Intuitive Eating and Triathlon Training

This past Saturday marked 11 weeks of intuitive eating and I’m pretty happy about that.

However, there is a bit of a wrench thrown in there with the triathlon training… as often happens when you workout a lot/differently, you sometimes lose your appetite.

Now if I was following the rules of IE, I would only eat when I’m hungry. But because I know that my body needs refueling from all the effort it is putting out, I really need to make sure I’m eating enough calories so I have the energy for the training.

So as a recovering compulsive overeater, I’m walking a fine line here. Because I know that I need to do it for my body, I’ve often been eating even when I’m not hungry. That is dangerous territory, but I know training-wise, it is the right thing to do.

A friend saw me at the gym last week and thought I looked like I had lost weight. I appreciated her honesty and took it the way it was intended, with caring. I had some major trouble sleeping last week, so that combined with her comment led me to get on the scale Friday morning (instead of waiting for this week’s weigh-in for the month) out of medical concern. I have dropped another pound. That makes 3-4 pounds down since starting the IE. While that is a wonderful, hopeful thing for all of us to know, (as I feared I would gain weight by not counting calories and weighing/measuring food) to be honest, it would not be healthy for me to lose more weight.

Aside from the freaky two nights of not sleeping, I feel OK and my training is going well. So I’m really in dangerous territory here — I know that I can afford to gain a few pounds, and due to training, I’m eating more because I know I should, not because I’m hungry, yet I’m still trying to be an intuitive eater. Quite mixed bag, huh? *sigh*

I’m wiggling the “rules” a bit to stay strong for my workouts, but I SOO don’t want this to head in the other direction. It’s hard to tell a recovering compulsive overeater, who has been binge-free for over two years, that they really can/should eat more. I’ve worked so hard at my recovery, got to a really great place, but I’m not an idiot, like an alcoholic or drug addict, it wouldn’t be hard to slip back into the old habits I had for 30+ years.

I need to keep my head in the right place. I can do this. I’M WORTH IT and it is definitely not worth going back to bingeing/compulsive overeating.

One Day at a Time... Nurture myself... Awareness... Letting Go... Listen to my Body

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Comments

40 Responses, Leave a Reply
  1. Cammy@TippyToeDiet
    14 June 2010, 7:09 pm

    I can see where that would be a struggle, but it seems as though you have a clear mindset that you’re eating this way to support the additional training, and NOT because you’ve lost any measure of control. I’m no expert, but I think you’ll be fine as long as you continue to make the training-nutrition connection.
    Cammy@TippyToeDiet´s last blog post ..Happy Trainaversary To Me!

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    you are right, cammy, i just need to KEEP making that connection.

    [Reply]

  2. Lisa
    14 June 2010, 7:13 pm

    Ooh…that is a tough one. I had several surgeries after I lost my 160 lbs and I got quite thin without trying. Everyone was telling me to eat more. I ate more, but not it did trigger my overeating again. One thing though is I ate lots of fattening things and not necessarily healthful ones. You are eating for your body to function better in training, so I think it’s different. It’s a head game…one you will win 🙂

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks for sharing your experience, lisa. it is a head game and i am going to try my hardest to win the game and not go back to my old ways.

    [Reply]

  3. Jody - Fit at 52
    14 June 2010, 7:19 pm

    YOU ARE WORTH IT!!!! I love that you are aware of all the ups & downs, the goods & pitfalls! I think that is what is keeping you in the right place! 🙂
    Jody – Fit at 52´s last blog post ..Five Ws of Weight Loss; Happy Bday Jennifer!

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks, jody! and i hope you are right, the fact that i’m aware is half the battle, right?

    [Reply]

  4. Gillian
    14 June 2010, 8:10 pm

    I recently found your blog! Thank-you so much for it! I’m also a compulsive overeater and it is helpful and encouraging to relate to you and to read about your success!! I know I have certain trigger foods (even healthy ones) so if I needed to eat more for training it would be best to eat more of foods that don’t trigger me and avoid the ones that do. Sounds like you are doing a great job of being aware of what you are doing and staying healthy! I’ve learned recently how easy it is to start slipping…but I don’t have the years of success behind me yet like you do. Thanks again for sharing your journey of success!

