Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Quick Turnaround on a Quick Tour

It's interesting how much my body really wants to be healthy. I guess it makes sense, from an evolutionary standpoint. I've been hiking the Scottish Highlands for the past 5 days, and I really do mean hiking. Lots of elevation, clambering on rocks, jumping off things. I'm really seeing how far I've let myself slip in Paris, and how much work I have to do to be ready for that bachelorette party hike. The fact that I'm now stationed in Edinburgh will help with that- this city is nothing but HILLS. Crazy hills. I was going to change into basic flats now that I'm city-bound again, but I think I'm going to stick with my Vibrams so that I don't find excuses to stay on level ground.

In addition to all of the walking and climbing, I'm also eating less often, and making a bit more of an effort to eat well. In the UK, they have many more foods that are closer to my American style of healthy eating- lots of beans, whole wheat and whole grain products, raw nuts rather than salted and roasted and smoked and the like, etc. Plus, the hostels have all had kitchens with fridges. Don't get me wrong, I've still been plenty naughty, but just five days of a slightly altered eating style and more movement, and my cheeks have hollowed out again.

I actually found refried beans on the remote island of Skye. It was a teeny 100 or 200 gram can, and they were spicy (really spicy!), but they were refried beans! I spread them out on a plate and melted some mozzarella cheese on top, until the edges were crispy. Heaven. This is what I'm planning on doing frequently for breakfast once I'm back home in the US. With regular refried beans (maybe even of my own making, if I get really into it) and a cheddar-jack blend, most likely, but the same general thing. I had them for lunch after a particularly extensive hike on Sunday.

It's odd how I get so much more of a mental buzz out of feeding myself nutritiously than I do out of giving in to a binge, yet binges still run my life to a certain extent. Still, over the past few days, I am seeing even more how healthy habits build on themselves. When I am out and being active and eating healthier, I get on a roll. I can't tell you how many times I tried to buy tofu during our travels this weekend. No one had it! Amazingly, the only tofu I found for sale was in a little remote town of 300 that takes over 90 minutes of traveling, via bus and ferry, to get to. They sold both tofu and vegetarian sweet chile sauce! I didn't get it there, because we weren't going to be cooking for ourselves that day, but I'm betting now that I'm back in Edinburgh I can find some. Even if the major shops don't have it, apparently there is an Asian market here. I am so psyched about the sweet chile sauce! I'd found a recipe to make my own, but the stuff in the bottle looks just like the stuff at my favorite restaurants. Also hoping that one of the Thai restaurants here serves my favorite appetizer (the tofu with the chile sauce), unlike the one in Iverness, which oddly had corn fritters instead of tofu (very delicious corn fritters, but not what I was hoping for).

Something really cool about European foods, as much as I miss my American foods: they are labeled "Suitable for vegetarians and vegans" (or sometimes just vegetarians) when applicable! No more scouring the label, wondering if they forgot to mention that the cheese is made with animal rennet, or if gelatin goes by any other name. In France, obviously, this label is much harder to come by, but up here in Scotland I'm finding it on most everything I think to look at.

Going to go walk the Royal Mile today, and probably do a little shopping. But I'm going to do it in my VFFs, and I am going to throw in a few hills. There's nothing like powering up a huge, endless hill to make me realize how out of shape I'm in, and know that I'm definitely doing something about it!

When I get back home in the US, I think I'm going to do hills every day. It won't actually be a big deal- I live right at the base of an extremely steep hill. It's not huge, but if every morning I speed up it three times, that will do so much for my endurance. If I want a huge hill, about a 20 minute walk from my house (up moderate hills) is an absolutely gigantic one. I always am wildly impressed when I see a biker attempting it. But just stick to the healthy eating, my Superfit, and adding in that little hill each morning. I'm getting giddy just thinking about it. Also still really hoping I can convince the parents to get a recumbent stationary bike off of Craigslist...

But first, Edinburgh.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I Don't Want to be Ruled by my Food

I suffer from binge eating disorder. Have I ever mentioned that? I haven't gone back to check, but I rather doubt it. I've only ever told a few people in my life, when I decided to seek treatment. I never fully beat it, though, as my time was cut short by summer vacation, and I just never went back.

