Q + A: Part 3

Read the answers from Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

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How many races have you done in your lifetime?
As far as official races go, believe it or not I’ve only run in 6 races in my entire lifetime. My first was in elementary school. It was only 1 mile, but all participants got a shirt and a medal so I was stoked about it. 1 was a 2-mile pre-season race in cross country when I was a freshman in high school; 1 was an 5K invitational for said cross country team. Then I ran in 1 5K last September, a 5K done in this past March, and then my most recent one was my first ever 10K last month in June.

That’s right. SIX races. Throughout cross country freshman year, I never actually completed that many races and had to stop after only 1 or 2 miles during a race (and so not finishing). I think that, at the time, it was too soon after me coming out of in-patient treatment and the fact that I knew nothing about nutrition nor did I have a nutritionist or anybody other than a psychiatrist working with me at the time for me to really have reached the level of fitness that I needed to be able to run and train. But, now I’m hooked again! I have my first half marathon race coming in mid-September and I can’t wait to do that and sign up for more!


What is one thing you love about yourself and one thing you would want to change about yourself?
I could go with the obvious and name the various aspects of my body that I dislike, but I won’t. Women, myself included, struggle enough with body insecurities as it is for me to contribute to that. However, one thing that I want to change about myself is how I handle stress. I tend to completely shut people out and anyone who even tries to talk to me will cause me to lash out and I yell. It’s no fault of theirs, and I know that it hurts them for me to be so angry for seemingly no reason. It’s not even major sources of stress that trigger this, but can be completely stupid event or situation that I know in my head I shouldn’t be upset about. But I am. It needs work.

One thing that I do like about myself is that I don’t procrastinate. I plan months ahead of time for most things and don’t delay on starting assignments. It’s fairly well known among my friends and classmates that I do readings probably about a week ahead of when they’re supposed to be read by and I never wait until the last minute to write a paper. If anything, I at least start on the paper the same day that it is assigned. I’m pretty sure that I am the only one of my friends to have made up a complete 4-year plan for all of my college courses that I made before I was even done with my first semester at university. Yes, it has changed extensively, but it is always up-to-date and makes scheduling each year lots easier.


What are some of your favorite blogs?
I have a blogroll that shows the majority of the blogs that I follow. But, if I really had to choose which ones I look forward to reading the most, I would have to say Emma’s (Sweet Tooth Runner), Carrie’s (Moves ‘N Munchies), and Freya’s (Brit Chick Runs). Although, of course, I love everyone on my blogroll. Hmm… I should probably update that page soon, right?

I’m constantly discovering new blogs by looking at who comments on my blog, participating in chats like #fitblog and #runchat, who comments on the blogs that I follow, and who the bloggers that I follow follow.


Do you enjoy any other forms of exercise besides running?
Of course! Running is just my favorite though, because you don’t really need any equipment to do it. I do yoga once a week, which I probably would like more if it weren’t always the same DVD and if I were doing it with other people. I’m scheduled to take Zumba! classes with my mother starting about mid-June through August. Team sports always make for good exercise, too! But I don’t really get the opportunity to get in large groups of people to play games except maybe once or twice over the summer at barbeques, but then I play ultimate frisbee or volleyball. I also try to really make an effort to strength train 1-2x a week.

I’m not a fan of swimming, just because I never learned how to swim without keeping my head entirely above water. Biking I consider more a form of transportation than as exercise, so I never think to bike just for the sake of exercising. I’ve tried Pilates once, which I didn’t hate. The only actual fitness class that I’ve taken is Zumba, which is alright, but I’m not in love with it.

In the past, I’ve played soccer, basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, cross country, and softball, as well as ballet and modern dance, so I’ve been all over the place with sports and other activities. I loved modern dance as a kid and I wish that I were taking a dance-fitness class now, but I’m one of those people that doesn’t like to sign up for stuff alone.


During your recovery were you ever told you couldn’t exercise at all? How did you deal with this?
Yes, during my first recovery (when I was 13) I was told that I couldn’t barely even walk anywhere. They were just concerned with getting me to gain weight regardless of how healthy that weight gain was. Technically I was also using exercise to restrict, but since I was so young I didn’t have a gym membership or access to anything like that. Instead, I paced. For hours. They wouldn’t even allow me to fidget anymore (shaking my leg when I’m sitting, etc.) I still shake my leg a good portion of the time, but it’s not really a conscious act, it’s just something that I do and it’s especially in full force if I’m nervous/excited/anxious about something.

I much prefer this time around where I am essentially dictating my own recovery and, thus, allowing myself to exercise. Because of this, the weight that I have gained has been a good portion of muscle (and some much needed fat here and there as well). This has helped me so much in accepting the major changes that my body has been, and continues to go, through. I remember crying in my mother’s living room one night those many years ago because I felt like all the weight that I had gained in treatment was fat and I hated the way that it made me look and, especially, feel. I literally wanted to tear my skin off because I was so uncomfortable in my own skin.

