I have a love/hate relationship with my body. I’m sure most women out there… heck, most PEOPLE out there can relate. Some days you wake up, look at yourself and think, “Hoo-dang, I’m hot!” And other mornings, it’s more like, “Whoa there, I’m a HOT MESS!” For some of us the “hot mess” days are more frequent… maybe even constant… and maybe even a disorder.
Coming from working as a dietitian with people that have eating disorders, I’ve seen the day in and day out struggles with body image. I’ve been able to relate to my patients very well, not being able to find a single thing I like about my body on some days. In fact, working in the eating disorder world helped me to learn how to have better self-esteem and how to love my body more often than I hate it.
One thing that has really helped me to love my body is running. Even though when I started running I was doing it with a goal of weight loss, fitness, and looking better in a bikini… I soon learned that running was helping me with so much more than that. My focus turned away from the number on the scale and started to be geared towards running further, running faster, getting that PR.
I remember the first time I ran a mile without stopping. Even when I was in school when we would run the mile I would always walk a little bit of it… or a lot of it. I don’t know how I made it through gym class. At the start of my second semester at CMU, a friend and I decided to help each other eat healthier and be healthier. I was studying to be a dietitian, she was studying health fitness, and we made a great workout team. She wanted to run. I hated the idea, but I jumped on the bandwagon. Together we ran. Finally one day she challenged me to run a mile without stopping. There was no way I was going to do it, I thought. 9 laps around the indoor track without stopping? But I did it… I put one foot in front of the other and I ran my very first mile without stopping. I was so ecstatic I cried. I told my classmate who was training for a triathlon that I had done it and she was excited for me! She was an elite runner, but she was still happy of me and knew that I had something to be proud of.
It’s been 5 years since then. And I’ve gotten on and off the running bandwagon. But each time I get back on it, I am so amazed by what my body can do. Even though I don’t wake up loving my body every day, I always love my body after a run. In my humble opinion I see it one of two ways: either no body is perfect, or every body is perfect in their own way. My body is perfectly capable of doing what I need it to do, and pushing further each day to do better, go farther, run faster.