Since Runner's World created a podcast with one episode that addressed eating disorders, I decided to take a listen. While I felt compassion for the ladies interviewed, there was a lot of missing information, and, once again, the focus never fully turned to recovery or the steps of healing. In fact, I distinctly heard at least two people support the myth that you never really get over an eating disorder. When people told me this when I was in the throes of my illness, my first thought was, "Then why would anyone even try?" It's bullshit. Statistically, that's not even true. If that were the case, why would anyone put all this energy into living only marginally better than suffering in complete hell?
No, recovery is possible, but it's a process, sometimes a slow one, and it looks different for each person. You don't suddenly arrive at a perfect life. Instead, you grow and adapt and learn how to keep your commitment to recovery. You don't have to live with those oppressive thoughts nagging you every moment of the day. You can live and be present in life. Sure, you might have setbacks, but it's all part of the process. When you stumble, it doesn't mean you are still stuck in the disorder; it just means you have to learn or relearn more coping strategies.
I posted this on Twitter the other day:
Hey Runner's World, it's great that your podcast addressed eating disorders, but I'd respect you a lot more if you stop constantly bombarding your audience with weight loss tips and reinforcing unrealistic beauty standards that have zero to do with athletics.
It's a good thing that Runner's World is trying to help raise awareness about eating disorders, but I wish they would be consistent with their messages. Both this year and last year (2017 and 2016), I noticed several RW magazine covers promoting weight loss. Their cover images are very obviously airbrushed, and, like most other magazines, they seem more concerned with promoting a certain image, how someone looks over health or performance. The podcast really should have addressed more than symptoms and statistics. Too often people get stuck in their stories and forget that it's OK to discuss something other than their past.
What we really need instead of more talk about what an eating disorder looks like or new definitions of what the beauty standard is (thin, fit, strong, skinny, etc.) or what diet people should or shouldn't eat is a shift away from talking about beauty standards altogether. We need to stop defining ourselves in terms of new or old aesthetic ideals and start talking about our real values.
Except for the injury situation, things are rolling along fairly smoothly.
Happy New Year!
May your 2018 be filling with great accomplishments, good health, and much happiness.