How does a person decide to become fit, lose weight, get healthy? Easily, right? What happens if that person has spent more than half of their life fighting their own self with food and exercise? What happens when 16 out of 31 years has been spent in constant battle?
In my case, the answer to that question was, and is, running. You run. More accurately, I run.
I have spent a long time hating myself. On most days I still hate the way that I look. I hate my thighs, I hate my stomach, I hate my breasts, I hate the way I am put together. I am not a picture that I want to look at. I have spent more time hating myself than not hating myself. But, now I have some… light, hope, and perspective. Now, there is one thing that I can do that makes me feel great, and not just about how I feel and think and am, but also about how I look, and that thing is run. When I run I feel amazing. I feel like I am the perfect size, because I am the right size and shape to be doing the thing that I am doing – running.
It seems oxymoronic to fight a food-and-exercise related ‘problem’ with food and exercise, but it isn’t.
Nine months ago I ran my first ultramarathon. I’d never even run a marathon before. I ran a couple of half-marathons, I ran some 10ks, I ran for fun and to push myself. I ran on my own in the blinding rain. I ran with my infant daughter in a buggy with beautiful clear skies. I ran in the snow, in the sleet, in the blistering sunshine. I ran when I didn’t want to run. I just ran because running made me feel good about myself.
And the more that I ran, the less that I binged and purged. The more that I ran the more that I ate because I wanted to eat. Because I wanted to fuel. Not because I was so tired and broken from not eating, but because I wanted to get out on that next run, break the next PB, and the only way to do that was to fuel. And fuelling gave way to eating. Proper eating, for fun and health and enjoyment.
And then I stopped running. And I stopped eating. And I started bingeing and purging. And things got too much, very, very quickly. And I started running again, and it feel like things are falling into place. It feels like I am falling into place.
My name is Neon Anonymous and I have an eating disorder. I will always have an eating disorder. I manage my eating disorder through running.
Not running for several months helped me realise that.