I was catching up on some blogs last night and came across this really interesting post over at Shut Up and Run. In short, it was about our relationship with food, how it affects our body image and how we feel about ourselves. At the end of the post, she asked the following questions:
Do you struggle with your own eating/weight gain/relationship with food? How does running play a part for you? Does it make you feel better about yourself, or is it merely a means of burning more calories? If you feel comfortable sharing, have you struggled with an eating disorder?
I thought about this post off and one for the past day or so - because to be honest I wasn't sure of what the answers were. How do I feel about food? Do I have a healthy relationship with food? How do I feel about body image? And why do I run?
I will readily admit that in the past, I didn't have a healthy relationship with food. In my very first entry here on this blog, I wrote that I went on my first diet when I was 12...I was a heavy kid. I still recall the taunts from kids in school, the comments from relatives who would call me fat, and even my own dad (who I think meant well in the crusty way that Asian dads do) telling me that girls weren't supposed to be fat like I was and that I would "never get a boyfriend" looking the way I did. Hurtful? Yes...and I'm sure that's where my body image issues come from. While I didn't have anorexia or bulimia, I would say that I probably flirted with disordered eating for a lot of years - literally starving myself on an apple or a few rice cakes a day or obsessively counting calories in order to lose weight.
Then I had my TSN Turning Point moment (see entry here). I can honestly say that even though it was a hard time, it truly was a gift to me. It led me on the path to exercise and allowed me to discover running, where I now have such a different view on food and my body. I now look at food as nourishment, fuel, and a source of enjoyment, rather than the enemy. I still have lingering body image issues, but I want to be fit, strong and healthy, rather than just focussing on being rail thin. As most of you know, I'm trying to lose those last stubborn 10 pounds but I'm doing it healthfully by focussing on proper nutrition and exercise, rather than the starvation tactics I would have used in the past. Ain't no way I'm gonna abuse my body anymore! Running gives me confidence and a reason to love and care for my body - which is why I love it and will never give it up.
Thanks for the great post, Shut Up and Run! Love ones that make me think.