Welcome! This Blog is run by two amazing lady runners who don't fit into a box.

I am a runner who does NOT fit into the stereotypical body type of a runner. I have hips, a bum, thighs, and breasts. I jiggle all over the place no matter how much spandex I put on, and my gut usually hangs over my shorts. I work in the mental health field, and have a passion for inciting outrage regarding the media's portrayal of women, their bodies, and their abilities. I am a beautiful woman who sometimes struggles to remember it. I am a runner who sometimes feels more like a slogger.


I have the spirit of a runner inside me that just won't let me quit- no matter how much I sometimes would like to! Physically, I certainly have many of the things Chrys mentions up there- hips, thighs, bum, boobs, tummy, all of it- and Lord knows all of it likes to jiggle around while I do just about anything, especially running! I am passionate about body image, the Health at Every Size & Size Acceptance movements, and love finding inspiration in as many places as possible. Working as a therapist, one of my personal goals is to live as in-line with my values as I possibly can- this blog is one of the ways I figure all that out.

Join us on out adventures in running and ramblings on Body Image.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Lets Make More Of Ourselves, Not Less

Well, at least it hasn't been a year this time! 

I started writing a post on Facebook last night, and it turned quite long.  I decided this was a good place for it, and that it was a good way to re-start here.  I am going to try to commit to writing at least once a week, and I have friends who have told me that they will help keep me on track with that!  yay! 

Here it goes:

"Let's make more of ourselves, not less"

As I know many of my friends know, I struggle significantly with my view on "Health at Any Size" and weight. I often find it hard to look past the messages I am bombarded with on a regular basis from the media, from friends and family, and from the medical community, and to connect things I agree with in theory to my own life.

This was made EXTREMELY CLEAR to me over the last few days when I had a terrible awful terrifying episode of reflux that left me crying, vomiting, and fighting to breathe. As I am concerned about this, and rightfully so, most things I can find about reflux state that weight can play a significant role in the severity of reflux.

Part of me wants to say "fuck you!" To this, both because I DO believe that most people can be healthy at most sizes and because, while this is definitely the worst it's ever been, I have had difficult with reflux at many sizes. Part of me wants to say "see Chrys: you really DO need to be losing weight."

I would be lying if I said I didn't want to lose weight. I would be lying if I said that part of this is due to internalized messages of thin = good. I also know that I have found myself to feel better physically when I am doing the things that I often associate with losing weight. Exercising more. Eating out less. Eating more whole grains and vegetables. Eating more whole foods in general.
My wise mind tells me that, in all reality, it's these behaviors and not the weight itself that cause me to feel better. But right now I am having trouble de-linking those in my mind.

I joined weight watchers a while back, and I have mixed emotions about that too. I really liked the program because it encouraged movement and eating fruits and veggies. I really liked it because it had a "there are no bad foods" mentality. I left it for a while because I felt that it was not meeting my needs while dealing with some medical difficulties, and Recently re-joined. I do not plan on re-upping when this current period is up though.

I am not terribly happy with recent changes that they have made, and I think that the changes are likely to lead people to rely more on artificial sweeteners, as sugars are "more heavily weighted" in their points system then they used to be. (Pun 100% intended.).

I am thinking about trying to re-join the mental health world and specifically the eating disorder world, and in this process am taking a deep look at how some of my actions do not necessarily agree with my beliefs. I think it is always a good thing to try to live a life in which your actions speak to your ideals. I think this is doubly, triply, way more important when you are working in the eating disorder field and talking  about your behaviors around food.

This is all a super long winded way of me saying "I am not perfect and that's ok. I can continue to work towards my ideal self, and I can accept that that ideal self and my conception of it will continue to change throughout time" and to say that "I have many friends who currently do weight watchers and are very happy with it. I am not judging you, and if it's helping your lifestyle, good for you! But I hope it's helping you make healthy choices and not helping you hate your body even more if you aren't losing weight. You are so much more than a number on a scale."

