I haven’t lost or gained a single pound in 2016. It was the first year I went to the beach heavier then I ever was. And I wore a bikini and beautiful swimsuits and fabulous dresses. I had a ton of energy. We did a 2 hour trail on the 30ºc heat, I jogged, we played tennis, we danced. I didn’t overeat. For the first time I just didn’t think at all about food or calories. If I wanted a glass of wine, I would have it. If I wanted bread, I would have it. You only live now.
This is an ode to sports and it’s amazing side-kick effect on beating a long overdue eating disorder.
I haven’t written about this much. I have suffered from anorexia and binge eating disorder for nearly half of my life. It started when I was 15 and was pretty band until my early 20’s. I got better until last year when it all came tumbling down during some stressful times. This time I could see the signs so I looked immediately for help and, for the first time, really opened up about it.
It’s hard to confess things like that. It makes me feel like a failure, like I am weak and futile and almost like that silly teenager with no self esteem.
But you know what they say: there is no growth without pain.
I have been putting a lot of work into my recovery and the hardest thing is to love myself exactly as I am. Or, to put it bluntly, to love myself as I look in the mirror – WHICH IS NOT THE SAME THING.
I read about alternative recovery models, listened to podcasts, reviewed my Susan Bordo literature and researched many Health at Every Size advocates. It’s been long road.
Of course it makes no sense to starve myself. Nor do I find any way to rationalize that being skinny as a twig makes me a better or more lovable person. Much to the contrary.
During my worst crisis I was hiding from life, friends and fun. I was skinny, too skinny : clothes wouldn’t event fit me. And guess what? I still though I was disgusting.
That is the trouble with an eating disorder.
Your mind plays tricks on you. It’s like being on LSD and firmly believing that whales fly (or whatever vision you’re supposed to have when under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs).
Anyway. I will say this. I don’t think this recovery journey would be the same had I not been so focused on sports.
Because running, boxing, cross fit, whatever it is you do, don’t care about your size. It cares if you are healthy. If you can hold your weight. If you can bend. If you can make the distance, If you can beat that distance. If you are only eating lettuce you can’t do any of that. And if you are shoving cake down your throat, you can’t do that either.
In 2016, as I transitioned to a plant based diet and fell in love with sports for real I felt stronger. My asthma is so much better. I can carry things. My feet (which I had surgery and didn’t let me walk for 6 months) has been running over 21km in a morning.
These tiny achievements alone are signs that my body ROCKS. It is there with me, 100%, if I am there with it.
I still relapse with binge-eating and restriction, yes.
But I feel so much better. And I think it shows.
The first day I got out and bought new jeans and decided that I would be a proud size UK10 (I know, not much, but I am short and in my anorexia years I was barely a size 4) all my friends asked me if I had done something, because I looked great.
Sure, I want to improve my diet for health issues and to finally be at peace with this disorder. I want to eat less processed food.
But what gets me up and makes me want to recover are my athletic goals. Performing better.
If you want to know more about my journey, reach out to me on my e-mail!
Or start here with some of my favourite resources: