My 6 year old son has been asking me for the last several months to run a race together. Though the idea of signing us up sounded wonderful, I couldn’t help but have uncontrollable and intrusive thoughts creep back in head from the time of my eating disorder.
At the time of my eating disorder, I not only restricted calories to the extreme, but I worked out excessively. No matter how intense the exercise, the length of time I ran, or the amount of calories burned, it never seemed enough. But, in my mind was always a minimum that I wouldn’t allow myself to fall below.
Let’s put it this way: a 3.1 mile run at the pace of a 6 year old would not sufficed in the least bit. I would’ve been paralyzed by anxiety at the mere thought of considering this without knowing when else in my day I’d be able to workout again. And, if for some unforeseen circumstance were to happen, and I wasn’t able to burn the amount of calories I desired, I would’ve punished myself by not eating.
Admittedly, some of these thoughts did transpire in my mind, and I am sure will continue to reappear. But through my journey in recovery, I have learned how to push ahead by focusing on the logical aspects of what a 5K race with my son truly achieved.
No workout could replace the experience of watching my son set his mind to something and go after it. The opportunity to not only witness it, but be a part of it was far more rewarding than any run on the treadmill or any length of time on the elliptical. I yearned to have kids, and for my eating disorder voice to strip the enjoyment out of a bonding opportunity with my son would be unfair and regrettable.
It can still be challenging to overpower and silence the shaming voice in my head. But, this weekend I was able to fight through and complete the most inspiring and fulfilling workout of my life. The joy I got from seeing how proud he felt as he ran through the finish line was the most incredible victory, and nothing—not even my eating disorder voice—was going to take that away from me.