Eating disorders help and support thread

Thought I’d share this post from Instagram and bring some awareness back in light for anyone that could use help. February 22-28 is national disordered eating week, call +1 (800) 931-2237 is a national eating disorder free hotline.

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Holy crap, that was awesome.
Disordered eating is so rampant in endurance sports. We all know it, and we’re not talking about it. I went through a “fasted training” phase which was really about trying to cut cals. Of course my performance was terrible and I was miserable and I did not lose weight.
This year I am focusing on more steady carb intake during training, pushing 90-100g/hr. I am hitting all time PRs in Jan/Feb and since Christmas I am back at race weight. And, I’m happy.
Food is fuel and we are athletes and we need it!

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Regarding this chart (thanks for providing it). Is it effort dependant? That is, are you advocating for fuel in every workout, including an easy aerobic hour such as Pettit (60 mins at ~63%).

I personally have made great strides fighting my impulse to underfuel workouts, but at this point I’m only fueling for more intense rides. That generally works out (for me at my current effort level) to 9-10 intense fueled hours per week and ~3 easy/recovery unfueled. I have gotten past my “if you can complete it with water, that’s what you should do” mindset, but only for hard rides.

Thanks for your contributions.

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Glad to know there’s light at the end of the “fasted training to cut calories” tunnel. Despite the number of times I tell myself it’s to enhance fat oxidation, ease glycogen reliance, blah blah blah - it’s really the calorie cutting for me. Appreciate you sharing your growth in this area.

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Me too - pretty much every AM session was fasted and I couldn’t keep on top of replenishing glycogen stores post workout. Every 3-4 weeks, I would crash and stop completely for a week.

Since I started properly fueling the session, power up and much better body composition.

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There can be light at the end of the tunnel, I’ve started carbing up all rides above sweet spot and just the 1 or 2 fasted endurance sets a week. Like posters above I lie to myself (and others) that it’s to improve fat usage and all other genuine advantages but really I’m overweight (but objectively I’m not) and am trying to drop weight.

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Good news there too: Can Fat Adaptation Make You Faster?

Not really. As long as your average power is >130 W or so, definitely not effort dependent. Can get away not aiming for the maximums on easier days for sure. May or may not be optimal…

I just submitted an article to my website folks at RP that goes into more depth on that. Not posted yet, but here’s a snippet.

Here are some better reasons that your training nutrition might look different from your race day: …

… 5. Weight loss is a primary goal, and satiety is an issue. In some cases, limiting intra-workout carb fueling to the minimums listed in the Table of Intra-workout Carb Needs Per Hour of Training, or even slightly below, during the easiest and/or shortest of endurance training sessions, can be a reasonable strategy for increasing food volume and improving satiety during fat loss diet phases. Use this approach as a last resort and monitor closely for hypoglycemia symptoms.

@Simo429 you should check out this book: Amazon.com: Brain over Binge: Why I Was Bulimic, Why Conventional Therapy Didn't Work, and How I Recovered for Good eBook: Hansen, Kathryn: Kindle Store

To give you a quick summary, the author struggled with binge eating disorder due to restricting calories as a teenager and battled it for years. She finally recovered by using the same techniques that she read in a book for recovery for alcoholics. This book helped me a lot because a lot of people want to try to find some big emotional issue that is causing you to binge, but in this book she describes getting stuck in a survival loop due to restriction, binging, purging through exercise, and continuing the cycle. Which eventually creates a habit of binging. She stopped binging by simply no longer giving into the urges to binge. It wasn’t due to some deep emotional issue that she uncovered and faced. It sounds a little too simple, and it took me months after I read it for it to click and for me to understand exactly what she meant/felt.

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I was thinking more about this thread today. I had a pretty easy (.70 IF) long ride (3:30) with a buddy today and I ate a ton. Like 1400 cals or so. Mostly sugar/carbs (I had a piece of banana bread that probably had a tiny bit of fat in it). I finished the ride feeling amazing, like I could go do it again right now. Came home and ate a bunch of food and feel good about that too.

Don’t starve yourself on the bike, even if it’s Z2. Yesterday I did about 2.5 hrs around the same IF (it’s recovery week here) and didn’t eat as much. Felt crappy and was starving the rest of the day.

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Does anyone else feel like they eat way too much one day and not enough the next? It’s a personal mental game with me, I’ll pig out and eat a bunch of nutrient dense food and still feel hungry. I guess it’s eating intuitively but some days I get in my head with negative thoughts about it… I am in a build period so I know extra calories help but idk if anyone else has this struggle …

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I really appreciate this thread and all that folks have shared so far. I’d like to share my story as well: one of deeply embedded multi-generational pathology surrounding food and body image.

I have always had the appetite of a voracious goat (I will eat just about anything, and as much as possible). Growing up, I was “husky,” to put it kindly. I suffered some degree of social ridicule and mockery, although I wasn’t bullied nearly as badly as many.

