Body Acceptance, Eating Disorder, Exercise, Recovery

Warrior Dash vs. Recovery Warrior

Be your own warrior: 
Strong enough to effect and defend positive change
in your life

******

Over the weekend I completed the Warrior Dash with my husband and two friends.  It was definitely quite the feat for me, as I did not do any serious preparation or training due to the exercise restrictions still in place to help further my eating disorder recovery.  See that?  The latter part of the previous sentence should have been a red flag for me but it was not.  I wanted to run in the Warrior Dash, for which I signed up last December.  I thought sure by now I would be in this great recovery place and be able to do such exercise again…but I was wrong.  Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly proud of myself for completing all the obstacles and jogging from place to place a few times, but I did it and paid a rather high cost.

Prior to the event I could feel myself teetering on the edge of slipping.  I could feel myself wanting to engage in eating disordered behaviors but I could fight it off.  However, upon completing the 3.1 mile obstacle course the eating disordered voice started to win out.  We went to the car to eat lunch following the race and I struggled because I did not want to replace the calories I just burned.  It felt like wasted effort to eat food following something like that, because without food I could lose weight.  {The warped eating disorder logic nearly jumps off the screen right now.} My brain didn’t see the true logic: my body needed the nutrients to repair muscle and replenish depleted stores of fuel.  Regardless of my internal battle I still ate the pre-planned and packed meal even though I still felt hungry upon completion.  However, I just couldn’t allow myself to eat anything else because it hadn’t been planned or worked into my daily exchanges.  I couldn’t even truly enjoy the post-event beer participants (over 21, of course) receive because in my mind that meant more calories.  My mind was completely consumed with eating disordered thoughts and it was so difficult to try to fight them.  On the way home we stopped at a gas station and my friends purchased some candy to eat.  Even though I really wanted to buy some too, I mean, I did just do one heck of a race, the eating disordered voice won and I didn’t let myself indulge.  Instead I drank my diet caffeine free soda.  Oh, so delicious. (please note the incredible amount of sarcasm)  Even dinner that night was a struggle.

The lessons I learned from all this:

  1. My dietician knows me better than I know myself right now.  God bless that woman because she puts up with a lot of crap from me and this was no exception.  Little arguments during my appointments with her and ignoring her when she expressed concern for my participation in this event.  I thought sure she was overreacting.  This race was not going to throw me for a loop.  How silly.  This was just going to be a day of fun with my husband and a few friends.  Okay, I was wrong and she was right.  She knew I would become hyper-focused on the calories burned and weight loss potential of such an event and tried to share that concern with me.  I even admitted I thought about all that but figured on race day I could control it.  After living through a day-and-a-half of warped eating disorder logic taking over my brain I will wholeheartedly admit I was wrong.
  2. I cannot participate in 5Ks, Warrior Dashes, or anything of the sort. I would like to think this is only temporary but I cannot be sure.  The competitiveness of the events doesn’t make me competitive with other people but very competitive with myself and my eating disorder.  How many calories can I burn?  How little can I eat to avoid replenishing them?  What can I do to make sure this event helps me lose weight?  All these very, very warped thoughts are my red flags that I should not be participating in events like this.
  3. Running is a big no-no.  Similar to the previous lesson, running is also off-limits for now and potentially forever.  I can’t say I am terribly broken up about it, because after injuring my hip in the Army running never really has been the same for me, but I know my eating disorder sure is sad.
  4. I want to be a RECOVERY WARRIOR. This was a serious reminder that if I want to accomplish the goals I have set for myself and achieve living my dreams I need to be recovery focused.  Having a recovery focus means avoiding all the activities that have potential to set me back or allow me to even indulge in the eating disordered world for any amount of time (no matter how small).  Being a recovery warrior means taking care of myself all the time and constantly looking out for my healthy self, not defending the eating disordered self.  My goals and dreams are too important to throw out simply because I want to burn some calories or do something I know I should not be doing (ahem: running 5Ks and warrior dashes).

  For now (or forever) I will have to say “so long, competitive race events.”
My recovery will always come first and I can’t take a chance on a setback for something that will undoubtably be fun but will also turn into a form of punishment.

Here’s to recovery and admitting my dietician was right. Cheers. 

With Body Love,
Lane

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Seriously though, if I could do this in a healthy mindset sometime I would totally do it again!

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