I woke up to SUNSHINE this morning…it’s been a long time coming! We’ve had so much winter weather around here, it’s ridiculous! There is still lots of ice and about 8″ of snow on the ground, but its nice to have sun and be able to get out and drive :)
Today in my Foods & Nutrition class, a girl (who happens to be a junior at my university) spoke about eating disorders. Specifically, her eating disorder: Anorexia nervosa. Her story was so inspiring, and she is so brave for speaking in front of 500 college peers about something that is so personal. Our class today was about all eating disorders, so we discussing bulimia and a few others as well. Something that strikes me about all of these EDs is that they all face anxiety when it comes to food, body image and often, exercise. It really made me think about a time not too long ago when I had an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise. I was never “officially” diagnosed with any disorder, and frankly, no one (like my family and boyfriend) really knew much about it because I was away at college. I skipped meals, excessively counted calories, and if I ate “too much” one day, I would scale back the next day. Regardless of my calorie intake, or lack thereof, I worked out every single day to burn off large amounts of calories…I remember watching the calorie burn count increasing as I worked out on the elliptical and as the number increased, I was more satisfied but often I kept going even longer in excessive amounts. Having a “blame” for a problem isn’t always a healthy way to look at a situation, but I know that this unhealthy relationship had a lot to do with my unhappiness at my college. Fast forward to Summer 2009, and I was back at home for summer break. For one, I was eating a lot better because I ate at least three meals a day…and I never skipped dinner anymore because my mom always cooks! I joined our local YMCA, which is a REALLY nice gym with great people all around, and I got into a more “normal” workout mode. I worked as a lifeguard during the summer, so I would either work out before I was on duty or afterward…regardless I focused more on a quality, well-rounded workout than just excessive counting of calories burned. As a runner, eating properly and not getting overly burned out from workouts made a big difference in my ability to do longer and more powerful runs. In addition, I started doing regular strength training and varied my workouts throughout the week. I honestly felt better and more fit than I ever did at school! In the Fall of 2009, I was at home for the semester (because of a change of heart about studying abroad) so I took 15 credit hours in my major (Political Science) at Old Dominion University which is about 45 minutes away from my house. I was probably the happiest I’ve ever been while in college, because I was living at home and my boyfriend also goes to ODU, which means I saw him daily! I really just developed a healthy balance/relationship with fitness and nutrition after that one semester at home, and it continues to have a positive impact on my life. Although I am back at my original university (graduating in May, though!), I have continued to lead a healthy lifestyle. Having a townhouse is nice, because I have a full kitchen and I cook dinner every night. I always eat breakfast and I always make sure to eat something for lunch, whether it be a salad, soup, or even a protein bar if I’m in a hurry. I work out daily, but I don’t go for a record calorie burn on the elliptical anymore! I vary my workouts (cycling, running, BodyPump, hot yoga, elliptical, Step, strength training, etc.) and I make sure I’m having FUN working out, not just doing it to burn off what I ate for lunch. Having a positive and healthy attitude makes probably the most significant impact on your life, and I’m glad that I finally found that balance. I’m at a point where I enjoy eating healthy because of how it makes me feel and I find that I really only crave healthy foods. So it goes to show that you don’t have to have an “eating disorder” to have an unhealthy relationship with food. I hope everyone can find that “balance” in their life so that you can start living a healthy lifestyle that should just come naturally!