Here I will leave you with the quote that made me decide to put to words these thoughts that I have been having:

“Lose weight and gain so much more,” invites Weight Watchers’ website. If you’re looking for a New Year’s slogan, here’s another one to try — in 2016, let’s look beyond the superficial and all resolve to make more of ourselves, not less.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

You are smart. Your plans are solid.

Today, I was reminded of the importance of preparation when doing a “long run.”  For me, a long run is currently anything more than about 5 miles.  What is considered a “long run” is certainly VERY different for each individual.  Today, my plan was for 10-12 miles.

I started off my run SUPER well prepared.  I have been struggling with the humidity that living in Louisiana during rainy season brings, so I had frozen two bottles of water overnight, and set them out on the front porch as I started, with plans to loop back around mile 5-6 for a water break and to re-fill my fuel belt.  I then planned to swing back by the house around mile 10 for another water break/refill and either take the dog for a walk or take her with me to finish my last two miles, depending on how I was holding up. 

I did really good with my usual pre-run preparation.  I had a protein bar, and gave it about an hour to digest before getting started.  During that time I drank an energy drink (my current normal morning routine whether I am running or not, since it’s just too warm for coffee!), and I even remembered to take my inhaler well before setting out, giving it it’s optimal 30 min to get to work before I started challenging my lungs. 

I was all set!

I should have stuck to my plan! Around mile 2.5-3, I decided I could keep going on, as I had only JUST tapped into the second of my three water bottles on my fuel belt.  Around mile 4, I decided that I should just go ahead turn around at mile 5ish.  I would get to turn around at one of my favorite turn around points, and I would get home just in time to take the dog out.  Perfect, right?!?!  Well… it WOULD have been, if I didn’t run out of water around mile 6 (remember?  Right around when I would have been stopping home for a refill?) and had just turned around not too long ago.  By mile 7, I knew I wasn’t going to make it to 10 miles without water, and cut my route short to head home.  Around mile 7.5 (2 hours in), I realized I never used any of my honey gels.  I usually take them around 45-60 min in, and then every 45 min or so from there. 

Wait a sec.  So I am battling the heat, out of water, and on mile 7 having only had a protein bar for fuel?!?!  Yup.  I am that smart. 

So, here I am, having done 8.25 miles instead of 10-12, having not walked the dog, and feeling silly for not having prepared.  Let this be a lesson to us all (and hopefully mostly to me! I do tend to learn things the hard way…. Several times over.) 

Be prepared! Stick to your plan!  It is always ok to deviate from a plan, especially if you are having an extra difficult time, facing the possibility of injury, or other such things, but you are probably a pretty smart person, and your plan is probably pretty solid.  It is there for a reason.  Try to follow it.  

Thursday, May 21, 2015

How I Fell in Love With Taylor Swift: A Manifesto

OK. So ‪#‎TaylorSwift‬. OMG. So much OMG.

For years, she was just some chick who made some decent music. Whatevs.
Then some of my friends became obsessed with shake it off. Ok. Cool. This is a fun song.

Then. Then! Then I saw the Shake It Off video!!!! It made me super crazy happy. She wasn't taking herself too seriously. She was having FUN! It wasn't super sexy or super anything. It was just FUN and celebrated different types of dance and was just FUN! I fell in love with Shake it Off.
Just a few weeks after that, I first heard Blank Space, via a video she did with BBC1 I believe, which was basically an extended selfie of her and a DJ (?) singing and dancing around in the car. What? I do that! A LOT! Rather exuberantly! And the song itself. She is clearly poking fun at her reputation and being tongue and cheek. So fun! Plus its a super fun song and it reminds me a little of some of my relationships when I was younger.

Shortly after this, I purchased the album on iTunes, and really enjoyed the majority of it. So, when it came to be that she would be kicking off the US leg of her 1989 World Tour in little ol' Bossier City, LA, where I recently relocated, and my friends wanted to go, I was IN! I haven't been to a show in ages. I haven't been to an ARENA show in WAY ages. I haven't been to a POP show since..... ummmm.... New Kids on the Block.

