Recovery update: What’s the difference between “binge eating” and “overeating”?

When I first sat down to think about the above question, without trying to figure it out in the moment it was affecting me directly, I quickly came around to the opinion that its actually easier to separate the two out than I previously thought. In the moment this question is affecting you it can be hard to sit there and figure out “have I binged, or have I just overeaten a bit?‘. Feeling you’ve engaged in the first can lead to some serious guilt-tripping if you suffer from binge eating, and this question is one that at the beginning of recovery I really struggled to figure out. The immediate difference is that whilst binge eating disorder (BED) is an eating disorder (obviously), overeating is not.

First though: why does it matter? As a recovering BED sufferer I like to keep an eye on how I’m doing. If I can identify that I am binge eating before it gets too far I can maybe reign it in. Furthermore, knowing the difference between binging, and just a little bit of over-indulging has really helped to reduce the guilt I felt when I was, say, going out for a big meal. Previously, eating an extra serving of something or a three course dinner would push me into worrying that I was binging. I’m sure many of you understand the “fuck it” mentality of binging: you feel you’ve started binging, you may as well carry on. Not being able to separate out the above things in my mind meant that I was binging more and more frequently. I was avoiding occasions where I would be going out for food, and generally missing out. So in summary, once I got the difference between binging/overeating I was able to:

  1. Pre-empt a binge by tuning in to how I was feeling around food.  As I practiced, this then helped me to avoid slipping deeper into binging.
  2. Minimise the guilt surrounding occasions where I’d maybe eat a bit more than normal, which eventually allowed me to relax around certain trigger foods and in turn begin to eat them without binging. I never actually thought this was possible, but I’m getting better at it.

Obviously, I am not a healthcare professional, and if you have an eating disorder then you need to find someone who is. This post is just something I wanted to share from my own experience, in-case it helps anyone out. Having been through ED I would encourage you to seek help before yours goes any further; you can do this by booking a doctor’s appointment, or by visiting a support website such as B-eat (link at the bottom of the page). Okay, now we can begin… Continue reading

Advertisements

Chew On This: food & drink for your digestion…

First things first: if you have a digestive issue such as IBS, Crohn’s disease, known intolerances and allergies, or anything along those lines, you need to see a medical professional. This post isn’t going to address things like this, just some foods you can include in your diet to help aid your digestion!

Having great digestion does so much for how you generally feel, because I’m sure we all know that the opposite (bloating, cramps, constipation etc.) isn’t pleasant. It is essential for good digestion that you consume enough water, and fibre. Many of us don’t consume enough of these, and so end up constipated, bloated, and thoroughly fed up. Great gut-health is incredibly important as its through the gut our body receives many of the nutrients we need. As a result you want to keep your levels of “good gut bacteria” high. So, without further ado, here are some foods and drinks that can keep things ticking along, and take care of your digestive health…

