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.
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.