A common symptom of an eating disorder is abusing exercise. I’m a runner. I’m also recovering from an eating disorder. Is running jeopardizing my recovery? Well it depends on the motivation to run. I’ve had to reflect on my running experiences to identify if my love of running rests in the hands of my authentic mind or the diabolic hands of my eating disorder. excercise plays a different role in everybody’s life, some people do it with a specific goal in mind, others do it because it makes them feel energized and accomplished. I run for many reasons. In fact I was a runner long before I had a full-fledged eating disorder.
When I was in fifth grade I joined the track team with a couple of good friends. It was the first time I ran, and I am here to honestly tell you it was excruciating. My muscles ached, my chest burned and I was confused how some people could find this enjoyable. But despite the pain there was something about running up and down the sidewalk that was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I felt a sense of freedom, community and purpose. And I’ve had the running bug ever since.
I know my love for running is not a lasting relic of my eating disorder hanging on for dear life. It is simply one of my many passions. These excerpts are proof and 100% unedited:
August 18, 2017
Running to me was never about losing weight, never about starvation or hovering over an exact number on a scale. Never an obsession with health or fitness, perhaps these were just some added bonuses. In fact, if anything, I felt bigger and stronger when I ran. And if any part of me was lighter it was my mind. All the heavy thoughts clouding and congregating my mind would always begin to dissipate with every step, every pebble that I kicked with my sneakers. The thoughts that liked to erode my mind disappeared. With each tree I ran past I let go of an insecurity, each breath I took a silent prayer of gratitude and relief. So no, running was never an obsession of health, fitness or beauty. It was a way of life, a way of life that I have fought to live for a very long time. A life of confidence, maturity, of love, generosity, compassion. A life full of obstacles and adventures, companionship and solitude. So no, I’ve never run from my past, I’ve only ever ran towards my future.
May 2, 2017
Sometimes you have the perfect run. Like today when the world was so full of rain and puddles scattered along the street. Light green speckles of leaves lined the sidewalks like powered sugar sprinkled on the most delicious square of cake. One foot stepped in front of the other. My body propelled forward, even though my mind was still unsure of what path it was on. The unsure state of ming always scared me, except days like today where I did not even notice the fear of the unknown floating around in my brain. It was one of those runs, where the pain was like listening to sweetest, yet saddest pieces of music ever composed. It hurt but it felt so good. There were times where my mind wandered to places that made me tempted to stop, but the will of my legend belief in hope brought me past the houses and along the windy roads.