Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Thoughts on Health, Fitness, and Vanity

I was going to say "plans" or "goals" but really I'm still mulling things over and trying to figure out the best way to move forward.

Our girls trip this weekend was a lot of fun---loads of talking and laughing and bonding---but there were a couple of low points, mostly related to my own issues around my body. I mentioned that I gained weight recently---in fact I've gained almost 15 lbs which is a LOT on my petite self especially since 99% of it is in my belly area (maybe 1% in my chest, my bras aren't loose anymore). Not only can I not fit into my new clothes, I also can't button the pants from 2 sizes ago that I happened to keep around. I literally have one pair of black pants and 2 loose dresses that fit, that I wear on heavy rotation to work.

On that note, I had a difficult time packing for this trip, but I threw in a pair of baggy jeans from just after I had L. I could barely button them, and had to undo the button when I got in the car for the drive home because I couldn't breathe sitting down. I could not fit into my post-partum jeans!

I mentioned that the trip was planned around a one-mile race. Now, granted, I wasn't going 100%---it was rainy and slick and I did not want to eat the pavement! But. It was SO HARD to run fast for even a mile. I thought I was going to die, I felt heavy and jiggly, and my time ended up at 8:26. Which is...fine...but I really would've hoped that my pace for ONE MILE would be faster than my usual pace for 5Ks I do without training.

I have been doing loads of barre and weight training, but with my HIIT class on hiatus and it being way too hot to run all summer, I've done zero cardio. And it shows. All my friends, even those that also haven't run in months, had great times on their miles. I was incredibly motivated by my friend who has been training for the marathon and broke 7 minutes for a PR.

I was watching how the others were eating/drinking on this trip and they seemed to exert much more self-control. They said no to the second glass of wine, they stopped even with half the fries left on their plate (which I then proceeded to eat...), some didn't dig in to the shared dessert plate. I really need to make some changes to the way I approach food & alcohol if I want to maintain a healthy weight as I get even older.  Portion control, stopping when I'm full (or even before), drinking considerably less or not at all (because calories & subsequent poor choices). I have to get rid of the scarcity mentality I have around food where every meal is like the last meal ever, and I have to eat and drink all the most delicious things that minute. Can I go out to dinner and focus on the atmosphere and conversation and just order something boring and healthy? I don't know how to change my mindset, but I gotta figure it out because this is not sustainable.

Also I'm excited to run again---the cool drizzly days this week are actually perfect and I'm planning to start with 3 mile runs at least twice a week and build from there. Maybe I need a race or some other goal to work toward, to keep my focus on fitness and far far away from indulgence.

40 comments:

  1. I wonder if some of this could be from your medication?!

    Pick a race :) I do find that sometimes running helps encourage healthier eating but it also makes me hungrier. But maybe a fun training plan would be motivating!

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    1. I would've thought that except I'd been on the medication for 2 years, and my doctor assured me it was 100% my eating habits, because I managed to get down to my pre-pregnancy weight last year ON the same medication

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  2. Sometimes, it's good to remember where you stand on the spectrum. Even on a good day, at my fittest, I could not run a 8:26 mile.

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    1. Yeah, I get that, but I treat running as a competition against myself (since I'm obvi not going to actually WIN any races), so its disappointing to get slower

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    2. I guess I don't read the situation that way.

      In-shape Ana has a better mile pace, even while running multiple miles, than Out-of-shape Ana running less than 100%. Seems like an unremarkable observation than anything to kick yourself about. You said you've done zero cardio; the good news is that there is a lot of room for you to get faster.

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  3. No. You cannot go out to dinner and just enjoy the atmosphere. That is not a realistic goal.

    I stopped eating a “normal” dinner recently and only eat if I’m hungry, and stick to vegetables if I do eat. So often I was just ramming a huge bowl of pasta down my throat because it felt amazing. Quitting that habit has been hugely helpful. I also bring a fixed amount of food to eat at work (fruit, cheese, sandwich) and never go to the vending machine or cafeteria unless on call. Also helpful. Good luck. Feeling fat makes me feel like crap. I urge you not to compare your eating habits to fellow drs. Most I know are a bit pathological.

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    1. Yeah, you are right about that, but I didn't have to eat my pasta AND the fries off my friends' plate AND try both of the desserts (several bites)

      I am also starving at dinner and could never sleep without a proper meal. I really mostly eat veggies for lunch and I don't eat breakfast---I could easily just eat dinner, and I do sometimes.

