I used to be an emotional eater. I used to be a whole lot more emotional, really, back when teenage life was just one looooong neverending drama. And to cope, I turned to one of my biggest loves (I don’t know whether food can beat out books, but I suppose given I need one to continue physically existing, it has the edge).
No, these days I’ve become someone completely different. Someone I would probably hate, actually. When I’m super on edge, I’ll do two things: start writing a ranty blog post in my head, then start itching for a run. Yes, a RUN. As in physical exercise, lace on your shoes, foot in front of the other, sweating it out.
While I can’t intellectually understand eating disorders (I mean, I understand psychologically it’s about control, but I cannot imagine ever purposely depriving myself of food. Ever) I can actually imagine becoming somewhat addicted to exercise. The endorphin high really is something. And it feels good after, unlike when you’ve stuffed yourself silly with Tim Tams and feel like making sad whale sounds while curled up on the couch. I often finish up a run feeling I could have gone on for longer, wanting to go on for longer. When I take too long a break between runs, I find myself wondering “Why didn’t I do this before?!” in the first minute after leaving the house. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
That said, I don’t know if I can really call myself much of a runner. I run. But the reality is … Twice a week, if I’m good. More than half an hour, if I’m good. Close to an hour, if I’m REALLY good. Lots of the time I just do a few blocks. I’ve done a couple of 10k races and done well, and I’m sure I have it in me to do longer runs – but as much as I’d like to say I’d done a full or half marathon, I don’t really want to. Proper long distances and me aren’t on super buddy buddy terms.
I try to mix it up and incorporate a sprint into most runs. As T says, I’m kind of fit now that I run regularly. But it’s a fun thing for me; I don’t push myself, because I don’t really want to and I don’t see the need to. I’m keeping it light and enjoyable. Is that such a bad thing? Do you push yourself physically, or do you take exercise pretty casually as well?
But back to food. I still eat for pleasure, but I no longer use it as a comforter or a crutch (though I kind of wanted to this weekend). Over time, I’ve also stopped stuffing myself at dinner time and learned to eat more slowly. It’s a strange feeling, not being uncomfortably full at night (and sometimes I underdo it and find myself hungry again before bed). But it enables me to actually DO things after dinner, rather than being so drained of energy and motivation that I just want to veg out with a book or New Girl before rolling my ass into bed.