I’m Not Afraid of the Scale

I am not an expert when it comes to nutrition. I work with a registered dietitian but I am not one so I don’t feel like I can give anyone advice. If you want awesome health advice please check out Sam’s blog – she’s a triathlete and an RD with a really cute dog!

What I can do is share my own experience with eating, nutrition and weight loss. Many of you know I suffered from an eating disorder for many years. I’ve been technically in recovery for a few years, but I feel like I’ve really started making strides this year.

Breaking Through the Emotional Barrier

I’ve been able to work through a lot of my baggage and am to the point where I can feel emotions! I literally cry ALL THE TIME now. A song, or a movie or a memory can leave me bawling my eyes out. It makes me feel alive but it’s also kind of annoying :).

I’m also a stronger person and can take on challenges I previously couldn’t. I never thought I’d be able to step onto a scale without it sending me into a downward spiral, but now I can get on the scale and see the number as nothing more than a number. I don’t associate it with my self worth. This is a miracle.

Making Smart Decisions 

I’m also to the point where I feel like I am making smart decisions with food. I thought I could do this before but I was wrong. I really had to work on the deep, underlying issues within me that cause me to make poor food choices before I could really and truly embrace a healthy lifestyle.

A part of me knew this because a little voice in the back of my head would still say, “don’t worry about eating this you can just restrict tomorrow.” Even though I would tell that voice to shut up it was still there…

To be honest, I’m still working on my issues. There’s a lot of self-hate that has to be erased and for me that just isn’t something that can go away quickly. That being said I feel like I am really getting there.

In it for the Long Run

I think it helps that I now see this as truly being a journey. I used to think “oh I’ll go to therapy for six months and then I’ll be better.” And then I would feel frustrated and mad at myself when I wasn’t “fixed” at the end of whatever arbitrary time period I gave myself.

Now I know it’s not a race. Which is good because, as you guys know, I’m not good at racing anyway!

So, like I said before I can’t give you any advice. What I do want to do today is share a few random thoughts I have about food at the moment.

Thoughts About Food

1. I can overdose on Brussels sprouts. 

Up until this year I had never eaten a single Brussels sprout in my life. Then I tried one and fell in love, so I ate them every day for about a month straight. Now I have zero desire to eat another Brussels sprout ever again.

I’m trying a lot of new vegetables this year and loving most of them so it’s okay that I have to break up with Brussels sprouts for a bit.

2. Broccoli will stink up my house. 

I love fresh broccoli way more than frozen broccoli which is a shame because frozen broccoli doesn’t smell too bad when you cook it. There is something about fresh broccoli that just stinks up the ENTIRE house for days. Why is that?

3. I can stop eating if I want to. 

I used to have a real problem with not being able to stop once I started eating. I would eat until I was uncomfortably full. To the point that I felt like I was going to pop. I don’t just mean during binge episodes; I would go overboard on every meal.

This all began when I stopped restricting and carried on for many years. I often told myself that recovery was going well. I mean “LOOK I’m eating… a lot!” But going from one extreme to the other is definitely not healthy behavior.

I think everyone around me could tell my eating behavior wasn’t healthy, but no one really said anything. It’s gotta be tough to bring up eating patterns with someone who has had an eating disorder… and I think we’re in some ways culturally conditioned to be okay with overeating. We don’t think of it as a disorder; it’s just someone with no self-control who is going to get fat or who is fat.

Now, after many years of therapy, I am finally learning to eat more intuitively. My brain no longer feels like its on fire when food is being served. I can stop when I’m full.

4. Moderation is key so I always eat dessert. 

I’m not a big fan of sweets so dessert has never really been a big vice for me. I’d much rather eat more of my main meal than “save room” for cookies or cake. That being said, I do like a little bit of chocolate.

I usually eat a milk chocolate Dove candy after my meal every night. I think it may be more routine now than anything but it’s a nice way to end the day :).

5. On vacation I started every meal with veggies. 

When Adam and I went on vacation last month I started every meal with veggies. Some days I made myself a little appetizer of hummus and cucumbers, and some days I just filled up my plate with whatever veggies they were serving that day.

When I came home from vacation it had been about three weeks since I had last weighed in and my dietitian asked me to hop on the scale. The good news is that I was able to lose weight even with temptation around every corner on the cruise. Of course I also kept up with running while we were away which I am sure didn’t hurt.

I always say that running saved my life, but now I am learning that running was the life raft. Learning to eat healthy is the other piece that will truly save my life and help me feel my best.

9 comments

  1. Lisa @ Mile by Mile

    It sounds like you have come so far! Its amazing that you have overcome so many challenges. Ive never liked brussel sprouts, but I love broccoli! Fresh is a millions times better than frozen. I don’t notice a smell when I cook it but maybe Im just used to it?

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  2. Heather [is probably running]

    #4 Moderation. I like to have a bite of something sweet after dinner too. Though for me it is because I DO have a major sweet tooth. I’ve found I do so much better if I just plan to have something small instead of trying to eliminate sweets completely until I cave and end up going way overboard. Plus if I am too full after dinner, I feel comforted knowing that it isn’t a one time thing, I can just have it tomorrow night instead. Whereas if I live in a world where ice cream is forbidden I feel guilty when getting ice cream and slip into a “might as well eat the whole pint so I don’t ruin tomorrow too” mentality and will eat until I feel sick.