But here it is. I am a 33 year old woman, super psyched about going to a Tay-Sway concert, complete with rockin' my 80's-i-fied puffy painted shirt.

The concert last night BLEW ME AWAY. I LOVED IT.

Two things that REALLY stood out to me were that a) when her hair got messed up, she left it there, b) while all the same basic size and shape, there was actually a good amount of diversity in her "backup" dancers. c) She was really in the moment and, while I am sure it was super scripted, seemed to talk from the heart.

She talked about how she has a lot of amazing friends right now - her friends, family, fans, etc. She talked about how music has helped her get through the rough times in life, and in a way that legit seemed real. She talked about not fitting in. About how, even being on an amazing tour, selling a gajillion records, etc, THAT hasn't made her happy. That learning to be herself and embrace who she is at any given time, even as it changes, is what lets her be happy in life.

Taylor Swift. I wish you were my friend. I wish I had as good a head on myself at age 25 as you do. Even if you don't believe half the stuff coming out of your mouth, it will sink in as you keep saying it, and (this sounds terrible, but I kinda think this is even more important), it will sink in to the minds and hearts of the millions of young people that listen to your music, go to your concerts, and follow you on all the social media.

Yeah. Some of the sexualization bothered me, with the young audience. But lets be honest, most of it probably went over their heads. Yeah, you feed the "fairytale" stereotype that I don't believe is healthy. But you are an amazing woman, and I adore your freaking face. (I wanted to say "self" but the consonance of "face" just was too good!)

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Fitness Blogger Photoshops Her Body In Real-Time In Response To Hateful Comments, and Has Me on the Verge of Tears

Well... that time has come again.  It's been over a year, and the desire to re-dedicate myself to this blog is running strong.  I have several ideas bouncing around my head, but today will be a short and heartfelt post.

My friend recently posted this video to facebook on my wall.  Had she not, and had only tagged me in it, I would have posted it to my wall myself.  I watched it and legit almost cried.  Then my friends commented on the post, and I almost cried so many times over again.

The response to this video surprised me.  There were people who I expected it to resonate with, due to their jobs, their passions, or their life experiences.  There were also people who I would never have expected it to resonate with, but who it did.  Who then decided to take the risk to open up in a (semi-)public forum about their reactions and their own inner most feelings.  Responses from people who are thin and not.  Responses from people who are male and female.

I am so proud to have the friends I have.  I am so proud to be where I am in my life.  I have so much farther to go.  So many more things to experience, and so many more ways I hope to grow.  Recent changes in my life have highlighted that in so many ways, and this video, along with the response from my friends, has reminded me that I am able to share these things in a public forum, and that maybe I can lend strength to others in the process.

I don't use the word "love" lightly.  But I love so many of you.  For your strengths and weaknesses, for your perfections and your flaws, for your experiences that have shaped you and the experiences yet to come, because I share them with you or I can learn from you via them.

I am clearly waxing rather sentimental at this time.  There may be more of that to come.  Hope you don't mind.... and... well... if you do, then you don't have to read my wonderful blog that I share with a wonderful smart introspective woman.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Everyone Has Their Struggles

I ran my first race in.... I don't even KNOW how long, over the weekend.  In many ways it was great!  I got to wear a kilt, I got to wear several clashing shades of green without being judged, I finished, and I finished in a decent time, and I had an unexpected partner to run with, who is an acquaintance that I got to know a little better.  In several ways, though it was AWFUL.  My asthma decided to let itself be known right as I was getting ready to leave for the run.  It was SUPER hilly, and I have NOT been training on hills.  I didn't realized just how often I have been drinking water on my training runs, and I didn't bring my hydration belt, so I was SUPER thirsty a good chunk of the time.  Did I mention it was hilly?  OMG, was it hilly.  My muscles were NOT prepared.   All in all, though, it was a great race.  I mean...  Chance to wear a kilt, Men in kilts, and Beer at the end?  With friends?  All the rest pales in comparison.

