The Past is Prologue

Oooo, how’s that for a pompous post title?  😉

When I talk about my eating in college, I refer to it as disordered eating, instead of an Eating Disorder.  The truth is, when I break down my behaviors during that time, I have a hard time pinning down what, exactly was wrong.  No, wait.  Let me rephrase that.  I can see the abnormalities in my eating habits, but I didn’t have the constant Crazies during that time.  I was conscious of what I ate and I had a few arbitrary rules that were (in retrospect) certainly borderline disordered, but . . . I don’t remember the Crazies.  I worked out more than most people, but not usually more than an hour and a half a day, and often only an hour or so, which many people wouldn’t consider excessive.  If I went home to my mom’s house, I took my exercise videos with me, but if I missed a day I didn’t freak out.  I went out with friends, I had a life. 

But I also remember missing breakfast and usually lunch.  I remember eating Tootsie Pops continuously to keep my blood sugar stable, and I remember that I wasn’t allowed to chew them: I had to suck ALL the candy outside off before I ate the chocolate center.  If I broke down and bit into the candy, I wouldn’t eat for 1-2 hours (depending on how much candy there was left when I broke down).  If I wanted a “bad” food, I would wait 3 days.  If I still wanted it 3 days later, I’d eat it.  (Usually that applied to PMS cravings, and after 3 days, my PMS was almost over anyway, so I only ate one of whatever I wanted, instead of craving – and eating – one every day.)  I drank a lot of coffee, and a LOT of diet soda in lieu of food – unless I had hunger cramps and then I’d eat something “real.” 

But I always ate dinner.  I was living with my best friend’s parents, and her mom cooked.  It would have been rude not to eat what she fixed, so my Southern manners won out there.  I always had a good dinner: meat, potatoes, vegetables.

But the lack of the Crazies during that time – or at least, lack of Serious Crazies, has always bothered me.  I’ve never been able to assign a label to what I was doing, though I know it was more extreme than just “dieting.”  It was just never extreme enough for me to really be comfortable saying there was something WRONG with me.

But.

I’ve started a new exercise program recently.  I’m working out a LOT right now, although I imagine the novelty will wear off soon, and I’ll drop back to a more normal amount.  But I’m trying to take various classes at the gym, to see which ones I like, plus I’m meeting a friend in the mornings 3 times a week to do strength and cardio, PLUS 2 nights a week I have a Tae Kwon Do class.  So.  A LOT of exercise right now.

That’s actually a good thing: my body does well on tremendous amounts of exercise.  My blood sugar stabilizes and gets less reactive, mitigating both the hypOglycemia and the hyPERglycemia.  I sleep better.  I eat better, because I stop craving junk food.

But the thing that’s NOT so good?  The thing that is making me realize why I was the way I was in college: not normal, but not exactly sick?  When I work out, I’m not hungry.  I don’t mean right afterward;  I mean for HOURS afterward.

(This next part is pretty detailed re: food and exercise, so if you’re ED and in a bad place, skip it.)
On the weekends, I don’t tend to eat breakfast.  I’d usually rather have an extra half hour in bed before I race out the door than get up earlier to fix some eggs.  So it’s not uncommon for me to grab a coffee, and cruise on the caffeine until lunchtime.  Today though, there was an 11:00am Turbo-Kick class at the gym, and I really wanted to take it (I have a bunch of Turbo Jam DVDs, and I LOVE them, so I was hoping this class was the same thing – it was).  As it turned out, I was able to go, and I got through the whole class (my stamina is already coming back, which is AWESOME). 

Um.  The class ended at noon.  I came home and realized that I STILL hadn’t had anything to eat, which was probably not so good.  But, I didn’t want anything.  The idea of eating just made my stomach turn, even though I knew I should put something in my system.  Finally I dumped a bunch of protein powder into a glass of juice and drank it.  It wasn’t enough, but it was better than nothing, I figured.  I took a shower, got dressed, screwed around on the computer.  Still not hungry.  Perused the refrigerator, but nothing looked worth eating. 

After a while, I had a headache, but at first I didn’t associate it with the lack of food, because I STILL WASN’T HUNGRY.  I went to the grocery store, where it finally occurred to me what the headache was from.  I thought about coming home to fix food, and I just couldn’t bring myself to care.  (That’s a big deal for me: I LOVE to cook, so not to care?  BIG. DEAL.)  Finally I threw a bunch of frozen dinners in my cart, and ate one when I got home.

