I grew up being a runner. Since I was 11 I was taught that runners looked and ate a certain way. As I got older it continued to be reinforced, and in high school, I began restricting my intake. This meant that my body never matured the way it was supposed to. I became a really competitive cross country and track runner which eventually helped me get a scholarship to the University of Hawaii at Manoa. This made me believe that what I was doing to my body was what I was supposed to do. I was always underfed and never had the nutrition I needed, but I did not even realize it because that’s what I was used to. When I went to college in my first year I realized that a lot of my friends on my team ate whatever they wanted and did not worry about “dieting”. My freshman year I decided to stop restricting and try out what they were doing. When I did this I finally allowed my body to mature and grow into what it was supposed to be. I was happier, healthier, and had more fun when I began to feed my body. Then my running got worse because my body was adjusting. I did not like this and I had felt disappointed in myself so I went on an even stricter diet than ever. I also began to overexercise. My energy levels were so low which meant my running career went downhill. I began to be afraid of certain foods, isolate myself, and have severe anxiety regarding food. This started the downward spiral that led me to be days from losing my life. Because I was trying so hard to be a “good runner” I almost lost everything in my life that was so special and important to me. I now realize that running was not worth almost losing my life over or trying to make my body something that it was not naturally meant to be!!
Luckily I received formal treatment, family support, and therapy. I began opening up with others, having faith, finding the strength within myself, meeting others who were struggling with the same thing, meeting people who were fully recovered. I know I have so much to look forward to and so much love surrounding me. I want to be a teacher, a friend, a daughter, sister, a mom one day, and support to others!!
Do not lose hope! It does get better and your hard work will pay off. One day this will just be something in your past that made you a stronger person. Keep your faith. Even though it was the hardest thing I have ever done, I am very thankful that I reached out and got the support I needed. It saved my life.
I am a Hispanic D1 college runner.