Yesterday I was getting dinner on campus and had to swipe my ID card to checkout. The guy running the cash register, who is quite friendly, was talking to the girl in front of me as she swiped her ID. She said “I’m trying to eat healthier,” since I guess he is used to seeing her checkout with different, supposedly less healthy, items. His response was “I’m on a seafood diet!” Then it was my turn to swipe, so I said “I wish I could be on a seafood diet, but they don’t serve any here.” His response was “No a see food diet, get it? I SEE the food I EAT the food.” My response was of utter pleasure as I exclaimed “YES that is so great!” My friends, that is exactly how it should be! This juxtaposed with my experience at lunch earlier in the day, reminded me of some important things. I ran into someone I know from orchestra at lunch and he asked as I was going down the salad bar line, “Oh eating healthier?” To which I responded in air quotes “Yeah healthier” because I had no clue how to respond to that. For me that is such a loaded question! Compared to what I was eating a year ago yes, it is a heck of a lot healthier. But based on what many people consider healthy I am not eating healthier. I eat more sweets and just more food in general than I was. The point I am trying to make by comparing these experiences is that people around us make it seem like being healthy is the best thing. It is held up and put on a pedestal. All hail the healthy. When in reality healthy eating means eating a balanced diet that listens to what your body needs. Eating only salad every day is NOT healthy. Never eating dessert is NOT healthy. Remember what the dining hall guy said: SEE FOOD is the best diet!
I am trying to live a healthy life, but it is so different from what I thought living a healthy lifestyle meant. For me living a healthy life is a balance of many things. Studying hard, but not too much. Playing cello, but not too much. Writings blogs, but not too much. Exercising, but not too much. Eating what I want, but not too much. Everything in moderation. I have a more balanced life now than I probably ever did in high school. I have reassessed my priorities since then, and my mental health is high on the list. It didn’t even exist on my list until senior year, only once I realized I was mentally ill. I find I am taking more time for myself. Yes, there is always more homework that could be done. But doing homework in all my free time will not make me happy. Taking time to relax is also important. And I find it helps me to be more productive overall. I enjoy writing blogs and posting pictures on my @endedblog Instagram, but I also don’t want it to take over my life. ED should not control my life and neither should social media. I am finding an important balance.
For this reason, I feel like I am at a place where I can try and exercise some more again. When I first arrived at college I basically stopped exercising in the normal gym sense because I was walking everywhere and wasn’t sure how that would affect my weight. A couple weeks into school, I started going to yoga classes twice a week, which I find to be really good for me both physically and mentally. Now I am at the point where I feel like I can try and implement some more exercise, and my dietician agrees given I have maintained weight. I would like to try and get back into running maybe, or who knows I could find something else I like. I used the elliptical at the gym the other day, which was cool. Whatever exercise I do, I know it should not be about weight control or compensating for what I am eating. It should just be a good way for me to stay fit, no ED attached. I should be working out only if/when I want to.
I have gone through phases in recovery where I want to exercise more and less. Often it depends on how much time I have. Right now I do have time to be able to exercise. I know I should not overdo it and to listen to my body. Because I am at the place in recovery where I want to be normal, both when eating and with exercise, this feels like the right time for me to head on over to the Rec Center on campus. I want exercise to be a normalized thing for me. I want eating to be a normalized thing for me. It does not just happen, but gradually I can make it so. By slowly implementing exercise back into my life I can have a much healthier relationship with it. Same goes for food, as I have been doing over the course of my recovery process, and I continue to do to this day. Everything in moderation. Being an overachieving perfectionist is what got me into this mess, now taking a step back and balancing all aspects of my life is what will help me EnD ED.
Pictures via Pinterest