The Large Professor - You Are An Abnormal Eater!

In this month's Large Professor, one of my closest friends, Lori Hill, gives us some insight into her experiences as a newbie abnormal eater.

While large (muscle-wise of course), Lori Hill was recently appointed to professor status both literally and figuratively, being both a new instructor at Fanshawe College in London Ontario and being the author of this month's Large Professor column.

Due to her relative "greenness" in the "bodybuilding" lifestyle, Lori's article presents a fresh and emotionally healthy way to look at eating the way we do.

Upon its receipt, I knew that this was an important article that had to be published on the site, one that I couldn't have written myself. Since I've been an abnormal eater for the last 10+ years and have seen all of the possible responses to eating the way I do, comments about the diet slide off my back as if it was freshly lubed with Udo's Choice oil blend.

Therefore it takes someone new to this game to truly get in touch with the emotions experienced when trying to adopt a lifestyle that those around you can't quite seem to come to terms with. -- JB


Introduction

Since you have managed to find this website and have taken the time to peruse some of its articles, it is probably safe to assume that there is, at the very minimum, some spark of desire to improve your physique or your heighten your athletic performance. Great start - this website, and the many links from it, are designed with just such goals in mind.

In spending time reading the articles contained within, it won't take long to see that JB's philosophy on success in the gym and on the field centres around pushing oneself past the "norm". This means struggling for the eighth rep when you felt like failing at the fifth, riding the stationary bike like a rabid grizzly is on your heels, and most importantly, eating like the abnormal person that you are.

Long past are the days of trying to convince those around me, those that do not share my enthusiasm for weight lifting, that my diet is, in fact, normal. Like the average, normal citizen I hit the grocery store at least once a week.

Like the average, normal person I fill my cart full and then gripe when I have to wait while the elderly lady in front of me counts out her grocery bill in coins and remember how wonderful it was when I lived and home and groceries were "free". But this is where the parallels between the "norm" and myself come grinding to a halt.


A Healthy Grocery Shopping List
Are you starting a diet but still scratching your head at the grocery store when trying to choose healthy foods? Print this grocery list for use on your next trip to the grocery store.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

I receive quizzical stares and more than a few raised eyebrows while unloading my cart onto the conveyor belt at the supermarket. While I like to pretend that people are appraising my physique with a tinge of jealous admiration, I am forced to accept that it is the contents of my cart, and not my baggy jeans and tank top, that are commending all this attention.

My weekly grocery list goes something like this: 6 tubs of low-fat cottage cheese, 4 containers of egg whites, 14 chicken breasts, 3 trays of extra-lean ground beef, assortment of vegetables, 7 apples, 1 package of fat-free cheese, 2 litres of soya milk, and 1 bottle of flax seed oil.

Now, I am the first to admit that my cart certainly does not look as entertaining as the one filled with frozen fat entrees, deep fried everything's, and chocolate covered empty calorie cakes - but that's fine with me - I eat to improve, and honestly, my G.I. system is rather easily entertained.

And not only do my trips to the grocery store promote a bevy of onlookers. I am bombarded at work and at home about my eating habits. If people ask me with a genuine curiosity, "Lori, what is that?" I am more than happy to tell them what it is and why I enjoy eating it.

I love talking to people about working out and eating well - it's a big part of my life. However, the greater proportion of questions regarding my diet come accompanied with descriptors such as "eww", "that looks terrible", or "I enjoy food too much to eat anything that looks like that".

To these type of comments I care not to even respond - I don't tell them how much I dislike their choice of clothing or hairstyle - so I wonder why it is that they feel compelled to tell me how awful my food choice appears to be.

Admittedly, my cottage cheese laced with PB and chocolate protein powder concoction could probably use a good Martha Stewart-ing - but tasty it is!


Food Relationships

Some people describe their relationships with food as being "passionate" - and I see mine a little that way too. I love to eat - but loving to eat and eating with reckless abandon are two entirely different things. For almost half of my life I struggled a futile battle against food; several years were spent trying to avoid it at all costs and then a few more eating as much as I could only to purge minutes later.


Anorexia: Food Is The Enemy!
By: Peter Czerwinski. Over a year ago I was hospitalized for an eating disorder. The following article explains exactly what anorexia is and following afterwards is the story of my experience with it.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

It has only been within the last few years that I have regained what I would define as a "healthy relationship" with food. I enjoy food - but what is more, I enjoy great food. Not everything has to be high protein, low carb, polyunsaturated fat - I too enjoy the occasional pizza (and notice I did not say "slice of pizza") and all-you-can-eat breakfast offer.

But the difference between people that eat to live and live to eat becomes apparent - the former know that polishing of a super-sized value meal is neither healthy nor normal, and the latter would beg to differ.

Eating, for people like you and me, is both an art and a science. A meal is not just some random food thrown haphazardly into a bowl and cooked until golden brown - it is an activity of both immense thought and dedication.

Eating takes on an entirely different meaning when it means the difference between breaking a personal best or just keeping with the pack, getting that extra rep or settling for what you did last week, motivating you to hit the gym again tomorrow or wishing you had bought that bottle of Tums when it was on sale last week, finally seeing your six-pack or going to buy a six-pack.

 
 
Food is your ally - and together you form the ultimate "abnormal" fighting team.
 
 

I must admit that there are fleeting moments when I curse my choice to eat the way I do. When I see those freshly baked croissants drizzled with icing and chocolate in the bakery sitting along side the sugar topped apple crumble muffins I sometimes wonder what it would feel like to just tear into them face first, pie eating contest style.

But I know the gratification would be very short lived, and besides eating like a wild savage is so 300 B.C.

So take comfort in the fact that while others might see your plight of health as abnormal, or even hedonistic, there are others like you who think that a chocolate covered protein bar is quite a tasty treat.


Conclusion

If you are a veteran of this crazy world of eating do not apologize the next time you crack open a can of tuna in the staff room - you need not feel sorry that you take good care of yourself and enjoy the rewards that come with it. If you are contemplating entering this domain of culinary curiosity then arm yourself with knowledge - be prepared to answer the many "why's" that you will likely encounter.

The articles that you read here, and at the plethora of related sites on the web, will not only tell you the hows but also the why's of proper eating. Although you have no need to justify the way you eat anymore than the person asking you, it is certainly more rewarding when you can.

And just for kicks, pull of some of the technical lingo - nothing makes the average person quiet faster than a conversation that is laden with words like eicosapentaenoic acid.

In the end, it's your choice as to whether your abnormalcy will be a source of shame or a source of power. So take pride in the fact that your grocery cart contains little-or-no saturated fat, hold your head up high as you order your dressing on the side and raise that protein shake up to sky - you, my friends, are abnormal eaters.

Lori Hill can be reached at llhill_uwo@yahoo.ca.