  1. Ginger- This is great for cramps and gas. It eases the pain and aids the digestion. Grate or finely slice and add to your stir fries. You can also add to hot water with lemon.
  2. Raspberries- All fruit is great, but these are amazing at preventing or getting rid of constipation. Add to porridge or yoghurt, or eat them straight up.
  3. Water- Obviously. Water keeps everything hydrated and helps you to digest your food.
  4. Mint (and liquorice) tea- Again, great for gas and bloating. I’d recommend having this after a big meal, or simply at the end of each day. Avoid the mint with liquorice if you have hypertension though. If you can have mint and liquorice, then Asda’s Mint & Liquorice tea is under £1 and better than TeaPigs.
  5. Dark Chocolate-Good quality dark chocolate, think 75% and up, is wonderful for aiding the good gut bacteria and so avoiding bloating. Packed with antioxidants too, and apparently the good bacteria ferment these.
  6. Kefir- This is a cultured milk drink, packed with billions of gut-friendly bacteria. Its naturally low in lactose, and helps good gut bacteria flourish, whilst keeping harmful bacteria at low levels. Meaning a much happier digestive tract.
  7. Good-Quality Yoghurt (unless you are lactose intolerant!)- Not all yoghurts are created equal, so don’t go thinking your low fat sweetened pot of yoghurt is going to help your digestion. Yoghurts containing probiotics are good for your gut, but just avoid the ones with added preservatives, colours, sweeteners etc. Your best bet is to buy a plain natural or Greek yoghurt and add in some fruit, honey, PB…anything you like to sweeten it and add some flavour.
  8. Chia Seeds– These swell up and absorb liquid, and so add volume when it comes to forming stools as food leaves the gut (just make sure you drink enough water, or you can end up constipated!). Chia seeds are an amazing source of fibre, and so ideal to keep things moving. I like to add about 2tsp of these to porridge as they create a thicker texture with the added benefits above (try a basic mix of 1/2 cup oats, 2tsp chia seeds, and 1 cup of liquids- flavour and top as you like after that).
  9. Oats– I’ve no idea what I’d do without these. Oats are very fibre-rich, keeping your digestion in top condition, working in a similar manner to the chia seeds.
  10. Figs- Throw on top of a salad or a bowl of porridge, or roast for dessert. Either way they’re a naturally good digestive aid – just don’t eat the whole box at once.
  11. Lemon Water – Squeeze 1/4-1/2 lemon into a mug with some lukewarm water and drink up. I like to do this before breakfast if I can, and it just kick-starts things. You also get a boost of Vitamin C, and some people say it gives them more energy. There are numerous benefits to lemon water, aiding digestion is just one of many.
  12. High quality starchy foods such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, wholemeal pasta, quinoa, bulgur etc… – all are rich in fibre, and so aid digestion.
  13. Coffee- If you’re, um, struggling, then a cup of coffee may be helpful!

ED Recovery Update (I think this is no.3?!)

Its been a while since we took a look at this topic. That’s right, as I promised in my review of Brain Over Binge, it is time for a recovery update. And a lot has been going on.

From April through May I did not want to update you ladies and gents at all, because quite honestly it wasn’t going so well. And by not going well I mean that I didn’t manage to go more than 7 days without binging for a whole month. And a typical binge was becoming larger and larger, despite my eating normally during the day. And I had no idea what to do. There were no warning signs before I binged, they just happened in a matter of minutes. And other than the counsellor I was seeing, no-one knew. Because if you’re in a similar situation you will know it is god-damn embarrassing, even though if the situation was reversed I would want my friends/family to tell me what was going on so that I could help. But an eating disorder can feel like you have a logical and an illogical head sometimes, can’t it? Sometimes I wanted someone to ask, because starting that conversation myself always felt much too awkward, though I did try several times. My friends are amazing though, and even if we weren’t directly talking about it, it was nice to be around people I knew had my back, whatever was going on. They didn’t have to know for me to feel better when I was with them, and I know I am incredibly lucky with that.

After the last binge I had, I woke up the next day feeling my body wasn’t even mine anymore. I felt sluggish, puffy, three sizes too big for me, and incredibly down. I found it hard to leave the house that day, and I think that day was the hardest to pick myself up from out of all of the binges I have had, since the start of my teens. If we’re being honest here, I contemplated not getting up and carrying on, and instead just stopping fighting the binging- I could just binge all day and lay in bed. I could just accept I was going to be miserable forever, and give up. I’d been trying for so long I just didn’t have the energy. But if you learn anything through recovery from an eating disorder, its resilience (you learn some other stuff too, perhaps I should write a post on this?). Since that last binge – touch wood- I am on Day 35 of no binges. How come? Well, I became determined to try and go one month without binging- to begin with. I decided I could either give up, or try again and try harder. And so I’ve gone at it hell for leather. The biggest things I did though were these: I decided to genuinely only look at one day at a time, and I would count down 30 days, not up. Counting up the days I hadn’t binged made it feel like the days were going so slowly, and as if I was barely making any progress. I am generally not a patient person when it comes to myself, so it never went that well. Counting down, personally, made me feel better. I just took each day as it came, and made small improvements each day. It went slowly at first, and then suddenly I was at seven days again…and no binge. Then I was two times seven days, and on and on. Continue reading