    I’m glad you posted this because really thinking through what has been working for me lately makes me feel like when I am having a bad food day I have some new tools that might help me get through it without self destructing. For me, this stuff isn’t easy to talk about, so thank you for starting the conversation.
    Heather [is probably running] recently posted…Into the woodsMy Profile

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  3. Lisa @ TechChick Adventures

    Thanks for sharing all of this! It is good information, and a new way for me to see the issues people have with eating. I’ve never eaten a brussel sprout before! Wonder if I’d find the same love of them. I do love broccoli. That’s great that you’ve been making your way on this journey and have been having success. Keep it up!!!
    Dark chocolate is my vice. I’m not into the really sweet candy, so my kids can keep that stuff, but I can’t resist the chocolate treats!
    Lisa @ TechChick Adventures recently posted…My cat took the ride of her life!! 8 more left.My Profile

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  4. Lorraine

    I am the opposite, I’m afraid of the scale. I don’t want to know my weight when dieting. I just use a good old tape measure to see how many inches I’ve lost and also by how my clothes are fitting. The scale usually just depresses me if I didn’t lose as much weight as I think I should have lost.

    Aren’t we all weight /food obsessed! Glad your getting help and it is working! It’s nice to hear you being so open about your struggles as we all can relate.

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  5. Denise @ An Academic Athlete

    This was a really interesting post! I was a diver in high school and there was a lot of pressure to be really thin–I ate like crap, but I didn’t eat much, so I stayed relatively skinny. When I got to college, I gained 20-25 pounds within the first few years because I wasn’t exercising and I had such horrible eating habits. Since about 2013, I have actually started eating vegetables and trying to keep a balanced diet. I have tried so many new foods! A lot of the improvement comes from the fact that I now realize that I’m eating to fuel my body–it wasn’t something we talked about in high school (even though I was an athlete), but now I realize how much better I feel when running/biking if I’ve eaten well. I’m still hard on myself if my weight is higher than I want it to be, which I know is unwarranted, but these are hard habits to break.

    Thanks for sharing your food thoughts! I like Brussels sprouts a lot, but I don’t think I’ve ever made them for myself at home. I love broccoli and asparagus. Recently I’ve been pretty into sweet potatoes as well. I’m a big fan of dessert and I eat something sweet pretty much everyday. I just can’t break that habit (and maybe I don’t need to).
    Denise @ An Academic Athlete recently posted…Updates!My Profile

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  6. Hanna @ minimal marathoner

    I have never been a huge sweets/dessert person…but that might be because I’ve always been such a soda addict, so that probably satisfies my cravings for something sweet post-meal.

    I have recently given up soda again, though! I will sheepishly admit that my reason is I’m hoping it will help me shed some of the weight I’ve accumulated over the past 6 months of not exercising as much and not controlling my portions as much as I should. Moderation doesn’t really work for me, though – I’m not a person who can just “cut back” on something. I need the black and white, I can either have this or I can’t. Or, if I’m going to cut back, I need rules – like, I can have a maximum of 2 beers in one sitting/per week/whatever. Otherwise it’s just too easy to make excuses or rationalize my way back to my old habits. It sounds a little harsh but it is the only thing that helps me make better choices.
    Hanna @ minimal marathoner recently posted…Chicago Training Prep, Chapter 3: How I Overcame a Year-Long Running SlumpMy Profile

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  7. Megan @ Meg Go Run

    You are working so hard and improving and I am proud of you. As a fellow disordered eater/thinker, I know it is NOT EASY to change habits and mindsets. And are they ever really fully changed? Who knows. As you know I am only psycho about food like 5% of the time now which obviously is a huge improvement. Unfortunately I cannot weigh myself. I know if I was fully “better” I’d be able to, but I just can’t. I’m not actively trying to change that, I just choose not to weigh myself. And I guess… I mean, that’s okay, right? It’s not like knowing your weight is a requirement in life.

    It hurts to hear you talk about self-hate. I care about you a lot.
    Megan @ Meg Go Run recently posted…I miss you guys!My Profile

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  8. Ali @ Hit the Ground Running

    IDK what is going on with me, but I’ve been crying a lot lately, too. I’m not seeing a therapist or working through anything, but lately shows, songs, books…they’re all making me cry! I guess it’s a good thing but it’s annoying, like you said.

    I love your strategy for health eating on the cruise. It sounds like it worked! You are making great progress with your mental state and your relationship with food!
    Ali @ Hit the Ground Running recently posted…Friday Five: Pros and ConsMy Profile

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  9. Karen Bayne

    That is so awesome you can see your progress!! It is a brutal thing to suffer from, you know I’ve been there…and you have to eat so it is a life long process. I will say my one big issue is stopping when full, sometimes I have a very off day where I eat more than I should at a meal, but I can always reign it right back in. I use to go on those tangents for days. I do feel “cured” but that doesn’t mean I don’t have crud moments, however that obsessing and cycle behavior is long gone.
    It is fabulous you were able to keep on positive note on vacation! That is a good sign of healing 🙂

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