Chronicles of a sick person

My trainer today informed me that I am at a point in my fitness journey where I need to make a choice: I either need to trim body fat or add muscle.  He says that while this can be accomplished if you’re very meticulous in the early going (as I have been), then you can manage both.  Now, he says, I am past that point.

He also told me the wise thing to do would be to bulk up first and trim down later.  I need the muscle to eat away the fat.  This means eating even more than I presently am (about 2200 calories per day), which is hard enough.  It also means a small increase in body fat %.  This will be something probably only noticeable to me.

But I’ll still notice.  I’ve worked so hard to not be fat anymore, and the thought of knowingly increasing my body fat %, even in the short term, is scary.  I cried today.

However, part of managing the sickness is acknowledging that your own judgment is corrupted.  I am not a fitness expert.  I need to trust the people I pay to be fitness experts.  In short, I need to do this.

So I immediately assembled a new diet.  My daily totals will be:

Calories: 2,276
Carbs: 183
Fat: 25
Protein: 308

You try putting together a diet where you get 300g of protein in 2200 calories without eating nothing but tuna.  It’s not easy.  The plan is to put on 10 lbs. of muscle over the next few months and then to start trimming body fat % again.

During that time, I can already tell the war between my psychological demons and my rational mind is going to be as violent as ever.  I know I have nothing to worry about – that the increase in body fat will be scarcely perceptible if I monitor my diet as psychotically as I always have.  Still, I’m scared.  I find myself looking at my reflection at every opportunity just to remember what I presently look like.  Even though I know my midsection’s appearance isn’t going anywhere, I’m still sure that it is.  This is what it means to have this type of disorder.  This is what it means to be crazy.  You can reason your way to reality (if you’re healthy enough), but you cannot accept it.

I started working out because I was fat (or at least I perceived myself to be).  It will be weird working out without the goal of getting less fat, at least not in the short term.

It got me looking at pictures from over the last year.  I didn’t think I looked as fat in them now as I used to.  It’s nice to see myself making progress.

Here I was in Summer of 2010.  This is about the size I was when I moved to Ohio in January.

Here I was at Skepticon 3 last November.

This was taken at the end of January this year, right as anorexia was re-gripping me.  On Feb. 12 I was in the ER seeking help.

This one is from April of this year, after I’d lost about 30 lbs and shortly after I started working out.

And this was taken this last weekend.

It’s amazing how quickly things change…

MENTAL ILLNESS: Time to go be a lab rat.
MENTAL ILLNESS & PERSONAL: Pictures of my brain.
MENTAL ILLNESS: Today's session.
MENTAL ILLNESS: I see affection as a competition.
About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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