My mom and I battled over eating habits and portion control for my entire childhood; it was the primary conflict in my four-person household. It came from a place of love (I would not consider it abuse, even if it caused harm… no name-calling or cruelty), but I felt controlled and surveilled and developed secret binge habits early on.

My mom was always very fit, and it wasn’t until I was older that I learned of her own childhood struggles with weight. She recently confided to my wife that her older brother would say things to her like “my friends all say you have a pretty face, if you’d just drop a few pounds…” Learning this as an adult, the dysfunction that clouded my youth is no surprise. It also makes me want to break my uncle’s nose.

When I hit puberty I started lifting weights, joined the swim team, got a girlfriend or two, and the teasing stopped, but the unhealthy thought-patterns and behaviors stuck around. I was no longer ashamed of my body, but I was still liable to “black out” and eat a half a jar of peanut butter with a pint of ice cream (still my most deadly combo).

I remained recreationally active through my college years and early 20s and managed to stay at a fairly healthy weight, though I yo-yo’d as I fell for fads like juice fasts, low-carb, etc. In my mid-20s I discovered mountain biking, and triathlon shortly thereafter, and for awhile I just had fun in sport and ate what I wanted.

But when I started to improve, podium at local races, join TrainerRoad, and (eek) learn about the watts/kilo metric, some obsessive and anxiety-driven behaviors started to creep back in. I would say I have spent time in orthorexia territory, more with regards to thought patterns than actual behavior. The more problematic behavior has been the binging.

Meanwhile, my wife, whom I met right around the time I started mountain biking, has a nearly-opposite experience: she grew up on the standard [Italian-] American diet plus chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast every day and was nothing but skin and bones, by her own account never giving much of a thought to body image or her diet. Then, in HER 20s, she developed the voluptuous hips I so adore and were always her genetic destiny. So, here I am bringing my lifelong food baggage to a marriage with a partner whose conditioning tells her that anything goes when it comes to food while she reckons with changes in her own body (exponentially compounded by the fact that, at the time or writing this, she is 7-months pregnant with our second child) and a mother-in-law who can’t seem to resist making subtle comments about body mass (not my wife’s, thankfully, but about just about everyone else) in every interaction.

We have great communication, which has served us well as we’ve navigated the conflicts that have arisen. She has portion control but likes to indulge in sweets frequently, whereas I adopt an abstinence-only policy that works for maybe 10 days at a time before I’m mainlining cakes alone in a dark kitchen.

Dialing in my workout fueling (plenty of carbs before/during/after) and day-to-day nutrition have curbed these urges somewhat, but it’s clear that they’re not simply a response to hunger or depletion (evidenced by the fact that they tend to come on strongest after a more indulgent dinner), but rather a more deeply-ingrained compulsion stemming from decades ago.

My top priority at this point is to minimize any negative impact my issues might have on my daughters’ (it’s another girl! The TR forum knows before our parents!) mental or physical health. As I see it, the best path forward is to continue to work through my issues while maintaining open and honest communication with my family and a loving and accepting environment. Any parents out there with tips on making sure the cycle of dysfunction ends with me? Much appreciated!

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Don’t use food as either a punishment or reward - find other things (trips out, extra 30 min of play etc).

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Thanks for sharing your story and I absolutely love how you’re looking at this for your kids!!

A lot of what you said reminds me of my husband and I. I was overweight until my 20’s and he’s never had a second thought or struggle when it comes to food. Our relationships with food is the complete opposite, it’s almost fascinating to me and I believe so much of it comes from how we were raised with food in mind. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that my life long struggles (the same that you’ve mentioned) stem back to my childhood. I am not a parent but MAN is it crazy how you think you could be doing the right thing for your child but cause them something they struggle with their entire life? Ugh, sometimes I just wish I could see food only as fuel and just eat the same thing every day, haha.

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Not a parent but with my mental health struggles over the years I’ve seen my parents worry about what they could have done differently so remember you can do everything right and still not win. So don’t beat yourself up, which is actually good advice for all of us.

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For me it’s two-fold - one, with my kids we have a very consistent messaging of “eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full”. No one gets punished for not eating dinner (no longer how long we took to make it…), there’s no “clean plate club”, and then second we see a kid slowing down because they’re full we ask them about their hunger, how they’re feeling, to get them to tune into that. So far it seems to be working - both my kids will often eat half a cookie and stop (which is insane to me…) and it’s also been less stressful for my wife and I to take another “possible fight” with the kids off the table when they don’t finish dinner.

The second part is my wife and I are very careful to never talk about diets or restrictive eating in front of the kids - if I’m telling her how I binged the night before, or she’s talking about something like the Whole30, we deliberately keep it to ourselves so the kids don’t hear the conversation. I’m sure they will have many opportunities to hear people discussing disordered eating (they will be middle/high school girls before too long…) but we can do our best to not have the talk come from us.

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Aint that the truth.

My wife, an RD, and someone who knows intimately the meaning of the above, argues that the majority of disordered eating has this cause, and not the more commonly and openly discussed “magazines and media” rationale.

Thank you very much for sharing.

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