Fitness and Fears.

I was a really boring child. I can admit it now, even though I would have protested that label in my youth. I was perpetually fearful of the unknown and unsteady, and on top of that tentative nature, I was unforgivingly clumsy. I mean, it is still a rare sight to see my legs bruise-free, but as a child, it was worse. I tumbled off chairs at birthday parties, I crashed on bikes, I fell when running, I tripped when walking – any type of movement it seemed was uncontrollable by my body and objects were never where they seemed to be and always somewhere convenient for me to trip over.

Needless to say, I was not very athletic. I could run, I could swim, and I could physically ride a bike, but I was never coordinated enough to play team sports or anything requiring balls and equipment. In middle school, our field hockey team desperately needed players, and I was eager to fill the spot in a sport I did not understand. In high school, I tried out for teams but never made any of them. Finally, I found a team which did accepted everyone – cross country. I had never run besides mandatory gym class runs and middle school field hockey, but surprisingly had the endurance to run a 5k. Sadly my cross country career ended short, as I could not suffer through running in crappy shoes with shin splints, and I quit a few weeks into the season. The love for running stuck with me though – despite hating practices, I enjoyed the solitude and peacefulness of running. I continued to run on my own, and continued failing at sports in high school.

My running became an obsession. Same time, same route, everyday. I tried to create an escape – I hated high school and I felt trapped in an overbearing household. I was scared of losing the control over my daily runs and when the weather didn’t cooperate, I ran up and down the stairs of my house and almost threw temper tantrums.

Why was I so scared of losing control? I was afraid of getting fat, or being in a body different from the one I had. I reached my full adult height at 12, but never grew into it until later. Combined with birth control for medical reasons, I gained weight, and was terrified of the new shapes and curves my body made. I had to keep running. This spiraled out of control and led to a full blown grab bag of eating disorders. I starved and overexercised and when that left me exhausted and my mother crying, I binged on everything in sight, hiding food in my room and eating alone. My weight fluctuated 30-40lbs and I was miserable. I kept running while I struggled to find peace and balance in my life. I became vegetarian, then pescetarian, throwing away food groups I loved because I needed to control my eating.

Senior year of high school, I thought I had it under control. I was running more and more, and literally eating into the low fat (but full of chemicals!) craze. I stress fractured my foot from running, and continued painfully hobbling mile after mile on it until I finally resigned. It took 6 months to heal, and I felt normal for once. Not controlled by running, not controlled by my disordered eating habits.

College was uneventful – sporadically working out in the gym with no real routine, eating whatever I wanted to (returning to meat!), and generally content with my body and ‘fitness’ levels. It wasn’t until late 2011/early 2012 when I decided to really try to stick to a fitness routine and eat healthy, whole foods, and focus on health and well-being versus a number on the scale or on my clothing tags. I’m not saying that negative thoughts don’t creep into my head every now and then – I still get panicky when I overindulge and nervous if I skip too many workouts, but overall I’m happy to be training for life and to be badass when I’m old!

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