This time last year I was going into an inpatient unit to begin a recovery programme. I was weak, had little energy and just walking up the stairs gave me palpitations and left me breathless. Last weekend I ran my first half marathon. Needless to say I am extremely proud at how far I have come!
When I was in the depths of anorexia I was addicted to exercise, I would sit on an exercise bike in the gym for hours. I could never run because I didn’t have the energy for such physical exercise and I could sustain a bike for much longer. This in itself shows me I was exercising for the wrong reasons. I wanted to exercise in any way that burnt the most calories, I didn’t care what exercise I was doing and I didn’t really enjoy the gym because I was exhausted but I felt compelled to go. If I didn’t then I was failing, I wasn’t burning calories and to me my mind told me I would put on weight and get fat.
Through the recovery programme and stopping exercise altogether I was able to see that I didn’t NEED exercise. I got my body back to healthy and then slowly reintroduced exercise in a controlled way.
It turns out that I did really enjoy running and because I was fuelling my body I had the energy to do it. When I was discharged from hospital I wanted to keep running but I didn’t have the confidence to do it alone so I found a running group and joined them once a week. Attending this first session took me out of my comfort zone because I was nervous around people, I knew that I would be the ‘new girl’ and that made me very anxious. However I knew that I needed to be challenging these fears and so I went along. This is one of the best things I have EVER done, they were lovely, welcoming and supportive.
From here I fell in love with running, I loved that my body was getting stronger with every run and I was achieving things I never thought I could. The eating disorder was so consuming that I was never able to look to the future. I decided to sign up to a half marathon as something to work towards. All of my life I told myself that I wish I could run a half marathon and it never felt achieveable.
The run took a lot of preparation and a lot of fuel to keep me training strong. Learning to listen to what my body needs as opposed to restricting what it can have has taken a while to achieve but I’m proud that I have recovered enough to be able to do this.
When I go for runs I don’t think about how many calories I’m burning or weight I am loosing, I focus on how strong my body is getting and what I am achieving.
On Sunday I ran Coventry half marathon and I’m so proud that my body is fit and healthy enough to do it. The buzz from finishing was incredible! Nothing and no one can ruin my mood this week!
Now I focus on what my body can do not what it can’t. I focus on nourishment instead of restriction and I now train to be strong not skinny.
Your body is an amazing thing, you just have to treat it right.