Update On The New Blog.

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Hey there folks!

I know I haven’t posted on this site for who knows how long…but there is a good reason for that.

Drumroooooll paaalease.

Okay, well, if you read my last post then you already know but I have another blog that goes way more in depth and even includes Gluten Free and Dairy Free Recipes because I have an amazing stomach that allows me to eat basically nothing(sarcasm)…sorta. And I can’t forget to mention my Photography Business which is also found on my blog.

So feel free to jump over to the link I will provide at the bottom of this post and check it out. If you want to stay updated, you can also subscribe to my blog and get emails each time I post. I don’t know about you but I think that’s pretty cool. 🙂

Oh! I also have a youtube channel which I am growing so if you would like, I’d love for you to check that out too. And, you know, if you wanted to subscribe too I won’t complain. 😉

Alright, well I guess I will catch you all on the flipside. Or my main blog, that works too. 🙂 Just click the link below!

Athlete Recovering (My Blog)

 

Motivated By Running.

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Running is my passion.

End of story.

Okay just kidding the blog does not end there, although it does pretty much sum up what I am about to run right into. (Yes, the pun was intended). 😉

I still remember when my mom started decreasing the amount I was aloud to exercise. You see, after running cross country my junior year of high school and losing weight, then continuing to run everyday that I did not have soccer practice only led to more weight loss due to the fact that I was not eating much at all. I am still blown away by the fact that I was able to run and that my body could function. Thank you body.

It started out with little stipulations, such as having to eat this or that after I ran, or making sure I had more to eat for dinner. It was frustrating to say the least, but now that I am in a healthy mindset I see what my parents were trying to do. All they wanted was to help me, especially because they saw what was going on from the outside, and that mainly looked like a teenage girl who was malnourished, underweight, and sick. But at the time, it didn’t feel like help.

As time elapsed throughout the cycle of restricting along with exercise, I also played soccer which consisted of practices and games. Needless to say, exercise was a pretty common occurrence. I eventually was placed on exercise restriction by my mom who then let me run very little, especially once the soccer season was over.

I hated the fact that something I loved was being taken away from me. At the time, I felt as if working out and running was all I had. I felt as if the only way for me to find joy was through running, sweating, and pushing myself to a point where my anxiety was non existent and I could fully ignore the hunger pains my body was giving me. Running was my way of relieving the anxiety that I could never get rid of. It was my coping mechanism, but that coping mechanism was also hindering me.

My mom carefully monitored my running and working out for quite some time. If I recall correctly, it was probably around a year. Let me tell you, that’s a long time for someone who loves to workout to be told “no you cant run today”.

Once I started seeing my dietitian almost a year ago, the exercise rules were handed over to her. They remained the same, allowing me to, at the time, only run one mile a week. By this point in time, I had become used to this restriction, but that does not mean I liked it. I hated, absolutely hated the fact that I could not exercise whenever I felt like it. I felt caged, restricted, and not trusted. I felt as if it was unfair and controlling, but now I realize that it was helpful and keeping me safe.

So long story short I dove right into recovery. My meal plan was increased due to my dietitians instructions every week or so. My body responded well, and I gained the weight that I needed to. This time was hard, and to be honest I wanted to exercise then more than ever, but it was not for healthy reasons. Nope. Instead, it stemmed from the fear of weigh gain. Good ol’ weight gain. I honestly wanted nothing to do with it. But I kept eating, increasing, and immersing myself in work and any other things that could keep my mind off the fact that I felt like a hot air balloon, bloated and always hot because my body was working so hard. I pushed past the thoughts that told me to restrict, and I was determined not to give in to the voices that told me I was going to be fat or that I would gain too much and look different. All the while I was becoming less dependent on exercise. My mind was changing, and so was my body, but deep down I was learning to be okay with all of the changes and new feelings I was experiencing. If I wanted to run, If I wanted to gain my life back, then recovery was what I need to do and there was no way around it.

After a few months of increasing, I was able to start decreasing my intake to a maintenance level. By this time, I had gained the weight I needed to, all while not knowing my weight, thank goodness.

