Gaining Myself Back

I started writing this in June.

I started thinking about this last June.

A lot of thoughts I’m not sure I’m ready to share… So here we go…

I first began running because I had to. Literally. I was taking a personal health and fitness class in school, and I was required to run so many times per week, and keep a log of my times. We were expected to improve our mile and a half time over the semester. I quickly fell in love with running. Then, the more I ran in the faster I got, the better I felt and the more I loved the sport and the feeling of being able to run. In that same class, we were then required to keep a food journal and be counting our calories. I believe this is where I got off track. I began to look at what was in foods, and I became fearful of food.

I slowly started cutting out fatty meats, breads, sugar, even limited my intake of fruits at one point. Chicken and veggies were my BFFs. Nothing processed. Nothing I really enjoyed (except for my homemade granola bars – those things are bomb). I was striving to be the healthiest I could be.

All growing up I was never confident with my body. I always felt like the odd one out, though I wasn’t big at all. I was strong, I had strong legs and strong arms that were capable of playing sports and hiking and doing all of the things that I love to do. But even though I had these abilities, I was never satisfied with the way I was put together. When I found my new love for running, I naturally began to slim down a bit. Then when I realized I could control what I put in my body, I slimmed down even more. It was very noticeable.

I slowly lost about 15 pounds over about 7 or 8 months from running. Then I started strictly controlling what I put in my body, and lost 20 more. In about 2-3 months.

Today I looked at MyFitnessPal, which I used religiously in 2016 before my first marathon. I was shocked to see that I was averaging 700-900 calories PER DAY while marathon training. Not to mention the weightlifting and cross training, along with school hiking trips in that time. I honestly don’t know how I was able to function.

I lost a lot of weight. I lost pretty much all my body fat. But that’s not all I lost. First, I lost my period. Then, I lost my energy. I lost the ability to sleep well. I lost my sense of fun. I lost opportunities to be social. I dreaded going out (because I’d rather be sleeping, or I didn’t want to worry about what was for dinner). I lost my personality. And I lost a lot of hair throughout the process.

Note: But I still loved running 🙂 

Throughout all of 2016 I was like this. I would only put “clean” food in my body. Anything else made me sick, bloated, and miserable, so I would tell myself I didn’t like the food that used to be my favorites (like a big juicy burger with aaaalllllll the fixin’s).

June of 2016, after my first marathon, it was brought to my attention what I was doing to my body. I needed to gain weight, so I tried to do it by eating more salads… I still wouldn’t touch that big juicy burger… I didn’t gain any weight.

Fast forward another year when I began learning about the dangers I could actually be in. I had a nagging ankle that wouldn’t get better and my bones ached always. Thank you, Tate, for informing me of what could be going on. Decreased bone health and early osteoporosis, cardiovascular issues, reproductive problems, and even decreased brain health and dementia. NO THANK YOU.

Starting in June, I was determined to gain my health back, which meant gaining weight first. I was still training hard for my races and to qualify for Boston. That made it hard, until after my first two races when I relaxed on training (then went on a cruise and heellooooo buffets!). I’ve gained 15 pounds since June – yes it is noticeable – and honestly will probably continue to gain more. Whatever it takes to get back to normal at this point.

Aka eating anything and everything. All the carbs. And all the peanut butter. All the things I would have never touched a year ago.

I’ve come to realize that the incredibly fit bodies that you see all over the internet, that everyone dreams of having, that I had, is unrealistic, hard to maintain, and for me, unhealthy. Each body is built different. Some of us can manage with lower body fat percentages, more physical activity, less food, etc., etc., etc. The hard part is figuring out what works with your body, especially if you love working out as much as I do (and honestly love vegetables as much as I do… there’s a reason I get called a rabbit!).

Yes I’ve gained weight, and yes it’s noticeable. No, I don’t have a thigh gap or visible abs anymore. I also laugh more. I’m happier. I allow myself to eat what sounds good. I feel kind of normal again.

I’m finding myself again.

Running and fitness is something I love. Balance is something that I’ve had issues with. Approaching 2018, my goal is to get back to a healthy balance. And crush Boston. Hopefully the two will go hand in hand.

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