**Disclaimer: This post includes information on physical exercise. I recommend you skip this post and return tomorrow if you’re struggling with overexercising and/or use it as a means to purge. As always, please consult your physician and treatment team before starting any physical activity.**
Good Morning my friends! How was your weekend? I hope you took some time to do something enjoyable. I mentioned on Saturday, I was taking the afternoon to sit down and sort out my thoughts on a topic that has been weighing heavily on my heart for months. I feel strongly about all of us learning to use our voices and expressing our true selves. So here goes…
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”.
Almost two years ago, I had the pleasure of working with an eating disorder clinician and being coworkers for over a year. I enjoyed my work at the center greatly and learned a lot! There were some kinks to be sorted out and I’m no longer there, which is unfortunate. While working together, I got to know her pretty well and she got to know me…well…actually, only parts of me that she wanted to see…not my true identity.
While getting to know one another, she noticed my strong passion for running and she judged me for it. She also knew that I struggled with an eating disorder in the past. However, she couldn’t look past my prior struggle and failed to see me for me. Rather, she judged me and concluded that I was relapsing, because I loved running so much. This hurt me.
If she had taken the time to learn about me instead of filing me under “woman relapsed due to overexercising” she would have been able to know the truth…
My passion for running is one passion of mine. I am an eating disorder survivor, a speaker, a writer, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a board member for an eating disorders nonprofit organization called MentorCONNECT and so much more! If she had taken the time to listen and hear my story, she may have learned this.
Today, I am healthy, fully nourished, and a strong athlete. My ability to train properly and to achieve my race goals is a reality only because of my recovery.
**Side note: Remember that getting to the starting line is very difficult, and even impossible, to do if you are still actively engaging in an eating disorder, dieting or overexercising. Again, I reinforce to you that I can be at the starting line now because I am recovered.**
Before the eating disorder came into my life, I was purely being me. I raced and won and even broke school records. I had lots of energy and speed. I had a passion and a talent. I was being recruited for the Junior Olympics and loved every minute, mile, and step that I have logged on my feet since birth. And there is nothing wrong with having this passion. Overexercising or using exercise, as a means to purge were never an issue in my ED days. Running was my joy, and living a life with ED, was dark and joyless life…so naturally running was not happening.
Personally, I chose to take a long break from running after ED stole it from me. I was well into recovery before purchasing a new pair of sneakers and stepping back onto the track. I also had the assistance of a coach and nutritionist to guide me and be on my team to war against ED, if he decided to creep back into the picture.
I like to say I was being responsible in my recovery. The above mentioned clinician, saw it as though I still struggled.
Can an eating disorder survivor not reach out to experts in their fields to help them be the athlete they are meant to be?!
This clinician doubted my recovery, my passions and me.
Again, She heard two things, “a woman with a prior eating disorder” and an “avid runner”. She chose to ignore any further explanation and in her mind I remained “a woman who had relapsed”. This is sad, very sad. My true identity was invisible to her. I was not being seen for the beautiful woman I am. Not to mention the rock star runner : )
Remember my friends, recovery is about being YOU. You can be who you have been created to Be.When you are living a life free from an eating disorder. You have opportunities, choices and freedom. Please don’t let anyone’s judgement hurt you or have you doubting yourself.
I think it is beautiful to have a woman whom is an eating disorder survivor, whom is being herself and no longer influenced by anxiety, depression or an eating disorder. A woman who is enjoying her life passions and living fully is a beautiful blessing in my book. To be able to return to activities that were part of her identity before the eating disorder is another blessing and even a miracle, because it means she healed from complications associated with the disorder and continues to run responsibly.
Again, I wonder…
Should we avoid certain activities if we are an Eating Disorder Survivor?
Should we not speak about our passions if they involve a sport?
Should we dim that part of ourselves to make others judge us less and accept us more?
Be who you have been created to be. I have been a “runner” since I could walk. I will not allow another person’s judgmental mind, shame me for being one. I’ll see you at the starting line!
Always Be YOU,