Why you should “do you” on fitness…

About a month ago I began seeing a lot of posts over IG, YouTube, blogs etc. on how there is no need to work out your abs. I felt like this was some kind of revelation: if I am tensing my core (comprising abs and back muscles) on every move I do in the gym, then surely my abs are getting a workout? I was in the process of doing my 4 weekly change in workout routine, and looking to cut down the duration of my gym sessions around hand-in time at uni. Cutting out working my abs seemed like something now would be the time to try. I chose to do six compound moves a session, working everything but my abs specifically, which would be naturally worked by everything else I was doing. With a few planks thrown in and some moves in my HIIT sessions I would have to use my abs for, such as mountain climbers and burpees (can get rid of my burpees!), I figured this would be perfect. Somewhere in my head I was conscious I would kind of miss working my abs specifically, but I may as well try what everyone was doing , right? Wrong. Continue reading

Recovery Update: Struggling AND Making Progress?!

Hellooo there everybody! So. I know that a while ago I wrote a post telling you all about fear foods and overcoming the last few bits of my issues with food. Recently I have wanted to write a follow up, and I haven’t really been able to focus on any other posts but this one. Which means I am now writing it for you. Then I can get typing some other things for you as well.

It was very hard for me to admit that mentally I still struggle sometimes- because I genuinely love food, and love moving my body, and try to aim for balance. However, maybe 30-50% of the time I am not where I want to be, and I am not in a very balanced place. But I’m working on it. A lot has happened in the few months since that first post I wrote on the subject of fear foods, and I think that I’ve realised I have more to work on than I thought. So this is my update, which I’ve been planning to do for a long time but didn’t quite have the courage to, and so shall have to bullet pointed because I have way too much to tell you all…

The GOOD Stuff

  • Began attending counselling again, and a support group to help me finally tackle the mental aspects of ED. This has been a HUGE help, and having other people around me who get it, and who can help, is a great comfort.
  • Some fear foods I have tackled: sugar-free flavoured iced coffee, subway sandwiches, foods with refined sugar in them, pizza at a restaurant, a cinnamon bun, enchiladas made at home with some cheese on top (the cheese was the bit I was scared of), home-cooked pasta, hot chocolate, protein bars, food cooked by someone else….
  • Some of the above foods I have since been eating on a regular basis, some of them I discovered I didn’t actually like after having them a few times, or will only be eating very rarely if I truly fancy them because they weren’t as good as I imagined (hot chocolate, cinnamon bun). Some I discovered actually made me feel ill. These foods I made sure to try at least three times to check it was the food, then accepted it just didn’t agree with me (this was the protein bar, which I became scared of due to their still being an “unhealthy health food”. However, I’ve tried a few different brands and found some I do like- such as protein cookies- which I will buy again. Not as a health food, but just as a packaged cookie that I want to eat).
  • I began to try and scale hunger, and spot emotional hunger and eat according to the first. I also began eating what I fancied- well, trying to, things take time- and not trying to choose the “better” option.
  • Disrupted routines have taught me I could be a bit more flexible. Going home for Easter meant working with my family’s schedules too, and not doing my own thing all the time. It’s helped me see that maybe I could move my gym trips around a bit, or wait a bit longer to eat, or eat out sometimes. I won’t lie, these still aren’t things I relish putting into practice, but I know I can do them if I feel the need to.
  • I tried to do a “lean bulk”- it didn’t turn out so well. BUT! I learnt I can eat more than I thought, and that having done so my performance in the gym really went up. This upping portions was something that was still a tiny bit scary until then. As a result of doing so I upped my weights, I had more energy, I wasn’t thinking of food as much (when I began recovering weight-wise these things also happened, and so I took these as a good sign). And then I pushed it a bit too far and decide to stop with actively bulking, as you’ll soon see. I just wasn’t ready for it, and having tried it, I don’t think actively bulking is something I’m even interested in right now.

