Once again I have fallen off the map and haven't been writing regularly. The Christmas holiday has been a busy one and a hard one. What can make abstaining from exercising harder than holiday get-togethers with lots of different foods prepared by other people (many who don't share the same love for real foods) and different eating times than those that exist in my normal routine? (Interjection here - the love of routine is probably one of my problems!) Needless to say, these things intensified the struggle and I had a few BAD days. I am scared to know how much I gained in such a short time. It just makes it worse knowing that I ate more "bad" foods than normal...by that I mean foods other than "whole" foods which likely contain a lot of artificial stuff and refined sugar. I have to be careful, though, because in the past I have seen myself change from restricting to being overly obsessed with food quality to where I never wanted to eat any one else's food and could not, under an circumstances, eat anything from a package even if it was organic. That is just another of the ugly faces of an eating disorder...which I have learned can manifest itself in many different ways. You feel you have recovered from disordered eating and in actuality, it just attached to another obsession (i.e. eating only natural/organic/whole). There has got to be balance. Moderation.
My title seems to inaccurately describe my post thus far, but I am getting there. I do a lot of reading on anorexia athletica (exercise compulsion) and eating disorders. Side note: In the list of "you may have anorexia athletica/over-exercise if..." I check every one. I sent it to my husband and he said that it describes me to a "T." Anyways, back to the point...SO in my reading, I have seen the various consequences of these disorders. Everything points out that the damage is not only that which is obvious, but there is damage done to the organs that are not so obvious, but these are the most detrimental. I have read how it causes muscular atrophy as the body feeds on itself and this has been obvious especially when I combined intense workouts with nursing while not recognizing the immense amount of calories all of that calls for. Over time, I have lost a lot of inches of muscle. However, as stated in one article, the heart is a muscle as well which means it is just as likely to be affected. Through many articles, I have seen that overexercising and not taking in adequate calories can cause the wall of the heart to thin, arrythmic heart beat, low heart rate and blood pressure and on and on....not to mention, hormonal imbalance and not enough estrogen can also cause damage to the heart. Now that that has been said, I should mention that I have had several "episodes" since college. The few in college involved shaking, briefly losing consciousness and being disoriented. Since graduating college, the episodes got worse. One day at work before having my baby, I felt very sick for a few minutes and the next thing I knew, people were gathered around me and I was trying to remember where I was. They called 911. When the ambulance got there, the paramedics had to give me something to speed my heart up because I was bradycardic. My blood pressure was also very low. This happened another time when I was sick. It also happened 6 days after my baby was born which was the only other time I went to the ER. Once again, we saw a very low blood pressure. We have never been able to figure out what caused these episodes. Well the Saturday night after Christmas, I woke up because my wrist was hurting something terrible. I told my husband. He said I asked for crackers and advil and when he came back I was disoriented. I just remember him hollering my name. I sat up feeling very sick. After several minutes, I felt better but freezing cold. All of these symptoms point to a very low blood pressure. Blood was not getting to my wrist. There wasn't enough oxygen getting to my brain. The poor circulation made me really cold. Now I look back at all of these episodes and feel certain I know what caused them. It is quite terrifying. I am scared that I have damaged my heart and can only pray that the damage can be reversed through recovery.
During the string of days of wanting to give up because I feel fat and because I see other people working out, I am reminded that it is most important for my health and my family that I take care of this problem. It is important for my walk with Christ to be free from bondage. It doesn't matter what anyone else is doing or thinking. It isn't about them.
Although fear isn't always a good thing, I guess I will take whatever will motivate me another day because I can go from a good, motivated day to a day of wanting to quit...just like that. I forget so easily which makes pressing on hard sometimes.