedist for my hip, which was a huge relief.  No stress fracture (which I was secretly afraid of, thanks to my old lady bones).  Apparently I have a hip flexor strain at the anterior iliac crest - basically just another plain old overuse injury.  My doctor told me it "should be" healed by now, considering I'm so young, but all I can really do is take more time off running, plus do extra icing and stretching.  Nothing I didn't already know.  I guess I could have saved the $25 co-pay, but whatever.  Peace of mind is worth it.  The doctor also gave me a referral for physical therapy, which I may or may not use.  It's not really worth it to start here since I'm leaving town in a week, but I'll be much more crunched for time once I start school.  Maybe I'll just go to one or two sessions and get a few tips.

Onto something else: I keep finding myself in the same bothersome situation, which should probably be a sign to CHANGE SOMETHING but that would be too logical.  See, I hate restaurants for all the typical anorexic reasons - no control over how the food is prepared, eating in public, no nutrition info, etc.  Plus, I'm very particular about when I eat, and with restaurants that obviously depends on when you can get a reservation, how fast/slow the service is, how many courses there are, when other people want to other words, way too many uncontrollable factors for me to handle.  In general, I try to avoid restaurants because I tend to freak out in anticipation of a huge meal, then end up overcompensating and eating way less than I had ever planned and leaving hungry.

Yesterday my family and I went out to a really nice restaurant for a special occasion. This had been planned for about a week so, naturally, I spent the whole week worrying about it.  I had visions of inhaling massive amounts of greasy, fatty, rich food and gaining ten pounds in one sitting.  (No idea where this fear comes from.  I'm a pro at picking the lightest dish on the menu and then overestimating the calories.  But I still worry about accidentally stuffing my face.)  Our reservation was at 8pm, which freaked me out in itself because that is much later than I normally eat dinner.  I don't have a problem with eating late - I eat a snack around 9 or 10 most nights - but the fact that this big, unpredictable meal was so late meant that I had all day to worry about it, and made me feel the need to eat less during the day "just in case."  So I tried to listen to my hunger and eat normally without obsessing about the dinner, but I definitely cut back more than I should have in preparation.  Plus, I spent the day shopping and touring a museum in a Big City with my mom, meaning we were on our feet walking, climbing stairs, etc. in the heat and humidity for several hours.  Hunger, crankiness, sore feet.

By dinnertime, I was BEYOND hungry.  It was that weak, drained, shaky hunger when your stomach has given up growling because what's the point, Kaylee?  I growled all day and you wouldn't give me what I wanted.  In a moment of bravery, I did not order the obviously lowest-calorie item on the menu, but maybe the second- or third- lowest.  It was a dish that I knew I would feel okay about eating, especially since I was starving, but also something decently substantial - and I ate all of it.  The verdict?  Still hungry.  I'm not sure how many calories were in my meal, but I'm almost positive that it was less than a normal dinner I would have eaten at home.

This always happens - in an effort not to eat too much, I eat much too little.  Yet somehow, I still find myself leaving restaurants with a sense of guilt, as if I really did eat too much.  So I'm left feeling guilty AND hungry, and swearing never to eat in another restaurant again.  And I completely lack the ability to adjust for error after such an outing - meaning, I can't be calm and rational and have an extra snack to break even.  It's more like, "Oh, oops!  I didn't overeat?  What a tragedy.  But maybe I did overeat.  Why does my stomach feel like it's trying to digest itself?  Huh.  I should probably work out for X extra minutes tomorrow and cut X calories because....well, just because."  Why hello, Rational Side.  No, I don't believe we've met.

I tried explaining this to W once - that I eat better at home, and restaurants cause me so much anxiety that it just doesn't seem worth the energy.  She replied that it is, and I quote, "absolutely worth it" because eating out reminds me that life goes on even when I break my stupid rigid rules.  Calories can be made up, but sticking to my own routine day in and day out only reinforces it, and makes it harder and harder to change.

And finally, I am reading a fantastic book called Half the Sky.  Parts of it are rough to read, but it is entertaining, inspiring, and uplifting.  I've been called a bleeding heart before, but this book is hard to argue with.  Basically, Nicholas Kristof and his wife traveled to a bunch of different countries investigating injustices done to women and concluded that educating and empowering girls is the best way to - for lack of better words - change the world.  I agree.  Can you tell?  Nicholas Kristof rocks.


  1. I do the same thing, either avoid or "under compensate" for the calories that I believe must be seeping into me from the kitchen. Sometimes I am afraid to go out to eat because I know I will undercompensate and I don't want to lose weight, so I don't go and rationalize it as I'm keeping my health.

    It's ED's bullcrap

  2. I have definitely struggled with the over-compensating leading up to a meal out or other event. Usually I'd "save up" extra calories so I could have something normal at the restaurant, then chicken out and order something bare bones anyway. I *definitely* eat better at home with food I prepare myself, but it's good to try for challenges, too, because eating out is one of those things that will definitely come up and that you deserve to enjoy.

    Glad to hear that you don't have a stress fracture, hope the hip is feeling much better soon.

    I've been wanting to read that book; I follow Kristof's columns in the New York Times. Really, really glad that there is someone like him giving a voice to people who can't get their own message out.

    I hope you're having a good weekend, take care and treat yourself kindly.