I started to develop a problematic relationship with food during my teens. It eventually led to an eating disorder, which lasted for a few years. Started high school restricting, graduated while binging. I’ve been drawn to extremes for as long as I can remember. When I love something, I love it hard. My running shoes can attest to that. After having remained at a healthy (but a bit heavy in my eyes) weight for a few years, in 2017 I slowly but surely started to lose weight involuntarily. I was in a very unhealthy relationship at the time and for the first time in my life I felt what it felt like to completely lose appetite.
The thought of food repelled me. When my boyfriend and I would get into fights I couldn’t eat until I knew that we were not going to break up over it. And when those occur on a daily basis, you slowly get used to eating less and less. Ironically, before that time period when I’d go through something hard, I would binge eat to cope with my emotions. Today, it’s the straight opposite. When something really hard happens in my life, eating becomes a literal chore. I have to force myself to do it.
The past year and a half, I have really noticed a change in my relationship with food. It went from being what it is supposed to be – a survival thing but also a pleasurable one – to occupying almost the entirety of my thoughts. When I finish one meal, I already envision the next. I count the hours. It has become the highlight of my days. I resent days off because I know I won’t be able to eat as much. Even during the days that I do train, in between 2-4 hours a day, (out of pure passion, ironic right?) , I get so excited because I know that my calorie intake will be significantly high. Yet I can’t help but still manage to have conflicting thoughts and a growing obsession with my figure, which is completely contrary to the reason why I do run.
It has become clear to me with time that food is filling a bottomless void inside of me. Aside from running, it is the only thing in my life that makes me feel whole. Food and running are literally my two sources of joy. And this is something I have been trying to work on but it is immensely difficult as I have been carrying this void in me for the longest time. Therapists have said to fill it with healthy things, but is running 130 km a week really all that healthy? Even if it’s trail running. I’m addicted to anything that brings me a rush. And in those moments when my headspace is on a quest to get that adrenaline kicking in, I forget about the long-term outcomes of my decisions.
I have very loving and significant relationships in my life but somehow I nonetheless feel empty at some level. Not acting out on my loneliness is a daily battle. While I am someone who loves my solitude and cherishes it a lot, I’m still human after all and I believe that relationships are what make this thing we call life meaningful. And for now, I can’t help but feel that food is the glue that binds the broken pieces of my heart together.