fitness

-

Redefining Womanhood: My Recovery from Disordered Eating

Redefining Womanhood: My Recovery from Disordered Eating

SWEAT sweat.com

Redefining Womanhood: My Recovery from Disordered Eating
How Recovering from My Eating Disorder Helped Me Redefine Womanhood

The most interesting thing about life is that we never know where we will end up, go, or experience. I have so much gratitude for this moment because I get to share how my experience with an eating disorder has shaped how I feel about womanhood today and what it means to me to be a woman. 

As a 17 year old star student and high school athlete I struggled with disordered eating. With really big hopes of leaving South Texas to study and run at NCAA Division 1 I knew I had to work extra hard. Everytime I lined up at a big race where I knew recruiters would be, I constantly compared how my body looked and would wonder, what if I was smaller, thinner, and looked like them, would I be faster? Would they want me on their team? Would I fit in at their school? A little ashamed about my Latino roots and my curvy Latina body, I ended up restricting foods all the way through my senior year of high school and well into my collegiate running career.

When I got to college my running only got better and my times continued to get faster. Even though I was excelling in my running career, everything else in my life became harder and harder to deal with. The stress of school, missing having friends that looked like me, being away from family, and becoming accustomed to being a minority female athlete for the first time in my life were things that I had not been prepared for. With these new things thrown at me all at once, and no healthy Latina role model to turn to, the only way to cope was to focus more on my running (because that was going well) and control more of my food. 

Eventually I fell into a full blown eating disorder and was forced into treatment by coaches, while my family stayed in South Texas worried about my wellbeing. Over the course of the next two and a half years, I saw a psychologist and dietitian, and eventually started to get better. 

During that time, there was a lot of tears, loneliness, depression, confusion, and even a period of purging, but I knew I had to get better or my eating disorder would eventually consume me.

Since gaining and maintaining a healthy weight, I have realized how fortunate I was to have coaches, teammates, and my family at that crucial period who cared and supported me. I was privileged to have access to treatment and have financial assistance to receive it. I was especially lucky that running was always there for me and was able to take me to a NCAA D1 school that took my health into consideration. 

Now almost six years into recovery, whenever I run all I can think about is how much gratitude I have for my body for doing so much for me every day. It helps me walk, cook, regulate my hormones, gives me strong bones to run, muscles that move smoothly, a strong heart that beats and pumps on those long runs! Running gave me confidence in myself and taught me to love my body all over again.

What has been the most profound learning experience from this is how I think about my womanhood. I used to think that I had to be a perfect example of a woman: perfect body, perfectly behaved, perfect athlete, etc. Now I think of a woman as someone who has self-respect, exudes self-love, is kind and giving to those who need it most. A woman lives and speaks their truth. A woman allows herself to be who she is and encourages others to  be the best version of themselves. Most importantly, they love their body because they realize a healthy one can help them achieve all these things and so much more.

My eating disorder would never have allowed any of that. But that's okay because it doesn't define me anymore. Only a real woman can do that now ;)

If you have concerns about disordered eating for yourself or someone you know, I encourage you to seek help and support. We have so many amazing initiatives and organisations here in the US and around the world that can help you towards recovery. I have listed just a few US based organisations below but encourage you to reach out locally for more information.

National Eating Disorders Association:
https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

Project Heal:
http://theprojectheal.org/

Circles of change:
https://www.circlesofchange.org/

Eating recovery center:
https://www.eatingrecoverycenter.com/

Sweat has no liability with respect to any Contributor Submissions, including but not limited to copyright infringement or violations of intellectual property law.
<# for (var i = 0; i < comments.length; i++) { var s = comments[i]; #>

<#= s.user.username #><#= moment(s.created_at * 1000).fromNow() #>

<#= s.html_body #> <# if (s.images) { #>

<# } #>
Reply Like Unlike
<# if (s.replied_comments_count) { #> <# for (var j = 0; j < s.replied_comments.length; j++) { var c = s.replied_comments[j]; var lastComment = s.replied_comments[s.replied_comments.length - 1]; #>

<#= c.user.username #><#= moment(c.created_at * 1000).fromNow() #>

<#= c.html_body #> <# if (c.images) { #>

<# } #>
Reply Like Unlike
<# } #> <# if (s.replied_comments_count > 3) { #> Show more replies <# } #> <# } #>
<# } #>
<# for (var i = 0; i < comments.length; i++) { var s = comments[i]; #>

<#= s.user.username #><#= moment(s.created_at * 1000).fromNow() #>

<#= s.html_body #> <# if (s.images) { #>

<# } #>
Reply Like Unlike
<# } #>

Leave a comment...
Sort by: