Tuesday, 30 June 2015

"Working Out with ED" (By: Amanda Moulchin)

I am no certified trainer or body builder nor do I track my workouts through social media but I do enjoy working out. When I had my eating disorder I also had a compulsive exercise disorder; I would wake up at 3 am and run several miles when I was 13 years old and then go on with my day and workout again in the afternoon.

I really couldn’t resist the urge to get up and get on that treadmill every morning in my basement and speed through those miles. I continued this pattern for a good two years. These last two years were the worst two years of my eating disorder and at the end of the two years my mom had found an eating disorder treatment center. I agreed to go but I thought that nothing was wrong with me and that I was just trying to stay, “fit”.

The first doctor said that I had to immediately stop working out for the health of my heart and that my habits were far too intense for my current body weight. I, however, disagreed with him right away and I tried convincing him that I wasn’t intense. I had that same doctor get right in my face and say, “A fourteen year old girl does not get up at 3 in the morning to run, you are intense”. He then went on into detail on how much I was putting my heart through and how tough it was with my extremely low weight and body fat. If I had kept this routine up my body wouldn’t be able to take it anymore and my organs would slowly shut down.

That was when it hit me.

I really need to get control and get better. I looked my mom in the eyes and told her that I would do whatever it took to get my life back.

You see, my life revolved around food and exercising; I would limit my food intake and exercise two times a day. If I wasn’t worrying about what I would be eating next, I would be worrying about when I would workout next.

I would say no to going over to a friends house because I would get worried that I wouldn’t be able to do my full workout.

Both disorders were taking over my life.

While I went through treatment I was not allowed to workout at all and that was so hard for me to not do. It took awhile to get used to but eventually, I was in full recovery mode and extremely determined.

The treatment center helped me learn about exercising and that it is normal and also good for the body to take a day off. Then, my doctor slowly started letting me workout, which included cardio and lifting weights.

I’m no fitness guru but I enjoy staying active and keeping my body healthy. Some people aren’t aware that there is a thing called, “working out too much”. It is a very obsessive compulsive disorder that is uncontrollable, but with time and patience, recovery is possible. I am so proud for being able to walk into the gym and have a great workout while knowing my limits and being able to take a day off from the gym.

Sometimes you don’t realize how much time has passed and all of the improvements you have made. Take a minute or two to think about yourself 5 years ago, 10 years ago, or even more. What things have changed? What improvements have you made? How about all the accomplishments you’ve made?

Most importantly, take time to be thankful; be thankful for your family, friends, and other loved ones that are cheering you on from the sideline.

About the Author
Amanda Moulchin is a recent graduate of Valparaiso University majoring in Psychology in addition to a minor in Disability Studies in Behavior Analysis. She will be starting graduate school at Valparaiso University for School Psychology in August. Amanda is Kappa Kappa Gamma alum.
Posted on 06/30/2015 9:55 AM by Amanda Moulchin

Tuesday, 02 June 2015

"Traveling with ED" (By: Kristin F.)

Holidays are always a wonderful time to travel. You get to see new places without having to take too much time off work, you get to experience new things, taste different cultures. Traveling can also bring its stresses....packing correctly, figuring out schedules/itineraries, budgeting, maximizing time. But that's not what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about what it's like to travel with the extra baggage of ED.

What I have come to understand about my relationship with ED now is that certain situations are triggers. One of these triggers is traveling-eating on the road and going to stay with someone else in their own home. Part of the joy of traveling is enjoying different types of food, trying the area's special restaurants. Part of the way I keep ED at bay is planning. Planning breakfast, snacks, lunch, snacks, dinner...I know what foods make me feel good, what don't. I know how much protein I need to have enough energy at work (A LOT). I know what I feel like when I eat healthily and balanced. I don't restrict-I go out to my favorite burger place, neighborhood NY style pizzeria, the local taco shop, the hole in the wall Thai restaurant. But at the end of the day, I have learned balance. But I have to be careful- 'balance' can lead to control issues. Control over what I do and don't put into my body. I always have to be careful of when balance becomes an obsession (leading to its own disorder). And when something that doesn't fall into my food plan, allowing it to be a treat and not a stressor (the cookies that someone brought into the office.....the group trip to get ice cream).

So on my most recent trip over Memorial Day, I stayed with a friend. Travel ED battle 101-eating things that your friend provides you when staying over. They may not be what you usually eat, they may be different from your routine, but it's important to not let ED control your manners. I wanted to enjoy the egg, sausage, and cheese casserole my friend made.  I was grateful that she was feeding me! And I did and it was delicious. Me-1, ED-0.

We then went to a major league baseball game. Let me tell you what doesn't work-eating healthily at a baseball game. Let me tell you what also doesn't work-being scared of baseball game food (when hungry at a 1pm ball game). I had the internal battle of what is the best option here? Everything is fried, is there ANY nutritional value to it? I just wanted something that had any type of vegetable on it. I should have known to eat before to hold me over-to plan when I know a situation can be triggering. But I didn't, and I didn't want to skip a meal because that is never an option.  In the end, I had a protein bar that was in my purse, ate popcorn, and had ice cream...knowing that we were grilling a good meal later. I stayed away from the other food. Should I just have had something there that would have felt like a full meal? Full meals to be these days include protein, vegetables, grains. No options there met that criteria. But that doesn't mean I needed to be scared of eating a hot dog. It was MEMORIAL day for crying out loud!! Me-1.5, ED-.5

So, I can't say that I handled the baseball game as well as I could have. ED was lingering, I was fighting him off, trying to practice moderation...remnants of bingeing on unhealthy food whispering in my ear...telling me to indulge...and then just 'take care of it' later. But it's been 2 1/2 years since that was an I shoved that ED thought out of my head. I wish I was at the point that baseball game food wasn't an obstacle, but in being honest, I'm not there yet. That's okay. I need to remain gentle with myself and know that with new situations come new battles with ED. At some point I will be able to conquer this (hopefully) and it won't feel like a big deal. For now, I will be proud that I handled it at all. That I am able to travel and not give into a triggered situation. That a triggered situation doesn't mean ED gets to win.

About the Author

Kristin is originally from North Carolina but has lived in Nashville, TN for the past three years and now calls it home. Upon going to college in Virginia, Kristin fell victim to bulimia and struggled with her eating disorder for six years. Two years ago, she confessed to her family (who were unaware of her struggle), that she needed help. Through outpatient treatment, under the care of her beloved therapist, caring nutritionist, compassionate doctor, and countless support groups through EDCT, Kristin was able to overcome her bulimia and find peace in her recovery. The openness and vulnerability that Kristin experienced within the support groups allowed her to relate with others and overcome the intense loneliness that was a result of her eating disorder. She is extremely sensitive to these issues, as she knows ED is always lingering around the corner. She hopes that her story of finally standing up to ED can help others. Lastly, Kristin has found that animals are a wonderful vehicle in recovery, as they allow for unconditional love, no matter your size. She recently adopted a pug named Rora who brings her great joy.

Posted on 06/02/2015 10:12 AM by Kristin F.

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