Saturday, May 9, 2009

Embrace the struggle!

Whether it's dealing with a death in the family, a relationship that has ended, selling your house or any other number of different stressful situations, people turn to substances to help them through the pain. Instead of allowing the emotions to hit them full on, they take an alternative route. The problem is that the detour usually leads to more problems because when the pain returns, you realize that the issues haven't been dealt with.

We all have to find balance in our lives and that starts with doing some serious soul searching about who we are and what triggers our emotions. These are things that are not always pleasant to deal with because it reveals our vulnerability and many people see this as a sign of weakness.

I'm coming to grips with these issues myself and I realized why I am so afraid of being alone. The main reason is that I'm afraid that I won't be able to control my eating at times, especially at night when nobody is there. Many people with ED will hide and hoard their food and will purposely not eat in front of people because they are afraid that they will be judged. It's not something that you can explain to people who don't have ED but those who do have it know exactly what I'm talking about.

Now I'm confronted with my worst fear and that is really doing some soul searching on my own to see what makes me "tick!" I can only do this one day at a time and each successful day lays the building blocks for a great foundation.

I've decided to train for another Marathon in the fall. Although I have done many marathons and ultra-marathons (50 Mile and above), this will be my first attempt at running a fast marathon since 2007. The training and diet will be intense but I am looking forward to it.

Once I get the program I want, I will post it and continue to do regular updates so people can follow along if they so choose.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Does it get better?

The "professionals" may argue this point, but I firmly believe that once you develop an Eating Disorder it stays with you in some form for the rest of your life.

That doesn't mean that you have to feel like a prisoner trapped in your own skin though. How WE feel about ourselves is governed by so many factors and certainly too many to list here. What I try to remember is that I have control over some of these and those are the ones which I try to focus on.

When I talk to someone who has an ED it takes me back to a place and time within my own life where I was feeling particularly vulnerable. Rather than feeling sad though, I try to recall how I was able to break free from my "monster" (a term common to most who have ED) and muster the strength to defeat those negative thoughts about myself.

It's our ability to recall these times that will build our own inner strength. Then, when we are faced with emotional situations we hopefully won't turn to a binge/purge sequence to deal with these issues. Winning these battles the majority of the time is all that we can ask for. The problem is that many people with ED only focus on the negative situations and forget about all the success they have had. It's easy to fall prey to negative thoughts and emotions and then feel guilty about the poor choices we made. Why not celebrate the times where a good choice was made? It becomes harder and harder to remember them when all we focus on is the negative. We give far too much power to that which is negative but it's our choice to do that.

I talk with my clients constantly about keeping that positive wheel going. The wheel starts with how we feel about ourselves and that leads to making positive choices which reinforces those positive feelings. For example, when you work out you feel great and this usually results in making healthier food choices.

When it comes to ED it's so easy to keep everything we do as a secret so I know that speaking freely about my own battles with ED has helped others. It continues to impact my life to this day but I have much better control over it than I did in the past. I still have good and bad days but the good days far outweigh the bad ones.

Having a good support system is so important and though it has taken me some time, I'm thankful that I have now built up my own support system. Most of the time just knowing that you have someone to talk to when you need it can make all the difference.

Don't let your ED control you! Remember that you have the strength to succeed and you can overcome any obstacle that is put in front of you.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Never forget your roots!

Whenever I have a new client at the gym or in my own business, I make a point of letting them know that I was overweight as a teenager. I do this not only for them to realize that I know what it's like to struggle with a weight issue but also it reminds me to be supportive with them.

Depending on the client, I may also share with them my ongoing battle with an eating disorder. It's something that I'm not afraid to talk about because it's part of who I am and if it can help others then I'll share my story with them.

I usually get the same response from my clients, who are mostly women, and that is that they don't realize that men suffer from Eating Disorders. There have been some clients who are in need of more help than I can offer so I try to encourage them to get the help they need. Their first step, though, is to admit that there is a problem. I can usually spot the clients who have an eating disorder a mile away as they usually have more knowledge about foods than I do. Their problem is, and will be until they get help, how they view themselves and NOT the food itself. I think that I'm fortunate to be a position to help these people because most of the trainers/managers at the gym really have no idea of just how difficult this problem is to overcome.

My past has kept me grounded and will never allow me to forget the struggles I've had and continue to have with my ED. If I can use my experience to help others, than I can feel a sense of accomplishment for the work that I do which goes beyond just preparing meal plans for my clients.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

It's been a long time

During my run today one of my favorite songs started playing on my MP3. It's called "feeling satisfied" and it made me realize that I needed to post more on this site.

Eating Disorders are often called the secret illness because you only hear about the tragedies. However, I know quite a few people who have this disorder and who are doing very well. NO, they are not "cured" as I really don't believe that this illness has a cure. Instead I think that people who do well with this disorder have managed to put their illness in perspective.

