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Recovering from an Eating Disorder: Take Flight or Prepare to Stand By

Eating Disorder recovery requires enduranceI always have always been able to run long distances. It’s something I used to hate, but have actually learned to love. The key to running distance, is you have to keep a good pace. You can’t try to run really hard, as you will tire too fast, you can’t run really slow or you will lag behind or get bored. Once a runner gets in  his or her zone, they are actually able to stay there, and this is what I believe is called endurance.
I truly think the same is for somebody in recovery from any addiction or quite frankly just a not so good point in your life. When you decide to lace up your shoes, instead of just talking about it, is when you know this is serious. This is no skip, no frolic in the forest, no 50 yard dash, no false starts. This is the real thing, and quite honestly I am here to tell you once you start, and I mean really start, no matter how much you want to, you can never turn back.
That can be really scary for a lot of people. To actually commit to the race. The race that if run correctly can take you to places beyond your belief.  That’s why I always ended up going nowhere, is because for a really long time I wasn’t serious about running. I was not even walking or crawling for that matter…I wanted to run, but I had lost  the use of both my legs.
It’s easy to stand still, and it’s even easier to fall back. There is no finish line in the past, and you are not going to succeed at anything by taking constant steps in that direction.  I know from experience, that you also are not going to get anywhere if every time you start to get a little tired, you sit down and just plain give up.
Recovery takes “endurance” it takes getting in your zone and not letting anything stand in your way.
People ask me all the time how I keep my head above water and I will tell you one all boils down to consistency. I am consistent with being in a good place, and although I may get tired and have to chug some water , or take a couple of deep breaths, or even slow it down a bit, I never turn back, and I never stop running.
I knew when I was ready to get better that I had to commit, I knew I had to face every single fear, every single obstacle, every single hurdle that was standing in my way. I knew I had to take “try” out of my vocabulary, and replace it with “do”.  I knew I had to stop seeing myself as a damn Nike commercial, and actually become that Nike commercial.
Starting something is easy, keeping it up is the hard part.
At first its exciting. You are all pumped up, your muscles are fresh, your mind is sharp, your breath is steady. That gun goes off in our head, and what happens so often is we start running way too fast, only to tire very quickly. We realize..”hey wait a second..I don’t like this very much..this is harder than I thought..I think I’ll just stop running and slowly walk on back to my miserable little life.”  Perhaps maybe you don’t even do that and just plop yourself down in the middle of the track while everybody else in the world continues to run by you.
For seventeen years I would do exactly those two things, and after awhile the only thing I was tired at was failing.
When I finally had had enough, I quickly realized the key to my success was going to be finding my “pace”, finding my zone.
I had to find that place where I wasn’t too comfortable and I wasn’t too tired.
It’s tough as and believe me sometimes I really want to just take a little break. However, I know just one little break might just be enough to either slow me down considerably or make me stop running all together. This is a chance I am not willing to take, as I do not want to have to hitch a ride back to Hell.
No matter how tough it gets, and believe me it will, you have to push through it. Believe me at first it’s the hardest as your mind is not used to flexing. It will cramp, it will get tired, it will feel withered and deflated. However after time, after you just keep running, your mind starts to grow stronger. It starts to feel powerful, it starts to feel determined, it gets in its zone.
Endurance, Consistency, and Determination. Those three things are all required in order for you to find that zone.
My only advice, is to not give up, to not sit down, and to never ever give up.
Whenever I start to feel tired, I think of that scene in “Chariots of Fire”, where they are all running on the Beach. The music combined with just the purity of those athletes who desire nothing less than to feel that sense of freedom underneath the soles of their feet. I honestly feel that man does not run for the win, he runs for the want.
There is actually no finish line when it comes to recovery. There isn’t going to be a point where you just stop,  splash some gatorade on your face, collect a medal, and are done. Nope, take it from an experienced runner, that this is a race is one you will run for the rest of your life.  However, that being said, once you do find your mojo, your rhythm, your pace and your zone, I promise you will never ever ever wanna stop!

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