Take right now, for instance. You know how all of those "stop emotional eating" articles say that cravings go away after 10-20 minutes? I've been battling an insane craving for chips and chocolate (pretty much my go-to binge for several years now, though certainly not the only one) for hours now. Not because I keep myself from having grease or chocolate- I caved an ordered a pizza last night, and pretty much live on Nutella. And I'm actually doing better on social/emotional fronts, so it's not entirely emotional eating, either. I think a lot of it has to do with my pending vacation to Greece, where I know I will be sitting around in a bikini. Just another overweight American wearing far less than they should in Europe. Oh joy. Focusing on the fact that I am overweight just tends to lead to behaviors that continue to make/keep me overweight.

With this particular binge, I can tell that one of two things is going to happen: I'm going to hold out until the stores close (and they close early in this country), and feel a little bit virtuous but mainly denied, or I'm going to give in shortly and go down to the store and stock up. This will lead to elation, guilt, shame, feelings of being gross, feelings of pleasure, happiness that I indulged myself, and disgust that I gave in and am once again stuffing my face.

I have to say, the later is sounding more and more like the possibility. I'm getting really cranky.

I really hate this. I am a smart person. With drinking, smoking, it is so easy not to start. And whenever I think of someone who is hooked on drugs or hooked on anything else like that, I think, why don't they just go cold turkey? Why don't they just... not go for the bad stuff anymore? Yes, there will be some cravings, but you know it is killing you/illegal/what not, so just... don't!

Isn't that hypocritical of me? Recent studies are showing that binge foods, particularly sugar, actually have the same addictive qualities as cocaine. And just not going for it? Not so much with the actually happening in my life!

There is something to be said for overall diet with regard to bingeing as well. [P.S. I can already tell I'm going to go get the chips. My heart rate is actually speeding up because the stores close in 45 minutes and every minute I spend on this blog post is getting me closer and closer to missing out on the stupid chips] When I'm eating healthier overall, I binge less. It doesn't cut it out, but it's there. When I'm living on whole grains and hummus and chia and beans and the like, I get really caught up mentally in eating super well, and binges happen with a startlingly lower frequency. They still definitely happen, but it at least gives me hope that when I get back into treatment in the fall (which I finally accepted that I really need to do just a week or so ago), I'll be able to sort of work off of that. If I can get to a place where I am bingeing less, maybe it will be easier to distinguish the exact cause of the bingeing, since it won't be muddled with mere habit and general poor eating habits.

And you want to know the weird part? When I'm not on a binge, I actually naturally feel full at small portions. People always think I don't like my food, when in reality, I have eaten to the point of fullness. Maybe it's just my body compensating, I don't know. It's not a mental thing, where I'm consciously trying to diet the rest of the time to compensate.

Who knows.

*insert swear word of choice*. I'm off to the store.

P.S. Could someone get on the food authority people to please come up with a better name than Binge Eating Disorder? It makes it sound like it's just a lack of willpower, and a gross one at that, rather than an actual disorder. And trust me, people, it is an eating disorder.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Zen in Paris

I have finally found my zen with my situation for the rest of the semester. I am not going to feel guilty about eating lots of bread. After all, in two months, I will no longer have fresh, truly French French bread 30 seconds from my house. I've also found teeny little single serving cans of lentils, and of spaghetti sauce, so I will just pop open a few of those each week to make sure I am getting in nutrients.

Upon my return to Seattle, I am going to distract myself from my breadless state by instead going full force with all of the foods I have been wanting to eat here. You know, foods that they don't sell here, or, most importantly, that REQUIRE A REFRIGERATOR. Never again. NEVER again will I live without a refrigerator. To put it succinctly, and a little crudely, it blows.

Spring (and practically summer) has finally come to Paris, and with it my last excuse for not getting out and running has flown the coop. My little sleeveless workout shirt is going to do just fine. And I saw someone out in Vibrams (probably a tourist, but still), so I know that it isn't unheard of here. Plus, it is light so much later! Until 9pm, basically, and it's only going to keep getting lighter.

I have been consistent at doing push-ups, though I have fallen off the schedule. Now that I've switched to really truly proper form, with my chest between my hands, it is SO MUCH HARDER. I think I need to accept the inevitable and start the 6-Week program over, at whatever level I am at with the truly proper form.

Walking more now that I have flats, randomly doing walking lunges and ab workouts in my room. It's getting alittle harder to get in all of my water now that it is getting warmer (and this room refuses to let out heat), but it's going pretty well, all in all.

Still, need to make a point to start sharing the brie with other people, so I don't go through an entire wedge by myself in one hour....