9. September 2015 by swissfitchick
I few months back, I got a comment on a blogpost from someone stating that I am not recovered and that I suffer from exercise bulimia. That I would still binge, but that it is justified, cause I workout like a crazy mad freak.
I have a strong tendency to think about and review criticism towards me and I also tend to fall into doubts about if this person is right or not. Sometimes, when uncertainty hits too hard, I go out and talk to someone who knows me very well to get a second opinion. Most of the time though I ponder for a while and like to respond to this person in my honest and straight way. That I did.
Recovery or not – that subject is huge and I doubt that there is a clear line to be drawn as if someone is recovered or not. To state if someone is recovered from an Eating Disorder needs the knowledge of that person’s life. Means, a person who rates my state of recovery needs to know where I come from, where I have been and what I went through. I must say that I am mesmerized by the ginormous difference there is from my mindset back then and today. I realize this particularly when people ask me about fears and anxieties, or how I used to handle food or body image. I also realize it when I hear about or see people who are still suffering, and it rings a bell, like:’ Oh damn YES. I have been there. I know this so well.’ But it also shows me how far away I am from these disordered thoughts and how I clearly have to REMEMBER how this all felt like.
There is not a single doubt that I am addicted to exercise and my CrossFit workouts and that is why I follow a strict Training Plan that guides me through the week, involving everything I need to make progress and to reach my goals. I am very well aware that I would burn myself out with exercising if I hadn’t some kind of coaching. When I come to think of it, this is basically just a general pattern which you may just as well call the story of my life: Extremes.
This is a tendency that existed and still exists in my family since all times. All of us own some kind of an addictive potency, me probably being the most extreme character of all of us. I have to work for my balance day in day out, and that is why I meditate. That is why I need me time, time off and breaks where I am forced to reflect and to slow down. My energy is somewhere beyond normal and I got to be aware of where I stand and how I feel about my world at all times.
When I lose it, the addictive patterns sneak in and I turn to overtraining, disordered eating behaviors, drugs or way too much social activity. And one day I break down with a horrible relapse.
This is this side of the story and I do say and I also do believe that I am recovered. Yet I need to approach life differently from any ‘normal’ person who does not have an addictive background or a past with a 20 years disease. The Eating Disorder and the drugs are and will always be part of my life and I can not and will never ignore this fact. I regret nothing. It makes me savor life differently from when I wouldn’t have had to face all this shit. I am sure about that.
The other side is the judgement from others. There are quite a few voices out there who think that as long as I prep my meals and eat clean and do my workouts, I am not recovered. Who rate, that if I am not able to eat junk all day and gain weight and NOT care about it, I am not recovered. I STRONGLY disagree with this.
I talked to my boss about this comment and about people who distinguish normal people from not normal people and he just said:’ You know Lucie, who dictates what normal is? As for us athletes, training daily and eating clean is normal. This is the life we live and love and it is a routine, not a crazy effort we need us to force to. No one at the gym thinks the other is disordered only cause he/she is training hard and watching their food. Is laying on the couch each night and busting out a package of Oreos normal? Is drinking wine every night normal? There is not ONE normal way to live, it’s what we choose for us to be normal. And as long as this feels balanced for you and makes you happy and healthy, you do not need to worry about it.’
That totally resonated with me and I find this is such a huge point in my life. I spend tons of time at the gym with competition athletes who’s world spins around training and performance. It is their passion and their hobby. It is what they want to do and getting better is what they strive for. I am at a similar point, though being almost a master athlete, I take it with a wink and try to stay relaxed – most possibly I won’t ever compete at a big CrossFit challenge and that is totally fine. I am off that pressure and I do believe this is perfectly healthy for my mental health.
And then I spend time with my friends outside of the box who do not know CrossFit at all. Who don’t even know a thing about macronutrients. Does it matter? Not even a shitty bit. If normal or not, who the fuck cares, I am able to live in balance about 85% of the time and that is my kind of perfection in recovery. And who wants to be normal anyway? I don’t think I ever was.
So, what I told this person was, that I agree that I am addicted to exercising, yes. And I totally care how I look, oh yes, I do. I might have gained something around 10 kilos in the past 2 years, the majority of it being muscle. If this wasn’t the case, meaning, if these kilos were FAT, that would be a whole different story cause I would LOOK completely different. So yes, my look, my training and my food is still important. But there are things that are MORE important and this is when the recovery part comes in. My job and my friends go first. Always. Having a glass of wine with Besties and finishing all the urgent tasks of my daily job are a priority to a workout. I take a rest day to make these priorities, yes I do. I can go all out the next day, nothing happens.
I am a sassy tomboy and my life is very different from the lives many around me live. This has always been like this, my brother is the same, so another family pattern I follow here. The biggest step in my recovery is, that I do not care. I excluded 95% of disordered thoughts of my life and I do not give any fucks about what anyone thinks as long as I don’t hurt anyone and as long as I take care of myself. It gives me an incredible feeling of freedom and it gives me the strength and serenity to be there for others and still not losing myself in the craziness.
When do you think is someone recovered?
Is there a rule for being normal?