Recently a good friend, who ran my first half marathon with me, just got cleared for yoga and is able to walk more than like 20 min.  Another friend had to bow out of this weekend's race (an 8k - so about 5 miles) due to pain in her last run.  I also talked some with my sister and her struggles with medical issues, which has COMPLETELY derailed her running several times.  She is just now being able to get back in to it, close to 3 years after completing her first and (to date) only marathon just before things fell apart.  She just started a blog too, Running With RA, which you should totally check out.

Anyhow.  Sometimes it's really hard to be motivated to run. Sometimes I feel like things are REALLY hard.  Sometimes it just seems unfair.  Right now, though.  Right now, I am thinking about the fact that we ALL have our battles to face.  Right now I am thinking about the fact that everyone's battle is different.  Mine may seem "easy" compared to some of my friends'.  Right now.  Mine may seem trivial at times.  This is not to say that I should feel any less frustrated.  That I *should* feel any way.  In those moments it IS hard!  It IS painful!  But it still does give me some perspective to think about what other people may be going through.  Today, that is humbling.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Eating Disorder Q & A with Rachel

I am posting this for my co-blogger, Rachel, as I really think they are worth sharing and I happen to have the time and energy to post these right now, and she doesn't.  Silly hard worker, she is.  She HAS given me permission to take these and re-post them to the blog though, I promise!  I will not be editing this stuff except to take out a few things that may not make sense in this format (i.e. "stay tuned for more Q&A later today!" when I am compiling these later in the week!) and a little bit of formatting. I also added my own two cents to a few of the answers.

As I mentioned in my post earlier today, it is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.  This is a topic close to my heart AND to Rachel's, which is one of the reasons we started this blog in the first place.  Please enjoy her knowledge!

This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week! And, as my career passion is the treatment of eating disorders, it's always a time I want to offer resources and information to people. This year, I decided I would do something different and see if people had any questions I could answer, and these are the fantastic questions I got! I'll answer them to the best of my knowledge. Please feel free to ask follow ups! Or brand new questions! 

From Crystal:
Maybe it's just me, but whenever I hear eating disorder, all I think of is anorexia or bulimia. Are there official names and other disorders? I'm thinking mostly about those that go in the opposite direction from not enough to overeating.

Short answer is YES! There are other disorders. Anorexia and Bulimia are certainly the most researched of eating disorders at this point, and are the most commonly known- but not necessarily the most *common*. In this iteration of the DSM, Binge Eating Disorder (BED) was given it's own diagnostic code and acknowledged as it's own diagnosis. According to the Binge Eating Disorder Association (an organization I trust run by people I admire and trust), BED is the most common eating disorder in the US. One of the stats I find most notable is that it impacts 30-40% of people who seek weight loss treatment- that's right, nearly HALF! Binge Eating Disorder is characterized primarily by out of control eating, and the amount of food that may be in a  binge is highly subjective. As with all mental health diagnoses, it's important to remember that the symptoms must cause distress if it's going to be diagnosed. What distress means is also somewhat subjective. BED is also incredibly damaging to health- and NOT because it can result in a higher weight. People with BED are not necessarily overweight or obese, and are often/always malnourished.

One thing that is really important to remember about this and all other eating disorders is that you cannot simply look at someone and diagnose them with an eating disorder. People come in ALL different shapes and sizes, so just because someone is below, at, or above average weight does not mean we can make a health diagnosis.

There are also other eating disorders that are identified. Another newly acknowledged one is Avoidant and Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. This most commonly starts in youth/adolescence, and is not my area of expertise. What I do understand about it, though, is that it's something like highly selective, picky eating that results in nutritional deficits and often significant weight loss. It differs from Anorexia in that the drive for thinness and body shape distress aren't present.

Two other unofficial diagnoses that can cause distress are Orthorexia (obsessive about eating clean or organic or following certain guidelines- may or may not be underweight) and Diabulimia (use of insulin to purge/control weight). Neither are things I know enough about to really talk about, though I have seen more cases of Orthorexia than Diabulimia. Again, these are not official diagnoses.

