Life without Anorexia

My motto is
'Dont let the sadness of your past & the fear of your future ruin the happiness of your present'

My life at the moment is completely different to how it once was. I spent 5 years sick with anorexia nervosia and depression as well as struggling with self harm and overexercising. I spent 2 years in different treatment centres.
And since 2012 i have been declared healthy from my eating disorder.

I have been blogging for 7 years, and my whole journey is written in my posts. I now represent healthy and happiness. I want to show anyone struggling that it is possible to recover, no matter how hard it may seem.

I now blog about recovery, my life, veganism and positivity!

If you have any questions leave them in the comment section as i am much quicker at answering there, otherwise you can always send an email: lifewithoutanorexia@hotmail.com

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Friday, January 6, 2017

Comparing your progress to other peoples progress

Coming up in spring 2017 (around March/April i think), i will have been going to the gym for 5 years. This is both sort of exciting and a little bit saddening when i think about how little progress i have made. Let me just explain.....

So first off, when i began at the gym in spring/summer 2012 i first dd a whole bunch of swimming, and then i began doing a whole bunch of running on the treadmill, then a whole bunch of time on the crosstrainer. Sometime i began doing a whole bunch of core work, still having no idea what a squat or a deadlift was. Then sometime i began doing the gymclasses such as bodypump, circuit training and even tried bodycombat. Then i began doing both cardio and and gymclasses (i.e too much for my poor body to handle). Eventually i began to progress into using weights and did less gym classes and started trying to do my own strength training... a whole bunch of bicep curls and tricep dips. I stayed in the "girls strength training" area for a long time and still did a whole bunch of cardio until i decided to try going into the bigger strength training area where i began to use machines and heavier weights and decided to cut down and limit cardio to just HIIT or walks. Overtime i progressed with weights, tried new exercises, felt more confident and found that i loved strength training alot more than hours of cardio. I felt stronger and more capable, but i still loved running so still did that regularly. And over the years i have done functional/outside training and boxing, tried crossfit, changed gyms several times, tried new exercises, felt more confident in the gym and know that it is my passion.

I first began strength training around the start of 2013 roughly a year after joining the gym, and my main intention was to get bigger arms to balance out my body as i felt both weak and sort of unbalanced, i.e i still had very thin arms compared to the rest of my body. After that i have never really had any goals with my exercise or workouts, they have been therapy and anti stress for me. They have been fun and something that i love doing and love getting better, but i have never put 100% into reaching a goal not a physical goal or a progress goal. But also i have pains in my hip, lowerback and knees that flare up at times which hinder me from doing certain exercises or progressing as much as i can/would like to have. But also that i love doing a mix of cardio and strength training so i have never wanted to give up cardio completely (and when i did try that my CF health declined quite a bit as i was just doing very low intensity strength training to build muscle... so i realised after that, that i couldnt actually leave out cardio, but i have times where i do more and times where i do less of it). Also considering that i eat roughly 3000-3500kcal a day just to maintain my weight ive never really eeaten that huge surplus of calories which my body might need to really gain muscle/make progress. But like i have written - and mentioned plenty of times - i have never had the intention or goal to workout just to gain muscle or to change my appearance. I love the way i look and i workout for fun, because of enjoyment and gaining strength and being more capable are just positives and benefits of doing what i love.

HOWEVER, i am only human so i cant deny that a small part of me is a little saddened that the amount of progress strength wise - and physical muscle mass  i have gained - over my almost 5 years (4 years of strength training, however only really 3 of "actual" strength training) is pretty much the same progress some girls make within a year. Its silly to feel this way because the progress i have made is MY progress and based on the factors in MY life and due to my body and how it works. I am sure if i had decided that i will go 100% in for a goal whether it was to change my appearance or to reach a certain goal such as deadlift 100kg i would reach it, but i have never done that.

Where am i going with this post? Well, the more i thought about this - and how i was feeling - the more i realised how silly and worthless it was. To feel sad and to compare myself to others? That is a waste of time and energy and not something i want to spend my thoughts or energy doing. However i know that MANY others do this type of comparison, and some struggle with it daily, and all i can say is that it is NOT WORTH IT.  Everyone is different and you should not compare your progress - whether its workout progress, recovery progress, school progress, work progress etc - to anyone else. Just like you shouldnt compare your life to others. I know many think they should have their life together by the age of 25 or have a great job by the age of 30 or to have had a first kiss by the age of 16 or first boyfriend/girlfriend by 18 etc but thats not how life works. Everyone has different lives and things happen at different times.