A couple moths after that I was given the green light to run a little more. Every couple weeks I was given the freedom to run more mileage. It was a slow process, but it also taught me a lot. It taught me that I don’t need to depend on exercise in order to function. It taught me that I am not going to get fat, or lose all of my stamina by not being able to run every single day. It taught me to honor my bodies signals, and respect my body enough to give it rest. It taught me that food is fuel, and my runs are so much more enjoyable now that I am fueling my body properly. And lastly, the break I had from running allowed me to realize that running is a blessing, and I worked so hard to be able to run more that I am not going to let my eating disorder drag me back down.

Fast forward to now, I have been given permission to run up to seven miles, and a total of working out or running in general four days a week. I will admit that I cannot wait for the day when I can run as far as I wish whenever I want, but for now I am pretty content.

Two years ago, running was what I thought was saving me. I was wrong. Running was never saving me. Helping me, yes, but not saving me. I had an unhealthy relationship with working out and running. Needing to run or workout to be happy is not healthy. I never would have thought that my passion could be hindering me, my body, and my health.

Sometimes, God revels things to us by taking them away. In my case, he showed me that running wasn’t everything. He showed me that instead of putting my vale in how far or fast I can run, that I instead need to put my value in Him. When I’m having a hard day, my first thought should be to God, not about running to solve my problems.

Two years ago I would have told you what running has taught me. But now, I could tell you a thousand things that not being able to run has taught me. I think that’s pretty significant, don’t you?

I am thankful for those two years of running restriction. Why? Because who knows what state or condition I would be in if it weren’t for the help of those who love me. I may not have been able to run, but I was able to learn, recover, and become healthy.

I am now motivated by running to eat, not lose weight again, and remain healthy. Not running helped me develop, grow, and pursue a healthy relationship with food, exercise, and my body.

Moral of the story, running again would not have been possible without recovery. That’s why I am recovering to run.

Say hello to my running buddy. Shes pretty cool. 🙂

Recovery Is.

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Recovery is different for everyone.

Recovery is a unique process for each and every person.

Recovery is hard…but so worth it.

Recovery is learning to love yourself.

Recovery is learning to appreciate your stomach because it digests food.

Recovery is learning to appreciate the fat that insulates your organs because it is necessary.

Recovery is learning to love our legs, no matter what shape.

Recovery is learning to accept your arms because they allow you to wave hello to a stranger, or better yet, hug someone you love.

Recovery is learning to accept your face because it is perfectly shaped.

Recovery is growing to love your smile because you found it again through recovery.

Recovery is learning from the past so that you don’t repeat it.

Recovery is being able to eat dessert even though you are full from dinner.

Recovery is learning to have compassion on yourself.

Recovery is looking at yourself in the mirror without lifting up your shirt to body check.

Recovery is learning that bad body images day will happen, and its normal.

Recovery is learning to challenge yourself. Farther than you thought you ever could. You’ll amaze yourself.

Recovery is remembering how weak, sick, tired, empty, and numb you felt while you were under the rules and regulations of your eating disorder and vowing never to go back.

Recovery is realizing that there is a good form of control.

Recovery is baking delicious treats and eating them too.

Recovery is learning to detach who YOU are from who your eating disorder tells you to be.

Recovery is learning that thoughts are simply that…thoughts.

Recovery is learning to genuinely laugh.

Recovery is looking back at pictures and recognizing that you never want to be that weight again.

Recovery is finding out who you really are.

Recovery is so much more than going back to who you were before your disorder. Its becoming who you were meant to be.

Recovery is realizing that you are in control of your future.

Recovery is owning your recovery.

Recovery is messy, a beautiful mess.

Recovery is finding your true self again.

Recovery is wearing a bathing suit and accepting your body.

Recovery is fighting for your life back.

Recovery is feeling empowered.

Recovery is a daily job.

Recovery is being able to enjoy a meal out with friends.

Recovery involves creating a healthy mindset.

Recovery involves emotional healing.

Recovery means gaining weight, and trusting that your body will be fine.

Recovery is learning to trust your treatment leaders.

