Since my last article I have had an overwhelming response to the story of my success with losing weight, training for figure competing and dealing with bulimia. Since the transformation article, I have competed in three other shows.
During the time of my training for these competitions, I have to confess that bulimia still plagues me ... my mind considers it and I have given in to it.
As with any addiction, it is important for the individual to:
- Understand there is a problem.
- Admit it.
- Identify the things that trigger weakness.
- Remove those things which can be removed.
- And for the things that cannot, get support, accountability and set up alternative ways of dealing with them.
I have learned some things with identification of my triggers and removing the things I can as well as working to deal with the things I can't. I'd like to share these with you because you may struggle with similar issues or know someone close to you who does.
- Being home alone.
- Having tempting foods around when I am alone.
- Being hungry while running errands alone.
- Having a "freedom" mentality post-competition to eat whatever I have been depriving myself of during my training.
- The weight scale post competition.
One of the common things in my triggers of weakness is "being alone." I have learned that I need to avoid being home alone whenever possible. This puts me into a mentality that is like being in a gray cloud where I don't see clearly and think no one else sees me.
Too many times while in this gray cloud, I start to munch on foods when it's not time to eat because the eating passes time and provides a temporary and false sense of comfort. It could be that I ate too many rice cakes and raw almonds or if there are snacks and desserts around, I grab those. Then guilt clicks in and I purge.
- Eating Disorders Experience. - Started By jillybeansalad
"I have noticed that quite a few people have had an experience with an eating disorder. I would like to hear others' experiences, like when did you struggle the most? What "snapped" you out of it?"
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"From a lot of the posts here, it seems like a lot of people are on the fast lane to eating disorders. I just want to lay out a few points that could do some of you good."
- Eating Disorders, Denial, And Ridiculousness - Started By pecan
"...as a former dancer, I know all about eating disorders. I've been there before (find me a ballerina who hasn't), and I know the classifications (orthorexia, anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating disorder) ..."
When I am running errands on an empty stomach, I think of where I can grab something fast. Then I think about what would taste good. Once I step into this thinking, I trigger has been released for me to decide on something not on my meal plan and then I plot out a place where I will be able to find a bathroom to purge.
After A Competition:
Another big trigger is that conversation I have repeatedly with family members, friends, fellow competitors: "What are you craving and plan to eat when the competition is over?"
I think about all those foods and talk about them to the point that I expect to have them when the training and competing is done. Pizza, french fries, mozzarella sticks, cheesecake are the things that everyone is offering me and that my mind is dwelling on.
For a week I allow myself to eat that way. Soon, the guilt starts popping into my head because I know I can't eat that way all the time. I stand on the scale and see that the weight is coming back that I worked so hard to get off during my training. Then the purging begins again.
I've described to only a small degree what goes through my head. It's hard to describe to someone who doesn't have similar experience with something they can't control well in their life. However, if you do struggle with bulimia or alcohol or something else unhealthy, then you know what I mean.
A Family Intervention
Recently, I went to an intervention for a family member who struggles with alcohol. Alcohol has been a weakness and painful experience in our family while growing up. It has caused emotional scars as well as physical scars. During the intervention, I sat and listened to other family members talk about their concerns and how the drinking is affecting them.
When the time came that my dear brother, who we were there for, felt comfortable enough to open up about his problem, he shared why he drinks and how he feels before and after he drinks.
His words touched my heart and mind. It was like I was looking at myself through his alcoholism. I was no different with bulimia. As he became aware of his need for letting go of alcohol and learning how to deal with life without the help of drinking, I realized that I too needed to get my weakness under control once and for all.
How to control an eating problem when eating is a necessary part of healthy living is different from alcohol. Your body doesn't need any alcohol. Your body does need food.
So, I've had to set myself up with some boundaries and ways to plan for success.
My Plans For Success
I have shared my problem with food aloneness with my family and a few trustworthy friends. I have discussed my triggers with them so that I will feel stronger when I need to call someone to be with me if some "alone time" is coming up. A few weeks ago, my husband had to fly out for business for a few days. I called a friend and had this person stay with me to keep me in check.
When I am in my car, I keep healthy snacks like rice cakes, trail mix, protein bars and fruit with me. I write out my eating plan for the day/week so that I still follow a schedule even though I'm not in training/competing mode.
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Structure is important to me. I do well with my eating when I have a plan. Ideally, I try to run errands with my husband or one of my kids, but if I can't or seriously just want to be alone, I eat first and let them know where I am going and when I should be back. This gives me some accountability and keeps me focused on my time.
Dieting down for a competition is typically going to leave the individual with some cravings and feelings of deprivation. It's important to allow for some splurging and celebrating after such a huge goal. Sharing with family and friends about how it feels to eat these foods and how it feels to put the weight back on is an important part of the whole experience of competing.
It's not healthy to stay in competition condition all the time. The body needs a break to rest and have a broader menu of healthy foods. However, set a limit to the celebration and explain to family and friends that when it is over. When you step on that scale the first time after the break, it's normal to see anywhere from five to ten pounds added on from the day of the competition. Most of the weight gain is from water retention and yes, some fat. That's necessary.
When the competing is over, the planning and training to be healthy is an important part of continued success in the process of being a true example of health and fitness.
I've learned I need to set myself up for success by creating a healthy, planned menu of foods and scheduled times to eat and make myself accountable to those closest to me.
If you or someone close to you are challenged in similar ways that I have shared, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me via email at Stacie_hunt2@yahoo.com.