I think that running and fitness and eating healthy are so, so important and are definitely my passions, BUT I always want to make sure that I am finding freedom in running, in cooking, in eating, and exercising and never become an addiction or disorder.
Yesterday, I ran 10 miles (5 am and 5 while Niah napped) because it felt really good and what my body was craving. And while I was finishing up my the 10th mile, I thought about how different my relationship with running is than when I was going through an eating disorder. Years ago, I would have run miles because I felt like I had to or because I wanted to attain my “perfect,” body. Years ago, exercise was a way to control my life (hahah) and work off the food (what food I did) ate. And now, now it is so different. .
Praise Jesus for drawing me out of that horrible place and setting me free from the chains on an eating disorder/exercise addiction. Now, I’m able to run as a celebration of what my body is capable of and because it truly is my passion. Now I am able to do hard workouts because they light me up – NOT because I force myself to. Some days my workouts and runs are spot on (like yesterday) and other days, I take an extra rest day or do a quick 5 min workout video. And either way, it’s good and awesome and perfect.
Freedom and being able to run and move because you want to and not because you are forcing your body to work off food feels so, so good and I’m thankful that Jesus rescued me 4 years ago. Here’s to embracing many more long runs and many more rest days and endless freedom! It didn’t happen overnight and recovering from an eating disorder OR exercise addiction doesn’t come easily or quickly. But, with enough patience and hard work and lots of grace, it does happen. Freedom does come. And it is so, so worth it.
A couple truths that I’ve found encouraging when I struggled with an ED or exercise addiction are
- My value does not lie in my workout of the day. Let me just say, a solid workout does not need to be hours and hours long, or even an hour long. Someday, I may not be able to work out. Other days, I may be able to crank out a 90 minute run and feel really good. And still other days I may do a short, quick 15 minute sweat session and be done for the day. Regardless of what I choose to do on said day, I need to know that it is enough and I am no less of an athlete or person because I didn’t work out for a said period of time. Yes, it is good to run after big goals and chase after fitness, but if it starts affecting my mood or how I view my worth of if I start to feel that sense of ‘did I do enough today…? I know something is wrong.
- I cannot compare myself to other runners or athletes and feel like I need to do what they do. Every runner, athlete, and person are different! Don’t try to do whatever everyone else is doing. Yes, it is good to get inspiration from others, but we have to remind ourselves that we do not need to run 6 miles because the girl on Instagram is. If my run for that day is a 3 mile run, then I should be able to do it and feel like it’s enough and be okay with that.
- It won’t happen overnight and that’s okay. Don’t except this to happen overnight. Recovery from exercise additions and eating disorders is not an overnight process, but a DAILY CHOICE. You MUST fight for freedom. You must choose to become uncomfortable. Trust me, I know how comfortable EDs/ exercise obsessions are. I know that they become this safe, little prison and it feels awkward and uncomfortable to crawl out into the daylight again. But, my encouragement to you is to daily choose to crawl out of that cold, prison cell. Try new ‘scary,’ foods, daily. Eliminate your rigid rules, one at a time. Let go of that ‘perfect’ workout. Start small, but daily increase. It’s a daily chose. Yes, you will fail and yes you will fall. But, you must keep pressing on.
I hope this encourages you today to pursue freedom and recovery if you are struggling with an eating disorder or exercise addiction. If you are a Christian, ultimately, remember that your worth and value is rooted in Jesus Christ, not in what you wear, who you hang out with, what size your pants are or how many miles you run or how long you workout each day. Let’s keep boldly pursuing freedom together and chasing down goals, in the meantime. I promise you, finding freedom from an eating disorder and exercise addiction, although hard and scary, is so beyond worth it.