But I remember feeling this way in college.  I’d skip breakfast, and instead of eating lunch, I’d just work out, which would kill the hunger.  I’d take an aspirin for the inevitable low-blood-sugar-headache, and then eat dinner around 6:30.  It was a hell of a weight-loss plan.  *rolls eyes*

Has anyone else experienced this?  I find it ironic that I’ve got a freezer full of frozen dinners now, since I’m the QUEEN of “eat real food!”  Is there such a thing as Exercise-Induced Anorexia?  Anorexia in the more literal sense, I mean (“without appetite”) as opposed to the ED sense.  If you’ve experienced it, what do you do about it?  Tons of exercise affects me so positively in so many ways that I don’t really want to dial it back a WHOLE lot, but the whole “no food” thing is a LEETLE BIT of a problem.

But it’s funny.  Now I remember EXACTLY the way I felt in college.  And yes, I was disordered, but maybe not as much as  I thought.  Or maybe more than I thought.  Either way, I was taking advantage of a physical reaction; a reaction that I still have, apparently.

So.  Um.  I have no way to wrap this up.  Opinions?  Comments?  Advice?  Little help here, people?  ‘Cause this is WEIRD.

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8 responses to “The Past is Prologue

  1. Marste,

    I am frequently not hungry. Not that “gnawing in the stomach” feeling. Not really anything. Workout days it can be either feast or famine (literally). I’m either starving and eating almost non-stop, or I really don’t want to eat a thing.

    I eat anyway. I eat on pretty much on a schedule (main meals at the same time) every day whether I’m hungry or not. And usually about 3-5 mouthfuls in, I discover that I do want that food.

    Can’t help much with why it happens, but I

  2. *points* HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    MWAHAHAHAHA!

    …okay, I’m done now. *grins* Annoying, isn’t it?! Maybe this is why I don’t eat. Constant riding = constant excersize = not hungry. ;-D

    I do remember reading something in school about excer–

    …the snow is gathering at the bottom of the screen. This is too weird. *grins*

    Anyway, about exercise releasing endorphins that will make you not hungry/less hungry, so the good news is, you’re almost normal! 😀 When I was really not being hungry, I dealt with it in a couple of ways.

    The first thing I did was to eat breakfast. I know, I know–you’re not supposed to eat BEFORE you exercise, but rather after. But after exercise I’m never hungry, so if I don’t eat before then I don’t eat at all. Not necessarily a huge breakfast, but SOMETHING in my system. I’m more likely to be hungry in the morning, so that helped, and it kind of just reminded me that I’m supposed to be eating.

    The next thing I did was watch the clock, much like Deb says. If it hit noon and I wasn’t hungry, I didn’t worry. If it hit four and I wasn’t hungry, I ate something anyway. Oftentimes, I found that–like Deb–when I got two or three bites into something, my stomach would jumpstart and go, “Hey! You haven’t been feeding me!” And suddenly I could eat a meal. Or at least some of a meal. *wry smile*

    The other thing that really really really saved me was on days when the thought of food just turned my stomach, I drank Ensure. Not the best tasting stuff, not the healthiest stuff, and sometimes I had to sip at it over the course of an hour, but it was nutrients in my body. That did two things: Got food into me even if I wasn’t hungry, and reminded my crazybrain that I needed to feed myself on a regular basis.

    Small snacky things are also good. If you can’t stomach the thought of a meal, then cheese and an apple is better than nothing. (Or, if you’re me, just the cheese. >.>)

    And finally–it’s possible that your subconscious is going, “Hey! I remember this! We exercise, don’t feel hungry, don’t eat! No problemo!” So just the process of eating, regardless of hunger or not, might re-route that. It might just be a matter of making it a habit, though after I did it for a while I started getting hungry again, so… there’s hope! ;-D

    If exercising releases endorphins and your body’s been relying on false sugars for that… there could be something there, too. Which, again, is re-wiring habits.

    *grins* Anyway, that’s what I did. *HUGS* Good luck. ;-D

    (Also, I’ve been reading the rest of your blog and don’t really have anything other to say than much love and hugs, and I hope things get better. Love you.)