Recovery is learning to trust yourself.

Recovery is eating your favorite foods and not feeling guilty.

Recovery is listening to your body.

Recovery is learning to be thankful for your struggle.

Recovery is finding strength when you everything is falling apart.

Recovery is eating when you are hungry and not when your disorder tells you to.

Recovery is facing fears.

Recovery is laughing with your family.

Recovery is eating what you want, no matter what society has labeled it as. “Unhealthy?” Heck go eat it anyways.

Recovery is being honest with yourself.

Recovery is giving up the scale because the number does not define you.

Recovery is loving yourself.

Recovery is being vulnerable.

Recovery is realizing that your weight does not define you.

Recovery is realizing that happiness in more important than calories.

Recovery is trusting the process.

Recovery is feeling the emotions that you buried for so long.

Recovery is gaining more than just weight.

Recovery is learning that fat is not a feeling.

Recovery is learning to love imperfection.

Recovery is worth it.

Recovery is finally feeling free.

Recovery is possible.

Recovery means learning to accept your newly recovered body.

Recovery is having favorite foods again.

Recovery is about finding balance in life.

Recovery means learning to live with the thoughts in a healthy way.

Recovery is healing relationships.

Recovery means saying goodbye to restricting.

Recovery means eating despite what you are feeling.

Recovery is loving who you are because you have fought so hard to become her.

Recovery is all of this and so much more. Recovery is mess of emotions, a plethora of feelings, an emotional roller coaster, a battle, and a daily fight. But recovery is a new perspective, a healing process, a healthier mindset, and a whole new you.

Recovery is yours. And Recovery is beautiful.

Control And Its Negative Connotation.

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Don’t you just love eye opening conversations?

You know those ones that you are really not quite sure why on earth you have never though of something before, and when you finally do, you are left speechless. I’m talking jaw dropped open, stunned, thought process frozen type of realization.

Yes?

One of those conversations that you cannot quite fully wrap your head around, yet at the same time you realize something so clearly.

Yes?

Okay cool then we are on the same page.

Well, just last week I had one of those conversations. In fact, it was with my therapist, where actually most of those conversations come about.

Somehow we started talking about control and I mentioned how it was hard for me to visualize control in a good way. You see, ever since I started therapy, actually probably even before that, I mostly considered control to be negative. To me, it sounds negative, looks negative, and feels negative. Just saying the word resonates a strange feeling for me. Discomfort perhaps? I’m not really sure.

I correlate the visions I have of control in a negative light to my experience with control, and as you might guess, it has not been a very positive one.

OCD and control go hand in hand, as do eating disorders and control. That being said, OCD plus my eating disorder equals unhealthy control and coping. I’ve thought a lot about this subject, and I think it is safe to say that my experiences with both OCD and anorexia have left me with a very negative outlook on control. In fact, up until a few days ago, I had never really thought about control in a positive light.

With OCD, I felt the need to have control over pretty much everything in my life even though I did not really realize this at the time. Its ironic though because OCD wants to be able to control the little things and the big things, creating fears that don’t make sense and causing anxiety that escalates until you give into the compulsion. But at the same time, OCD feels like you are losing all control. You don’t want to do those behaviors that you cant seem to stop, but you have to. So basically, although my OCD was convincing me that I was in control,  I have never felt so out of control in my life. I felt like I could not control anything.

As with OCD, my eating disorder was all about control. Although it was very different from the control that OCD gave me, it was control nonetheless. I personally think that my eating disorder came from the fact that I felt such a lack of control when it came to OCD. I could not control my obsessions and compulsions, yet I could control how much I ate and how often I exercised. My eating disorder gave me a stronger sense of control than my OCD, but they were both forms of negative control.

During this conversation I voiced how we, whether in therapy or just life in general, don’t talk about things we can control in a positive way. I don’t know about you but I have never had a conversation with someone about the things that I control in a healthy way. If you have then props to you because I just did for the first time about a week ago and it felt amazing and strange all at the same time.