So what am i going to do now? Well i am going to be happy over the progress i have made. Happy over the fact that i have found balance with exercise and do it out of joy, not out of compulsion, compensation or hate for my body. And i am going to be thankful that i CAN exercise and hope that i can continue exercising for the rest of my life and most of all be thankful for my body. And of course, not compare myself or my progress to anyone elses, instead just be thankful and happy for what i CAN do and the progress i have made which is both physical and mental!!!






6 comments:

  1. There is anew gym just opened up where I live and it has a fantastic swimming pool. When I am better I would love to go back to swimming - so having this facility literally minutes away from my house is a real incentive to recover :)
    I think its great Izzy that you have found so much pleasure and enjoyment in going to the gym just doing what you love to do. I think this is a very healthy attitude to have! You don`t need to measure your progress against others - as you rightly say yourself.

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  2. I have a question - when does a food you like become too much? I mean, like an obsession? I tend to have cravings for a certain food and then go on to have that food everyday - and I`m not just talking a week or so I am meaning months, with the odd exception here or there. If I don`t have that food for my meal I feel bad and spend all week making up for it.
    How often do you vary your food? Other people seem to eat differently every day and I just can`t imagine doing this. Once I find something I really like I just want it all the time. Is this a problem or is it ok to do this?

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    1. A lot of people are "phase eaters". Most of my family is like this, as am i. I will eat the same breakfast and/or lunch for months and months and months. It's not a problem as long as you are aware of your nutrition -variety is very important in a diet, and so i make sure that i vary my dinners and snacks to make sure i still get a wide variety of nutrients. Although oftentimes, even my "variable meals" are really only 2-4 different ones that i cycle around. I just like what i like, and i'm healthy and non-restrictive and it works for me. The only part of your comment that i find concerning is that you "make up for it all week" - i dont know what you mean by that and if there is a healthy motive or not behind it. Only you know that.

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    2. Hm, I'm not really sure either what you mean by "make up or it all week" but it do sound a bit weird to me, too. Also, I don't know which type of food you're referring to: is it a "proper" food like a veggie or fruit or rice/potatoes or chicken/tofu or are you talking about a certain type of cookie, candy bar, chocolate etc.? Way into my own recovery I had a similar phenomenon with a special kind of chocolate cereals. I was craving them EVERY SINGLE DAY and not for breakfast but for a snack AFTER the normal meal. And the weirdest thing ever was that I only ate the chocolate chunks and not the actual cereals! This sounds kind of funny now, but believe me, it wasn't: I was really addicted to it and bought a box every day, eating it outside on the streets, because I didn't want my boyfriend to know about this (too embarrassing) :( When there was a holiday weekend and the stores didn't open for a few days, I would even buy them in advance and at my worst times, I ate 3 of these boxes in one day. The rest of my diet was completely normal and I ate enough nutritions; but I just couldn't go without these chocolate chunk cereals. I knew it was weird and not normal, but I thought of it as the last symptom of my ED and hoped it would stop someday. And it did!! After a year or so, one day when I craved the cereals again, I forced myself to buy something else instead. So I bought a protein bar with chocolate flavour, next time I'd buy a candy bar or something else with chocolate. And eventually, I didn't eve craved the cereals anymore and found out that I just had to allow myself something sweet from time to time. Now I find it ridiculous and of course I never bought them ever again :D To cut the long story short, I think you should try at least once a week to substitute your "favorite" food with something similar to get rid of this "obsession" slowly. Maybe you just need to let go of your "save foods" and embrace the variety of food your ED deprived you of (IF you had an ED). This can be scary at first, but you can do it in babysteps :)

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    3. Thank you both of you for your kind advice. What I meant by making up for not having the food one day for the rest of the week was I make sure I don`t miss a day again that week. Its not junk food i am craving - its vegetables and gravy. I try to have at least one day a week when i have something different, again a cooked meal.

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    4. I think i will start aiming to have more days in the week when i eat something different. I often feel as though i want to but something holds me back and i end up sticking with the same food. But like you said, baby steps and do it gradually.

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