Reading through old journal entries reminds me of how far I’ve come in five years. It also reminds me of how confused, lonely, and scared I felt back then.
The following journal entries may be triggering, but I do not reveal numbers. I thought it would be important to share how devastating and confusing binge eating is as an athlete, right from the journal entries themselves. I included some notes from myself now in 2018, based on what I’ve learned since 2013.
If you are struggling with binge eating (or even just feel like you’re overeating after having restricted food), please know that I hear you, I see you, and it does get better. I encourage you to be willing to learn more about yourself (journalling!), your body, and get eating disorder professionals to assist you through the journey.
January 10, 2013
I am famished right now and I hate it. I’m mad at myself for wanting so much food so often. Why do I have to eat so much? Have I messed up my body? I can’t possibly need as many calories as I’m taking in. And in the form of whole foods, this is ridiculous!
Today I kept feeling guilty for eating so much, but part of me did not feel guilty because the hunger felt real. I knew I was truly hungry. I love eating, but I hate it too because I feel like it is pulling me further away from weight loss. I don’t understand why I’m so hungry, because I wasn’t running high mileage today. I also don’t understand this because I eat all whole foods–and the most filling foods at that–but I just can’t seem to stop eating.
[Since this period of my life, I have learned that there will be days when I’m hungrier than others, especially on rest days—and this is okay. I see now that on rest days we are hungrier because our appetite is no longer suppressed by hard workouts or long runs. Our bodies are trying to refuel and heal themselves from when we did expend all of our energy. The lack of eating we often experience on the high mileage days has to catch up to us at some point.
My persistence in eating whole foods (and only whole foods) also was my downfall. Food wasn’t about pleasure for me—it was eating only to feel full. But part of fullness is satisfaction—hence why I include so many treats now every day and feel satisfied.]
My mind says that I’m an uncontrollable eater, that I love food more than running.
I feel like I will never lose weight again—like I have fallen far from where I had been before. I want to control this so badly, but it’s like a beast that can’t be tamed. I’ve released it ever since all the bingeing started, and now I can’t calm it down. I feel like I listen to hunger much better now and I don’t stuff myself as often, but I can’t seem to lose weight. I’m scared I’ll keep gaining weight.
During the run at practice today I wanted to cry. I wanted to just get away from my team and break down in tears. I feel stupid for wanting to be skinny so badly. It was especially tough today because I wore shorts for practice (it was 41 degrees out!) and felt fatter than ever. I thought I was too heavy a year ago, and I am X pounds heavier than THAT now.
I wonder if I screwed up my metabolism after restricting and then bingeing. I can’t keep gaining weight—how am I going to fit into my clothes, especially my running clothes? I feel embarrassed. I feel like I embarrass runners with my body.
I feel like my body is sick. When will the weight gain end? When can I heal? When can I heal and feel happy with myself, with my body?
January 25, 2013
Right after the 6-mile run, I made sure to eat right away—lots of chicken I cooked up this afternoon, and then X cups of steamed vegetables (including some potatoes and butternut squash).
I tried to take a break after eating. So with that time, I packed up my things to go to the library. But the moment I got to the library I ate an entire avocado, some raw vegetables, about X cups of steamed vegetables, more chicken, and then X slices of bread. I was still famished so I also had a can of tuna. I still didn’t feel “complete” so about an hour later I ate X cans of palm hearts, more steamed vegetables, another avocado, and finally ended with a binge on peanut butter. It makes me mad that I wanted the peanut butter so badly again.
I feel like all I do all day is eat. I don’t know if I can live like this anymore. I don’t WANT to live like this anymore. How can I go on constantly wanting food? I can barely concentrate on my homework or other things I want to do when I’m hungry.
[I know now that my body needed this much food. But eating this much was physically and emotionally draining–especially because I was already using so much of my mental energy thinking about food. Restricting on some days didn’t help my case. As I stated before, your body will make you catch up!]
I keep trying to figure out what’s wrong with me. I know I’m running 60 miles a week, but plenty of other runners run the same and they don’t eat this much food—especially in the form of WHOLE FOOD. What is my problem? What happened to me? I start to contemplate not running anymore or just not running as many miles because I just can’t stand this. I hate eating so much. I want to stop so badly but when I’m hungry I want to eat!
[“My problem” was that I restricted how much I was eating for YEARS. My body had had enough, and it was taking control back. And it turns out, what helped me in recovery was running less. Unfortunately, that only came about when my kneecap broke ten months after this journal entry.]
January 26, 2013
I fell asleep last night crying. I wanted so badly to go see my friends, but I told myself to just work through this and try to sleep, to try to not stress out about a binge.
I feel like my body is sick; like the binge makes me sick and disgusting and I feel worn out. I went to the bathroom constantly all morning and felt tired and dragged down.
My indoor 5k race went horribly. Right from the beginning, it did not feel as effortless as that 3k I did two weeks ago. Afterward, I felt light-headed, exhausted, and I didn’t even want to complete the cooldown. I broke down and cried afterward.
I feel like I have no hope for the future.
[I feel like this journal entry really goes to show how much an eating disorder can take over an athlete’s life–physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally. I was struggling with depression from the eating disorder but didn’t realize it at the time. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon.]