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    welcome, gillian! sounds like you are doing well and are aware of what your triggers are, that’s great!
    i think the chance to slip is always there no matter how long you’ve been in recovery, but hopefully it’s easier to deal with the further along we are. hopefully! =)

    [Reply]

  5. Rita @ The Giggly Bits
    14 June 2010, 8:27 pm

    Who would have thought that the appetite can just go right away sometimes with all that hard work. I’m having a easier go because I still track my stuff for now, I can see a calories in calories out sort of thing and make sure to eat enough. Otherwise I know I would be low as well.

    I think this will strengthen your ability to listen to you body, it’s already making you listen very very closely and that can only be a good thing. I bet it will make things so much easier in the long run.
    Rita @ The Giggly Bits´s last blog post ..You Like Me, You Really Like Me!

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    it’s great that you are able to totally stay on top of everything! i’m hoping to pull this off, be strong for training and then go back to my regular eating mode when the race is over (provided i don’t sign up for another one in the meantime! =) ).
    i pray you are right and that this will strengthen my ability to listen to my body instead of just being able to fall back into the ‘ugly’ mode again.

    [Reply]

  6. Missa
    14 June 2010, 9:27 pm

    Just like you have a fitness plan to train for the tri, there is an eating plan. IE is not only about listening to hunger signals, it is also about making informed choices. You can do it!

    Cheers,
    Missa
    LosingEthel

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    that’s a good way to look at it, missa – it is an eating plan to go along with my training plan. so when my training ends, the additional eating ends. thanks! i may have to refer back to your comment!!!

    [Reply]

  7. Bobbie @Anonymous Fat Girl
    14 June 2010, 9:44 pm

    I am so proud of you for doing so well with the intuitive eating. I’m also very proud of you for the triathalon training and goal there. It’s wonderful that you are aware of your body and you got things into check. 🙂
    Bobbie @Anonymous Fat Girl´s last blog post ..A case for “Chronic Cardio”

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks, bobbie! so far, so good!

    [Reply]

  8. Gina Fit by 41 Maybe 42
    15 June 2010, 12:14 am

    It crossed my mind, too, that the eating has a purpose, especially if it’s nutrition-packed.

    I’m not in a position to give advice, but something that comes to mind is to connect with what you are eating by not eating while reading or watching tv or walking around putting this or that away. Sit and eat, enjoy, have gratitude for it, think about how it got to you.

    (Now, can you cut and paste this to me so I can remember to take my own advice? lol)
    Gina Fit by 41 Maybe 42´s last blog post ..Back to Basics Challenge #1 – Hydrate, Mini List

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    good point, the eating truly does have a purpose. if i don’t eat enough, my body will fail me. thanks for reminding me to truly enjoy it.
    and lol! yes, i’ll cut and paste it back to you when i see that you need to read it. =)

    [Reply]

  9. Patsy
    15 June 2010, 4:00 am

    I have the same problem when people tell me to eat all my WW points… I’m supposed to be on 29, but rarely do I go above 22 (most days it’s around 18-20). I can’t help myself but work out the calories in my head and it’s around 1500 a day. I’m hardly starving myself! If you’re a compulsive overeater like us, it’s very difficult to find a middle ground between overeating and being Very Aware of what you’re eating and trying to control it. What the hell is ‘normal’ eating because I really don’t have a clue! 😉
    Patsy´s last blog post ..Doesn’t Time Fly?

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    i know, patsy, it’s hard. i think ‘normal’ eating is kind of personalized and individualized. but yes, as a recovering compulsive overeater, it is really hard to realize that i should be eating more, do in fact eat more, and keep it all in check. sounds like YOU are doing great!!!

    [Reply]

  10. Christie {Honoring Health}
    15 June 2010, 6:34 am

    Very interesting. You know your body better than I do, obviously so take this with a grain of salt if it doesn’t make sense for you. I don’t know if you follow a hunger scale or at what point your are stopping but I was wondering if maybe you should eat at earlier hunger signals, like, when you feel a more gentle hunger rather than what you are currently feeling as hunger. Or, if maybe you should eat until full instead of satisfied.
    Christie {Honoring Health}´s last blog post ..The Missing Piece

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    it is good advice, christie, i was hoping you would read this and respond. i mostly, as a norm, eat at earlier hunger signals, but now i’m eating often at no signal. but i did not think about the back end of it – eating until full instead of just satisfied! so thanks, that may be what i need to do to help find this balance.
    but again, i need to be careful to not slip back into my old ways. right now i can “get away” with extra tastes and bites, etc., my fear, after 12 weeks of training, is that it will be hard to get back into my normal IE eating routine.

