It’s Time to Talk About It

It’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week and It’s Time to Talk About It. It’s time to share our stories and remove the stigma from mental illness and eating disorders. It’s time to talk about our struggles and share our recovery. It’s time to create a sense of community and empower others to embark on the road to recovery.

As I set off for my morning’s extra easy run after a rough week of marathon training, I was filled with inspiration. The Lane 9 project has officially been launched with the goal to educate, inspire, and empower active women about the Female Athlete Triad, amenorrhea, and disordered eating. With the creation of this project, a light has been brought to my life. I am passionate and hopeful about the future for women suffering from body image issues, disordered eating, and overexercising. The badass women I am working with are an inspiration and together we will create a movement that will change the path for so many active ladies. Head over to Lane 9 Project to see what we’re all about, be inspired, and join our community.

You are enough.

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Running the Numbers

Running the Numbers

Runners are obsessed with numbers. We count miles, meters, minutes, steps, hills, workouts, and runs. We measure personal records, wind speed, temperature, heart rate, and weight. The sport is inundated with numbers.

Numbers have great value in running. Whether it’s time, distance, or place, numbers are the sole means of measuring our improvement in the sport. Numbers provide a training plan and can even keep us in check when we’re trying to do too much. But many of us become so shackled to the numbers that we never really just run. Dangerous habits develop when we run for the numbers rather than for the run.

In my experience, I’ve shed waterfalls of tears over the time on my watch. It sounds ridiculous saying it, but when you’ve placed your worth in the number on your wrist, you’ve got a lot riding on every run. I’ve deemed myself a failure for setting out to run 8 miles but calling it at 6, even though my body was down right exhausted. I’ve said things to myself I’d never dare say to someone I love just because the number on the scale increased by a pound from the day before.

I know one bad run doesn’t define success and I am aware that even a five-pound fluctuation on the scale is totally normally but when you’re bound to the numbers all logical thought flies out the window. When we chain ourselves to some shallow definition of success we never grant ourselves the chance to excel.

When the numbers start to suffocate you, take off your watch, close out your Strava, step away from the scale and take a breath. If you’re putting one foot in front of the other you are doing enough. There is plenty of time to run the numbers, it is foolish to do so every day.

Lady Gaga and Her ‘Normal’ Body

I wish we weren’t thanking Lady Gaga for being brave enough to bear her ‘normal’ stomach on national television. I wish we weren’t calling her stomach normal. I wish we weren’t talking about her body at all. But we are, so here are my thoughts:

Saying that Lady Gaga’s body is ‘normal’ does not give her enough credit. 

Lady Gaga took the stage and belted out song after song while performing aerial stunts, dancing, and running around the stage in heels (HOW!?). That is not the feat of a ‘normal’ body. That is a feat of a fit, strong, and healthy body. Lady Gaga was brave to show off her stomach, that society apparently deems as less than perfect, but it shouldn’t take bravery. Women’s body’s should not be so scrunitized that even someone as fit and strong as Gaga runs the risk of being shamed for showing some skin. We shouldn’t be talking about how Lady Gaga’s or any woman’s body looks, we should be focusing on what woman’s bodies can do.  

So here’s a little reminder to stop analyzing your stomach and your thighs, stop scrolling through Instagram’s of fitness models and celeberties. Instead, get up and move your body. Test your body to see what it can do and then say thank you. Thank your body for hanging in there despite the cruel things you often say to it. Thank your body for being powerful and strong, and for giving you the ability to move. As long as you’re doing the best you can to nourish your body and keep it moving, then chances are you’re pretty damn healthy and that is enough. 

Give Lady Gaga some more credit and give yourself some more credit. We are all more than just bodies and we are all enough.

A Female Athlete Triad Podcast

I watch the news while I’m getting ready in the morning but this morning, after about 10 minutes, I decided if I heard “Trump”, “Conway”, “travel ban” or “ethics” one more time I was gonna LOSE IT! So, I headed to YouTube, typed in “education Ted Talks”, clicked on one that sounded interesting and proceeded to lose it anyway. This gave me the idea to try listening to podcasts while I’m running. Not exactly a novel idea, but a first for me.

So today as I ran I listened to a podcast on the Female Athlete Triad that I found to be informational, easy to understand. and pretty insightful in many ways. (There was also a lot of chat about the paleo diet, which isn’t my jam, but the overarching messages are applicable to a wide range women.) Here are my thoughts and major takeaways.

You need your period. Is it nice to go 4months without breakouts, cramps, cravings, and tampons? Yes. But unfortunately, that isn’t good for you. Many women believe amenorrhea (not getting your period) is fine, but the longer you go without your period the greater damage you are doing to your body. Some consequences of amenorrhea are infertility, hormonal imbalance, and bone loss. Bone loss is a biggie, especially in your peak years of bone growth, and leads to osteoporosis. If you’re not getting your period, seek help to get it back. If you’re still not convinced it’s an actual problem, listen to the podcast for a brief science behind your period.

You need to sleep and eat. If you plan to eat, workout, and sleep, but you only have time for two of three you should prioritize eating and sleeping most of the time. This does not make you lazy, it makes you smart. In order to be at your physical and mental best you must be nourished and well-rested. Exercise is important, but if you’re not eating or sleeping exercise may be doing more harm than good. Train smarter not harder. 

Be willing to face your issues with food and exercise. If all you ever think about is food, exercise, and your body you’re probably not at your healthiest physically or mentally. Accept that those things may be an issue for you and work to challenge them head on.

If you have a problem, talk about it. Don’t have your period? Tell someone. Struggling with overexercising, undereating, or body image? Tell someone. Having people to support you lifts a huge weight off your shoulders. And chances are someone close to you is struggling with the same thing. Working out with a community is awesome, but it can also be problematic if you struggle to take time off and take care of yourself. If people in your fitness community catch you miss a day it’s commonplace for them to nag. This can be counterproductive for someone dealing with disordered eating or exercise patterns. But if people know what you are going through they will support you and encourage those days off rather than getting on your case for missing a workout.

Your people love you for you. They don’t love you because of your defined abs or your 5k time. They love you because you’re a good person with talents, ideas, and interests. Their love isn’t dependent on your current level of fitness. If your worried about what those around will think if you begin to exercise less, eat more, or simply use your time in other ways, go back to my last point and talk to them. Your friends and loved ones want you to be happy and healthy. They don’t care how thin you are or how fast you run, they will support you. You are enough.