Tuesday, February 24, 2015

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Today, I turned in my first cell phone. Happy Tuesday to you, too! Ha, but normally I'll take up a cell phone and give it back at the end of class. Today, however, I had just lectured the students about how if I saw another cell phone either they gave it to me (to be returned at the end of class), or they would get a write-up (which would result in losing the cell phone). And I have this student twice a day, so I talk to him about this on the reg. So instead of giving it back at the end of class, I marched it down to the principal's office (this is becoming a trend) and turned it in. And I think my 7th period class now knows I mean business. It only took six months, right? Next year, I'm starting right off the bat.

My inspiration (Source)
In other news, I know I'm officially an adult when I make my own doctor's appointment on my very own accord. Doctors give me anxiety, and I'm not sure why but I just always assume the worst. And I sincerely hope I am laughed at tomorrow for making this doctor's appointment, but remember that left shin that has been nagging me lately? Well, on yesterday's run it didn't feel good. And it felt even worse once I stood up after having been sitting for about half an hour. I freaked myself out reading articles online, so I called up the doctor my brother went to when he broke his collarbone and made myself an appointment for tomorrow afternoon. I know I am probably overreacting, and that the doctor will likely tell me it's just a shin splint, and perhaps I should spend more time stretching. Even still, I'm a little bit nervous because it would crush me if it was something more and I had to stop running for a while. But I would much rather be told to stay off it for a couple of weeks than continue to make it worse and do something that damages it permanently.

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Segwaying off of that topic, I want to bring National Eating Disorders Awareness Week into the light. I'll be honest, I didn't even know this was a thing until I heard it on the news yesterday, but I sure am glad that it is. Eating disorders are extremely serious, yet I think they are often times taken lightly. And let me start off by saying that I do not have an eating disorder, nor have I ever had an official labeled eating disorder, but as I mentioned in this post, body image is something that I still to this day struggle with.

And with good reason. Having grown up in the "technological age," all I've ever known is what I see in magazines (not so much anymore), on television, and on the Internet. And all of these things send us mixed signals. These foods are "bad," these foods are "good," these foods are "super," and here's this miracle pill you can take that will make you burn metabolism at an incredible rate. This body is perfect, this one is cringe-worthy, because of course we're all built the exact same way. Make sure you're getting this much cardio per day, don't sit for too long, be sure to lift weights, find time to stretch those muscles, all while holding down a full-time job, and then some. This new diet is the answer to all of our problems, but this one might be even better, and before we know it, these thoughts absolutely consume us.

Let me tell you my story. I have been active all my life. I played every sport under the sun, and I've always been relatively thin. Not stick-thin, but just about average. Always the right weight for my height. The summer before my junior year of high school, I made the decision to not play volleyball in college. That meant the day I played my last high school volleyball game was the day I said goodbye to scheduled workouts. I'm talking hours a day, for both club and school. I didn't know a life without activity, so I became a frequent face at my local gym - Memorial Athletic Club. I had belonged there for years, but when I say I became a frequent face, I mean I was up there at least once a day, if not more. I became obsessed with working out, and working out for hours. I became obsessed with what I ate. If I ate a so-called "bad" food, I worked twice as hard to negate it. And I took this mentality with me to college, because I was so afraid of gaining that freshman 15. Even more so because someone told me that "if I were to gain 10 pounds, people would definitely notice it."

My dorm had a gym, making it easy for me to get in a workout every day, knowing in my heart of hearts that I needed a rest day every now and then, but feeling lazy and guilty and as though I would gain 20 pounds from taking one day off. Yeah, I was crazy. I took this mentality with me to summer camp that year, waking up in the very early hours of the morning to go run up and down a hill, when I should have been soaking up every second of sleep that I could get. I lost quite a bit of weight, but I did eventually get back to my original weight. And as much as I loved studying abroad in Barcelona for two months, I will admit that one thing that made me nervous was the thought of not being able to work out consistently. And moreso that I would gain weight. Which, okay, not possible with how much you walk over in Europe. Even if you are eating bread with every meal.

Not when climbing the Eiffel Tower is your morning warm-up
Anyway, though I have certainly calmed down on that a bit, letting myself enjoy dessert (hello, I eat chocolate every day), and letting myself take those all-too-important rest days, this is still something I struggle with. And it will likely always be something I struggle with. Because eating disorders aren't a phase. They're mental, and these thoughts can be destructive, and they can consume you. I've obviously experienced bits and pieces. And I realize that my blog could be a very dangerous thing. It chronicles what I eat and what I do to workout, and that it could very well contribute to these destructive habits. That being said, I make a conscious effort to talk about my workouts as a success, and something that I look forward to, not as something that I have to do. Because I know myself well enough to know that if my body is telling me it's tired, I should probably listen to it. And as for the food, I L-O-V-E food, and I want to share the deliciousness (word?) with the world.

The reason I told you that long, drawn-out, deeply personal story is because eating disorders are more than just anorexia and bulimia. They're destructive, consuming thoughts that can eventually become life-threatening. Or life-damaging. They can damage you physically, but also emotionally, and relationally as well. But they're very treatable. And I share this with you because so many people struggle silently with eating disorders and body image and excessive exercise. Because these things are scary to admit. This year's National Eating Disorder Awareness Week theme is "I Had No Idea," focusing on recognizing the signs and symptoms of eating disorders early, because recognizing them early can prevent a full-blown eating disorder from developing. So, because this post has gone on long enough, if you or someone you know is suffering from or struggling with an eating disorder, please, not only should you seek help, but know that you are beautiful (or handsome) and that this doesn't have to consume you and your life. Obviously I am no medical expert, but I have a little bit of personal experience, and like I tell my students, I think that gives me at least some credibility!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for posting a blog relating to eating disorders. It's definitely something that is overlooked quite often and it is life-threatening, to say the least. I suffered from an eating disorder for ten years and I'm happy to report that I've finally overcome it. It's not something that most people understand but blogs like this definitely help! Thanks again!