I struggle with a problem and feel it’s closely related to my training, so I decided to share it with the community: I slowly come to accept that I may have an eating disorder. Binge eating.
Let me back up a bit and give some context.
Almost 12 month ago I started to really get into triathlon training, healthy eating and changing my lifestyle for the better.
One of my goals was to improve my physique, which also meant loosing some weight along the way. With a bit of experience from my past I decided that counting calories was the way to go.
I followed my plan to the T. Over the course of the last year I went from 85 kg down to 70 kg. Even though I was almost always living in a deficit I saw huge gains in my cardio- and strength performance (call it noob gains, if you will).
My approach was heavily dependent on technology. I logged all my food and all my exercise, every step and every training session. I added my “active calories” on top of my daily goal, which meant that I could eat a lot more on an active day than on a rest day.
My energy levels and steady progress gave me no reason to overthink this method during all the month. It simply worked — for me.
After a few months I went from training 2 or 3 times a week to a more ambitious schedule. Along the way I discovered sufferfest and already improved a lot of my knowledge and skills.
All of a sudden I could eat and eat and eat and still maintain my goals, because my body used so much of my nutrition intake as fuel.
On a particularly “big” Sunday I could easily train for three orfour hours and afterwards throw down a few thousand calories. I never felt too full and my body never really signaled me to stop.
Or maybe I should better say: I couldn’t hear any fullness signals anymore and my body was confused. My hormones probably a bit out of whack.
Without noticing it my small meal portions got bigger and bigger. My scale was still happy, I felt good, my muscle mass seemed to do ok.
I got compliments. I felt unbeatable at times. All was good. Lots of food became a reward after lots of training.
My (for normal people) excessive training lead to excessive eating. Binge training -> Binge eating. They were canceling each other out.
I didn’t know that I was slowly steering towards a real problem.
It’s really tough to explain. I have a pretty stressful job, a newborn son, don’t get enough sleep many days, started a tough training routine — but I loved every part of it.
All of this just lead to this whole experience. Sometimes my mind just wants to stop thinking about anything. Food “helps”.
Quite a few times I ended up eating much more than I needed, especially on the evenings or weekends. I called it “refueling”. My body “needed” it. I was lying to myself.
If I went a bit over my calories I thought to myself: “The day is already ruined, might as well get everything in now…”.
It all exploded big time in June 2020 when I started my first proper vacation in a long time.
Since I only planned to spend time at home and with my family it was no problem to keep up with my training schedule.
But after a week my motivation started slipping away a bit. I decided that a small break in counting my calories and controlling my food will be ok.
If I’m honest to myself now, it was just an excuse to start eating everything I could find. Much more that I needed.
I don’t know why and how but I kept going into the kitchen. “One more small snack”, “Just a piece of cake”, “a spoon full of peanut butter”…
Many days I felt sick. Many times I swore to myself it was the last day. Somehow it wasn’t.
During my exercises I feel absolutely strong-willed — I can put mind over body.
But when it comes to food, I now feel a bit helpless.
I gained back a bit of weight and lost a lot of my positive body feeling — even knowing it’s only temporary and feel like a hamster in a wheel doing the same stuff all over again. This behavior is unhealthy and I will try my best to overcome this.
Starting right now I change my way of eating quite a bit, again. I still count calories, but I am doing heavy meal prep in advance. Higher intake every day, but without eating back active calories.
And I’m not trying to be too strict with myself. I still have goals, but I am not too fixated on the outcome anymore.
My dialed my training volume back and will start with a new beginner plan this week.
Slow. Mindful. Hopeful.
Anyway… I thought I’d share this. Maybe to get a conversation going.
Maybe just to get it out there into the world — for myself.
When I write all of this down I even feel a bit silly. How can I be so fit and unhealthy at the same time? Is it even a real problem?
Do you have any experience with binge eating? Or Problems like this?
Maybe a few tips and tricks up your sleeve?