A little over two years ago I broke my collar bone in a bicycle vs cattle guard confrontation. PS…the cattle guard won!
The accident was only two weeks before my “A” (most important) race of 2012, the St. George Ironman.
I was devastated because I had worked so hard all year to kick ass in that race. I was also scared to death because I was at one of the lowest weights in my adult life and I knew without training I would most likely gain weight.
Now I’m sure most people don’t go from “oh crap I broke my collar bone” to “oh double crap, I’m going to gain weight” before the pain meds ever wear off, but if you have ever suffered from disordered eating, poor body image, or food obsession, then you know EXACTLY what I am talking about. If you haven’t, trust me, it’s SCARY!
The accident was on a Thursday. Friday I slept, cried, and answered calls/texts/social media posts to my friends and family…and I probably lost three pounds from adrenaline and dehydration.
Sunday I ate more Taco Bell than should be allowed legally, an entire bag of Buffalo Ranch Doritos, and a 2 liter of Diet Mt Dew to wash them down.
Monday I rotated back to the Peanut Butter Panic…this time I think it took two sittings to eat the half gallon…what discipline. You’re probably thinking, “You couldn’t get off the couch, who was fetching all this junk food”. I’ll just say, no one who loves you wants to see you suffering, so they will do what you ask every time.
Unless I had to pee, I spent most of the day on the couch. I didn’t ever weigh myself but as someone who knows her body too well, I would estimate I was up a good 10 pounds. Obviously a lot of that was water weight and bloat from my body going “what the hell just happened?” But whatever it was, it felt disgusting.
On Tuesday I decided my pity party was over. I knew I was going to be basically immobile for 6-10 weeks so I needed to come up with a plan. Beginning at the age of 12, I basically counteracted my over-eating with over-exercising, which kept me in “balance” with my weight. Even with several lower body injuries over the years, I could always swim. Now I couldn’t move at all…and it scared me enough to make some changes.
When the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing, you will change! Period!
By Wednesday, my Sherpa had followed my explicit instructions to pick up about 4 grocery bags full of fruit, veggies, sweet potatoes, and quinoa. See…like most people, I knew HOW to eat healthily, but my emotions and triggers from the past often stopped my brain from thinking logically when it came to food. BTW…if this all hits too close to home, check out Jessica Ortner’s “Tapping for Weight Loss and Body Confidence”-I’ll write about that another day.
Then on Thursday, my life changed forever. For breakfast I ate fruit (learn why in “Skinny Bitch” by Rory Freedman), had a big salad with all my favorite ingredients (see my article “What I Love in My Salads”), and for dinner I had veggies w either a sweet potato or quinoa. Then I repeated this every day for the next 10 days.
At first I felt “hungry” until I realized I wasn’t hungry at all, I was just used to feeling stuffed every single time I ate. Then I started feeling energetic, light, and satisfied. I looked forward to eating, but wasn’t obsessing about it like I had in the past. I stopped craving crap, and started craving fresh fruits and veggies. I was seriously SHOCKED how little food I actually needed when I was eating nutrient dense foods.
The next day was my first “outing” and I went to cheer on my friends running a local marathon. I felt lean, spirited, confident, hopeful, and happy! I am glad no one knew my Peanut Butter Panic, Taco Bell, and Doritos secret. I felt so ashamed, weak, and undisciplined.
Two years later I feel differently about that time in my life and I want to share with others who may feel trapped in a food shame spiral. As you probably could have guessed, that wasn’t my first binge! And it wasn’t my last, but it was the last time I felt completely out of control and unable to stop my body from bingeing. It was the last time I hated myself for how weak I was and the last time I felt truly hopeless in my 30 year battle.
In the past two years I have discovered so much about myself and how to eat in a gentle, loving, compassionate, and nourishing way that is beneficial to my body, mind, and soul.