Personally speaking, I know that the month of July brings plenty of emotions out for me. I was married in July (now separated), I discovered running and I lost a fiance to sickle cell anemia. We all have tragedies that we've had to overcome in our life and it's how we deal with them that truly makes us stronger. I know that I'll never have to deal with anything more tragic than I've had to deal with already, so I think that helps me deal with other things in my life.

Running certainly has helped me deal with my body image issues and I can actually wear shorts with confidence now (lol). There are other parts of my body that I'm not happy with but I'm trying not to go overboard trying to get what I want.

My best friend pointed out to me that I indeed was a type "A" personality and it's something that I never would have thought about myself. She said that when I put my mind to something I find a way to get it done. Having friends who are not afraid to tell you the truth are the friends that you really need and I'm lucky to have her as a good friend. This has also helped me deal with my Eating Disorder as I don't feel as isolated as I used to.
The more I can surround myself with positive people the better I tend to feel about myself.

I encourage anyone who wants to contribute to this website to contact me ( and please feel free to post as well.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Tapering/Carbo loading and it's impact on someone with an Eating Disorder

Most people would welcome the idea of not exercising and eating lots of carbohydrates for 3 days. The concept sounds great but to someone who suffers from an Eating Disorder it can wreak havoc with your Psyche.

In order for me to have the most energy possible for my marathon on Sunday I will have to do what's called carbo loading. What this means is that for three days, starting on Thursday, I will not do any type of exercise and I'll have to eat approximately 600 grams of carbohydrates per day, which is the equivalent of 10 bagels. It is a deadly combination that will challenge me mentally.

What accompanies this is a feeling of being "fat" which is something that I've had to overcome for most of my life. Even though I know that carbo loading works, it is something that I do not look forward to and I often will isolate myself during this phase of my training. I'm lucky to have some great friends who are aware of my eating disorder and they all are helpful at keeping me positive during this time. I will often go into a "cocoon" once I start the carbo loading and will only come out when I need to. I can honestly say that each time I do the carbo loading it gets a little better.
After training hard for 4 LONG months my body can use the rest and knowing that I will be running for 3+ hours on Sunday helps with the feelings of guilt for not doing much exercise this week.

If you are a runner and suffer from ED, I urge you to get yourself a good support network before starting a carbo loading plan. Although the plan works, I would not do it unless I had the support network that I have.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

How to deal with guilty feelings

It's amazing how much time I spend thinking about either food or my body image. This is a very common trait I've found with people who suffer from ED.
There are times when I wish that I could just jump out of my own skin if only for a day or two to actually see what others see.
Other times, though, I can be happy with who I am and what I've accomplished. I try not to let the "highs" become too high and the "lows" become too low.

When I'm having good days I try to bookmark them and use them as an example of how I can deal with my emotions on a positive level. I've noticed that with my running I'm able to channel my negative thoughts into a positive vehicle and that helps.
When I'm having bad days, though, it usually centers around how I'm feeling about myself. I fight hard not to let it snowball into something bigger which can usually lead to a binge/purge pattern. Thankfully these episodes are not happening very often. I find that not letting feelings of guilt linger too often is the key for me.

Letting go of the past is not something that is easy to do but dwelling on a poor eating day etc. doesn't help either.
Finding a healthy balance between eating and exercise is something that most everyone suffers from.

When I'm having a bad day I try to remember how I've overcome these in the past. I do this by calling upon positive examples from my own experiences and this usually helps. Instead of beating myself up for a bad choice I try my best to use this as a motivation to work harder the next time. By not allowing myself to dwell too much on the negative I'm hopefully preventing things from becoming worse.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Becoming happier with your inner self

First let me apologize for not posting more often here but my running seems to have taken on a life of it's own.

Tonight I met this amazing person who also has an eating disorder and it sparked me to write something in my blog about it.

It never ceases to amaze me how this disorder can manifest itself in many different ways and then rear it's ugly head for no particular reason. It is something that I think about on a daily basis but try not to let it dominate my life. For me, it's all about coming to grips with who I am and how I want to live my life. I know that for me, it's all about body image and that is what usually triggers a bulimic episode. How people view me has little effect because it's how I see myself that I focus on.

I have good and bad days like anyone else who suffers from ED and what I'm trying to focus on is becoming happier with my inner self.
I'm not an overly religious person, but for me, I've found that I can control my inner peace by trying to focus on positive aspects in my life. My outlet to dump some, if not all, of my negative thoughts is my running. Many of my friends call me the "King of Junk Miles." What that refers to is running more than I need to.

However, only my closest friend knows WHY I have to run. It has nothing to do with training but instead allows me to start my day off on a positive note. If I have any residual negative feelings from the day before, I can go for a run, process them and then leave them on the road. I find that nothing even comes close to the feeling of peace I get when I'm running. Some people find this in art, music or reading. Whatever it is though, you need to find a healthy outlet to deal with what you are thinking about or eventually it will come back to haunt you.

Another friend of mine told me today that she thought I was running "away" from something. I've been thinking about that quite a bit and I honestly feel like I am running "towards" something. I think that "something" is becoming happier with myself on a more consistent basis.