Motivation comes in many forms. Some use the “I’m doing this so I don’t have to do it for the rest of my life” approach. Others use the “I’m doing this to make other people happy” approach. But I prefer the “I’m doing this for me” approach. I’m writing this blog for me, and hopefully to help others along the way.
I lost substantial weight my first semester in college. It was to prove to myself (and my ex-boyfriend at the time) that I was worth something, to feel better about myself, and to take my mind off the many changes coming my way. I went from weighing 140 lbs to about 118 lbs in a matter of a semester, a size 8 in pants to almost a size 0, and still I wasn’t happy. I think this is where my obsession with exercising and “healthy” eating truly began, and it’s taken the better part of four years of healing and patience and support to get where I am today.
My disordered eating wasn’t about food. It was about control. What I did or didn’t put into my mouth or how long and how often I exercised were the ways to make me feel like I ran my life. Change was always around the corner, but my body was for me to control and no one else could take that away from me. That was my logic, but really, what good came from it? If I felt it wasn’t okay for anyone else to go to bed hungry because they had no other choice, how was it okay for me to go to bed hungry when there was always a well-stocked kitchen downstairs? What was the point of eating healthy and working out every other day when it was never enough? Not only that, but when you limit your caloric intake and exercise, it’s not only illogical… it’s freaking dangerous.
I’m telling you this because of what happened this morning. IB and I went on a slow run this morning, less than half an hour and under two miles. When we finally came back, my face was a deep red; I was nauseous and had tunnel vision even after gulping down water. We decided it was best if I lay down, though after a few moments I started to shake convulsively. It went away, but he was still concerned. He’d been a runner for years and never experienced this before, so he started researching.
I’ve been working with Cheryl Harris for nutrition guidance and life enrichment since February this year. I can look back and happily say there is progress. I’m eating between 1500 and <1800 calories a day instead of having a panic attack if I eat more than 1200 (and yes, this included the days I exercised). I’m giving my body what it wants immediately when it asks for it. There are days when I’m still hungry after I’ve eaten dinner, typically when I have a late class and pack food for myself, and I no longer grudgingly feed myself until I’m no longer hungry.
I learned a new mantra, one that I can tell myself should insecurity rear its ugly head. “Food is the fuel that keeps me going, and not the anchor that weighs me down.” How's that for deep?
|I'm NOT holding myself down anymore.|
Maybe I felt that, since I wasn’t what I pictured to be an “Athlete,” I could eat normally and still work out like a gladiator. That is, one hour of aerobic exercise, about half an hour of weights and other gym machines, and I’m not even counting all the walking I do on campus. If I want to go to the gym three to five times a week, I need to make sure my body has the fuel to do it. That means sleeping a full eight hours a night, drinking water, getting the right vitamins, and yes, eating. Perhaps a year ago if the Burt-man asked me “Do you want to be strong and solid (implying the possibility of weight gain) or a ninety-eight-pound weakling?”, I would have had to think about it. If I was honest with myself, I would have likely preferred the latter because I felt I’d rather be thin (implying beauty) than muscled and "stocky". But I know better now.
Beauty is found in a happy self, a body that gets what it needs and never wants. I still have a long way to go, but I’m not the person I was four years ago trying to be something that others would like. The next time I speak to Cheryl, I will focus on the Gluten Free Athlete perspective, and what measures I need to take in order to embody this persona safely, effectively, and happily. Michelle and Lori of Pure2Raw seem to have this concept down to a science.
Oh! And I’ve discovered a new blog, The Gluten Free Athlete. Something tells me I’m going to be visiting it often. But for now, I have a socca recipe for you, one that I gobbled up gleefully post-run. High in healthy fats and carbohydrates, my body felt like new.
Socca Tuna Melt
1 Socca Recipe
1 slice Gouda cheese, quartered
1/4 c. Canned tuna in olive oil, drained of excess oil
1 heaping tbsp. Fresh salsa
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Prepare and cook the socca (like so) and place it under the broiler.
Thoroughly blend together the tuna, fresh salsa, and mustard.
Remove the socca from the oven, flip over, and lay out the cheese on one side.
Top the cheese with the tuna mixture and fold the other side on top (like you would an omelet).
Place it under the broiler once more until the cheese is melted.
Cut it in half and serve with sour cream, a small salad, and carrot juice.