Despite the fact that this conversation made me think a lot about my view of control, it was very beneficial. I learned a lot about myself and I learned a lot about the ways that control can be a good thing. Honestly it is still hard to wrap my head around the fact that control can be positive, but I think that it is something that will take time due to the fact that I saw it as negative for such a long time.

During the session, my therapist had me list things that I had control over in a good way. When I think about it, positive control can be seen in many areas of my life. I have control over so many different aspects of my life which I never really thought of in such depth before. It helped me see that I am capable of being in control in a good way. Just because I have struggled with OCD and an eating disorder does not mean that I have no sense of positive control. Those are just areas in my life in which the control must be changed, molded into a healthy version of control.

Control does not have to be negative. Because after all, I am in control of my recovery, and it has been filled with more positives than I can count. How can control be solely a bad thing when it has so much power in life changing situations?

Its all about a change of perspective. And in that case, I choose be empowered by positive control, rather than enslaved to the negative connotation of control from my past.

When Exercise Becomes An Addiction.

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Now I’m not sure who will be reading this. Maybe you, yourself struggle with exercise addiction, obsession, or over training. Or perhaps maybe you know a loved one who is struggling with this.  Or maybe, none of those apply to you and you just stopped by to read and your view is much appreciated. Whatever your situation is, I want to share my view of being obsessed and having an unhealthy relationship with exercise. Hopefully, someone can benefit from it.

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I think that an exercise addiction can progress either slowly or quickly. I think in some forms it comes on quickly, but is not recognized until it is well underway. Or perhaps it comes on slowly and progresses steadily until visual effects are noticeable and the pieces of the puzzle are put together.

For me, I cant really say for sure how my own progression of exercise addiction progressed. In regards to how slowly or quickly it developed, I am unsure. And I am sure a lot of people wrestle with the question of how on earth they got to the point of full blown obsessive exercise. It’s tough because unless your watching for it, it is not necessarily something you can pin point easily. And that’s exactly how it was for me.

When I started running more and more, I don’t think anyone really though much of it. I have been highly active all my life, so it was no surprise when I started doing more individual workouts and doing more intense outside training. Exercise is a part of me, that was just a fact. This being the case, the obsession went undetected for a while. At the time, I was even unaware.

It’s tricky because my eating disorder started out with restricting, and working out and exercise was the symptom that came next, the successor in the disorder I guess you could say. Running, what once was something I did because I loved it with a fiery burning passion, (which I still do) turned into something I “needed” to do. I was constantly overwhelmed with the feeling that I “had” to workout.

I think this distinction is an important aspect to watch for. It’s a slippery slope that you don’t want to go down. If you find yourself feeling like you “have” to work out or “need” to, then I would say that you need to re evaluate your relationship with exercise. A good question to ask yourself is whether or not you actually, truly want to workout. What are your reasons for working out? What is the thought process behind the compulsion of needing to? Are you working out for the sole reason of burning calories, or burning off that cookie you ate? (News flash: it doesn’t work like that). Are you running ten miles because if you don’t then you might gain weight? I could go on to list a million different thought processes that might signify disorder thoughts, My advice would be to really contemplate the motive behind your workouts. Is it healthy?

Another aspect to look at is how you react and feel when you cant exercise. Ask yourself, “If I was not able to exercise later today then would my mood plummet? Would I be anxious and irritated? Would I be stressed?

For me, this was a biggy. When the exercise obsession really kicked in, missing a workout was NOT okay. No sir. I was dependent on working out. Too dependent, which is something I see all too clearly now. Missing a workout because of a change in schedule, or even when my mom began to decrease my exercise was rough. It caused me to be in awful moods. I constantly felt down, moody, and angry at who knows what. I was constantly irritated For those of you who have ever experienced an eating disorder know exactly what I am talking about. When you are starving, restricting, and cant workout. Bad combination right there. Lets just say irritation is at an all time high.