    [Reply]

  11. Sagan
    15 June 2010, 12:25 pm

    That’s right, you CAN do it. Is it possible for you to have your meals when other people are nearby? I find that helps for me- I don’t eat too much or too little (and I definitely don’t binge) when I’m eating with others. It’s when I’m alone that it gets to be dangerous territory. When other people are around, I tend to be much better at eating the amount that my body needs.
    Sagan´s last blog post ..The Living Healthy in the Real World Guide to Cleaning & Organizing, Part One: Why Should I Clean?

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    good points, sagan! i work from home, so i eat lunch and most of my snacks alone. breakfast depends on the day, and dinner is always eaten with family. 🙂 but yes, i do better when people are nearby too.

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  12. Jess
    15 June 2010, 3:24 pm

    I definitely don’t get hungry now. I think it has to do with the training but I’m not sure. But, even with intuitive eating, part of the intuitive part comes with knowing what your body needs. It needs fuel while you train, so give it fuel. I feed myself depending on what I’m training for and what the purpose is. Food has become a choice with a purpose, and it feels better that way. I mean, sometimes the purpose is definitely for mental satisfaction (ohhhh rice krispie treats) but in general, it’s for a bigger goal 🙂

    I have looked into the hunger triggers that comes with additional exercise, and I think it has to do with chemicals that are released by the brain when you workout. The enzymes that trigger hunger are reduced so you feel less hungry. Crazy huh?
    Jess´s last blog post ..Just Keep Swimming

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    jess, as i have told you before, you are wise beyond your years! — “food has become a choice with a purpose” – i love that!!

    and yes, as counterintuitive as it seems, it is definitely bizarre that additional exercise would decrease hunger.

    [Reply]

  13. Girlxx
    15 June 2010, 7:23 pm

    Hi! I just found your blog. I’m also a compulsive eater/EDNOS, so it’s great to read about your experiences and know that it can be overcome.

    Interesting that you’re not more hungry. I’m just the opposite. Heavy exercise will suppress my appetite right after, but then I get really hungry the next day.

    Do you mind my asking, did you find when you were getting over binging, that you had to stop eating certain foods? I feel like I am sugar addicted, and I don’t know if that means I need to eventually completely eliminate it or just be careful and eat it in moderation. Any advice?

    Thanks in advance!

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    hi and thanks for stopping by! when i started training for the tri, changing up my workout routine, at first i was ravenous, then my appetite kind of went for the most part. very bizarre!

    hmmm… no, i never really stopped eating certain foods because i don’t believe in depriving myself. i eat chocolate every single day without fail. i find that the only things that really tempt me are at special events/parties/outings where i encounter things i normally don’t get to have. everyone is different though and has to find their own way that works for them. i know OA’ers who don’t eat anything from certain food groups and that works for them. i, personally, don’t think i could ever do that. i think moderation is the key, though that took me a while to achieve.

    with the mindset i learned through therapy and reading about intuitive eating, i finally wrapped my brain around the thought that no food is forbidden, nothing is “bad”. isn’t it more fun to eat food when you know you shouldn’t be having it? knowing it’s ok takes a lot of that desire away because you know you can have it. i’m kind of rambling, but did that make any sense? =) i also learned that even ‘normal’ eaters overeat sometimes and that is ok. normal eaters don’t beat themselves up about it. they just put it behind them and move on.

    i hope i’ve helped in some way! feel free to email me any time.

    [Reply]

  14. Diane Fit to the Finish
    15 June 2010, 11:15 pm

    I can certainly see your dilemma. I admire the way that you are really analyzing this and trying to find that balance point between eating enough to maintain your healthy training weight and not overeating. I think you’ve gotten some really good suggestions here. Could you tell that you’d lost more weight, and how did that make you feel? I wonder if monitoring calorie intake would be helpful? I know that’s not exactly intuitive eating, but you want to stay healthy and strong.

    For all the questions you raise, I wanted to tell you how impressed I am with all your accomplishments!
    Diane Fit to the Finish´s last blog post ..Is There Really Bad Food?

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks, diane. my biggest fear is sort of giving myself carte blanche to eat whatever i want and have that spiral off to compulsive overeating again. you are right, i did get some great suggestions from my bloggie friends and i’m grateful.
    i couldn’t really tell that i lose more weight because my capris/shorts are already on the loose side, so it’s kind of hard to tell that if they are looser. if they were tighter, THAT i could tell. I don’t like that I have lost more weight, my goal for the past 20 months has been to maintain and that’s what i’ve been doing intil the past couple of months.
    i know i’ve got the calorie counting in my back pocket if i need to go back to it, but i finally let go of that controlling behavior and found it very freeing and don’t want to rush back to it. i’m thinking instead, that rather than getting on the scale once a month as i’ve been doing since january, to get on once every two weeks to keep a tab on my weight until the race. what do you think?