Q + A: Part 2

Read the answers from Part 1 here.

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Are you underweight or at a normal weight?
Although I do not exhibit many of the physical signs and symptoms of anorexia like abnormal blood counts, thinning hair, and loss of menstruation (I get my blood tested fairly often and have perfect levels of everything, my hair is actually growing in thicker now than it had in the past few months, and I get my menses monthly and regularly because I’m on the Pill), based on my height I am currently considered underweight but am working on getting myself (healthily and steadily) back up to my happy, normal weight.

What’s your favorite snack?
My favorite snacks come and go in cycles. Lately, it has been either apples, bananas, or carrots and peanut butter. It really just depends on what I’m craving, how hungry I am, and for how long it has to hold me over for. Sometimes I’ll make mini pizzerts or eat a bowl of granola, but more often than not snacks are fruit. Have to get in my 5-a-day somehow!

Why are you allowed to be so underweight? My docs force me to gain.
I’m not “allowed” to be the weight that I currently am. I am working with my doctors and counselors to increase my weight back up into the normal, healthy range for me. I am still well above being low enough in weight to justify hospitalization or other extreme intervention. They all know, as well as my mother with whom I live, that I am working on increasing my intake and weight after months of struggling with my IBS and lack of proper medication with which to control it. I hope that my planned upcoming What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW) posts will dispel any doubts that readers may have that I restrict in any way or am not getting enough calories to at least maintain my current weight as my body adjusts to increased food intake and medication schedules. My doctors have been tracking my weight and, believe it or not, I am gaining.

Do you find it difficult to be balancing recovery with college life?
I am fortunate in that I came into college with lots of Advanced Placement credit, meaning that many of my required classes were completed before I even set foot on campus. Couple this with being able to take summer classes and I’m able to maintain taking only 12-14 credits a semester in addition to the 10 hours a week that I work as an assistant in an office. I make myself a priority and so have probably missed out on many opportunities because of it (club meetings, intramural sports, frat parties).

However, I do not regret any of it, because I’ve made lifelong changes that I want to continue past graduation and I truly believe that those behaviors begin before you get a diploma. Having a strong support system in my mother, boyfriend, father, friends, and this awesome online community has helped tremendously as well. I did not have any of this when I was 13 and first going through recovery and it really has made all the difference the second time around.

Did you ever live in a dorm, and if so how did the experience affect your ED?
I lived in a dorm during freshman year, as was required of my college major at the time (a residential program in Biochemistry/Biotechnology). I arranged to live with a girl I knew from high school who had also gone through an eating disorder (though not anorexia like me). To be honest, my ED was not a factor at all during my freshman year. I was more interested in partying and not failing my high-level science courses.

Although my ED was not in the forefront that year in the dorm, I adopted bad eating and health behaviors while I was there and was one of the major reasons that I did not want to repeat living in the dorms. I wanted to be able to have access to a kitchen and make all of my own meals because vegetarian (and especially vegan) options are extremely limited (basically, salad). I was part of the typical “get delivery at 2am because I can” crowd and had my fair share of Pop-Tarts and Red Bull energy drinks during that time period. I hardly worked out or did anything active outside of walking to my classes and parties and taking the stairs whenever possible.

I unknowingly also adopted the common habit among college females known as “drunkorexia”. Drunkorexia is not an actual word or accepted condition, but it refers to when college women eat less so that they can drink more alcohol when they go out and conserve calories. This was all so that I could become more drunk by drinking less. For the record, I know that underage drinking is against the law and I no longer drink. Actually, even small amounts of alcohol now make me feel very sick and, now that I’m learning more about nutrition, I am more careful as to what I put into my body.

If anything, it was this past year living in a highly stressful apartment with people that I did not know that lead to me regressing into old ED habits. It was because of this that I went through the lengthy and frustrating process of getting my lease broken and moving back home to live with my mother. I am a little nervous about next year, during which I will be moving into a different apartment with a different roommate, but I’m hopeful that the steps that I take in the next 4 months will prepare me better for that situation so that there is not a repeat performance of the past year. I am currently planning on living at home senior year so that I can save money to buy a car, which I will need after graduation for my internship.

What do you want your career to be?
I want to become a Registered Dietician (RD). What exactly I want to do as an RD is another question. I think that I want to work in clinical in a hospital or other form of doctor’s office, at least to begin. If I could ultimately go in to private practice, that would be amazing, but I know that that is risky. I think that it goes without saying that I still have a lot to think about and plan for. I really don’t know what the future holds for me, and I know that no matter how much I plan, some things I can’t control and will happen no matter how many lists and plans I make.