In recovery, I had to learn to detach myself and my well being from exercise. During my early recovery process, I was limited to one mile once a week. I still remember how ridiculous that used to sound to me. One mile? Is that a joke? But as my recovery went on, I began to be thankful for that single mile. That single mile some weeks even turned into no mileage at all. Why? Because I personally came to a place in my mindset in which I realized that not working out was not going to make me fat. I was not going to lose all of my stamina, muscle, or gain thousands of pounds overnight. I found that I had the strength to completely detach myself from something that I had placed so much value and dependency on. In the long run, my body I am sure was thankful for the rest. I was giving it time to repair and heal the damage I had done.

Throughout this process, I have learned to not be dependent on working out. I used to think it was the one and only thing that could help me to physically, mentally, and emotionally feel better. But that is simply not the case. Yes, the truth is that exercise leaves me feeling amazing. It is a great passion and an amazing stress reliever for me, always has been, and I am sure always will be. But it is no longer my only way to relieve stress.

I can gladly say that this realization has been a key factor in my view of recovery and exercise. It has helped me shift my mentality. I now see it as a healthy way to relieve stress, or better yet, I see it as a part of me because I enjoy it and want to. So how about you? Are you dependent on exercise?

For me personally, another component of my exercise addiction had to do with food. It all started with food. When I first developed an eating disorder, although I was not diagnosed yet, I was enveloped in orthorexia. Orthorexia is what I would describe as an unhealthy obsession with healthy foods. I was engrossed in the mindset of eating healthy. Only foods that I saw as clean, pure, and “okay”. This left me with a very rigid mindset in terms of food, which then led to my diagnoses some time later of anorexia.

In my obsessive exercise, it was also paired with an obsession with eating healthy. But that obsession to eat healthy turned into not only eating healthy, but less ad less and less food. I began to only eat certain foods. In all honesty, at one point I probably had about ten safe foods. My diet consisted of those same foods day in and day out. Consistency was my friend, while spontaneity, restaurants, and unknown family dinners were not. This component also included the feeling of panic, fear, and extreme anxiety, I was constantly planning my meals, although I knew I would be eating the same thing. It was all about control. And those times when I had to eat dinner with my family, causing me to have to eat what was being made, I would panic. It would change my rigid plan and placed me outside of my control and comfort one, causing my anxiety to be through the roof.

Exercise and food consumption for me personally were very intertwined. It seemed like the more I exercised, the more rigid I became with my food. The more mileage I ran, the less I ate. Those two components came one after the other, but they stuck together.

Another aspect, which is hard to admit, is judging. Whether we like it or not, judging is a big aspect of exercise addiction. There was a good portion of my eating disorder where it seemed liked all I did was judge and compare myself to others. I would judge someone just because they did not run as much as me. Which is silly because who cares? I would compare how I looked with other people and I would compare our exercise routines. Now, I don’t care what other people are doing. I don’t judge someone based on how many miles they ran. It sounds so ridiculous, but I think most people with an exercise obsession or especially an eating disorder can relate. I mean, back me up here guys, I know I’m not the only one.

Another aspect of exercise addiction has to do with having to do certain exercises every. single. day. no. matter. what. For me, there were times when I had to do squats, leg exercise, push ups, or whatever the obsession was at the time. But throughout my whole exercise addiction before, and actually into recovery, I would have to do ab exercises every day. Let me tell you, doing ab exercises every darn day was tiring. There were times when I even had to do it twice a day. And like I said above, this was one of those things that I felt the “need” to. I did not break this unhealthy habit until a couple months into recovery. By this time, I had come to terms with the exercise restrictions that I was given. I was increasing my intake with no argument. I was working on the mental aspects of recovery. Everything was going along smoothly. But there was that one thing that kept me from really letting go of the obsessive control I had with exercise. I woke up one day and said that enough was enough. I was going to stop doing ab exercises cold turkey for as long as I needed to to break the obsession. And so I did. Was it easy? Nope. In fact, my body image plummeted when I decided not to engage in that behavior. I gave up complete control of exercise. In the moment it felt awful, but now I know that I would not be on the road to full recovery without taking that step.

Now, this example was just my experience, as with this entire post. Honestly, there is ore that I could delve into, but due to the fact that it would be a novel, I wont.

