Tag Archives: running

Running and Competing While in Eating Disorder Recovery

In a journal entry from December 2018, I asked myself: “Can I be an athlete AND be in recovery from an eating disorder?”

The rest of the page was blank. I didn’t have an answer. And not having the answer to that was one of the reasons I checked myself back into an eating disorder treatment facility a few months later. While I didn’t know if my relationship with running and competing was disordered or enabling my eating disorder, I knew I needed to figure that out. Because the one thing I knew was that I loved running, and that my eating disorder was keeping me from it due to the string of endless injuries.

I’m now a year and a half removed from treatment. I’m running and competing. But I still ask myself that question regularly. And the answer is the most lawyerly kind of answer ever: “it depends.”

It depends on the person, it depends on the manifestation of the eating disorder, it depends on the kind of movement. Hell, it even depends on the day and the headspace you wake up in.

I don’t proclaim to have this figured out. Of all of the nuances in eating disorder recovery, I believe that navigating the relationship with running (or, the sport of your choosing) is by far the trickiest and most complex. So how have I been doing it thus far and what have I learned? 

Note: this is my experience of n=1. I’m not a healthcare provider, dietician, psychologist, etc. As they say in AA, “take what you need and leave the rest”: your situation may be entirely different. Please work with your treatment providers on what is healthy for YOU. 

Content warning: Discussion of eating disorder thoughts, body size and changes, and general food discussion. No numbers or weights.

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