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Sunday, November 28, 2010

GOALS:
Obtain my b.s. degree in three weeks (ie GRADUATE)
Prepare for the GRE's
Apply myself to something rewarding and fulfilling
Plan a trip to Europe
Start a recipe blog
Maintain a healthy weight range so that I may start training for a race (good motivation, no?)

Wait. Me? Run a race?  
I've been lucky enough to have been given a second (and third, etc...) chance.  When I was able to run again, post treatment, I began to take a different approach-- a more mindful one.  It wasn't, and still isn't always, easy, but I have learned how to avoid potential triggers.
I've never considered myself particularly athletic.  I was never really that coordinated nor did I take a particular interest in sports.  However, within the past few years I've developed an adoration for running.  I love how I feel when I move my body, I love sweating, I love the release of endorphins, and most importantly, I love that I love to do it. While, admittedly, there was a correlation between running and my eating disorder, the sport has also helped me through my recovery process.

I've learned a lot about running.
I've learned that running, mentally, does not have to equate to calorie burning or weight loss.
There was a time when I spent hours at the gym.  I was allured by the numbers flashing at me from the machines.  I was always pushing myself to do more, to work out harder and faster-- to be stronger.  However, I soon realized I had created a false definition of 'strength'. To me strength equated with perfect muscle definition and minimal fat, which equated to thinness.  Little did I know, the stronger I tried to be, the weaker I was, and ultimately, "getting strong" landed me in a hospital bed.

First, I try to run outside as often as possible, avoiding treadmills.  In general, I try to avoid gyms, in effort to reduce comparisons to others, myself and the machines.
Secondly, while outside, I don't wear a watch or device that would track my pace or heart rate.  My ultimate goal before I set out for a run is to be mindful.  Mindful of what's going on in the streets around me, mindful of the warmth from the sunlight as it hits my face, of the sound of my feet against the pavement, of the smells from the seasonal changes and of the thoughts (and occasional Beyonce) streaming through my head.
I try to view the act of running as a mindful experience, as opposed to a work-out.  It should be a stress reliever, not an anxiety enabler. It should produce energy and movement of my body, as opposed to trigger any harm.

Feet of a running woman Stock Photo - 347393

(http://www.123rf.com/stock-photo)

Thus, I've learned that in order to enjoy such an experience, I must fuel my body.  My muscles need carbohydrates, proteins and fats to carry me through the run and regenerate afterwards.  My mind needs the nourishment to inhibit destructive thoughts, which generally lead to obsession and impulsive behaviors.  And my body needs the energy to keep my attention focused and mood elevated.

Simply: I've learned that I need food.

If I want to run, which I do, then I need more food, because we know that calories are unit of energy. And to maintain a healthy weight range, I must always remember that energy output must equal my energy input.
(Side note: I am absolutely fascinated by the human body and what it is capable of doing... more to come in the next post)

To help me through more difficult times, I've hung self-affirmations that I've written on post-it notes.  Many of the messages inspire and remind me that I have the potential to be something much more than a simple, breathing life -- there's a difference between living, and merely existing.  One questions me to consider who I am trying to impress.  Do I truly believe that I will be loved more if I look a certain way?  Will my happiness be reflected by a trimmed and toned bicep?  Will I let numbers define who I am?
No.

I've learned that strength is beauty.  And to be strong, both physically and mentally, I must honor and take care of my body.  If I want to run, I must fuel and refuel.

If I want to accomplish the goals I've created for myself, I must fight the temptation to give into temporary satisfaction.  I must face my fears every single day, until I have been able to transform the 'fear' into 'love'.

Our futures may begin at any moment. I'm ready to embrace and live mine.

“Life’s battles don't always go to the strongest or fastest man, but sooner or later the man who wins is the fellow who thinks he can.” --Unknown

20091024-lumilon-001
(http://www.lumilon.com)

16 comments:

  1. I just started to stop exercising and running as much. I like to workout every now and then but I use to almost everyday and it was totally disordered. It feels so freeing not to be chained to exercise anymore :)

    When I read about people "LOVING" running, it seriously FASCINATES ME! I use to run, EVERY DAY, for a LONG LONG TIME. I hated it and I only did it to burn calories and feel okay about eating. It was torture to me. SO I love reading about other people who actually LIKE the sport and enjoy it..hahhaa

    I think you will do great maintaining and running. Just remember to eat before and after... running suppresses my appetite at times so I would try to be mindful of that as welll :)

    congrats on your graduation!!!!!!! you must be SOO EXCITED :) you should be proud

    Dana xo
    http://happinessiswithinblog.com/

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  2. You have some awesome goals! Best of luck on the GREs!!

