If you are not up to speed, then I recommend reading part one of my eating disorder story, Eating Disorder? Well that was out of the blue. I left off with saying that I truly believe that the Boston Marathon saved my life.
My disordered eating did not develop due to my running habits or from a desire to have less body weight in order to run faster. I did not meet and fall in love with the marathon until well into my eating disorder.
Now I do know that eating disorders can be coupled with over exercising. In my mind and what I feel to be true, my exercise habits were not excessive or compulsive. My compulsiveness initially presented itself in terms of numbers. This meant counting calories and counting minutes until I could eat again.
After the Boston Marathon my compulsiveness changed. I have uttered the statement I was anorexic to a few close people in my life. My heart would race and the words coming out did not seem like they belonged to a story I was telling about myself. But I have never admitted to anyone or to my journal what I am about to type. So here I am still with my heart racing but with a little more confidence in my words as I know telling my story has the potential to help someone else.
My compulsiveness went from counting calories and minutes to compulsive eating. But I am honestly not sure if I would call it binge eating. Maybe someone reading this can help me figure this out. But I would not call this “typical” binge eating.
Dear universe I apologize for wasting food!
The major compulsiveness was centered around cutting foods symmetrically, eating foods in a symmetrical fashion, eating all of the “broken” pieces first, eating all of one item in a bag, then moving onto another item. For example, take one of those larger Nature Bakery’s fig newtons from Costco. Now eat the outside layer, throw the middle away, repeat, for several packages. Take a Costco size trail mix, dump it out, sort the nuts, raisins, and m&ms. Then eat one group at a time. I did this mostly with “healthier” food items. If I had “unhealthy” foods, say for example I baked cookies, I could not keep them in the house. If I did, I would take a bite from each one and throw it away.
About the same time my compulsiveness went off the deep end I started to experience severe anxiety and panic attacks. I was living with a family I did not know very well while on an internship in Los Angeles. I would go all night without sleeping. My heart would race, my body would shake, and my throat would close down. Nothing I would do could shake the feeling. Seasons and seasons of Friends got me through those long nights.
This anxiety and the panic attacks improved as I started to date my now husband. My compulsive eating also improved but continued for a couple of more years. I sometimes wonder if the anxiety was a mixture of dealing with whatever emotional/ mental stress I was under and my overall poor nutritional status. Obviously the way I was eating was a complete change from being anorexic. Including much more sugar and frequent, large increases in blood sugar levels which have a toll on the body.
I truly have no idea where this compulsiveness came from. Maybe figuring that out could have been helpful in recovery. At this point I have mostly recovered from this. I am functioning but there are still quirks. I don’t feel like I can keep a lot of extra food in the house, I have to dish my own plates, and I love the crumbled up and broken chips at the bottom of the bag.
Typing that out was scary but it feels liberating. Some of you reading this may think I am silly for admitting this for the first time on a blog. Some of you may think I am poor at writing or my story is insignificant. I am just starting out but I wanted to simply start and see what happens. It may be messy at first but at least I am starting. Even if only one person reads this and it helps in one small, simple it will be worth it to me. So if this reaches you and you needed to hear this, remember you are not alone. Leave me a comment or email me at [email protected] so I know that you are here.
Obviously at this point of the story I am not in recovery mode. If it was the Boston Marathon that saved my life, it was CrossFit that gave me my life back.