Today I’ve got a personal post that is related to running in some ways, but mostly is just something I need to get out of my own head. It documents the journey through my eating disorder, the never-ending process of recovery and the new challenges I am facing today. I’ll be back to normal posts on Monday!
Confession: I had an eating disorder. The key word is had. I never talk about it in my daily life (outside of this blog) because quite frankly it’s hard to talk about. I don’t just mean that it’s hard for me to think about my darkest days, I mean that it’s hard for me to literally say any words out loud about it.
I like to think of myself as a strong person, and I used to view my eating disorder as something to be proud of because I thought it demonstrated just how strong I was. I could live my life on only 500 calories a day. I could resist good tasting food. I had the strength to do it.
That’s how I used to think.
Now I know that my eating disorder was not me demonstrating my strength but rather my weakness.
I don’t talk about it with people in my daily life because I’m no longer proud of it. I don’t know if ashamed is the right word, but it’s the closest one that expresses my complex feelings about that part of my past.
And mostly I do think of it as in my past, but recently I realized it’s not completely out of my life.
See, for me what started off as strict starvation eventually morphed into binging/purging. As anyone who has known someone with bulimia or has experienced it themselves will know – you don’t really lose weight b/p’ing, in fact many people will gain weight over time. This was true for me.
Over the course of a year+ of binging/purging I gained a lot of weight. I don’t think this was alarming to the people around me because it happened over time and actually brought me back up to a healthy, normal weight.
But when I eventually realized that I HAD to stop purging because my body just could not physically handle it anymore, I still did not get the outside help I needed.
The “freedom” of not purging anymore lead to just binging and feeling guilty, and eventually this turned into compulsive overeating which meant I gained even more weight.
Over the course of approximately two years I gained 100lbs. In my mind I was torn. I thought I was being healthy because I was eating, but I was also so unhappy because my body was a mess.
In 2012 I began seeing a psychologist to get my life back on track.
Fast forward to today and I no longer restrict, binge/purge or compulsively overeat at all. I have a healthy relationship with food and am happy with where I’m at in that respect.
However, I still have a lot of the weight on me that I gained from b/p’ing and compulsively overeating. Actually, up until a couple of months ago I had ALL the weight still on me. Though I was no longer engaging in disordered eating patterns, I was also scared of trying to lose the weight. After all, the only way I knew how to do it was through a method that I have no desire to revisit.
I’m sure if I had continued seeing my psychologist she could have helped with this, but I stopped going probably prematurely after I stopped engaging in negative behavior.
I’m not sure if you know, but psychologists are very expensive and insurance companies will pay for a few visits but mostly they seem to think you can be cured of your eating disorder in about a month.
It’s very sad because, while I am still a work in progress, I also think I am a success story. There are plenty of people who lose their lives because they can’t afford the help they need. But that’s an argument for a different day.
What I want to say now that you know a lot more about my background, is that I am finally starting to shed the weight that I gained years ago in a healthy way. But it is a true challenge because there are many things I can’t do.
For example, I’ll never weigh my food or measure out specific portion sizes because that’s triggering for me. I’ll also never step on a scale because that’s triggering for me.
Mostly I know that I’m losing weight because I’m down two pants sizes, and tops that used to be tight are now too loose to wear.
It feels really good to be in a place now where I finally feel strong enough to lose weight. To know that I can do it the right way. To know I can be smart about it. To know I can go out to eat and enjoy myself and know it won’t hinder my progress because my life is full of balance.
While I might say that I’m fully recovered from my eating disorder, the truth is recovery is a process I will live with my whole life. That being said, I kind of feel like being able to lose weight in a healthy way is the last big part I have to deal with. Once I reach a healthy, normal weight I can then put recovery in the backseat and truly get on with my life.
I am writing all this today because a.) it feels therapeutic to get it out of my head and b.) I post to this blog almost every single day, and surely some of you have noticed certain tendencies about me…. like that I hardly ever post full length pictures of myself.
That’s because I hardly ever take full length pictures of myself. I never really have. I have no full length pictures of myself at my lowest weight or my highest weight… I’d have to think hard about why that is, which isn’t something I want to do today.
Mostly, today I just want to put out there that I am losing weight and finally doing it in a healthy way. That today I feel stronger emotionally (and physically) than I ever have.
This will never be a weight-loss blog. I doubt I’ll write about my “progress,” mostly because this is a running blog.
Running has played a huge part in who I am today. It’s showed me that strength comes from doing hard things that are rewarding, not doing hard things that slowly but literally kill you.
That’s why I would rather focus on running on this blog than anything else. Running has taught me about real strength, and if you’re a runner too it’s probably done the same for you.