Today’s post will discuss disordered eating, amenorrhea and things like that. If this is not a topic for you to be reading right now, I will see you tomorrow for What I Ate Wednesday. 🙂
In Sunday’s post, I mentioned that I recalled eating a peanut butter sandwich with an apple on September 11, 2001 as I watched the news coverage of the horrific day unfold.
I have been thinking about that peanut butter sandwich a lot lately.
I am sure you don’t remember but I dealt with amenorrhea during the year of my engagement leading up to my wedding in 2001. I had just gotten my period back a couple of months prior to September 11.
My metabolism was all screwed up from months of not eating enough. I really didn’t know back then that there was a thing called not eating enough. I thought it was either you don’t eat at all (anorexia) or you eat too much. Anything in between would be healthy and correct but I slowly learned that wasn’t the case.
To be honest, it started to feel like no matter what I ate, I was going to gain weight from my slowed metabolism. Was that in my head or was it reality? I think a little bit of both.
My wedding was approaching and I lived in fear of my dress not zipping up on my wedding day.
Looking back, I don’t even understand why I felt the dress wouldn’t zip. It’s not like I ever gain weight in my middle and the dress was a princess ball gown – why wouldn’t the zipper zip up my back? Of course it would.
But I didn’t see that then.
All I saw was that my period came back and I was gaining weight.
My body was sort of freaking out, adding hormones and shape to areas that didn’t have shape for a few years. This wasn’t a bad thing! I was healthy and growing back curves — curves are a good thing!
Although, as great as having shape is, no one wants to feel their body growing or behaving in a way that they can’t control.
And that peanut butter sandwich? It was made completely with a fake, poor excuse for peanut butter.
One of those low-calorie, low taste peanut butters that comes in a jar claiming to be better than peanut butter but isn’t even close to as good as peanut butter. I ate this peanut butter sandwich in my attempt to still eat less without feeling like I was eating less even though eating less didn’t work.
I am pretty sure, now that I sit here and think about it, that peanut butter sandwich was also made on low-calorie bread. You know, that low-calorie bread where the slices are so thin that two slices are really like one slice? Do they still make that type of bread?
The Towers were crumbling yet I was eating this fake pathetic peanut butter sandwich thinking I was on track with a perfect day of eating.
Like any other day during that time period, I attempted the same perfect eating until the after dinner hours would roll around and I devoured every box of cereal in the pantry.
You think you can eat less than you need and get by with the low-calorie nonsense and maybe you can but it only lasts for so long. At some point your metabolism shuts down and your appetite increases to make up for the dumb things your brain tries to allow you to do. It’s such a terrible cycle that I hope to never get caught up in again.
15 years later and my period still arrives like clockwork.
I run longer now and faster now than I ever could have imagined back when I was 23 years old. I haven’t weighed myself in years but if I had to guess, my size is in line with where I was at when I was considered unhealthy but now I am healthier and stronger.
Isn’t it funny how that works? We think our bodies need US to keep things under control when the reality is, we need to stop trying to control things and just let our insides do their thing. They are going to anyway.
If we don’t eat enough, our system will slow things down to conserve energy rather than let us get too sickly thin. If we stop focusing so much on trying to control every morsel that goes into our mouths, we will find a balance that works for both the brain and the rest of our body too.
I have a fancy dress to zip up in a few weeks (for my son’s Bar Mitzvah) and I am not afraid that it won’t zip.
I eat real peanut butter and never allow myself to go hungry. As a runner, I don’t even know if it’s possible to run and not eat when hungry. How do people do that? How does one ignore the runner’s appetite?
By the way, this is my new favorite peanut butter. Why didn’t you tell me to try the 365 brand of peanut butter?
This is not to say that I don’t struggle sometimes in the evening with the food in the pantry because that would be a lie. Sometimes, even after I have eaten plenty of calories and fat all day long, I am still looking for snacks (specifically chocolate chips these days) and I have finally come to realize that this is just part of my life.
I am old enough and wise enough now to know that there’s no such thing as a perfect day of eating and at the age of 38, I have also learned that there’s no such thing as me not wanting to eat extra snacks sometimes in the evening even if I am not hungry.
And that’s okay. It’s me.
I don’t need to analyze my issues, determine if I am supposed to cut sugar (that’s insanity) or question why or what I am doing wrong that I like extra chocolate at night on a random Tuesday.
I think that this pathetic peanut butter sandwich that I ate while innocent people were dying and battling for their lives on September 11 serves as a reminder that 15 years ago, I was way too focused on what I ate.
I don’t want to live my life like that.
I don’t want to look back over the years and remember focusing on food. It just seems like a terrible way to live.
Posts of Interest:
Achieving a Balanced Attitude Towards Your Weight – My key points for keeping yourself in check
Body Image Chat – Realizing that clothing doesn’t need to be a struggle.
Finding Balance Between Our Diets & Workouts – How many calories should you be eating?
Between Our Diets & Workouts Part 2 – Follow up to part one of this great series
Which peanut butter is your favorite?
Do you think that sometimes you think too much about food? Or, did you have a time in your life when you did?
Do you find yourself eating snacks at night even though you probably aren’t hungry?