    [Reply]

  15. Michelle@Eatingjourney
    16 June 2010, 9:03 pm

    I think it all comes down to how your body is feeling. Honouring that and embracing that. Good luck. I am excited to see how it all pans out.
    Michelle@Eatingjourney´s last blog post ..Exam Ended…Went to Hospital 🙁

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    you’re right, michelle. this is a time where i really need to tune in to what my body needs, not just physical hunger but for energy and staying properly fueled, while not taking advantage of the situation and going overboard. not such an easy task, i’m excited/anxious/nervous to see how it all pans out too!

    [Reply]

  16. Holly
    17 June 2010, 8:50 am

    You ARE worth it!! It sounds like your friend really cares about you – it’s always comforting when people say things out of true concern and it makes us examine ourselves differently. I KNOW this has to be so difficult, because like you said, you want to eat intuitively yet you need more fuel with your training. This was very difficult for me in marathon training, too….on long run days, I was NOT that hungry, yet I forced myself to eat. I think as long as you continue to listen to your body and are able to adequately fuel yourself for your training, you will be just fine! And I know lack of sleep has a huge effect on us, too. Hopefully you’ve slept better the past few days!

    I know I don’t have really any advice, but just know that you are STRONG, and you’ve come incredibly far not only with being binge-free, but also 11 weeks of intuitive eating! So I know you CAN do this!
    Holly´s last blog post ..This Isn’t the Real Caeser’s Palace….Is It?

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks so much for your support, holly! it makes me feel good that you understand exacly where i’m coming from, trying to find that balance between eating for training and trying to eat wisely. i will probably question myself until race day. *sigh* i hope that getting on the scale twice a month instead of once a month will help to keep me in line.

    [Reply]

  17. karen@fitnessjourney
    19 June 2010, 9:24 am

    What stood out here for me was the word “rules”. I’m wondering if the idea of having “rules” is something that helps you or hurts you. Maybe the answer is different for each of us, but it’s something that concerned me for you because of your past relationship with food. Maybe for you it IS a necessity and helps keep you in a good place.
    karen@fitnessjourney´s last blog post ..Follow-Up to Post Regarding Antidepressants Coming

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    it’s great that you picked up on that, karen. i am definitely a follow-the-rules kind of person, that’s why this intuitve eating is such a leap for me. i’m letting go of control, which i think is important and healthy for me. on the other hand, throwing the training in makes the leap that much harder. i’m going to listen to my body the best that i can and also include some logic of doing the right thing so that my body stays strong and ready to train. i’m going to get on the scale twice a month instead of once a month to help keep a tab of my additional calories are being used up or are adding up to weight gain.

    [Reply]

  18. Food Addict
    24 June 2010, 2:53 pm

    Wow – that sounds like an unbelievably hard challenge. It’s one thing to train for a triathalon (major props there!) but a whole nother thing to juggle with IE.

    You can def. do it!! Obviously, having 2 years “clean” (as I call it) is really a success! Good luck, I can’t wait to watch your progress on your blog.

    And thanks for your words of support — there have been many times when I’ve thought of your message – “be patient, grasshopper” while looking at the scale convincing myself not to binge because the number didn’t budge!

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    it’s definitely been challenging, thanks so much for your support!

    i’m so glad that my words have helped you. trust me, i know how hard it is to see no results on the scale and just want to say “screw it” and hit the food. way to be patient! sounds like you are doing great!!

    [Reply]

  19. David Hussey| Triathlon training
    25 June 2010, 3:00 am

    Thanks for sharing .I hope that one day I will be able to throw all the “rules” away and have control over my eating. It will happen I know .

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    your self confidence is awesome. i’m sure it will happen for you!
    thanks for stopping by, david!

    [Reply]

  20. Yum Yucky
    29 June 2010, 2:03 pm

    you keep it going, girl! I am FLOORED that you are even doing this. I’d never be able to. I started heaving air just from reading about your training. I’m rooting for you!
    Yum Yucky´s last blog post ..Woman Shows Symptoms of Canoeing While Crazy

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    lol! thanks so much for your support, josie!! and you know what, you COULD do it!!

    [Reply]

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