Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pseudo-Vacation and a Calorie-Burning Crisis

Well, my relaxing post-finals week turned out to be less delightfully boring than I had anticipated. I've been working a lot, plus my research advisor has me working on this HUGE project that is taking much longer than we thought...and I am killing myself to finish it before I leave town tomorrow. So I've spent the past four days running back and forth between the two campuses trying to put in hours at each job. Then I've gone out with friends each of the past three nights, so I usually get home around 10 or 11 totally wiped, and collapse on the couch. The dishes are piling up in my sink, I am running out of clean clothes, I haven't even thought about packing...and for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to save my Christmas shopping/reuniting with a college friend for tonight, when my plane leaves early tomorrow morning. Poor planning, on my part. But it's all good stuff and overall, I am very happy with the way things are going. I do need to get some sleep, though.

I am still struggling a little with the running. Instead of cutting back on my mileage like I was planning, I actually somehow upped it again. Still scratching my head on how that even happened. Last week we had a bunch of snow and my usual trails were impassable, so I had to alter my route, ended up getting lost, and extending my usual distance. Since then, I've been stuck at the new longer distance. On the plus side, I AM doing better with upping my calories (even on the days I don't run), but the running has turned into this semi-consuming force that is starting to feel outside my control. Part of the problem is that I am simply in better shape now, so I CAN run much farther without wanting to die. Over the summer and early fall, my overexercising abilities were limited by my lack of conditioning after having gone over a year with no cardio; now, it often feels like I could run all day if I wanted to. And sometimes, I want to.

I love that I am able to run. I love that the pain has dwindled down to a whisper most of the time. I love that I am feeling happy after being so miserable for so long. But in all honesty, I also love that running burns a million calories, and I love that I'm not actually embracing the spirit of recovery because I'm still counting and tallying everything I eat. I'm doing well, but sometimes I worry that I'm not doing as well as I think I am. And I'm scared that I'm going to mess it all up. I know that you guys must be totally sick of hearing me complain about something that is so clearly within my control...but I've had the eating disorder for much longer than I've been recovering from it, and some of these irrational tendencies are simply second-nature.

My goals for my 10 days at home are (1) back off on the running - which should be a little easier, because Home City has a lot more hills than College City, so running is a LOT more tiring there, and (2) loosening up on the food stuff. This should also be a little easier given that I won't be preparing my own meals and there is always a ton of food at my house around the holidays. Maybe I'll even try to give up counting while I'm there! We'll see. No promises.


  1. Hi :)

    Do you still work with a team on your ED? It seems like you are doing better than previously but are not finished with recovery yet and, in fact, still have an ED (calorie counting and obligatory running). I hope you do keep actively working on ED recovery... it's a long and tiring process, but if you stop before you're finished, one can too easily slide backwards (like climbing a mountain made of sand and then stopping before you're at the peak, you slide back down if you stop). You're doing great to at least be naming what's happening and being aware. Keep on challenging yourself - you don't want to risk increased pain, increased obsessionality, and otherwise going backwards. It's worth it.

    1. Hey Laura—I don't have a full ED team anymore; I only see my psychologist, who is very knowledgeable about eating disorders and definitely pushes me to work on ED stuff even when I'm being difficult about it, but she also doesn't push me THAT hard. For example, we don't really talk specifics in terms of miles run, calories eaten, weight, etc. She often makes concrete suggestions about foods to try, but we don't really set weekly goals or anything. She does some CBT-type work in terms of "What thoughts come to mind when you (restrict/overexercise/weigh yourself/etc) and how can we counter those thoughts?" I don't see a dietitian or get weighed by anyone, so I'm pretty much on my own in that regard. Which is kind of nice after having it all scrutinized by professionals for so long, but you're right—I think it would be really easy to slide backwards.

  2. It does sound like the running is rather compulsive, at least in distance. Maybe it would be helpful to really talk about the nitty gritty with Dr. P so you can start to build in accountability about capping your running distance. In my experience, it's a fine line between doing exercise because it's fun and feels good, to a "have to no matter what, going to push it hard," type of thing. As Laura mentioned, seems like it would be easy to backslide. And I don't mean to say that in any accusatory way. I know you've worked so incredibly hard, and I would hate to see that derailed by the running and calorie counting. My only suggestion on the calorie counting would be to maybe switch up brands of foods you eat and force yourself not to look at the calories. As a friend of mine said "It takes extra effort to look at the calories, it's a choice." If you can start switching up brands maybe, it might help introduce the flexibility you need to stop the running tally. Just a suggestion. I just know it sucks to be chained to the numbers so much. I really think you can do this; you've come so very far, and I really believe you can shed the last pieces of the ED. :)