It’s a daily battle with the very thing that keeps us alive: FOOD. The way we take care of our bodies isn’t rational any longer and a paralyzing fear and anxiety takes grip.
Much of the following is probably hard to hear and grasp for those that face different battles, yet I think it’s important for people to get a glimpse of the reality that people with an unhealthy relationship with food & fitness face, especially for those in support roles. In italics I’ve added the way that God has redeemed my thinking and how mental health, food, and fitness play a role in my life now, not to disregard the fact that sometimes those lies of the past still creep in and God has to come in a rescue with His truths.
The following is just ONE example – we could flow chart this thing in a thousand ways based on the day and activity level of work and other commitments. The other thing to note is that with different people come different areas of Disordered Eating and Eating Disorders, but regardless the mind is powerful and there isn’t one size fits all of suffering, but God does have a one size fits all plan of GRACE.
*Disclaimer: Days are spent trying to not think about food – and yes you are ALWAYS hungry – and find distractions, keep away from food and try to will yourself not to binge. Healing is possible, but it takes TIME.
The alarm goes off, you roll over and check messages & emails, brush your teeth and then the day begins and you settle into the every day of the anxiety that encompasses food & fitness…
5:30a – please let me sleep more so I can avoid becoming my minds own worst nightmare today.. this was genuinely a regular thought for me, I was scared of waking up to my own mind.
5:40a – Do I grab a cracker or two before workout or wait until afterwards – don’t want to eat too much too early… today the thoughts shift to : how can I fuel myself best for the day ahead?
6:40a – How can I prolong this workout a little more to avoid the kitchen and give myself more room to eat in case I fall into a binge? … 30 minutes of moving is great (even if it’s just walking). If I feel like more a couple days a week that’s great also, and if I just want the extra sleep it means my body needs it and I can go for a walk later.
7:00a – How can I make the most food with as little calories as possible in case food surprises are available later… how can I get as many nutrients on my plate as possible without overdoing it – egg & veggie scramble with fruit salad and/or avocado & egg toast?
9:00a – Snack or ignore the growling in my stomach – just drink more coffee and/or tea… first ask am I really hungry, then, what nutrient is my body really telling me it needs?
11:00a – Just give me a distraction until 12p… just keep busy, just keep busy, ignore my stomach, sink further into anxiety… (it’s regular for food to consume 80%+ of your thoughts in a day) I’m hungry a little early today what’s for lunch, or if I have plans eat something small (like an apple)
12:00p – Lunch time. Do I want a carb with this meal, I know Mexican is for dinner and those chips will be tempting… same rules apply to breakfast – nutrients galore without overdoing it – but you want that burrito – keep it simple & clean and enjoy
2:00p – Hey the growling is back – if I can just wait until 3p for a snack… usually Im not hungry here if i have fueled myself properly for the day..
3:00p – Snack time – do I really want a bar that has 200 calories or try to do more food simply… I’m still trying to get some extra protein and fat – how can I best get my body that today – quest bar!
5:00p – Mexican bar for dinner – mild panic – no snacking and probably no dessert, just one serving of chips and you probably should forgo the meat in case you eat one to many… I’m a little hungry I’ll grab something small and it will be fine, I can make adjustments as needed based on how I feel.
6:00/6:30p – It’s time, try to engage people and not think about the food, you can do this. Don’t binge, don’t binge, don’t binge… unfortunately this is still a reality for me that I am working through, however my process of the after affects depending has dramatically changed. One major area of improvement is having accountability if I feel like I am struggling.
7:00p – I binged and now feel completely terrible both physically and mentally… no food for me tomorrow and a run over an hour… If I want a few extra it’s okay, I can handle it and if it goes too far, I have someone to talk through it with instead of letting simmer in my mind. I’ll workout based on how I feel and what I rationally think my body needs.
8:00p – Just get to sleep without putting anything else in my mouth – sleep aids sometimes are taken here to try to shut down early to escape the night… a small thing of trail mix or piece of peanut butter toast will satisfy any extra craving, then I can step away and read a book and/or do a pre-bedtime yoga/stretch routine before bed!
Part of it is learning how to take hold of your thoughts and shift the perspective before you ever give it a second thought, but that takes prayer and practice.
If you sit in a place as a support system or caretaker, we don’t enjoy dealing with this and we often feel guilty for dragging you into it even though we KNOW you love and are there, but we hope you find this insightful into a day in the life.
If you’ve dealt with things like me or are still in the midst of the storm I would love to talk more @ firstname.lastname@example.org as always, the team I have around me including my friends and family, fitness community (The November Project, Big Peach Running, and Oiselle), and my favorite fueling products (Nuun, Quest, Honey Stinger) make all the difference!