Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Run, Eat, Repeat Cycle

I have an eating disorder. I've alluded to it in previous posts, but I don't think I've ever explicitly made the connection to its role in my love/hate relationship with running, or my failure to meet my goals over the last few years.

There's still a lot of stigma around EDs. It's why I kept this a secret for years. Think of me what you will - that I'm weak or lack willpower. I know now it's not true. If that were the case, would I have tried to outrun my eating problems with disciplined daily gym attendance? Achieved what I have in my career, volunteered for good causes, and taken on a number of side projects like this blog?

This article gives a good explanation to what causes the rise in binging behavior for all types of over-consumption, not just food. There are 3 causes - and the article doesn't suggest this, but I have a suspicion that all three (not just one) work in concert together to keep my binge cycle going. It looks a little like this:

1. Anxiety (psychological): A negative emotion that leads to
2. Habit (chemical): a need to feel better and get my dopamine fix through a binge... which then leads to
3. Guilt (sociocultural) In order to be perfect, I need to exercise and restrict food to undo the damage I just did.

Just... where is it that the anxiety starts? I tried to find the answer in therapy but I didn't get anywhere. My theory is that the cycle continues after a period of running/restriction - I just don't get the nutrition I need to fuel a calm, happy, healthy Nicole. Sure, there might be a lot of "food" during a binge - but it's not like binges occur on kale. Enter anxiety.

Running eventually became my chosen purge, although I didn't view it that way at first. It was new, different, and exciting. It may have started out as something fun for me but eventually became a necessary chore to compensate for the way I ate. And all of this excess - running, eating - was just getting to be unsustainable.

The Two Week Test and the MAF method have done a lot of good for me in such a short period of time because I can see it doesn't have to be like this anymore.

But I'm not "cured" yet. That's why today - the day I reintroduce some carbs - is so scary for me.

I've been at this point of "almost normal" before, but have relapsed hard core. My behaviors have become habit, and my brain isn't about to just let them go. I know at any point, I could crash and burn into a pile of donuts because it's happened before after other elimination diets I've done like the Whole 30. It doesn't sound like I'm alone in this behavior - there's a named theory behind this called the "Extinction Burst."

So Imma just take the slow roll back into carbohydrate land with adding in 1/2 a sweet potato daily this week. Because you know what, Eating Disorder? I'm not going to let you win this time around.

Star Wars Darth Vader drops the mic on binge eating disorder.

118 days left.

Today's Exercise:  Walking, 65 mins around 15 min/mi

3 Eggs, spinach, Coffee
Tuna Salad,
peppermint tea
WalnutsPaleo turkey taco salad, sweet potato

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