I realize that everyone’s experience is different and I believe that everyone who has struggled with obsessive exercise has a different experience when it comes to what it looked like for them.But I think some of the main components of what an exercise addiction looks like involves control. Whether you like it or not, control is what feeds the addiction. I know for me personally, although I did not see it at the time, control was what kept me doing ab exercises every day. Control was what caused me to have anxiety when I could not workout. Losing that control was one of the scariest aspects of my recovery. But the good news is, that control is something you can change from a negative light to a positive light. In terms of exercise, a once negative outlook on exercise mentality can be changed for the better. It takes a lot of mental work, but in the long run it will be worth it.

I fully, truly, honestly believe that no matter what form of exercise addiction you or someone you know struggles with can be overcome. Absolutely!

I know that first and foremost, you must admit that yes, you have crossed that line. You have overstepped into an unhealthy region of exercise mentality. Acceptance is key, and the sooner you accept it, the sooner you can overcome it.

Second, you must dig deep and evaluate the areas that you need to focus on. What is the root of your exercise addiction? What are the thoughts you have when exercising? What are the thoughts you have about exercise in general? Are you working out for hours on end? Is ten miles too little? Do you feel guilty for skipping a workout? Does it effect your eating? There are thousands of questions you could contemplate. But if your being honestly with yourself, you know you, and you know what your journey with exercise looks like.

Third, create a plan of action. If your are in recovery and still running miles upon miles. Or maybe you exercise in secret because you are not allowed to exercise (its okay guys, I’ve been there too). Or maybe you have that one exercise that you absolutely hate but only do because your disorder tells you to. Whatever it may be, my best advice that helped me the most was to stop. Stop cold turkey. I know that sounds impossible, but its not. Trust me. Its hard, yes, but not impossible. The longer you go without doing it the easier it will become. The fears, worries, and thoughts, yes they will come. But you know what, they will dissipate, your mindset will become more healthy and your relationship with exercise will look and feel so much different.

Four, find accountability. Doing this all on your own will be hard. In this case, it will be of great benefit for your to find someone whom you can trust to confide in. For me, I found this through my dietitian and therapist. Find someone who you can tell about your struggle, your plan, and even the times you may mess up. And if that happens, don’t be hard on yourself. Its all a learning process.

Recovery is not perfect, that’s what makes it beautiful.

Now I want to hear from you. Do you struggle with this topic? Or have you? If so, how did you overcome it?

PS. If you would like to email me to talk about anything you may do so at athleterecovering@gmail.com

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Disclaimer: I am not a health professional. I am simply talking from experience. I value any form or method of recovery, whether it looks like mine or not. I believe that each individual’s journey is different, and in that case each recovery is going to look different. Any of the advice given on this blog is purely out of experience, and given in the instance that it may help someone. My recovery may look much different than yours, which is absolutely okay. My goal is to provide a place where we can connect, share, and help each other to achieve a common goal: recovery. Because in the end, the most important aspect of recovery is you.

Miles And Recovery.

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Just last week I ran my first five mile run in about almost two years. Then, just this week I ran my first seven miles in almost two years. Needless to say, I was pretty excited about those runs. And the excitement continued because the day after the seven miler when I ran another five miles. Did I mention how excited I was?

Okay one more time. I WAS SO ECSTATIC! 🙂

But despite the fact that I was excited, I was also proud. I am proud because if I had to work very hard to get to this point in my recovery.  A point where I have built trust, gained wight, regained health, and changed my mentality. I have had to fall out of the obsessive relationship I had with exercise and experience what its like to be flexible, with no rigidity when it comes to working out. I have learned to exercise for the pure joy I receive rather than working out because I want to be fitter than fit. I have learned that rest days are important. I have learned that a day, or two weeks without working out is not going to make me fat, unhealthy, or unfit. I have experienced life without exercise, rigidity, and the “need” to workout. Now I see exercise in a new light, and it is done out of pure enjoyment. And let me tell you, I cant wait to be able to run even more mileage!

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More to come on the next post covering exercise addiction. What does it look like? What is it? And how to overcome it and develop a healthy relationship with exercise.