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Self Medication

Sports science can go along way.

There are so many intricate details with nutrition, the recovery period, the rest period the this and that period. When you should eat fruit, when you shouldn’t eat it, when do you eat carbs – and the list goes on and on. The more the athlete understands food and it’s place in performance the more likely the athlete will be able to lift their game! Even if it means only lifting it by 5 or 10%.

I’ve had these random thoughts lately because I have been dumbstruck with my ignorance. Not since actually having to evaluate everything that I place in my mouth has this reality been made clear to me. I mean, most of the time it has been just pure laziness –  when I’m hungry I just eat whatever is in the fridge or the easiest thing to prepare. The other part has been apathy and the more dangerous part has been emotional eating.

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Yes…I am one of THOSE people!!

Let me touch on this for a second:

I know this has been written about over and over again in every journal and magazine possible but this topic never gets boring for me. I have been a victim of my own crazed eating habits. I yo yo up and down with weight. One moment I am eating as clean as a saint – the next I am ravishing into some dirty oily grease ball like a crazed animal. I always thought this may be reflective of my personality more generally; an extremist by nature but now I realise it goes much deeper than that.

I’m not sure when it started but I have been self medicating with food – to be more specific sugar. And I happen to have chosen a weight division sport where the highs and lows of these extremes can cost me a competition. It was once said to me that the fight is won or lost on the scales. It’s not that you may feel it in the first round of a fight but your legs will definitely give way in the last couple. I have experienced this a few times now where I have had to strip myself too fast and dehydrate in the last minute to make a weight division. Horrible it sounds and horrible it feels. I do not recommend this for anyone. The worst part of this is that the sport is littered with similar stories. The other day my friend told me how he had to strip 4kgs of water in one day to make weight. That is a whole heap of skipping and training in the sauna with a sweat suit on. I myself have sat on the bottom of a sauna floor with a sweat suit counting down the minutes pushing myself beyond any comfortable or safe zone, attempting to breathe but putting mind over matter.

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I know, I know – all of these stories only point to one thing – WEIGHT MANAGEMENT. Easy said but hard to do.

In a society where we are told to act on our impulses and over indulge in everything we do, always acting in an informed way is hard. I try and I try. My friends have the freedom to eat whatever they want whenever they want. I walk into the supermarket to get milk (which is always on the very end somewhere obscure by the way) and I am met with every brand of almond biscuit, Tim Tam or Cadburys something or other, and always at eye height. Every second advertisement is telling you to eat, eat, eat! As consumers we are sold things based on desire and not necessity, it takes a very measured person to not get caught up with it all. I know this sounds left field, I guess I have been slapped in the face with these challenges because weight and nutrition is at the heart of what I do. If I am not on weight, I can not compete!

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The reality is I do  act on my desire, whether I am feeling happy, sad or just want to relax I will opt for the food option. It has taken some serious introspection to try and counter this, I have had to do some serious maturing. There are only so many mistakes one can make before it is enough – surely!? Today I am on a high but tomorrow I may be on a low. I don’t know – what I do know however is that support is crucial if you are attempting anything big in life.

My thoughts for the day. Random, I know… it might just be because I am hungry, which I am most of the time… And it’s days like these that I find support and direction in what the people at THR1VE do. The security of having a place where I can discuss and rationalize my desires, and get back on track over a lunch bowl and a smoothie. Cherish the people that support you and push you in the right direction, and try to surround yourself with people that do this for you on bad days. Trust me, it helps.

Bam Bam

(photos and video by Paul Oliver)



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