    J

  3. ***Gets out big stick and gently whacks Marste around the head with it***

    Yup. It’s phase one of a relapse my lovely. The frantic exercise, rdeuced hunger, and endophin buzz. It feels like everything is going “Just so” and fitting into place. Then you realise you are trapped. I might be projecting, but it rang HUGE alarm bells in my head. And if you have noticed something might be amiss, it may well mean there is.

    Voice of doom ends.

    Lola xxx

  4. What Lola said! Your body will be hungry after you work out, even if your brain tells you it’s not. Trust me. I get like that too sometimes, but after I start eating I realise I am actually hungry, it just doesn’t manifest in the usual tummy-rumble way after a hard workout. Try eating at regular mealtimes. Don’t fall into a pattern. I know it feels easier to fall back into the old routine, but it’s not even slightly worth it – you’re working out to be healthy, right? Challenge yourself. Don’t just shrug and say “huh, well that’s how it is for me”. Try different things, mix it up, see what works.

    TA x

  5. Ahhh the good old “not eating headache”…. We’re good friends. But seriously? Force yourself to eat something in the mornings, even if it is a Luna bar, or an ensure, or even just a banana. It’s good for your body, and you’re trying to get healthier, right? And just to echo others, try putting your meals on a schedule, that way, when 12 ( or 11 or 1, or whenever) rolls around, you say, oops, time to eat! and you put at least 300-500 calories worth of food into your system. I think this is a prime example of when veiwing “food as fuel” would be beneficial. Your car won’t run without gas, and the same is true for your body.
    But trust me, I know the extreme temptation to say, “Oh! not hungry! I just won’t eat!” And then the little voice inside of you says triumphantly, “Yes! and we’ll lose lots of weight and get skinny too!!” I know it’s there Marste, because it is inside of me too. Coffee (and in my case cigarettes – I know, I know) do not make good fuel for your body. And asprin (or whatever) on an empty stomach? Extra bad!!

  6. Deb, thanks for the suggestion. I may just have to plan on eating on a schedule when I’m not hungry; even if that means zapping a frozen dinner. (Ew.) I guess the thing that seems weird to me is the fact of never feeling hungry. Really, I have famine, but no feast. *sigh* On the other hand, at least I’m not tempted to binge when food sounds gross.

    JB – You’re a turkey! LOL, but thanks for the help and advice, li’l sis – both here and on the phone! And actually the subconscious bit might have some merit – sort of my mind recognizing old patterns and trying to start up again.

    Lola – Yeah, I hear you. I guess the thing that’s weird though, is that there are no Crazy Voices, you know? That’s the thing that makes me wonder if this is more biology than neurosis.

    TA – Will do. 🙂 The thing I keep coming back to is that even when I EAT, I still don’t feel hungry. I eat, and it tastes good, but even afterward: just not hungry. I’m wondering actually if it might be exhaustion – if my body is just too phsyically exhausted to eat. Either way, I HAVE to eat. Skipping food is probably not the best idea ever. LOL

    Sassy – *grins sheepishly* Yeah, exactly. And the Crazies aren’t really there, but they ARE at the same time, if that makes sense. Those little sneaky voices. *MELODRAMATIC SIGH* Funny that you mention the “food as fuel” thing though: that’s what I was thinking the other day as I was contemplating not eating: “Well, it’ll be easier to think of food as fuel if I don’t feel like eating. I’ll just eat whatever is good for me and not care about the taste.” Though that thought made me a little depressed, since I really do LIKE food so much. LOL, can’t win for losing.

  7. Interesting! I sometimes have the right-after-exercising not hungry thing, but it’s usually gone pretty fast.

    Or I’ll be less hungry on days when I haven’t gotten a chance to exercise as much, so I eat a little less.

    Sounds like those with experience say if it goes on too long, eat anyway! But ‘fraid I have nothing helpful to add since I’ve never personally struggled with a prolonged lack of appetite.

  8. I’m frequently not hungry. I am actually bored with eating, and I often don’t like doing it. But a lifetime of crappy eating habits has left me with reactive hypoglycemia. Disroderly eating! Love it, lol. Steph http://www.reactivehypoglycemia.info

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