Taking control of my eating problems
Last year I had one of those eureka moments. I decided to start running. Because I wanted to prove to myself that my mental health problems hadn’t beaten me.
For a decade I’ve battled with anxiety and depression, and two years ago developed an eating problem. My social life revolved around exercising and gym classes and more often than not I avoided eating meals of unknown calories. I was starving my body of the nourishment and the fun it deserved, which was in turn feeding my mental health problems.
Last year I hit a low and realised that I needed to ask for help. I started CBT and quickly discovered the reason behind my problems — having no real hobbies I’d cut myself off from all the things I once enjoyed.
I wanted to start exercising again, but this time safely and be in control. I gave my body a rest, built up my strength and when I was feeling healthy I started to run and enjoy running. I joined a running club and have never looked back. Exercising with other people has helped me take control of my exercise addiction. It became apparent that I could be fit and healthy without punishing myself through exercising or restrictive eating.
Instead of obsessing constantly about my calorie intake and letting my mood and thoughts be determined by this, I‘ve realised the importance of having a balanced life – putting my health, body and happiness first. Now I can focus on how many miles I’ve run while making sure my body’s getting the right food and energy to run the distance – but most importantly, I’m also having fun with my friends and family. Mixing socialising with exercise has put me back in control without letting obsession creep back in.
Running has totally shifted my mind-set. Although there have been a few struggles on the way, I am starting to see my body in a positive light. My legs aren’t as slim as I once wanted, but they sure are strong enough to get me up some steep hills, around a 10km course and hopefully a 13.1 mile race in just a couple of months.
Setting myself goals has given me a sense of purpose, a release of endorphins and new found confidence that I’ve lacked for 26 years.
Read Annabel’s blog.