Eating disorders

After being overweight as a child I suffered from bullimia from the age of 12 until finally, with professional help, overcoming it approx 5 years ago. I found running the most important aspect of that recovery - I can allow myself to eat after a hard run and can't train without eating. However I, like many runners am constantly trying to keep to a very low body weight (in my case just on or below 8 stone for a 5 ft 6in frame). Does any other runner feel that running is vital in haulting a eating disorder but there is still constant pressure within running to keep so thin?


  • that really does seem an incredibley low weight to height ratio even if you do run distance & even though I am no expert at all I would imagine as muscle weighs more than fat its about how your body performs & not what weight you are.....but someone will probably tell me I am wrong
  • I could not care less about my running weight although being honest I would rather put a bit more on and the only way I find I am able to do that is by training and building muscle.
    Being as naturally thin myself, currently 9st 3 for someone who is 5ft 9

    I personally think that you have an exceptionally low weight expecially if you are male, and probably have very low fat, body water as i know that I do

  • Having had eating disorders all my life I sort of understand your thinking. Running regularly does really help me stop worrying so much about what I eat. Although in your case it seems like your not completely over it since you seem to still obsess a bit about weight, food and exercise. But you seem to be on the right way.

    True many runners worry about weight, overweight people do it for natural reasons, but it is very common for runners to have eating disorders and you need to stop comparing yourself to them.

    8 stone IS too little for your weight and it will make you a bad runner as you will not have enough energy. I weigh too little and in longer runs I run out of energy and I easily pick up colds going around especially after a marathon, also your bone density will be lower and you will seriously risk getting stress fractures.

    If you are overweight losing a bit will make you faster but not by much, think studies have shown that weight lost to your body only saves you seconds. The only place weight really, really matters is how much weight you have on your feet, i.e. racer shoes, trainers or army steel toe cap boots etc etc.

  • Hey Puffin,

    Well done on overcoming the worst of your ED. Like you I was a 12-year-old bulimic... now 31 and have suffered on and off ever since, but further along the recovery path than I've ever been. And like you, running was a big part in that... but I don't think it ever quite leaves you if you know what I mean (Zaba is spot on). What you say about keeping your weight down is all too familiar, but the 'pressure' isn't from anyone but ourselves.

    8st is rather low for a height of 5'6" - you're the same as me and I'm only 5'2"! I have recently been half a stone lighter though, and one of the hardest things I've ever done is allow myself to gain a few pounds (and accept the compliment when people tell me I look healthier for it!). The main driver for me was wanting a marathon PB, and I got it - so when the urge to restrict my intake gets too much, I keep reminding myself that I'm feeling fit and don't want to lose that.

    Try to shift the focus from your weight to how you feel, and to shift your aims from staying thin to running strong. Good luck - and to Zaba too  image

  • I definitely agree with MadameO re it never quite leaving you, I too suffered from an eating disorder and found running a massive comfort and I would class myself as recovered but it is always still there at the back of my mind.

    I've always wanted to put on weight but been scared of putting on the "wrong" kind of weight, I've started doing weights and trying to build myself up that way and slowly I'm getting there.  I still worry about what I eat but know I have to eat (even if I don't want to) in order to be able to train.  I have what I feel is a healthy balanced diet and don't think I've ever felt this good about myself - which is surprising as I'm injured and haven't been able to run since Feb but doing weights is giving me a real boost as without the running I'm actually starting to build some muscle!!!

    I agree with Zaba on the bone density thing, I have a stress fracture and my doctor is referring me for a bone density test - I've started taking calcium supplements - not sure if this will make a massive difference but am sure it won't do any harm.

    I also think your weight is a bit low, I'm 5ft4 and weigh just over 8st - reaching 8st was a massive achievement as several years ago the thought of even being 7st petrified me!!!

  • Thanks MadameO image

    No it probably never leaves you completely....will know in maybe 20-40 years I'll let you know then image

    I still think about food and weight in ways normal people don't alhough my weight now is fairly health and people don't realise I have/had problems. Thing is also I love food weirdly enough.

    But I still regularly skip meals although not in a conscious "I will get thin way" anymore but rather I don't feel hunger anymore and can't be bother way. But in the back of my head I am worried that this is only my denial talking...maybe it is maybe it isn't image

    So from above you can see that even though food and weight doesn't really pose a problem at present my thoughts about food and behaviour towards it will never be perfect.

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