Molly Seidel and I have so much in common. The only thing that separates us is the time on our watches.
This summer, after a lot of hard work with my obsessive-compulsive disorder, I was diagnosed with an eating disorder. My first diagnosis (OCD) came after completing my first half Ironman. I told the doctor that it wasn’t an obsession, it was just training. He looked at me and said it was more than training. It was the inability to run a different route — the inability to miss a workout and be “okay” — the inability to cope with eating more than my recommended calories.
After a solid year of hard work, we had to discuss another significant area of concern: eating, and my relationship with food. I was a strict calorie counter, yo-yo dieter, jump on any health craze that ensured I would lose weight. I lost the ability to go out to eat with friends. I lost the ability to attend family functions like Thanksgiving and Christmas. I lost the ability to eat a piece of cake on my birthday. I would do double workouts each day and only allowed myself to eat one serving of carbohydrates.
This summer, I started working with a therapist and nutritionist who specializes in eating disorders. At that time, I was also training with a group of runners for my second full marathon. I was the leader of the back of the pack — throwing confetti and cheering on each athlete that passed. But the struggle I faced loomed inside of me before every practice. I would yell, cry, curse at myself for how I looked. I would call myself names that no person should ever hear. Then, my brother sent me the article about Molly Seidel and her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and her Eating Disorder.. I realized that the only difference between us is the times on our watches.
The only thing that separates us is the times on our watches.
It made me feel like I belonged in this community of runners. It made me feel like my mental health struggles, my eating disorder was okay.
I still struggle.
I still struggle eating in-front of people, especially other athletes, in fear they might judge what I eat with how not fast I run. I feel like my mid-size body doesn’t belong in this community, when it should. I feel like because I am mid-size people think I run to lose weight. My eating disorder, my mental health, belongs in the running community,