 

Annnnd the stuff that hasn’t gone so great (but which I now know I need to work on)…

Continue reading

Total Body Superset Workout!

For a couple of months now I’ve been doing a workout split of :

  • Chest & Back
  • Arms & Shoulders
  • Lower Body

And then my fourth day has been:

  •  Some kind of HIIT for the entire body (play day basically)

But after a while I’d exhausted many of my favourite HIIT workouts, and wanted to mix it up just a little bit. Enter “supersets”. When I first started going to the gym to use weights, I forked out for two personal training sessions, and the PT designed me a superset workout. I used this faithfully until I got bored, but recently the idea of a superset workout has begun to appeal to me again.

So, below is my total body superset workout. Obviously adjust the weights to suit you. The moves combined cover upper, lower, core, and some moves work everything at once. In a few weeks I’ll mix up the moves again. Below you can see how I like to do this workout. I keep rest periods short or non-existent between moves, so that I still have an element of speed to get my heart rate up:

  • Warm up for 5-10 minutes, with some kind of cardio machine (I walk the 20 minutes to the gym carrying my bag, and so often go for 5 minutes warm up)
  • Complete 3 rounds of one superset before moving onto the next set.
  • Complete the two exercises in the set without a break, and then rest for 20-30 seconds max if needed before repeating for the second/third time. As you get better you can reduce the rest periods accordingly. Some sets you may be able to get through without a rest.
  • The rest between the supersets is simply how long it takes you to set up for the next superset
  • To cool off make sure you stretch the entire body for 5-10 minutes

 

SS1-

15 v-sits

15 Bosu cross climbers

SS2-

10 upright rows 10kg

10 bent over rows 10kg Continue reading

Is it just me…or are health magazines for women becoming unhealthy?

Do me a favour: before reading any further head over to Google and type in “women’s magazines”. Click on images. What do you see?

My first impression was of an overwhelming sameness. Literally all of the these images are of young women- teen to maybe late twenties, if you’re lucky, or they’re very famous. All have conventionally beautiful and “feminine” physiques, many have long blonde hair, pretty much all are white. Most pose with “come to bed eyes”, though I’m not really sure why they’re trying to seduce me. As I’m one of their heterosexual, white, early to mid twenties target audience, and not interested in going to bed with them. If they wanted men to read their “Drop 7lb in 7 Days”, or “Holy Grail Mascaras” articles, then it would be understandable– but, supposedly, the cover image is selling the content to me.

Okay, now type in ‘women’s magazines on health and fitness’. The pool of diversity seems to get even smaller, surprisingly. And I have to say, that angers me more than the above. For a long time I felt like magazines that focused on women’s health were better than their mainstream lifestyle/beauty cousins. Y’know, because one would assume they’d be pushing HEALTH over aesthetics.

More and more frequently I’m seeing mixed messages on the front of these glossies. I used to love them, and read them whenever I could afford them. However, I’ve noticed a change over the past few years…on one side of the highly photo-shopped cover model they tell us to love ourselves. On the other they talk about beach bodies, and cough up pseudo-science aimed at shrinking our fat cells. Which, by the way, as women we are genetically predisposed to carry, as we need it in reserve should we decide to produce offspring. Health magazines for women are changing.

So today I thought we’d chat about this. And below are a number of reasons I’ve found myself unable to read the majority of specifically health and fitness devoted glossies, written specifically for us lucky ladies. Do you feel the same way about some of these reasons? Disagree? Does something else I haven’t picked up on bother you? Comment below, and let me know… Continue reading