I feel like I’m a constantly evolving work in progress… but I think I wouldn’t be as open to evolving and changing if it weren’t for some of the things I’ve tackled in life. And running has been a big part of helping me to define myself and allowing me to take on new challenges.
In the past, I had tried to do a running program from time to time, mainly because I thought it sounded tough to “be a runner” or I wanted to try fitting myself into a mold that society places on women. But running never stuck with me. After my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time, we decided that we wanted to do “something big” together once she beat that. After several ideas were thrown around, the only one that sounded appropriate was to do a marathon. I didn’t run a lot during that race, mainly when I saw cameras on the course, but that was a turning point for me.
I was struggling with an eating disorder and it is a miracle that I actually made it through the whole 26.2 miles with how malnourished I was. I was struck by such a feeling of accomplishment, empowerment and achievement as I came across the finish line. Not only by the fact that I had done something that earlier in life I would have considered impossible, but also by the fact that there were so many different people participating in that event. There was no single mold that defined “health”, yet all of these people exuded “health”.
I knew that I had to change my ways if I wanted to keep that good feeling. So I tried to change things on my own.
Things with my eating disorder did improve, but it was still a lingering battle despite finishing a lot of other races during that time. And after a particularly low point (my DNF), I was starting to fall back into old ways. I knew I needed to seek help to get through this battle all the way. Trusting in others was hard, but it’s essential. Social interaction from friends and family is something that everybody needs, it’s even part of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
I sought professional help 2 years ago. I can’t comfortably say that I am RECOVERED yet, but I am RECOVERING. And in this I’m making myself healthy. I used to associate healthy with just exercising, eating “good” foods and fitting into a certain size. Now I know that healthy is a much broader thing, something that doesn’t really have anything to do with the size of clothing I wear or the number on a scale. It’s about exercising because it feels good, it’s about nourishing my body while enjoying what I eat at the same time, it’s about having family and friends as a support system, it’s about taking care of myself so that I am able to help others.
And healthy is constantly evolving and changing, because life is constantly evolving and changing.
I’m finding that idea a lot more hopeful and exciting than I used to.
I have been invited to participate in the Nike Women Make Yourself Movement to tell my story. This post is in response to their first question, “How did you make yourself?”
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