There are more, but those are the ones I feel I can speak about in an educated way, and they are the major diagnoses.

Julia asked:
What do we know about the risk factors for eating disorder development? And while I know that they require treatment, what does treatment entail? And, since I'm asking questions, what are the warning signs that folks should look out for in others and themselves.

First question: What do we know about the risk factors for eating disorder development?
GREAT! Short answer is "Not nearly enough." Much longer answer is "But still a lot, and here it is:"
We know that eating disorders are biologically based illnesses with genetic underpinnings. People are genetically predisposed to them, generally. The common saying is that Biology loads the gun, Environment pulls the trigger. It is *exceptionally* important that this next thing is understood: Biology & genetics do not mean FATE- just because someone is predisposed to the development of an eating disorder does not mean they develop an eating disorder. And "environment" can be large scale (media, social pressures, etc) and can be small scale (family, peer group). Eating disorders are nobody's FAULT and a person does not choose to have one. So, some basic risk factors:
  • Family history of an eating disorder. I would also bet that a family history of addictions would merit some closer attention, but I don't know that based on research. More just a gut feeling. :)
  • If a child is excessively or unusually focused on his or her weight/shape, commenting on his/her own or other's bodies, wanting to go on a diet, etc, etc. These are the sorts of things that should raise an eyebrow.
  • Participation in sports that are particularly appearance focused can also warrant some extra attention. If I was a parent, and my child was participating in cheerleading or dance or ice skating, I would want to know their coach and his/her methods very well, and I would pay extra attention to what my child was eating and saying about food/body image. (Note From Chrys: I would also include any sports that focus highly on weight in this, including gymnastics, wrestling, and distance running.  I do not know much about pole vaulting, but I have a feeling that might be included as well. )
  • Picky eating can certainly be a warning sign, but also should not be forced. We're learning a lot more in that area of research (that whole "sit there until you clean your plate" method isn't good), but I don't know enough to speak more about it.
  • And then there are physical warning signs. Extreme weight loss or gain. Yellowing teeth, scabs on hands. Person being always cold, dressing in lots of layers constantly. Things like that can be a sign that someone may be struggling with an eating disorder.

Next: what does treatment entail?
It can entail a lot of different things. I'll go through the levels of care as laid out by the APA:
  • Acute inpatient hospitalization: This is for someone who needs constant medical monitoring, may be on some sort of life preserving or life saving technology, very medically unstable.
  • Inpatient hospitalization: This is for someone who is not quite as unstable as the previous, but still needs access to 24/7 medical care, needs frequent labwork, may need tube feeding. Suicidal ideation (active, with plan & intent) is often seen at this level of care.
  • Residential Treatment: This is what I do! =D Residential treatment (RTC) is 24/7, but the patient is stable enough that they don't need frequent labs. Some RTC will accommodate tube feeding and do more frequent labs (Renfrew did when I worked there, for instance). Others (such as Carolina House) require more stability than that and do not do tube feeding, and generally speaking don't draw labs often. This is for a medically stable patient that is behaviorally in need of 24/7 supervision and intervention in order to do things like weight restore, stop binging, stop purging, stop compulsively/excessively exercising. It's a very therapeutic environment, ideally.
  • Partial Hospitalization: This is a partial day of treatment. It's kind of like a job- you go in during the day, and stay at home at night (generally- all treatment facilities I know of that offer both RTC & PHP have a hybrid of the two, where a patient's insurance company pays for PHP, but they pay a room and board rate to still get 24/7 care). Their day is filled with therapy, groups, nutrition and medical appointments, and, of course, meals/snacks.
  • Intensive Outpatient: This is even less of a day than PHP. IOP can mean a variety of different things, but usually means at least 3 days/week, at least 3-4 hours/day. It can mean more; I have not really known it to be less. A patient may also get therapy and nutrition counseling at an IOP program, or they might have outpatient therapy/nutrition services they use in conjunction with the IOP and just use it for groups and 1-2 meals/snacks.
  • Comprehensive Outpatient: This is what people will often do if an IOP is not available. This would be a full treatment team of therapist, nutritionist, psychiatrist, medical doctor that they saw 1+ times/week, and there would also usually be an outpatient group or 2 in there, as well. Meals aren't often included in this unless one of the providers does meal support therapy.
  • Outpatient: Now, this is something that can go on for years. This is probably what most people traditionally envision if they think of going to therapy. Seeing a therapist 1-2x/week, having a nutrition appointment once/week to start with, and medical and psychiatry appointments as needed. Sometimes there are groups. The amount of OP you do would depend on the level of need- it may be that you start out at basically a comprehensive OP plan, and then move on to less and less as recovery gets stronger. For best prognosis, someone will engage in some level of care for about 5 years.