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  3. Congrats on graduating soon! What an accomplishment! I hope to finish at the end of Spring next year :) So ready to be done, but so scared of what's to come. Where do you want to go to grad school, and what for?

    xoxo

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  4. Amazing goals. Especially traveling to Europe (can I come?) and starting a recipe blog. I would love to see what you create. By the way, I get so excited when you post, you are amazing.

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  5. Europe is a must! GO GO GO! And for the running. Its a great goal! I always set a goal weight (heavier) before I start training for a race. Fuel is so important. It definitely helps keep me STRONG, like you said.
    I'm so impressed with your goals, I know you can meet and exceed them!
    LC

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  6. Get it girl.

    What an inspiring post! I feel you on this on so many levels - food is fuel, and fuel is what allows our bodies to do the many amazing things we far too often take for granted. A marathon is an awesome goal - along with the others you've listed here, obviously - and you are SO going to accomplish it!

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  7. Amazing goals doll! you go get every stinking one of them because You CAN and You DESRVE them all :)

    PS. Can I come to Europe?? xxoo

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  8. Lovely goals, i hope u can maintain strength to achieve them, i think running can be viewed as similar to yoga in its stress releving benefits (maybe looking at it like that, i.e-comparable to relaxing exercises like yoga, will help u maintain a healthy relationship with running) take care and keep fuelling! :) xx

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  9. I'm done school in a week and have no idea what to do with myself after that. Finding a more healthy lifestyle is on my list though! I wish I could get into running.

    Also, the name of the song my title was from is Fuck Was I by Jenny Owen Youngs. You, I think, would like her a lot!

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  10. those are some really awesome things to look forward to achieving. we all know you can do it. :]

    i'm really proud of you. you're such an inspiration to me as to how fantastic and full life can be outside of your eating disorder. thank you. xxoo <33333

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  11. I'm not a runner. More of a power-walker! Lol!

    But I wish more people were like you and threw out their Garmens (spelled right?) and watches and running devices that track all that crap. If they really loved running, they'd do it without having to know every mile number, every running time down to the second. They'd do it like people who ran years ago when all of those things weren't available to us. That's the difference between running for enjoyment and running to lose/maintain weight. I applaud your running method!!

    <3 Tori

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  12. You are just so beautiful, wonderful and inspirational. To have you in my life feels like a blessing, your words allways make me warm, motivated and strong.

    Excercising should also be a blessing, a positive impact in our lives. ED don't accept that - to an ED excercise is yet another way of abusing our bodies. Making it thinner, more exhausted and closer to death. It takes a lot of time and fight to change a disorded relationship with food and excercise, but you my friend are doing it.
    Your determination is so strong, it is expressed through your every word.

    Be proud of yourself, you are on your way back to the beautiful life you deserve.

    <3

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  13. Bec, you are always so full of kind words for others -- you deserve to meet all your goals for yourself, and I know you can. Can't wait for you to be a college grad -- congrats girl -- so many things in the future to look forward to! <3

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  14. I think it's so fantastic that you are setting such wonderful goals for yourself. Running is a tremendous stress relief for me, too. I think that the best runs are those without a watch for me. :)
    I love how you use post its as reminders..you are truly an inspiration to me.

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  15. I love this post!

    Your goals are great :) I think it is great that you set such great goals for yourself. And I couldn't agree with you more about the running! I think that, for me at least, it can be really easy to get caught up in an ED mentality to exercise, but I do the same things you do: running outside, avoiding gyms, etc. I agree that it is so great for stress relief :)

    Thanks so much for this fantastic post, I really love it!

    Scott

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  16. Hey! So I know you posted this a long long time ago, but I just came across your blog from reading Taylor's and couldn't keep myself from commenting on this post. I absolutely LOVE to run! I ran cross country during my senior year, and seriously regretted that I didn't start sooner. I feel like running (outside on the streets, not in a gym) is one of the best things you can do for your body and your mood. Hahaha but of course you probably already know this :) I just wanted to tell you that I AGREE! Running is the best feeling.

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