This is a post I really didn’t know whether to publish or not. In fact, I sat on it for over 24 hours. I’ve always promised to be honest on here and I hope that by sharing my (not so nice) story, I may help some others in a similar situation.
Since my accident, I’ve been struggling with eating and body image. I hate to say it, but for the first time in years I am suffering disordered eating habits and body dysmorphia. It’s nowhere near the level I experienced when I was younger but it is saddening to have to deal with something I thought was behind me.
When I found out it would be at least 6-8 weeks before I would be able to do any exercise, I immediately started researching the best ways to prevent muscle loss. I have been bulking for two years and I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to all my hard-gained muscle. The most common tips for preventing muscular atrophy were to eat at a maintenance or surplus level of calories (because if you follow a deficit in an untrained state, any weight loss will come from your muscle), and to also make sure your diet remains high in protein.
Since the day of my accident one month ago, I have completely lost my appetite from day one. I don’t know whether this is related to the fact that I’m not training or that my body is still in shock, or a combination of both. I have been surviving on very little and I have gone periods of almost 24 hours without eating (and no, not in a strategic fasting way).
As a result, I panicked. During the two weeks I spent at home after my eye surgery, I stuffed myself full of calorie-dense food: pizza, pasta, chocolate, cake, juice, wine. I ate ice cream every single day for 10 days. I ate until I felt sick, and then I would force myself to eat more a few hours later to make sure I was eating enough calories for the day.
Part of this was comfort eating too. When I had nothing to look forward all day except popping painkillers, it was comforting to have a block of chocolate or bowl of ice cream. But my behaviour is textbook bingeing – something I’ve never had to deal with before (my past problems all involved restriction).
I will freely admit that my perception of my body has become skewed. At first it seemed as though I was losing weight and I’m sure I even had increased ab definition, yet it didn’t appear as though I was losing muscle – initially.
In the past week, however, I have grown to hate looking in the mirror. I feel as though I’m losing muscle and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. Given that I can’t even do bodyweight exercises, I am literally sitting back watching my muscle atrophy.
I feel like shit. My insides are completely messed up and I am constantly bloated, which doesn’t exactly increase my appetite. The fact that my body has rebelled is no real surprise given that I’ve been overloading on wheat and dairy following a period of Paleo eating.
I feel fatter than I have in years – it’s like my muscle is disappearing but the fat is piling on. I feel completely uncomfortable in my own skin so I’ve been hiding behind baggy clothes. I am completely aware that this is body dysmorphia talking. Only a week ago I thought I looked fine, and now I feel like a whale.
My weight has remained the exact same. Given that I haven’t trained in more than a month, I would be very surprised if I hadn’t lost muscle and replaced it with fat. I would just rather not know. After enjoying the first two or three weeks rest, my body is getting antsy. I’m dying to move again!
For the past three days I’ve been back on a strict Paleo diet, hoping that it will make me feel better. I’ve been eating breakfast, lunch and dinner but I’m still finding it very difficult to eat regular-sized portions. I’m hoping that my body (and mind!) will get out of this funk soon… I think writing about it has given me the kick up the butt I needed so thanks for reading!