Uniquely Normal

How do you define normal? Is normal something it’s good to be?  Of course not—we are all unique, all different, and each have our own special abilities and strengths.  However, there are some times when each of us as unique individuals come together to do normal things.

Where am I going with this?  Well, first off, it’s the first time in a while I’m not just writing a race report so that’s a good start!  But I’ve had some talks with some really good friends lately that have been helping me put a lot of things in perspective.  One of the things I was reminded of was a previous blog post I did where I realized that I can’t let my eating disorder define me.  I can’t let the eating disorder be an excuse for justifying my behaviors.  Like, “it’s ok that I’m skipping swim practice to workout on my own—it’s because I have an eating disorder” or, “I’m going to eat dinner on my own instead of with friends because my eating disorder is making me do it, so its fine.”  No, it’s not fine.

Many of you know I basically follow a paleo diet (for me that’s no grains or legumes) and I work closely with my nutritionist to monitor this.  But something that was brought to my attention lately was—is it a good idea for someone trying to beat their eating disorder to be following a restrictive diet?  While I truly enjoy eating paleo and can’t really think of anything I would change, I thought this was a very good point.  It’s preventing me from going out with friends for dinner or other social situations… and maybe I’m just using it as a way to hide my eating disorder behind another diet/lifestyle. So as these conversations occurred I decided I should talk to my nutritionist about it.

Her response: HELL YEAH you need to go out and live life and enjoy time with friends and eat WHATEVER you want in those situations!  That’s normal!  And I also need to eat more!

Basically, she and I talked and while she is a proponent of paleo, as am I, she wants me to have those “cheats”, to not worry and go out with friends , and to just do some “normal” things.  She amended my meal plan to include at least one BIG cheat a week (or I should say “normal” meal).  For as hard as I train and for as strict as I eat the rest of the time, this cheat is mandatory (I’ll be honest, just writing this has my mind telling me “you’re going to get fat because your writing this”, but I’m ignoring it!)  But my other biggest fear hasn’t been “this isn’t paleo” but more “eating this will make me fat”, but I’ve got to get over it.

I also had a great conversation with my friend Jess and she said some things that really moved me and pushed me:

Thank you Jess

So did I do it? Hell f-ing yes.  I had a burger. At a restaurant.  No turkey burger, no lean buffalo burger; a real burger.  With cheese.  And avocado.  And sweet potato fries!  Do you know the last time I had a burger at a restaurant (a real one)?  I do.  9th grade.  My friend Anna’s birthday, and it was at Glory Days Grill and had 3 cheese and was delicious.  Then I became entrenched in my eating disorder and hadn’t had one since.  Well I did it.  And I’m not dead.  Here’s the burger I got from Square 1 Burgers here in Tampa!

The Chuck Burger. Not immense or Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives style. Just some nice cheddar and avocado

And you know what?  I put in some serious mileage and training over Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and I actually left this meal still starving!  Haha, I’m going to need a bigger burger next time… or maybe a pizza?

Courtney trying to explain to me how to float. I don’t float well. No really.

I’m looking forward to embracing life even more now!  I’m finally starting to make a good group of friends here in Tampa who I get to train with and I also got to hang out with them all on Friday night at Meghann’s place.  Living life less restricted but still being me is what life is about.  I’m never going to be 25 and single again! (Although, I’ll gladly change that “single” part lol)

Great time

Was somebody taking a picture? I was deeply entrenched in conversations surrounds healthcare..

So besides that, I’m redistributing my meals throughout the day, SERIOUSLY focusing on pre and  post workout nutrition, and overall sleep!  Training has also been really solid as well—Rock the W!

  1. What’s the best burger you’ve ever had?
  2. How do you feel about just letting yourself live and simply not stressing over useless things?

12 thoughts on “Uniquely Normal

  1. I am so excited for you Chuck and this is a great post. I really hope we are able to go out somewhere if you are in town next month.

    As far as floating, some people just do not float. It’s a proven fact because of bone mass/muscle mass density. If you have a higher proportion of muscle you will not float. I don’t float well compared to a lot of people either!

    Miss ya!

  2. I wish you could see my face…smiling ear to ear! So proud of you!! Keeping challenging yourself and the voices will lessen.


  3. Nice man, the burger looks great. Here was the best one I’ve ever had…well half, I shared it
    Kaya Burger – Angus beef, chihuahua cheese, avocado, tomato, bacon, and “kaya sauce”..sounds like something you would be interested in.

    I’ve actually been thinking a lot about eating “freely” lately. I think so many of us forget that before we started concerning ourselves with calories, learned about specific nutrients, meal timing, etc. eating was intuitive – we ate when we were hungry. I think working towards an approach where you listen to your body while being aware – but not overly concerned with what you’re putting into it is the best of both worlds.

    Another thing that has come to mind are the benefits of eating surplus calories at times (and I’m not talking about carb loading for a race) There is a good amount of literature that would support some beneficial impact on various hormones – I’m generalizing and it would depend on circumstances, but yours would be included. Further, everyone knows a “break” is just good for psychological well being, just make sure not to fret about it later 🙂

    Glad you’re doing so well homes. We’ll have even better burgers when you make it to SD.

  4. Great post mate I’m so happy to be reading this. I think you’ve had a real eye opener for yourself here and I’m glad you are getting back in touch with you. I hope you can really move forward and reclaim your life. I’ve had a lot of issues out here because of a totally different cultural attitude to food, thought it was getting better but I’ve made a few cock ups recently.

    Reading this made me realise I need to get back on track though. I’ve been wasting time lately stressing about stuff and not getting actually getting anything done. It’s so easy to over think things and if you do that you miss out on a lot of the actual doing :). Remember we were born to explore, thats why humans are such flipping good endurance athletes ;). Go out and find out what life has to offer my friend.

    Also for the record the best burger I had was a nice juicy lamb burger with a load of hummus and mint :).

  5. Chuck I am SO SO happy you are doing this! I totally agree that a less restrictive diet, even if only for one day, is a HUGE blow to the ED. I am seriously, SO glad you’re doing this, it is a great thing :]

    You’re awesome Chuck! Keep up the good work, it will pay off 🙂


    • Thanks scott!

      How are you my man? College man now bro- siiiiick!

      Tonight I just had a great pizza from Mellow Mushroom and have some ice cream later- and I’m telling myself I’ll be ok!

      Plus, had a great 67 mile bike today! Followed by a hard run… Gotta replenish to get stronger!

      Still racing?


      • Isn’t mellow mushroom the best?! I am so happy you enjoyed it 🙂

        Still training, not so much racing. Too much stress, and money to travel! I’ve been following your reports though and it seems like you are ROCKING it!!

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