I'm going to focus on something a little bit more serious today. It's national Fat Talk Free Week and I'm apart of a student-run group on campus called Reflections. We dedicate our time towards spreading awareness about eating disorders and promoting positive body image across campus.
The reason why I'm bringing this up here is because runners and all other athletes are not immune to "fat talk" and eating disorders. If anything, we have a heightened awareness of what we put into our bodies, how our bodies look, and how our bodies perform.
I, personally, am in a really good place with my own body. I didn't start to run to lose weight, like many others. However, one thing that did affect me was that I was in shock at how much I was eating when I started running. I started to run because I wanted to become a better runner and race various distances. Still, I was not aware of "runger" (run-hunger) and it quickly caught up to me. I started to become very wary of how much I was eating. It took me awhile to adjust my diet accordingly, but now I know how to fuel my body adequately so I can perform optimally. When I run more, I eat more. When I don't run as much, I eat less.
On the other hand, it's not that simple for others. Food and exercise for some consumes their thoughts to the point where it negatively affects their every day lives. Aside from the most commonly talked about eating disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia, there are others not so well-known that are ignored and disguised as an excuse for living an extremely "healthy" lifestyle. Orthoexia Nervosa is a disorder where healthy eating becomes an obsession and sufferers reject certain foods deemed as "unhealthy." Exercise Bulimia is where individuals feel compelled to exercise everyday to burn off calories consumed. This is very similar to the notion of "exercise guilt" that we often hear people talking about.
What I'm getting at is it doesn't matter what size you are. If you run, then you are a runner. You are a runner no matter how fast or how slow you are. It doesn't matter if you run or if you run-walk. Fuel your body, treat it well. As a runner, nothing is more important than "Loving Your Body." It'll thank you and help you reach your goals.
So I urge you to change the conversation about "fat talk" this week, month, year, even for the rest of your life. Saying "I feel fat in these jeans" or "You look so thin in that dress" are examples of "fat talk" that we should avoid. Shift the topic of conversation away from our bodies to other more important things such as personal accomplishments, upcoming travels, and things that simply excite us in daily life. Eliminating "fat talk" one person at a time makes all the difference.
Love Your Body (LYB),