People start at lots of different places. Starting at the least restrictive level necessary is definitely considered best practice. Now, "necessary" seems to mean something different to providers than it does to payers, but that's probably to be expected. ;-)

Finally, what are the warning signs that folks should look out for in others and themselves?

I pretty much covered this accidentally in the first question! :) OOPS! If you find yourself, or your friend, excessively focusing on weight/shape/food/etc, if you see someone restricting their food intake (naked salads, never eating when you get together, etc), if you notice that every time you eat with a friend, they get up and go to the bathroom immediately, if you notice that whenever you see them/eat with them, they get multiple large servings or eat very fast... these are all things that could indicate a problem. If they are constantly at the gym or out exercising (and it's not necessarily in accordance with, say, a training plan for an athlete)... those are also potential hazard signs.

Catie asked:
What's your take on the whole gluten free/organic/dairy free/restricted eating? For the record, I know some people have allergies and such, but it seems like some of it is more choice. Just curious.

I have 2-3 initial thoughts. First and foremost is that if someone feels they have a physical need for a restriction in their diet, or have a problem that needs further exploration, then they should absolutely get a full work up, not just from a PCP, but from specialists, such as endocrinologists. There are real needs for these restrictions, and missing those needs can have horribly detrimental effects.

Second is that the diet & weight loss industry (A TERRIBLE BEAST) saw something that was a genuine problem for a small subset of people and realized that they could use our weight/thinness obsessed society and profit from that problem by turning the phrase "Gluten free" into a diet catch phrase. And, because the diet industry is very good at playing into people's fears and insecurities, it worked wonderfully. Every new diet craze probably started similarly - a real medical need for some people co-opted to make money for the diet industry.

Third, the diagnosis of Orthorexia I briefly mentioned in my answer to the first question comes to mind. This particularly type of mindset- the obsession with organic, clean, "healthy" eating and the petrification that can come with the mere idea of BREAKING those eating rules- is very susceptible to these diet crazes, particularly since so many of them ARE based in a medical need for some people. The individuals who struggle with this mindset will often overgeneralize these sorts of rules from "good for a certain subset of people" to "good for everyone and necessary to prevent problems."

Note From Chrys: This is something that I care a lot about, as I know many people, including family members, who genuinely need to have restrictive diets due to some really funky allergies and sensitivities.  These include to gluten, soy, certain proteins in milk, fructose, and eggs.  They also include diseases such as Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Gastro-Esophogeal Reflux Disease, which can require avoidance of certain foods in order to avoid flare-ups of disease and significant discomfort.  I ALSO know many people who have gotten caught up in the low carb diets, the low-fat diets, the gluten free diets, Paleo diets, Atkins diets, the dairy free diets, who avoid soy due to fear of the affect is has on hormones, etc, etc, etc that are, in essence restrictive of certain foods/food groups.  I agree wholeheartedly with Rachel that one should seek consultation with a SPECIALIST if they feel they need to be on one of these diets.  People need to remember that you can cause sensitivities by cutting out certain food types from your diet, and some discomfort is expected when re-introducing foods to their diets.  For example: I was vegetarian for 6 years as a teen/in my early 20s.  When I re-introduced meat, especially red meat, my body didn't really know what to do with it at first!  After a few months of slowly re-introducing these things, though, my body loves, and sometimes craves, these things and the nutrients that they give me.  IF a person is engaging in a restrictive diet of any sort, it is important to look out for a shift towards a "good food, bad food" mentality, as this can be something that precedes the onset of an Eating Disorder.  It is also very important to talk to a nutritionist and learn about the nutritive deficits that can be associated with particular restrictions and to replace those in your diet via other foods or via supplements.  Whenever you can replace it via food, it is better for your body, more accessible to your body, and, often, cheaper.  Supplements can certainly be used, too.  

