So… I did it. I registered for the Hansen Dam Sprint Triathlon on August 17th. It definitely changed my workout plan for the next 5 weeks, and fitting everything in between shooting the web series I was cast in and our trip to PA/NYC will be a little tricky, but I’m committed.
I went to the pool on Thursday after work to see where my swimming endurance is at. I psyched myself up, politely asked a clearly focused young man if he would mind sharing a lane with me, kicked off from the wall… and my swim top completely came down. Laps were out of the question. Instead I did some technique work with the kick board, alternating between just using my legs making sure to force my hips down, and arm strokes. After 20 minutes of this, I hopped on a bike and did one of the pre-programmed random hill workouts. I’ve never sweat so much while biking; it was DRIPPING off of me. I was pretty happy with the results of the ride. I averaged 3:20min/mi so I’m hoping to keep the bike portion under 40 minutes during the race. I went for a very hot and sweaty run after my client on Saturday morning, but I don’t think I was properly hydrated before hand and I hit a wall at 2 miles. The first two miles were at 8:15 and 8:34, so it sucked real hard to have that last mile be 9:30, but oh well; I have time.
After my run, I met up with a new friend for brunch at the very trendy Sqirl in Silverlake. The food was INSANE; we shared toast and jam which sounds lame, but they started out by just selling jam and the reason for their success was SUPER apparent in their strawberry thyme jam and incredible flaky, fresh brioche toast. I also had the sorrel pesto rice bowl which was topped with a poached egg and prosciutto… um, YUM.
And then my weekend went kind of downhill…
I was hesitant to write this post, and yet I feel the need to get it out of my system.
I’ve struggled with a number of eating disorders for most of my adult life, and even a little before then. Thanks to the support of my incredible boyfriend and the outlet of this blog, I’m ten months into my ED recovery. I openly share this information. But that vague acknowledgement is about how deep I get into it, especially during an actual conversation that’s not with a shrink or my boyfriend.
And maybe that’s my first mistake; thinking people will take in this information and not make too many assumptions or judgements about what something like that actually means. Just because I no longer force myself to throw up after eating doesn’t mean I don’t deal with the psychological aspects of an ED everyday. Even though I now exercise a healthy amount doesn’t mean I don’t obsess over each inch of my body. The ability to eat multiple meals in a day, including desserts didn’t come with some magic wand to erase the guilt that sometimes creeps in to my food choices.
Like many addictions, recovery doesn’t mean fully recovered. Especially in a society when we are so aware of our bodies and the bodies around us, and ESPECIALLY for me in an industry where the majority of your success is based on what you look like.
I got away with having an ED for a long time without anyone noticing. Because it never made me skinny. Yes, I was the chubby girl with an ED, who when I finally confided in my then-boyfriend about it, he asked if I was “just making an excuse for all the bad food choices I’d been making.” No one was ever worried I was sick, or told me I looked too thin, or joked that I should eat a cheeseburger. I wanted them to; I dreamed of the day someone might ask me if I was okay because I was looking skinnier than usual.
Instead, I beat myself up in silence. Not only was I not good enough because of how I looked, I wasn’t good enough because I couldn’t even have an eating disorder properly. So I started to convince myself I didn’t actually have a problem. Only skinny girls have EDs and I wasn’t one of them.
It took a long time for me to accept that even though my ED wasn’t affecting me outwardly like I hoped it would, it was clearly messing me up inside, and I’m still suffering from some of the effects. I’m pretty convinced my poor digestive issues have years of not eating, and over eating, and self-inducing vomiting to blame. My gums have receded. My skin is terrible. You could never see my ribs, but you could see the dark circles under my eyes.
I’m still chubby. I’m strong, but I’m chubby. I still struggle with my relationship with food. I still have negative self-talk and hate my body. I still assume people will judge me for “not being good at having an ED” because I never lost enough weight doing it to cause alarm.
When people who don’t know me make a flippant comment about eating disorders, I say nothing. How could they possibly know who EDs affect, and how they deal with them not only physically, but emotionally? They don’t, and I would never hold that against them.
But when people who DO know, people in whom I’ve confided this part of my history of self, try to tell me how I should emotionally react to situations… it’s deeply hurtful.
I’ve come a long way since my first stint with anorexia when I was 15. Hell, I’ve come a long way in the past 10 months. Still, I’m not as strong emotionally as I am physically, and I think that sometimes people confuse the two. I’ve come a long way… but I’ve still got a long way to go.