Yesterday, I went to my doctor for a bone density scan. This would be my second one and I’m only 28. My first was 10 years ago, and I was told I had osteopenia, which is the beginning stage of osteoporosis. I knew exactly why I was given that diagnosis – I was suffering from anorexia and it was directly affecting my bones (and all other body systems for that matter). Many people don’t realize how quickly all systems of the body are affected by an eating disorder. You could be eating calcium all day, but if you don’t have a healthy body mass index and (for women) continue to get your period, your bones will deteriorate pretty quickly. This scared me for many reasons, but the primary reason was that if I didn’t get healthy, I knew I would never run again.
I’ve been a serious runner since high school. I was the MVP of my high school and college team several times and have run four marathons. Running has been a part of my identity. I knew if I continued to stay at an unhealthy weight, this would not be a reality for me anymore.
For the past 10 years, I have worked hard daily in my recovery from anorexia. Yesterday, I was told that my bone scan was perfect and that I had reversed the osteopenia. This is because of working hard and maintaining a healthy weight. This could have gone a totally different way for me had I not chosen recovery for myself on a daily basis. I would have osteoporosis and most likely be sedentary.
The key is to start TODAY with recovery.
The ability of the body to heal is incredible, but you have to start now. If I had I waited much longer, I wouldn’t be so lucky. I know several runners who are not recovered, and as a result are injured all the time. Some cannot run at all. Choose recovery today and every day. It is a struggle that is so worth it.
The following really helped me in choosing recovery:
- Reading Recovery Books. I found I could relate to a lot of the struggles and it made me feel like I was not alone.
- Seeing A Therapist. I found an excellent therapist about 12 years ago who has helped me so much. I typically see her once every 2 weeks, but if I am struggling I increase the frequency. She specializes in eating disorders, but I can talk to her about any issue.
- Being Honest With Myself. It is VERY difficult accepting weight gain but it was a very necessary part of the whole process. You cannot live a healthy and happy life at an unhealthy weight. It just does not work.
- Surrounding Myself With Healthy People. It helps a lot to be around others who have a healthy mindset as well. Do not be afraid to educate others about your struggles. There were many times I had to tell teammates and friends: “Please don’t talk to me about weight.” They typically get the message and don’t have to be reminded again. If they do not get the message, try to keep your distance from negative people.
- Focusing On My Goals. I knew that if I stayed at an unhealthy weight I would never run again, and would probably never be able to have children. If I wanted to reach my goals, I had to get healthy.
- Reminding Myself Why My Eating Disorder Happened. I had major anxiety in college and that was a huge part of my anorexia. By managing the anxiety with therapy and medication, I was able to enter eating disorder recovery.
- Go To Treatment If Necessary. I went to inpatient treatment and some of the things I learned are things that will stick with me for the rest of my life. I remember talking to older women in their 50s and 60s at one of the treatment centers. They had had eating disorders most of their lives, and they told me to work on recovery as soon as possible because it had literally ruined their entire lives. This was so powerful for me and made me want to change.
Lastly, I want to point out that recovery is still an ongoing process for me. I have to work on my recovery every day. I know that I want recovery more than I want to stay in my disorder, and I have maintained a healthy weight for many years now and remain committed to the process. For anyone out there struggling: Know that you will never look back on your life and wish you did not choose recovery, but you will definitely regret it if you do not make a change now.
Tags: #bodyboop, anorexia, anorexia recovery, anxiety, body boop, eating disorder, eating disorder recovery, eating disorder treatment, eating disorders, ED, ED recovery, edrecovery, family, health, inspiration, mental health, motivation, recovery, running, wellness