A Body Restored


I feel better today than I ever have in my life.

I move better, too.

In my younger years, I would barrel through hard work. How far could I go? How many could I do? How fast? Could I do EVEN more?

When I was 14, my battle with anorexia began. I don't know exactly how it started or why it started. I am sure a psychologist could have fun blaming this or that and analyzing the various events leading up to it. But however it came to pass, it sucked me in and consumed my being. Looking back, it's a hard thing to explain. I wonder how I ever did it- how I played sports year round (and even excelled at them), how I covered it up, how people didn't shake me and scream and yell, how I could stand missing out on so many things. My memories of those years are very sparse and there are even periods of months that I cannot recall at all. I do remember the day I asked for help. I do remember that that day was actually just the beginning.

A year after I asked for help, my situation was worsening and my parents were at a complete loss. I suppose in a lot of ways it was pretty embarrassing for them. Mostly, though, I think they felt like I was sliding through their fingers. Pieces of me- my personality, my organs, my body parts- were being caught in the winds of time and carried away, never to be seen again. I wasn't me.

The recovery rate for anorexia is not good. A very small percentage of those who enter the murky waters come away from them and never dip their feet back in. I wish I could say I quickly gained back the weight and life was good. But I can't. I did gain back some; I had to because I was playing soccer that freshman year of college. My liver was not doing well and the doctor had serious concerns about other side effects of anorexia. I played that season, but I did not do well. No longer could sheer will-power carry me through the tough workouts and long days.

My body was tired.

After just one season, I moved back home. It was a huge loss for me. Soccer had been my sport, my thing. I loved the game and reveled in the physical execution. My body was failing me now and I couldn't pretend anymore.

I hurt all the time back then. I logged countless hours running miles upon miles followed by group exercise classes and then working out, too. I was still "soft", and never happy with how I looked. It seemed impossible that with all that exercise, I could never get the look I wanted. It took another decade, wild swings in my weight, and a lot of life changes. 

The answer wasn't to do more classes. It wasn't to add another run to my week or more miles onto my long run. It also wasn't to restrict my food down to a miserable, flavorless nothing. Today, two kids later, I feel better, look better, and don't spend nearly as many hours "exercising". I'm the best I've ever been.....and still getting better! 

Turns out, you don't have to feel like shit all the time. Weird.