People will always encourage you to try and give all you have to something, whether it be for a job, a sport, a person, or an art form. Even I believe that dedicating yourself to something you love, gives you a sense of accomplishment that no one can take away from you, regardless of the outcome. Some people seek the thrills and the lessons within the journey, not the destination.
I am not one of those people, and that is why what I loved slowly started to suck the life out of me.
I don’t know when I become an “all of nothing” type of person, but it became evident to me when I wanted to be the best around at anything did. It all started when I wanted to be the best at my sport, and then this mentality slowly just started to take over other aspects of my life. I loved the praise of being best at anything I did. I wanted to be the prettiest person in the room, or the skinniest in my friend group, even being the best cashier at the McDonald’s I worked at made me extremely satisfied, for no reason.
My passion was track, and I was one of the best people in the state at what I did. But that just wasn’t enough for me, I wanted to be the best – no questions asked. I wanted to be number one, and I always had the natural talent, I just never fully dedicated all parts of my life to my passion. During my senior years in high school my coach began to realize that my body type (being muscular and a little short) was one that could not afford to take any shortcuts. I began to gain weight very easy, without being on an strict dietary regime. Due to the fact that I wanted to be the best, I began to make many lifestyle changes. I began to train more, eat less and let my hobby consume me. I stopped going out and partying, I went to bed before 11pm everyday and I spent all my days counting calories, carbs and being hungry.
This is when I developed my negative relationship with food and my body.
I never thought it was really anything serious, until I began to put on weight if I took some time off or relaxed a bit with the intense diet. When I put on anything more then 2lbs, I would start to panic. I would take diet pills, dangerous supplements and starve myself so I could achieve my goals of a “perfect racing weight”. Although, I am a girl who loves her sweets, and snacks which meant whenever I would slip up I would feel so guilty about it, I would sneak to the bathroom turn the shower on and stick my fingers down my throat to feel like myself again. I officially associated all food with flavour or sugar or fat with failure, and guilt, and also great athletic performance with body fat percentage.
Every realistic person knows that no female can maintain 11% body fat all year round, its almost impossible, even I know this and still experience emotional turmoil whenever I am out of season or up 5 pounds. I am obsessed with being skinnier everyday, and my excuse is that it “will make me run better”.
Not sure if I hold on to this because I truly love it, or because I feel I would be nothing without it. Either way, something that was suppose to propel me and be good for me had somehow ruined me. I have ignored getting help for my obsession with being thin, because when I am low body fat the issue “goes away”. The sad reality of an eating disorder is that the longer you run away from it, the longer its going to take to heal. No matter how many pounds you lose, or how many people tell you that “you look so fit” your mind continues to play tricks on you and you just will never be good enough.
I am now a freshman in college, running for my school’s varsity team, getting my body fat percentage monitored and measured many times in a semester. My dream was to run for a university or college team and be different than the average student because I would be apart of something bigger then myself, and I got it.
To this day I pay the price. I look in the mirror everyday, grabbing parts of my body I hate and am disgusted with myself to my core because I am not thinner then I was the day before.
My passion for track and field, my extra-competitive drive, and perfectionism ended up giving me nothing but a terrible self esteem, a bad relationship with food and sounding like a broken record to everyone around me, because “I just need to lose (insert # of pounds depending on the week) for track”.