I texted my mom after a killer workout. I was glowing– and not just from the sweat. I was so proud of myself for getting to a place of wholesome, authentic health: mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and, yes, physically. My body was jumping for joy after this workout, even after pushing my strength to its limits. Why? I’ve spent the past month or so really focusing on fueling my body according to its needs and truly listening to what my body wants to do.
I’m training for a half marathon. In doing so, I have fallen in love with my body. This time, it’s different– I don’t pay virtually any attention to how my body looks, despite a significant change in body composition. Instead, I focus primarily on how my body feels! This is, for my personal journey, a defining moment in my recovery.
Some days, my body wants to curl up in a blanket and watch Netflix for hours. Other times, it begs me to run long distances. The key in my training for this half marathon is learning to listen to my body’s cues and acting accordingly. Due to my training, I feel strong, confident, and powerful. I feel like my physical strength is finally beginning to match my emotional strength, and it feels good.
For those of you who are skeptical of seeing a nutritionist or dietician, I can assure you that it has done wonders for me! I follow a general guideline now (designed by my dietician) specifically for training for a long race while in recovery. Without holding myself accountable to a professional who really understands my nutritional needs, I would be at risk of injuring myself due to inadequate nutrition and even potentially relapsing in my eating disorder. From someone who fought the idea of seeing a dietitian for a very long time, this realization and accountability says a lot!
I’m sharing all these things with you for two reasons: (1) I am so proud of my recovery and the blessings that have come with it, and (2) I hope to inspire you to learn to listen to your body! Trust me when I say life gets infinitely better when you listen to your internal cues and don’t push yourself to do things that aren’t healthy for where you are in this moment.
P.S. To be clear, I am not advocating for anyone to train for a half marathon. It took me almost three years into recovery to get to a healthy place to do this training, and even still, this activity level isn’t always healthy for other people in their recoveries. If you feel inspired to train for a big race or other event, please have honest conversations with your treatment team to determine whether this will help or harm your recovery!