Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Courage, Perseverance, and Determination

Courage, Perseverance, and Determination.  Something we as athletes know a lot about.  Every time we have a hard run or ride or swim, we strive to get through those moments.  And sometimes they seem like never ending moments.  Sometimes, when it is not a very good workout session, you can't wait to escape, to just flee from those moments and sometimes we might do everything we can to distract ourselves but other times we bite down and perserve over our tough day.  Life is sort of like that sometimes, in good times and bad ones.  We don't talk about as much in our blogs, but some bloggers are pretty amazing and courageous, and not just in an athletic way.  In my opinion, Angela over at MyPinkyToes is one of those ladies.  I have really enjoyed reading her blog and understanding her journey.  I think we have a lot to learn from this lady.  I hope you  read on and learn, as I have.  And let her know, as I hope I have, how amazing she really is!

Hi pretties! My name is Angela, I am 25 years old, and I blog at MyPinkyToes. I was honored when Stephanie asked me to write a guest post for her...she is an amazing girl!

I'd like to chat a little bit about my relationship with food. Food and me have not always been best friends. (This is still true for some foods...ahem, condiments.) When I was younger it wasn't about the calories or grams of fat...I was just picky. I can think of a particular Thanksgiving when I refused to eat anything except oatmeal. That was me...the girl eating oatmeal at Thanksgiving dinner. I completely avoided all school lunches, so I lived off peanut butter and fluff (heavier on the fluff) sandwiches for six years. 
While I avoided foods like turkey, mashed potatoes, and scandalous looking meat loaf, you could always find me in the cookie or candy aisles of a grocery store begging my mother for something sweet to eat. You could also find me hanging out at my favorite Mexican restaurant where the servers knew me by name...and knew to have several baskets of tortilla chips ready and on hand.

I’d also like to chat a little bit about my relationship with fitness. I’ve always been a very active girl, whether it was acrobats, dance, basketball, volleyball, or diving. You could always find me doing something. I love to move, and I continue to set new “moving” goals for myself. My newest goal? To run my very first marathon.

Now how I was able to keep moving in my younger days being fueled solely by sugar and salsa…that’s a mystery.

As I got older, the list of foods I would eat became smaller and smaller, and this time it was more about the calories and the number on the scale. Throughout high school and college I dealt with many eating disorder behaviors...restricting, counting calories, binging, over exercising, restricting, counting calories, binging, purging...the story is all too familiar.

Food made me feel bad about myself. 
Food and me became was a means of self destruction.

I was beyond fortunate to be able to go to inpatient treatment for bulimia when I was 20 years old. While I thrived in my recovery, I was still weird about food! While I was becoming less concerned with calories and grams of fat, I still was afraid of foods I thought I didn't like. I relied on oatmeal as the backbone of every breakfast, and although oatmeal is a very good option for the first meal of the day, I was guided to try new foods. 

About a week into treatment I was feeling great, happy, and brave, so I decided to try sausage for breakfast. A sausage patty. My plate came, and guess what was sitting on my plate?

A sausage link. 


I didn't want that...a patty was safe...a link? A link was scary.

That day was a turning point for me, and looking back now I can see that is was a critical moment for my recovery. I thought I was defeated. I thought a sausage link had ruined all my chances of getting better.
But I ate it. And I didn't die.
I have realized that a lot of foods I avoided or thought I didn't like or was afraid of were foods that I had not even tried! 

And now, as I am closer and closer to turning 26, my list if un-scary foods is getting larger and larger. My plate at Thanksgiving? You will see a plate piled with potatoes, corn, green beans, and a little bit of turkey. Meat loaf? Sure (as long as the recipe doesn't call for ketchup!) Tuna? Well, I tried it for the first time last week...not so much for me...but at least I tried it! Mushrooms, jalapenos...I love them!

Not only did food and me become friends, we also became teammates. I know now that there is no way I can run my first marathon without fueling my body. I need food to live. I need food to fuel. I need food to thrive.

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