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The other day I was happily perusing through the newest issue of Runners World (March 2012), and I came across this article called “Running on Empty”.

The article was all about the phenomenon of disordered eating among runners and how runners will go through serious lengths to drop weight in order to become faster.

There were so many parts of this article that I related to, as someone who had problems with disordered eating in the past…

“Disordered eating differs from an eating disorder in that food intake isn’t manipulated to deal with underlying issues of depression, anxiety, self-esteem, and control. The most common forms of eating disorders–anorexia (self-starvation) and bulimia (binging and purging)–are serious psychiatric illnesses, with significant physical consequences, and can be fatal. Disordered eating, on the other hand, refers to less-severe abnormal behaviors: eliminating food groups from your diet; regularly replacing meals with energy bars or coffee drinks; excessive weighing and calorie-counting; and tacking on extra miles as punishment for, say a cheeseburger the night before. Often, the regimen includes compulsive exercising like hitting the bike after an 18-miler…

Leslie Bonci, R.D., director of sports nutrition at Pittsburgh’s UPMC Center for Sports Medicine, says the most common sign of disordered eating is when food choices become about what not to eat.

“A lot of people have their good-food list and their bad-food list,” Bonci says. “Nothing high in fat, nothing fried. They’ll eat only organic, only local, won’t touch anything processed. They might start to avoid social situations because they don’t know what the food will be.”

The article also went into detail about a college runner who was determined to be as fast as possible and starved himself to the point of passing out during workouts. Obviously, on a runner’s body, starving itself is even worse because it will lead to stress fractures and injuries, on top of malnourishment.

When I was at the worst of my disordered eating, I had all these crazy rules for myself. I couldnt eat breakfast until 10:30 am. I couldnt eat after 8 pm. I was only allowed certain small portions of certain foods. I couldnt eat over 1000 calories a day, even though I was working out. I wasnt a runner at this time. There was more then one time that I would workout and almost pass out from hunger. And yet, I still wasnt good enough for myself. No matter how much the scale went down, it wasn’t good enough for me. I would often binge on the weekends, just to starve myself again throughout the week. I would weigh myself constantly.

It actually wasnt UNTIL I became a runner that I broke my eating disorder. I knew I could never sustain the energy I needed to complete runs without nourishing my body in a healthy way. I have my best runs when I eat good quality healthy food the day before. Sometimes pizza helps too 🙂

Amusingly enough, I never had the urge to lose more weight in order to become faster. I dont run to race…I’m not super concerned with my time. I’m ok with doing a 9:30 pace for now. I know in the back of my head, if I lost weight, it would help with my time…but I’m still recovering from weight loss mode to be honest with you. I dont want to go back into that area quite yet. I’m letting myself adjust to my body now, and maybe…in the future, I will lose a little more. I need to learn to love myself utterly and completely now.

Today’s workout included 5.5 speedy miles on the treadmill. No IT band issues yet this week! I was so excited for my long run tomorrow and then saw this in the forecast…

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WEATHER HOW DARE YOU! Dont you know I run on the treadmill all week, dreaming of saturday mornings when I get to step outside and far away from the boring gym?!

Le sigh…sorry, i’m not much of a snow runner. i’m too blind and clumsy to take any chances 😦

My eats today were nothing too fancy…I took the leftover turkey from last night and made myself a burrito, with a big ol dollop of greek yogurt:

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Gahhh i’m a sucker for leftovers!

Dinner was an english muffin pizza, and sweet potato fries were baked in the oven but Im eating them as I blog 😉

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I’m so fannncyyy with my food!!

Time for me to rest up for my makeshift treadmill long run tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Tell me…

Have you had disordered eating?

Are you a runner who is very focused on their timing?

What was your dinner tonight?