Getting the right nutrition is important for everyone but particularly if you are following a trainining plan or doing sports.Getting the right micro and macro nutrients is vital for optimal performance and recovery.Getting in the calories is important too as your body needs sufficient fuel to run.
Since starting my training plan two weeks ago I am already feeling faster,I have a 5km race on Saturday followed by the London universities cross country on Wednesday.I love running,it also gives me such a appreciation for what the body can do.Throughout Having an eating disorder and recovering I have learnt quite a lot about nutrition and what the body needs.I think the most valuable thing I have learned is to listen to your body!!!I tried to recover at first by following a meal plan and it didn’t work I would just binge and also eat throughout the night.I was scared that this would never stop.The way I stopped the binge and purge cycle was by eating regularly and eating what I was craving,it took a long time for my body to realise it wasn’t going to be starved and then there was also dealing with the emotional side of the binges.Eating intuitively meant I ate A LOT and weight restored very quickly.This was hard to accept but the way I think about it is imagine if you were drowning when you would come up to the surface eventually you would be gasping for oxygen.Its the same with starvation,if you go hungry long enough then when you start eating again your body is desperate for food and so you may binge.This is ofcourse not true for everyone as some people in recover do not experience this intense period of hunger but that is just my personal experience.
I am now binge free and mostly purge free,I’ve reduced it to maybe once a month but I am determined to eliminate purging completely.It has taken time and patience and understanding of why the behaviour exists to get from binging/purging 10 times a day or restricting but it is possible!There is never such a thing as being “hopeless”.
I am now determined to be healthy,to balance exercise with rest and to just live and enjoy life!I thought I would share some of what I eat and what I find is beneficial for running.
Breakfast is so important!It sets you up for the day and kickstarts your metabolism!Today I woke up pretty early so at 5am I had porridge make with almond milk,vanilla protein powder,topped with raisins and peanut butter and half a bar of chocolate because that was my craving.Porridge is so versatile and oats are dead cheap!Its also very easy to make it calorie dense.If I have been on a run in the morning I will have two eggs on the side or a protein shake as well.
I used to be a lunch skipper since I was a small child I would not eat my lunch at school or just leave it at home.I don’t really know why I did that but Lunch is probably the meal I struggled with the most during recovery but now it is one of my favourites!Sometimes I will make a cooked lunch but I prefer wraps/sandwiches.Today I am preparing seeded wraps with avocado and tuna!
For dinner I will have anything really that is a combination of fats,proteins and carbs.I try and get veggies in too.Being at uni I choose to make dinner in batches and then just have the same thing every night to save time.Tonight I am having a Lentil Dahl I made a few days ago,on the side I normally have eggs or tinned fish such as tuna or mackerel.
Snacking is not bad,choose the right snacks and it helps maintain your blood sugar so you don’t crash throughout the day and can prevent the urge to binge as you are regularly fuelling your body.I snack throughout the day on bananas with peanut butter,protein/energy bars,nuts,bread, protein shakes/smoothies,flapjacks,chocolate ,anything goes really!
I do not believe in following set timings for meals I think you should just eat regularly but it doesn’t matter when or whether it is night or day.For example if I am hungry in the night I will eat.If you have had lunch 1 hour ago but are hungry then EAT!The diet industry has taught us to overthink what we eat.Its really wrote simple though,eat when you are hungry,eat in a balanced way and you will be fine.
I haven’t counted calories in a long time and I would always say its pointless.Focus on putting nutrition into your body rather than stressing over numbers. At the beginning of recovery calorie counting may be usefull to ensure you get enough but ultimately I believe in trusting your body and relearning hunger and fullness queues. Of course this takes time. I still don’t quite have fullness queues and sometimes don’t feel full after big meals even when others do. An eating disorder wrecks havoc on the body and it will be sometime before the body normalises and recognises when it is hungry and when it is full.
I believe in a balanced diet no food is off bounds.I will happily have spontaneous take away with friends or chocolate with breakfast.I don’t believe in eating 100% “clean”,especially after having an eating disorder I think clean eating can be another way of exerting control using food.
Supplements can be helpful,ideally you should get everything you need from your diet but some supplements such as protein powder can be convenient. I sometimes take cod liver oil, vitamins or spirulina.It just depends really!
I am learning to love my body for what It can do and that motivates me to take care of it.