So my last post was very personal and VERY hard to post. If you didn’t get the chance to read it, check it out before continuing with this post.
This bible verse is what encouraged me to share my story. “You (Satan) intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Genesis 50:20. What Satan thought would tear me down, God is revealing how I can use my experience to benefit others. The saying “Everything happens for a reason” rings true.
First, I want to clear up that I wasn’t just magically healed mentally and haven’t had a disordered thought after that experience. I have had moments up to this day that I struggle with comparison or wanting to have the perfect, healthy diet. But I snap back when I think of what destruction that mindset brought me my sophomore year in high school. As I continue this blog, you’ll keep reading about instances where my perfectionism has come in and what I have done to battle and overcome that. Stay tuned!
During my disorder and for a while after that, I was humiliated for what I put myself through. I was embarrassed to talk about it to anyone. However, I began to realize that it wasn’t something that I could erase from my past. It was and is a part of who I am, and that encouraged me to look into what I got out of that experience. I love this quote from Laura Ingalls Wilder, “There is good in everything, if only we look for it.” Is there really anything good that can come out of an eating disorder? Surprisingly, yes and quite a bit, in fact. I’m going to share with you a list of things I learned from that experience. Let’s first take a look at how my junior year of high school cross country and track seasons went because that in itself can prove that good truly can come out of a crappy experience.
I slowly increased my running and entered the season feeling strong. I ended up winning every race, except getting runner-up at state. Shout out to Rebekah Topham (now a runner for Wichita State) who pushed me to my best in every race. Even though I never won a state cross country title, coming in second behind her was nothing to be ashamed of.
I had a stellar track season that year too, scoring in four events at the state meet. I won the 3000 meter title with a new state record that still stands today, was runner up in the 1500, and top 6 in the 800 and Distance Medley Relay.
Although rewards should never determine your success or well-being (a post on that in the future), my accomplishments my junior year proved that anything was possible. I was at an all-time low my sophomore year after being told I couldn’t run or do any exercise, but I fought back and you can too! Whether you are also a runner set back with an injury/illness, a worker who suddenly lost their job, someone who lost a friend or family member, or anything else that made you feel like you are at rock bottom, don’t give up!
So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 1 Peter 5:10
After going through an eating disorder, my faith in God skyrocketed.. I learned that I truly cannot go through life on my own. I am lost when I am trying to control everything in my life. When I try to start controlling or planning my life (which I do often), God puts something in my life that draws me back to Him. Give the burden of control and perfection to God. He will take care of it all. Although it may not always be what WE want, it will always be what is BEST for us. Trust Him!
Lastly I’d like to share a few things, among many, that I have learned after going through an eating disorder. To some it may seem obvious, but to others they might need to hear it.
- There is no magic weight that will get you PRs. In fact, you should not get bent out of shape about your weight at all. Throw away the scale! Your weight does not tell you the full story of your body. I saw an Instagram post go viral from Kelsey Wells and I loved what she said: “I finally learned to start measuring my progress by things that matter — strength, ability, endurance, health, and HAPPINESS.” Never let a number on a scale dictate your well-being.
- There is not a certain number of calories that every person should eat as a runner. Everyone’s body is so unique, so don’t compare what you eat to what your teammate eats. Along with that, don’t compare your body type to someone else’s. As stated in number one, focus on how you feel rather than how you perceive yourself to look.
- There are no “good” and “bad” foods. Throw away those labels! There is no denying that some foods have more nutrients than others and make you feel better during workouts, but all foods can have a purpose in your life. One of my favorite bloggers wrote about how ALL foods can promote health through providing energy (calories), giving pleasure (no doubt brownies make you happy!), and bringing people together (BBQ in the summer, family meal during the holidays). Read the full post here..so good!
- You have to listen to what your own body is telling you. Your body is so smart. If it’s hungry, it needs some energy to replenish what you have done for the day (even if it’s a rest day!!) and repair the muscles you have worked. If you continue to ignore your hunger cues, your body will start shutting down other systems in your body to get the energy it craves.
- Pay attention to when your body needs a rest. Over training will not work. Side effects include fatigue, troubles sleeping, increased risk of illness, loss of appetite, and mood swings. Your body needs a break! Rest is actually the time when you reap the benefits of your previous workout. Your body repairs and rebuilds muscles, tissues, nerves, and bones during this time, so make it a priority!
Even though going through an eating disorder was a terrible experience, there is so much I learned and am a better person because of it. I can only hope that sharing my story will reduce the prevalence of people going through the same thing. One last bible verse to end this post:
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Matthew 6:25
God designed every part of you, and He doesn’t make mistakes. He is so proud of the way He made you, so be kind to yourself and focus only on being you. You don’t need to change to be loved by Him.