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I’m now on Formspring! I plan on doing a Q&A post once I get enough responses. Seriously, ASK ME ANYTHING. My running, family, school, ED, nothing is off limits. And it’s completely anonymous, so don’t hold back. I hope to have even more of these Q + A posts when I get even more questions! Perhaps these (above) have given you a few ideas?

Q + A: Part 1

What motivates you to run and how did you start running?

I started running back in freshman year of high school. One of my best friends at the time wanted to become involved in a school sports team that she could stick with throughout high school and the cross-country team accepts everyone. She didn’t want to do it alone (new schools are scary!) so I decided to join her and we began training together. I had to quit a couple months in due to injury and was not able to run any other year due to having a job or being involved in other activities. However, every summer I would run when those responsibilities were no longer there. It wasn’t until this past summer (in 2010) that I really got serious about running and loving it after I discovered healthy living blogs on a random StumbleUpon venture.

I run for stress relief. I run for strength. I run for a challenge. I run for recovery. I run for health. I run for inspiration. I run for companionship. I run because I can. As for when I’m actually on my run, my iPod loaded with tons of upbeat music is what keeps my legs moving in the moment. And the satisfaction of what I just accomplished at the end of it keeps me coming back for more.

If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you get?
Honeycrisp apples, since they are only around for a few months in the fall, are insanely expensive for a fruit, and are, without a doubt, the greatest tasting type of apple on the planet that we call Earth.

Why don’t you like shopping?
With all of the changes that my body has gone through since I hit puberty (which was about a week after I turned 11, by the way), I have had a lot of trouble accepting my new body since it keeps changing. I still wear clothes that I acquired in middle school, not because they fit (they don’t) but because I don’t want to spend money on new clothes when my body is just going to continue changing anyways. It’s always hard for someone who is uncomfortable in their own skin to try on clothes. For me, I see cloth that doesn’t hang the way that it should on a woman and so get discouraged and end up hating this beautiful article of clothing that would otherwise look fabulous on the female form.

If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
I’ve always been a big fan of the name Guinevere/Gwenevere. That way, my nickname would be Gwen!

What do you want to do when you graduate?
Since I’m a Dietetics major at MSU right now, I want to do my internship following graduation so that I can become a Registered Dietitian (RD). I either want to get into Clinical or Private Practice (much further down the road). I’m just now finishing up my second year, so I have a lot of time left to research positions and visit with program directors before I apply anywhere as a senior. I have not yet decided if I will be pursuing a Masters Degree, but I know that nowadays it’s pretty essential to have one in this field if you want to do more.

Do you count calories/stick to an eating schedule/eat intuitively?
I do count calories, because I’m still struggling with my ED. I also want to make sure that I’m eating enough to be able to fuel my training and am hoping that the weight will slowly start coming back on (as muscle, I hope).

I also have a sort of eating “schedule”, but that is more because I suffer from severe IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome, not to be confused with IBD). In managing my condition I have to take medications whenever I eat but I can only take so many pills in a day. I’ve been working hard for the past 6 or 7 months to find my ideal pill/eating routine which minimizes my symptoms and the one that I have now has seemed to work pretty well for the time being.

I’m still working on eating intuitively, but I think that I’m still a ways off from that and will probably be postponed until I’ve got my weight managed.

What is a typical day of eats?
I’m hoping to answer this in my first ever What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW) post (hopefully in the next week or two?)! While I try to switch things up throughout the week to avoid monotony and ending up hating my favorite foods, I’m sure that after a few weeks of participation in WIAW you will be able to get a fairly good picture of my typical day.

What are your hobbies?
Blogging, cooking/baking, running, reading (more so when I don’t have classes that I have to read for instead). I’ve never been much of a “hobby” person. I knit on occasion when it’s around Christmas as an easy, yet full-of-love, gift for people. I tried scrapbooking for awhile but that didn’t last.

Are you 100% recovered from your ED?
To be honest, no, I am not recovered. My ED went into remission during high school, but since I started college has sprung up again. I in no way consider this a relapse, because I am not restricting or performing my rituals like I did when I was first diagnosed, but I am still exhibiting many of the same mental patterns. It’s a process that, for some like me, takes years and a lot of support to fully get over an ED and I truly think that I am making progress. However, I can’t attach a percentage to it.

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I’m now on Formspring! I plan on doing a Q&A post once I get enough responses. Seriously, ASK ME ANYTHING. My running, family, school, ED, nothing is off limits. And it’s completely anonymous, so don’t hold back. I hope to have even more of these Q + A posts when I get even more questions! Perhaps these (above) have given you a few ideas?