I’ve dived into my past struggle with anorexia before in past posts. Truth be told one does not escape those demons and I will forever be battling back the urge to fall into my old patterns and destructive behaviors, however there are times it is easier to carry on with my day to day business than others. If you have scrolled through my other posts you will also notice a running theme. My eating disorder and running are not separate experiences. Training for races has helped to keep me on track with my recovery and repair my jaded relationship with food. Developing an athlete mindset has transitioned me to a stable and more rational place in my life. But (insert pause) in an effort to stay transparent and be real with myself, I’m having a hard time with recent weight gain. On the outside I appear fine and most would not notice that I have packed on 10 pounds, but I notice and am hyper focusing on it. I find myself in a vicious cycle of jumping on my scale numerous times a day and know I am in trouble. The question becomes – NOW what?!?!?
I should back up and start from the beginning. In 2014 I ran 2 marathons, under trained and clueless. After those terrible experiencesI gave up my goal of 40 marathons by 40. That didn’t last very long and the lure of my crazy goal and love for running pulled me back into training. This time I was going to be prepared. I entered the Chicago Marathon lottery and got in! I found a schedule and began to get my body ready for this event in October 2015. I could never have expected that I would fall as madly and deeply in love with running again as I did. As the miles built and my confidence soared I registered for a few events prior to the Chicago Marathon. Once I was in full on training mode I started to notice that as my mileage increased so did my weight. I did not disclose this to anyone, but it was eating at me. The logical side of my brain recognized that I needed to eat to fuel my body for long runs, but my eating disorder past was hard to shake. I am not kind to myself and the dialog in my head was cruel. I had this battle waging inside my head and there are days that I did not win.
My eating disorder demons thrive in the silence and darkness, I pull away and isolate myself when I feel them creeping back into my life. The lessons I’ve learned about my disorder and self have been hard earned. As I prepared for the Chicago Marathon I would starve myself throughout the week trying to get the number on the scale to drop and then fall apart on long runs over the weekend. I knew better and was embarrassed that I was doing this to myself again. I spoke to known about it and hid the pain I was in. I did not blog about my races during Fall of 2015, but I did keep a record of my times. Reviewing that information and seeing the variation of my finisher times I was able to take a step back and make a connection between strong events and fueling (eating) properly. My fastest marathon in 2015 was also point at which I weighed the most in 2015. I did not take this realization lightly. I struggled with the concept that I weighed more, but was doing well at races. With my disordered thinking I could not accept that I was fueling my efforts and seeing the benefits from doing right by my body. No matter how many times I acknowledged this fact I could not accept it so I reached out to other runners to see if they too experienced weight gain while training. What I found was that many had and this helped to get me back on track. I was eating better, but the number on the scale still haunted me. I ignored the nagging voice that historically has been so mean and destructive pushing it back and forged ahead as I began training for races in 2016.
In June 2016 I ran Grandma’s Marathon and reached the 1/2 way point (#20) of my 40 by 40 goal. I wrote about my experience at this event, but I left out a key piece of information in my write up…I was at my highest weight in 5 years and it was destroying me. Over the last year I have pushed physically and mentally to become an athlete. I am proud of my accomplishments, but I have started to spiraled out of control. I have to step up to the plate or anorexia will take over again. So here goes…
I’m weighing myself up to 10 times a day. It started innocently as a way to measure how much water (sweating) weight I was losing on long runs and transitioned to much more. After a few months of only stepping on the scale before long runs I started weighing myself before daily runs and then after runs. I thought I could control it. I justified this behavior as part of my training – crazy, but to me I needed to make what I was doing ok. I know better, I know that the scale is not my friend. I ignored what I knew was healthy behavior to keep myself in a good place. A few more months passed and I was able to keep the dialog in my head at bay, but recently things have turned ugly. I judge my runs not on pace, but how much weight I was able to lose. I would return home from a workout feeling awesome that I pushed hard only to be disappointed when I stepped back on the scale. I beat myself up and was cruel to myself. The next day was even worse when I stepped back on the scale to find out I gained everything back (sometimes more) from the previous day. My logical brain knows that I’ve replenished lost fluids and fueled my body, but the number on the scale crushes me. I’ve isolated myself this summer as a result. I feel horrible about my appearance and am embarrassed that I’ve gained so much weight. I recently confessed this to a close friend who was shocked I gained 10 pounds. She mentioned she had not noticed and I trust she was not lying to me, but I couldn’t accept what she was saying. What she didn’t know was it took me 3o minutes to pick out a pair of shorts to wear before we met to run because I felt disgusting. Numerous times I had my phone out to cancel on her, I am so glad that I didn’t…that would have added fuel to the fire of my self-doubt and mean self-criticism.
To make matters worse, I recently researched what my perfect racing weight should be. I have fixated and struggled to achieve that number ignoring the fact that I am running awesome lately. In the past week I have PR’d in two races, yet all I cared about was how big I’ve gotten and horrible I look. This is so dumb, pure INSANITY and it has to stop! Thank you to a beautiful “bird”for reminding me of that yesterday.
Today I am entering a 30 day trial separation with my scale and if I cannot get back on track we will need to get divorced for good. This probably sounds a bit dramatic, I am ok with that. Big change often requires bold statements and action. I have lied to myself that I can handle weighing myself. There is nothing normal or healthy about jumping on the scale 10 times a day, trying on numerous outfits to leave the house, attaching my accomplishments to my size, obsessing over race photos, or isolating from friends and family. Enough is enough. I can no longer live in denial, my goals are stronger than my disorder – I am stronger than my disorder.
“Nothing worth having comes easy.” The road ahead of me will have obstacles that I need to overcome, but I am determined to truly find peace in my life and learn to live with my eating disorder.
#BeKind #BeHappy #BeActive