      NOne of the other women with me were docs, so I agree with SHU, it may be all women

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    2. I mean sure, it’s possible to eat less fries. I’m not sure how, but I am told. Interestingly I never noticed the eating issues with my colleagues until I went to Med school. I mean they were there but in Med school I noticed incessant commentary on what other people were eating and constant “concern” over the skinniness of others. Likely this exists among other high achieving professions as well, but regardless, looking to what other women are doing is.... not healthy or productive (in many areas of life, not just eating). I don’t know how you eat only veggies for lunch. I would probably start to digest my own body if I did that. No wonder you need a big dinner.

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  4. This paragraph: "I was watching how the others were eating/drinking on this trip and they seemed to exert much more self-control..." ALL OF IT. I think all of that all the time. Especially when chefs are talking about how they only try a bite. What the hell? If it tastes good, how do you stop at a bite?

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    1. yes! I'm glad someone gets it. I wish it came more easily to me, but god damn, I love food so much.

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  5. I’m always struck when you mention not eating dinner bc I am always starving then and would never be able to sleep! I could happily skip breakfast on non workout days though. Re: pathology I am not sure it’s just doctors ... seems like it’s everyone. Or at least most women.

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    1. That was supposed to be a reply to OMDG :)

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    2. Lol, I'm probably not hungry for dinner because I have eaten three times by 1PM on most days. And by "skip" dinner, I mean I'll have some fruit, or vegetables (roasted pepper, eggplant, string beans), and a giant glass of water +/- ice cream. So I guess that's not literally "nothing." My husband used to make a meat and starch as well and I would eat all of it. For better or worse, if someone puts food in front of me, I will inhale it ALL. For instance I know that tomorrow on call, I will eat 1-2 doughnuts because they are there. Cutting back on dinner just means that I asked my husband to stop making meat and starch. We've both been happy with this. Dylan eats with the au pair before we get home.

      As far as pathological eating is concerned, I'm sure it existed before med school, I mean... I had friends with full blown anorexia in high school. But in med school it seemed like every female had some sort of issue around food. They would obsessively comment on what everyone else was eating, and express concern that others were too skinny or not eating enough. It was a level of hypervigilance and hypercompetitiveness over food -- and every other thing you can possibly imagine -- that I had never experienced before. You are probably correct that this pathology exists among a lot of women. I don't know.

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    3. I will also say that the other night, my daughter asked me if she was chubby. I said no. She was like, "Good. I want to be skinny." I told her that no, she wanted to be healthy and strong, and that you could be that way with a lot of body shapes. I am horrified that she is coming home with this crap at this age. She is six, for goodness sake. I do wonder what specifically triggered this comment.

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  6. I would eat my own young without breakfast. In fact, I’m trying to make sure I eat more protein at breakfast time because otherwise I’m starving by mid-morning and then don’t get on top of being hungry all day. But it’s such a hassle to make eggs. In terms of eating habits, I had to make it a rule that I don’t eat chocolate at work & I don’t eat large cream cheese, bacon, chicken & avocado toasted panini from our staff cafe (so delicious). The chocolate basically stopped when I realised that I was eating when I was sad/bored and I wasn’t enjoying it. And chocolate is too delicious to be tainted by sadness!

    I do find if I’m running a lot I’m ravenous the day after I run.

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  7. Hi Ana, here from Mel’s roundup.I can absolutely relate to you about all of this. The self-control around food that I lack, going out to eat and feeling like you need to eat all the things. The mindset change is hard, but it can happen. I started a program in May that is actually a lifestyle change and it focuses around mindset and changing that, and it works. I am not trying to see you anything, I just wanted to tell you about it because it has been INVALUABLE to me in helping to change many of these bad eating habit. 2bminset.com is the program link. It’s super affordable and it is not just a gimmick. It’s so amazing and life changing. I lost 30lbs on it so far (no excercise) but more importantly I am feeling free of the chains of food. The dietician that created it used the principles herself to combat emotional and overeating to lose 100lbs. She is on instagram and Facebook as IlanaMulsteinRd and has seriously changed my life. I just wanted to tell you about it, because the things you write about hit home for me.

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  8. Those people who leave half their chips on the plate. How do they do that? I grew up being taught to clean my plate - "think of the starving children in Africa" - and that's been a habit that's hard to break.

    I think beating yourself up is tough though. You already feel bad. I've read a lot about self-control or willpower, about hormones, about how different people feel hunger, about how some people don't get the message from the brain that they're full, etc etc. It's just a matter of finding what works for you. I've been struggling for years (my aim is getting back to my pregnancy weight - though my pregnancy was very brief, the irony of the statement still applies). I'm currently trying something new, that has seen some kilos drop. But I'm not going to talk about it until it is significant!

    All I can say is good luck.

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