Eating disorder history & running

Hey everyone,

In my late teens and early twenties I had a few problems with eating in general. I'm now in good health. I know a chief reason I run is to keep my weight down, as I guess I feel heavy after years of being skinny. However, I eat a lot (far more now that I am doing exercise - so I must be getting lots of vitamins and minerals!) and all the women's stuff appears to be working fine...

So is this unhealthy? My family are against me doing any form of exercise regularly.

It would be good to hear your thoughts!

Comments

  • sophia
    the only danger is that you will get obsessed with running
    well-most of us are--but i mean unhealthily obsessed-and that in turn might lead to obsessive eating habits again


    but regular exercise is a GOOD thing
    quite a few on here either have or had eating disorders
  • OK thanks hippo.

    Though I am worried that you say quite a few "have...eating disorders". I am running now because I am in recovery. To everyone who is underweight, especially amenorrhaeic females: DO NOT CONTINUE RUNNING. Your bones will be shrinking by the second...Just because you don't see it doesn't mean iots not happening.

    Does anyone else on have feelings on this? I need back-up against my anti-exercise family who think I am mad!
  • Sophia
    it sounds as though you are already aware ofthe potential problems
    thats half the battle

    Many people with Eds wont admit the fact
  • I think Benz is spot on - as long as you don't get obsessive then it's a good thing.

    Maybe this is what your family are worried about too?
  • Maybe you could select a running schedule (plenty on RW or in magazines/books) and show it to your family....and commit to stick to it....no more than the scheduled activity and at the recommended paces (easy/steady/tempo etc.)

    That might provide them with some reassurance that you are approaching running as healthy exercise, not an alternative way to "get rid of calories" (err, not sure I've expressed that well...hopefully you understand what I mean)
  • Yeah thanks Heckenhocker - that's a really good idea!

    Bit of a joke me doing too much running at the moment - 40mins into my nice long Sunday run and my right foot gets a twinge and had to walk back! Oh well...Sure there's no harm in a nice walk in the country every now and then! Hope it clears up with a bit of rest!

  • Hi,

    I know no one has been on this thread for a couple of weeks, but read it a while back and didn;t get chance to post and really wanted to tell you my experience.

    Sophia, I have suffered with an eating disorder (on and off) for 13 years and I have to say that since I took up running I have never felt so good!

    I have been in recovery for a good year now, and I really can put my hand on my heart and say running has played a big part in that.

    I feel more positive about my shape, and I am fit, toned and healthy rather than lethargic and skinny! I take more notice of what my body needs in terms of nutrients, and I don't punish myself with food the way I used to.

    I no longer think that carbs are evil, or that if I eat any chocolate I will put on a stone...I know I am looking after my body in all ways and therefore I am relaxed around food and eat what I want (and best of all enjoy it, and am scoial with it, in a way I never thought I could be).

    I would say though, please don't run as a way of keeping an already under weight body too thin (assuming that is where you are right now). You have to eat and get your energy up to be a good runner. Get yourself right, and be patient...it will be ok, and believe me you feel so much better!

    I used to think that I wasn't good enough unless someone was saying I was too thin, or commenting on how tired I looked...It meant I was succeeding. Now I look back and I mourn the loss of all those days that I lost because I was too tired, too depressed and too unconfident to enjoy life. Running has changed me. I am a healthy weight and I am toned with muscle definition...It feels great!

  • Dear Bunglebird

    Your post was totally inspiring - thanks
    Viv
  • Bunglebird,

    Very moving thread, you've put into words how am sure many people feel,
    thanks.
  • I am a former ED sufferer. Running can be addictive, but the positives are it makes me hungry, and I can eat without feeling (too) guilty because I know I need fuel to run properly, so my diet has improved as a result. Unfortunately ammonorrhea is still aproblem for me.
  • I have just been diagnosed with amenorrhea and anemia.. My doctor has put me on the pill and given me 400mg of iron (got another name but can't spell it)

    She hasn't told me to stop running (at present I run anything from 30-40 miles a week, plus gym) My main reason for my exercise is because I enjoy it and get bored really easily. Yet I have had a few issues in the past with food, yet since I have started to run I've felt loads better in myself and thought I was being healthy, yet discovered last week that I'm not.

    I wouldn't say I was underweight though, I'm about 5'7 and weight just under 9 stone.

    I am very concerned at the moment especially regarding the amenorrhea, is the pill the best way to go with this or should I cut back on my training. I have just been diagnosed with amenorrhea and anemia.. My doctor has put me on the pill and given me 400mg of iron (got another name but can't spell it)

    She hasn't told me to stop running (at present I run anything from 30-40 miles a week, plus gym) My main reason for my exercise is because I enjoy it and get bored really easily. Yet I have had a few issues in the past with food, yet since I have started to run I've felt loads better in myself and thought I was being healthy, yet discovered last week that I'm not.

    I wouldn't say I was underweight though, I'm about 5'7 and weight just under 9 stone.

    I am very concerned at the moment especially regarding the amenorrhea, is the pill the best way to go with this or should I cut back on my training.
  • opps didn't think I'd written that much, it's printed it twice?
  • Typed it agin:

    I have just been diagnosed with amenorrhea and anemia.. My doctor has put me on the pill and given me 400mg of iron (got another name but can't spell it)

    She hasn't told me to stop running (at present I run anything from 30-40 miles a week, plus gym) My main reason for my exercise is because I enjoy it and get bored really easily. Yet I have had a few issues in the past with food, yet since I have started to run I've felt loads better in myself and thought I was being healthy, yet discovered last week that I'm not.

