Amanda suggested we Think Out Loud today regarding National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDA). This year’s NEDAwareness Week theme is “I Had No Idea” to raise awareness towards the significant impact eating disorders have on individuals, families, and communities across the nation.
You see “eating disorder” and immediately think anorexia and bulimia. You automatically think of someone who hasn’t eaten in days or someone who binges on cookies and then purges.
What many don’t realize is that there is gray area to the definitions as well as other forms of disorders.
Yesterday’s workout: 10 minutes on the elliptical followed by 4. 25 miles on the treadmill. I felt great and could have continued but I ran out of time. Don’t feel bad for me, I run out of time just about every morning….on purpose.
I am a true morning person and a lover of starting my day with a run. I could very easily run a bit later than I normally do which would allow me a lot more time and a lot more miles.
On purpose though, I only give myself a MAXIMUM of 50-60 minutes (except for Saturday’s long run, of course). This window keeps me from doing too much. Most days I probably average about 45 minutes.
It seems as though the benefits of exercise far outweigh the negatives…Endorphins, reduced risk of disease, a method for weight loss and weight management as well as boosting confidence and overall self-esteem…
But at what point does it become too much?
I don’t have a direct answer for this question, I just know that for me, limiting my running time most days of the week keeps me from finding out.
You like my little plan, don’t you. It’s clever isn’t it? Self-inflicted time constraints. Genius, I know.
If you recall from my post about why I gave up the scale years ago, I dealt with amenorrhea as a direct result of not eating enough for what I was burning off.
It is a slippery slope friends, especially for me. My body is super sensitive. One extra mile and one less calorie and my systems will shut down and go into self-protection mode.
I know I am not the only person who has struggled with this. Many female athletes go without their periods for months, if not years on end. Click here to learn more about the Female Athlete Triad.
You may enjoy not experiencing your monthly visitor, feeling all PMS-and-tampon free… but unfortunately, the torture it brings every 28 days is actually a sign of a healthy body.
On the outside, you don’t realize the damage you are causing to your insides when you miss a cycle. It didn’t matter what the doctors told me; I heard it, I sort of understood it but I didn’t actually SEE IT.
Not getting your period affects all of your other organs and bodily processes. My blood tests at the time indicated that my liver enzymes were through the roof along with my cholesterol – the bad cholesterol.
Not only was I not a drinker of alcoholic beverages, I certainly wasn’t eating fatty foods to spike my cholesterol levels. My liver enzymes were high because my liver was basically eating itself as a form of fuel. The high cholesterol was being produced by my body to make up for the lack of fat in my diet.
Sounds scary right? The good news is that it was all reversible. Once I ate more to make up for what I was burning off, everything went back to normal and I was able to have a baby when I wanted a few years later.
The funny thing is, and what I am trying to point out here today, is that I never missed a meal back then, I just didn’t eat ENOUGH at each meal.
I also never over-exercised. Avid exerciser yes, over-exerciser, no. In fact, I run much more now than I ever did back then.
I really wish I could offer you the magical meal plan for your pre and post workouts, how many calories to add to your diet to make up for the miles you are running.
Finding the balance of calories in/calories out is a million dollar question. The media blasts us with meal plans and calorie slashing techniques and recipes that promise to make us run faster and farther while allowing us to drop the pounds.
If you want my opinion, take the pressure off and just, well, eat…
…Balanced of course with plenty of complex carbs, nutrient dense foods, loads of fruits and vegetables and lean proteins and healthy fats….but allowing yourself to enjoy your favorite foods and cravings, such as dessert, as I did last night, is mandatory.
I know they say a “minute on the lips forever on the hips” but I don’t buy it.
One brownie sundae will not do you in. But it will make you happy.
There is so much more to say on all of this and I should probably continue to cover it in future posts. I struggled a bit to write this post because there are so many topics (especially fueling your body and workouts) that deserve undivided attention. Please let me know if there is anything specific you want to me to further discuss and I will be happy to do so!
Links of interest:
Running On Empty – A runner’s story of how easy it is to cross line from eating smart to barely eating
Compulsive Exercisers – signs and symptoms
Orthorexia – when trying to eat healthy is taken too far
No specific questions today although I am interested in hearing your thoughts…..