Monday, January 17, 2011

Updates and Over-exericise

I can't believe I haven't posted since Wednesday!  It's been crazy busy.  Work was insane with training other people, liver samples, experiments failing, my coworkers being idiots, and computer systems failing me.  And home's been busy too.  We were at the boyfriend's mom's place for her birthday on Saturday and then at my parents yesterday for a belated birthday for my mom and souvenirs for us.  My parents got me a gorgeous scarf from Florence and a beautiful glittery masquerade eye mask thing from Venice that matches the colors in my living room.  I put it up over the fireplace already and the cat went crazy trying to get it, hahaha.  The boyfriend got a hat and a carrying case that I swore up and down was for a sex toy (it had a very manly transvestite on the front and is called Lolly Dolly!) that my dad apparently found in a camera store and couldn't resist buying for him.  I love my parents.  And my dad made his famous pea soup, which thrilled me no end.  My boyfriend even liked it and he hates peas.

I also had a huge fight with my brother about his annoying girlfriend so that's awesome and stressful.  I'm sure I'll write more about it later but for now it's just one more thing.  I've been trying to find some me time in all the craziness but it just hasn't really happened.

Luckily I'm off today, though I need to spend the afternoon doing boring stuff like credit card applications and possibly the trip to Target that I haven't managed.  At least I got to sleep in finally.  I needed it.  Now we're waiting for UPS to deliver our new elliptical machine.

I'm a little worried.  We dropped our gym membership last month because it was incredibly expensive, which was fine when we were going often but when your average is less than once a week, not so much.  The problem for me was just the 2 and 1/2 hour total commute I have added to my 8 hour work day.  By the time I get home I have no interest in going back out to the gym when it's already dark outside during the winter.  But in some ways I think that was good.  Not so much when it meant I rarely went but when my eating disorder thoughts kicked in it tempered how often I could give in.  It's an annoying balancing act.  Too little and it's not worth the money but too often and hello obsessive over-exercising, again.

I've never been much of an athletic person.  I was the kid whose parents told her to put the book down and go outside.  Even as a kid when I did swim team I hated the meets.  Practices were okay but then we moved and I quit.  I did swimming for one year in high school, sucked at it, and never went back.  My one non-A grade in high school was a C in P.E.  I swear, I still have nightmares about it.

When college came around I just walked everywhere and figured that was good enough.  Even when my eating disorder kicked in I didn't work-out.  I remember the first psychologist I saw asking at our first meeting if I worked out and getting this horrible flash of "oh god, I'm missing something".  I believe I said something along the lines of "I guess it's getting warm out again so I should start swimming again."  All I could think was "I can't believe I haven't been exercising, what have I been thinking?!"  I was horrified that this psychologist was thinking about how lazy I was, though of course in actuality she was trying to determine if over-exercise was part of my ED.  Shortly after that my athletic flatmate was going to the gym on Saturday and encouraged me to come along.  She knew some of my food issues and I think she figured if I exercised I'd feel better about myself and know I was burning more calories so I could eat more.  Unfortunately that's not quite how it works with eating disorders.

That started it I think.  I began swimming in the mornings no matter how cold it was and elliptical-machining it most days.  One of the campus gyms was right across from my lab so it was easy to dash over there while an experiment was processing or something.  But I don't think it was ever obsessive, time-wise.  I don't think I ever swam or was on an elliptical machine more than half an hour at a time.  Feeling the need to do it most days maybe was but I think it was okay.

Then I moved home for 6 months after I graduated and all of a sudden had to eat around my family again.  Right after I moved I convinced my parents to join a gym and started cardio kickboxing, pilates, yoga, and a weight routine.  Exercise turned into something I felt I had to do to eat.  I'd get up and go to a pilates class followed by an hour on an elliptical machine and then 45 minutes of weight lifting.  And then often when my parents would go to the gym in the evening I'd go back with them for some more elliptical machine time.  3 hours at the gym a day wasn't all that uncommon and there were certainly no rest days.  Even when I went to visit a friend for 10 days I convinced her to get me day passes to her gym for that time.  Only my parents insistence that I eat kept my weight from plummeting I think.  The scary part though is that no one ever commented on this crazy gym routine.  No one.  Not my parents or my friends or the people who worked at the gym who I begged for band-aids for my blisters.

What saved me was moving out and not having the money for a gym membership.  At first it freaked me out but I began to see how crazy my routine had been.  The funny part?  I dropped my eating to make up for this lack of exercise at first and my flatmate (the same one who'd encouraged me initially to go to the gym with her) told me she was worried about my eating and that I could take her bike out whenever I wanted for some exercise.  How is it that restricting isn't okay but exercise bulimia is?  I never quite figured this out with anyone.

Anyhow,  I eventually joined the gym with my boyfriend.  After I explained to him some of my concerns about over-exercise we agreed I wouldn't go to the gym without him and it worked.  I had a safe exercise routine for the first time I think, even though I would occasionally get freaked out about skipping a day or having a shorter work-out.  My work day really kept down my gym time, which was good until it completely killed any time I had to work-out.  Now I'm going to have this machine in my house that I can use any time I want.  I'm a little concerned.  I've never had this before, minus my parents tread-mill in high school that I used maybe 10 times.  What if I start to get neurotic about it?  It's going to be there staring at me.  I know I'm just going to have to be careful and monitor myself.  I can't afford to start the over-exercise again, especially not with my eating to way it often is these days.


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