I will always miss running. I will always remember what it felt like to fly over the grass of a cross country course or pick up speed around the final curve of the track.
I also know that when I ran that fast, it was the only area of my life that brought me happiness. I was so consumed with running that when I didn’t have it, I felt like my world was crumbling. It was a tough growing up stage of my life, and a wake-up call. I had to find more within myself to make me happy and fulfilled.
While running was not replaced with something equal to it, I have found my joy elsewhere.
Benefits of Low-Key Lifestyle
A life without running does have its perks. I’m not as hungry as often since I’m not burning as many calories. Don’t mistake this for intentionally eating less. I just observed that I didn’t feel as hungry because my body adjusted to my energy level. Less energy expended, less energy from food needed (although it took a few weeks of not exercising before I noticed this).
This, in turn, has helped my eating disorder recovery partially because it’s less food I end up eating in front of others. Eating in front of other people has been something I’ve had to overcome because many people will comment on what or how much I’m eating. I know they may just be trying to start a conversation, but any talk about my food can be tough in this stage of recovery.
I also don’t binge as often because I’m no longer ravenous. I don’t feel like eating every couple of hours. That has decreased how many comments I get about my food, too.
Adding to My Life
I find myself more daring. I can stray away from my previously strict schedule. I can participate in activities that may risk a little injury. Even the smallest things like a blister or scratch on my foot caused distress for me in the past because it might mean a day off from running.
I allow myself to eat other foods because I don’t feel the pressure to eat “perfectly,” or eat as few calories as possible. I have embraced my body more because I no longer solely view it as an instrument for running fast.
Grieving the Loss
None of this is to deny that I have had a long grieving period. I am still sad about the loss of running. But the tradeoff–having my life fully mine for the first time in my life–is worth it. Running will always feel like a long-lost friend. But I know life is offering me a lot of new things now, too–including full eating disorder recovery.