At the peak of my illness, I double trained (sometimes triple trained) most days, ran at least 5k every single day, and never took a day off.
From July 2016 to January 2017, I had one rest day, and that was totally not a welcome one. I’d simply been too hungover to move from my bed let alone drag my feet out the door and to the gym.
Am I proud of the lifestyle I was leading? At the time I was. I prided myself in being able to be so dedicated to being healthy that I was blinded by the fact that I was doing it in the most unhealthy way possible and damaging my body far more than I could’ve imagined.
Was there a moment where something clicked and I realised I needed to snap out of it?
Nope. But I took a step back and looked at everything in my life I’ve got to live for. I have three younger brothers, that’s right, three, and the youngest isn’t even a year old yet. I don’t want to be the big sister who wrecked her life because she was so insecure she ran herself to the ground. I want to be present. To be there for all the milestones in all their lives and have them be proud to have me cheering them on.
My boyfriend and I have our whole lives ahead of us. Not only would I be robbing myself of the adventures we’re going to go on together if I didn’t even try to recover, but I would be robbing him of someone special (💁🏻) and making him suffer for something he has no control over.
My own future.
I’ve worked so hard to be where I am today. Getting good results in high school even though I got kicked out of my house and was battling depression and anxiety; working almost full-time through my university years and still being able to graduate and make (and still have!) the greatest friends I could ever imagine; and having incredible experiences to look forward to in the near future. Did I really want to throw all that away?
But recovering ain’t easy. In fact, it’s one o the hardest things I’ve put myself through, mentally and physically. Having to talk yourself out of doing a workout is hard. You may read that and think I’m being ridiculous, but going to the gym had become as much of a part of my day as going to uni or going to the loo were, so imagine how you’d feel if you really really desperately needed to go to the toilet but had to tell yourself you couldn’t?
To be able to help yourself look to the future and improve yourself, you need to look back and figure out what you’ve been doing wrong.
You need to compromise.
And to be able to compromise you need to look at what you’re doing and take stock of what is harming you rather than helping you live a happy life, and try to get rid of it.
How many times have I vomited on the street during a run because I was too hungover yet insisted I needed to jog?
Did I really enjoy having to go to the loo straight after every meal I went out to with my friends or family to get rid of the food I’d eaten?
Was it helpful to beat myself up time and time again when I thought I’d had too much to eat or if I thought I hadn’t worked out enough?
Was running through the pain of shin splints worth it to be able to say to myself I’d made the 5k quota for the day?
Each and every single one of these things (and a whole myriad of others) built themselves up in my life until they were slowly destroying me from the inside out.
It wasn’t until I sat down and really asked myself if I’d enjoyed my life to the fullest within the past year and a half that I could be honest and say no I hadn’t.
And looking back like that was the first and most important step I took to be able to begin my long-ass journey to recovery.