    I wouldn't say I was underweight though, I'm about 5'7 and weight just under 9 stone.

    I am very concerned at the moment especially regarding the amenorrhea, is the pill the best way to go with this or should I cut back on my training
  • Hi roxy, how is your back and buttock area? I thought you were resting this week anyway due to this.
  • Dear Roxy Bird

    If you can tolerate the pill, this is probably the best option (I assume you are relatively young and not yet menopausal). The pill will help you to preserve the bone density you have and improve your readings at the next scan.

    Viv
  • Hiya Jane, I was going to rest yesterday yet I ended up in the gym, did a load of cross training and just did what I could with my leg , had a good stretch and today I woke up and the pain has gone??? Very happy, yet still going to take it easy today, don't want to push it. Might do a gentle few miles run today.

    Viv - yeah I don't mind being on the pill, I have been on it for the last 10 years and came off of it as I wanted to have a break. I am getting tested again in about 3 weeks so will se if I have improved.
  • roxy do you exercise every day?
  • ummm pretty much, I have at least one rest day a week though as I need it. I sometimes (well most days) train twice, I'll run and then gym, swim or cycle or sometimes run twice.

    Although I have cut back since I found out the results from the doctor last week, scared me a bit and also of course my leg hurts too much.

    Yet I've found doing cross training in the gym has helped my leg loosen up alot. I'm not running on it though, want to try and be ok for my race next wednesday.
  • Hmmmm how would you feel about taking 2 days rest?
  • I do very occasionally, not very often. I'm off on holiday for two weeks soon, so that will be a good rest. Yet I will take a running kit with me and there is a massive pool. Yet won;t be training like I do as I'll be too busy sunbathing :o)
  • Sophia - I'm a former ED sufferer (6 months inpatient & lots of outpatient, discharged 4 yrs ago).
    It might be worth checking with doc if you've been very underweight or had really mucked-up elecrolytes, 'cos they can affect your heart.
    However, if you are healthy now, I can't see you being banned for life from excersise!
    I'd be particularaly cautious if you have a history of excessive excercising though - I do, & have had to struggle a lot to prove to myself & people around me that I could run without it being another form of self-harm. I had to spend a yr after leaving hospital without excersising much at all, & i think it's only recently when I had to take a few months off due to injury that I've really laid that ghost to rest.
    That said, these days running is a huge positive factor in keeping me from relapsing.
    I know I need to eat well (& that means enough & a balanced diet) to run well.
    I've met some really good friends through running, & learned to respect my body much more - i know I need to look after it to keep running long-term. I feel much happier inside my skin because i know i can do interesting & fun things with it, even if I'm not exactly the 'perfect' shape.
    Having schedules so you can show you aren't overdoing things (you don't need to stick to them to the letter, just don't go over the total miles for the week, otherwise not 'missing' a day can be damaging in itself), sounds like a very good idea. Also, maybe find some 'goal' races so you aren't training at the same intensity all yr but have planned hard & easy weeks / months?
    I'd really recommend joining a running club too, they can help a lot to support you to train appropriately, but being runners they will be better able to see what's 'healthy dedication' to a goal & what's unreasonable.
    Good luck!
  • Roxy bird - 5'7 and under 9 stone? Personally I'd say that's very light (although I am 5'7 and significantly more than 9 stone!)

    I'd say a reasonable weight for someone 5'7 is around 9st 8lb - 10st 10lb. What dress size are you? At 5'7 I'd say the mimimum would be a size 10.
  • I'm a dress size 10 on my bottom half and 8 on my top. I have a more sporty figure though, I'm not skinny.
  • roxy, to recover properly from injuries you need to take extra rest days. You say your buttock and legs are okay to x-train, but I thought you took painkillers and they weren't helping. Maybe the physio you saw yesterday did help after all if you are feelng good enough to go to the gym. Personally I am worried you are ignoring injury and continuing to exercise because its so much apart of your life you can't miss it for a couple of days. I hope I don't sound to harsh.

  • It's hard to tell as I've never met you, but this does seem to be very small for someone of your height, especially as you say you eat lots. (I have a friend who has an eating disorder, and her idea of eating lots, is not the same as mine).

    For the exercise you are doing, you should be eating pretty much anything you like. And half a stone or so weight gain would certainly not do you any harm, and may even improve your fitness as you gain more muscle, and therefore more power. Maybe you are eating lots, but not the right things?

    I always knew when my friend wasn't eating properly as it would show in her skin and hair. Maybe you could check that this is okay, and if it is, explain to your family that you are healthy, and the signs that you are.

    Other than that, you can only keep reassuring them - and remember that they only do this because they love you dearly.
  • I also agree with Jane - if you are in pain - rest. It's your body telling you you need it.

    (And rest after exercise actually helps you get fitter...)
  • I never said I ate lots?? I just said I'm not skinny, which I'm not.

    I do try and eat as much as I can though as I know I don't eat enough, but I do find it physically hard to eat more than I do as I get bloated so easily, I am trying to eat more peanuts and little snacks that are good for me and are high in calories yet don't bloat me. Yet I always make sure I have a very big breakfast, you should see the size of my breakfast bowl in the morning! And I always eat 3 meals a day.

    The physio didn't do anything, I find with my leg/buttock injury rest actaully makes it worse, it just get's really stiff. I've just been doing light cross training and stretching my leg (no running), which I have found has helped ease the pain and I'm not taking pain killers anymore for it.

  • roxy, do other people think you are skinny?
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