Once a week I have a session with a practicum student who will one day be a full on counselor, or therapist, or psychiatrist…I dunno, one of those. He is doing some practicum hours at the program I go to for help and I had the option of seeing him for sessions. It took a while but I eventually decided to give it a try.
We were talking today and he presented me with a challenge. I tend to link exercise (specifically, going to the gym) with food. If I eat certain foods then I have to go to the gym, no matter what, to work it off. The challenge is to break that connection. Also, I always do 30 minutes of cardio then weight work. He wants to see what happens if I don’t do the cardio, or if I lessen it, because the cardio is directly linked to my need to burn off what I ate.
I am not overly comfortable with either of these challenges, but I don’t think he’d suggest them if they were harmful, so I figured I might try.
I took a look at my watch around 8pm and realized I hadn’t eaten since, well, a lot earlier, and what I ate was something that would be classified as a snack only if I was being generous. I hadn’t exactly planned for today to be a “no eating” day, it just sorta turned out like that. And before you get all “uh-huh, yeah right, heard that one before!” I swear it is the truth.
So I had a dilemma. I was silently congratulating myself for getting so far in to the day on so few calories and thinking I’d make some tea to help ease my way through the rest of the night when I realized that was not pro-recovery thinking. sigh. I tried to think of what to do instead, I mean obviously the opposite of not eating is eating, but what, and how much, and do I really want to?
When I don’t eat for most of the day, or eat very little, I feel…proud…like I have accomplished something. I feel like if I eat something than all that work I put in to not eating (if it was a planned thing) will be wasted. If it wasn’t done on purpose, I feel like this unexpected boon of a calorie deficit should not be ruined by eating something. It’s like…I managed to do something a lot of people don’t do, and this thing that I did, this not eating, is getting me closer to my goal of being skinnier, so why throw that success out the window just because pro-recovery people think I should eat more often.
Does that make any sense? I’m probably not explaining it well…
So I’m sitting in my living room, trying to decide what to eat, and how much, when I glance at my tea mug and see my glass of apple juice sitting beside it.
I don’t drink my calories.
The exception to that being when I am sick and I have apple juice. I actually really like apple juice but it is a thing only allowed when I am sick, and not a little sniffle sick, but full on sick.
When I left work Monday that is where I thought I was heading. So many people at my work are sick, suuuuper sick, and I left work with a sore throat, congestion, and a general feeling of ugh. So I stocked up on kleenex with lotion in them, throat lozenges, DayQuil, and some apple juice. I ended up not getting a sick as anticipated, which is a good thing, just some congestion, tiredness, and minor body aches. Thing is, this means no apple juice.
The glass of juice I poured earlier in the day was from when I had just got home, made some tea, poured a glass of juice, and sat and relaxed with a book. I thought when I sat my body would realize it wasn’t being forced to do anything anymore and would sink in to sickness.
Which again, is a good thing, but now I have this juice and I can’t drink it.
Or can I?
If this had happened in the past and I decided to drink it the trade off would have been one of two things:
(1) drink the juice and go to the gym
(2) drink the juice and don’t eat anything else the rest of the night
There is no other option, if I drink calories then something has to be done to mitigate the damage.
This time I decided to try something new. Why not drink the juice and not go to the gym aaaaand eat something?
Could I do that? Is that allowed? Is this a thing that can be done?
I’m sure other people drink glasses of juice and still eat dinner and don’t go rushing off to the gym..right?
So…maybe I could also.
It took some coaxing, some lifting of the glass but not quite making it to my mouth, then trying again, before it happened, but eventually, I drank the juice.
Then I went to the bathroom and worked really hard at not throwing it up.
Then, after not throwing it up, or running off to the gym, I made myself something to eat, something that had all the food groups. Practically a miracle.
And now I am sitting here, trying not to focus on the food in my stomach, the laxatives and various other supplements in my cupboard, or my packed and always ready to go gym bag.
Why is this so hard? Should this be so hard? I don’t think this should be so hard. But I find it incredibly hard. I’m such a wimp, finding something like this hard. What kind of challenge is this, really, in the grand scheme of things? This is a thing normal people do every-fucking-day. If they can do it then so can I…right?