Finally, Amelia asked:
How do you differentiate compulsive exercising from non-pathological training? For instance, it is (mostly) a joke among triathletes that training for an ironman is like getting a second, part time job. And I'm sure the hours they put in would rival some of the time seen in compulsive exercising, but (while I wouldn't call them normal) I would not consider most of the ironmen I know to be ill. Or as my friend Julie put it once, "I'm not exercise addicted, I'm exercise overscheduled."

This is something that is hard for a LOT of folks to understand. The over use and abuse of exercise is one of the absolute most socially reinforced behaviors for people. And, for some people (such as the ironpeople Amelia mentioned), they are exercising in a way that is, for them, acceptable and healthy. Endurance, professional, elite, collegiate athletes- these are all people who are VERY likely to exercise multiple hours a day, often every day.

What sets off "Compulsive" is actually that word- the WHY of the exercise. Are they following a training program so they can achieve a particular goal, and that's the end of it? That's probably not so compulsive. But imagine if an ironperson missed a training day due to an illness or a death in the family or a catastrophe or just being unable to get themselves to do it that day. Hopefully, he or she would not spend significant time feeling guilty or ashamed or like something bad was going to happen. With people for whom exercising is compulsory, they *will not* miss a scheduled day, and often if they absolutely MUST miss a day or session, they will spend time wracked with guilt and fear that "All is lost."

Additionally, compulsive exercise is different from excessive exercise or compensatory exercise. I imagine that the endurance athletes many people know would be more closely associated with excessive exercise rather than compulsive. What defines excessive, for me, is "to the detriment of all else and without adequate nutritional support." Also, excessive would be over and above what a training schedule or program would call for, and outside of what a coach might want. Compensatory exercise is when someone uses exercise as their form of purging- used to compensate for food already eaten or used to justify food yet to come. This is seen and heard ALL THE TIME in our society. Think any time someone eats something and says "I'm going to have to work out extra tomorrow!" or something like that... but, again, taken to unhealthy extremes.

Finally, disordered exercising patterns are most often focused more heavily on changing body weight or shape rather than achieving particular goals related specifically to the activity (i.e., "Finish Ironman, don't die"). They also frequently exist without adequate nutritional support, so that your body is not remotely maintained through this exercise.

I have had a great time answering these questions, and hope those of you who asked the question feel fully answered! If there are any follow up questions, those are very welcome here! I hope those of you who read this stuff feel more informed and knowledgeable about eating disorders, and I would be absolutely happy to continue answering questions all week!

Eating Disorder Awareness

This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

This is a topic close to my heart, so I thought I would share some of the "fun" facts that you might not know about Eating Disorders.

  • There are more people in the US right now who are struggling with an Eating Disorder than there are people with green eyes. 
  • Eating Disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder - many people die of suicide, malnutrition, or heart attack.  Eating Disorders can kill even during periods of recovery/after a person is recovered, due to the damage that it can cause to the heart and other organs. 
  • Despite the common belief that Eating Disorders are a disease that affects "rich white girls," 1 in 3 or 4 people with an Eating Disorder is male.  It is believed that non-white Americans suffer Eating Disorders at similar rates to white Americans, with the exception of Anorexia Nervosa, which does, for some reason, seem to affect Caucasians more so than minorities.  
If you want to learn more, check out the NEDAwareness Articles posted on the NEDAwareness website.