swim

Lake Effect Series: Bulimia and Swimming

Note from Hollie: I cannot believe there is less then a month to go until the Lake Effect Half Marathon.  This story is from someone who I know personally and it has touched me so much.  The first time I read this post I cried.  Thank you for sharing friend.  If you would like to submit your story please don’t hesitate to email me, I am looking for about 10 more.  Please don’t hesitate to donate to my fundraising campaign.  My goal today is to reach 1600 dollars (about 140 until that point).  It means a lot to me when you do, or if you share the page with someone else.  Sharing a story, my fundraising page, or raising awareness are all so helpful.  Thank you everyone for your support.   I know I have two various campaigns going on right now but this is by far the most important to me.  I have enjoyed how many people have donated, shared and how many lives this series of posts is touching.  I cannot believe how big it is becoming! 

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Submitted by anonymous 

I had body image issues for as long as I can remember. For example, when I was in gymnastics: I was probably 6 or 7 the day I moved up from a white belt (belts symbolized your level) to a red belt and I remember being self-conscious when the lady was measuring out the elastic band to put around my waist. I was so upset, secretly, that my new red belt was bigger than my white belt. In my family food and weight has always been a weird topic. My parents would openly make rude remarks in front of us about fat people, or use them as an example of what we would look like if we didn’t eat healthy. My mom only wanted us to be healthy but it came across in a very negative way to me as a child and being fat seemed like the most shameful thing I could do. I started sneaking into my parents’ bathroom to weigh myself by the time I was 10.

My eating disorder began gradually in 8th grade and the summer before my freshman year of high school. I was a competitive swimmer and ever since I began, I had a lot of pressure on me to “reach my potential” and eventually get college scholarships. I felt so much pressure and stress to perform the way I was expected to, especially once I started swimming for the high school team and was the one expected to win all my races and save all the relays. Somehow, in my head I based my worth off my weight and became obsessed with getting thinner, convincing myself that I’d be faster. By that fall of my freshman year I was only eating an apple or a clif bar most days – while swimming 2 practices a day, a cross training/running PE class, and excessive exercise on my own when I got home at night. My weight never dropped low enough to be concerning and I hid my eating habits very well. Even when I was completely fatigued and exhausted, I always managed to push myself enough to scrape by – although I got frequent lectures about how I wasn’t swimming fast enough or training right. A lot of times I hid my physical exhaustion in my let’s-make-coach-mad antics. I was a troublemaker in the pool. Despite my issues and terrible self-esteem, I wasn’t miserable. In fact I had a false sense of pride – I was still the fastest swimmer and a straight-A student and I didn’t even need food to do it! But I still hated how “fat” I was and would constantly beat myself up over everything I did.

I couldn’t keep up this starvation act for long. In the springtime of my freshman year after passing out in the shower one morning, I was scared enough to eat a bit more. This turned into binging about once a week. But I started to gain weight. I had always sworn to myself that I would NEVER stoop low enough to vomit, but it was inevitable.

The first time I tried to make myself throw up was after I had pasta for dinner one night during a rare family dinner. I tried but had no luck. But once I had broken down that mental barrier, there was no stopping me and within a few weeks I was able to make myself throw up easily. By summertime I had full-blown bulimia. There were some days I’d eat and throw up 6 times in a row before heading to a workout. My sophomore year and the following summer were like this, still with periods where I’d just restrict my food to nothing. This all wreaked havoc on my swim practices and my times got slower, after that summer, not faster.

Junior year, I went back to being homeschooled. This meant I had tons of time and tons of food. Disaster. After morning practice I’d come home and eat and throw up. Sometimes once would be enough; sometimes it would happen over and over again. I kept gaining weight, which didn’t go unnoticed – especially when you’re a competitive swimmer. The missing food didn’t go unnoticed either. Eventually at some point my mother sent me to a nutritionist at the gym. I decided to come clean about my eating habits. I can’t remember exactly why – I was by no means willing to stop at that point. But long story short, eventually I got set up with a nutritionist and therapist in the closest city. That was one of the worst seasons of my life. My mom and I fought so much over this issue. I was going to appointments, but I didn’t like them at all. In the end the therapist basically told me to stop coming because we were just wasting money and time. I was having nothing to do with it (and no way I was able to follow a meal plan). The traditional eating disorder recovery approach was NOT going to work with me. (granted, I didn’t truly give it an honest effort. But at 15 or 16 this was my impression.)

Things got worse and at one point in which I realized I needed to stop hating myself and stop hurting myself. I realized I could never be the person I wanted to be if bulimia defined my life. The real kick in the butt came one night though. It was late at night and I started having chest pains, feeling faint, shaking uncontrollably, and was beginning to black out. I was desperate enough that I tried to get up and go downstairs to find my mom, but I couldn’t even walk down the hall. I was terrified. I may have hated myself, but deep down I cared enough about myself that this was not okay! Ruining my health and living my life in a self-obsessed bubble was NOT going to get me anywhere worth going. I decided to “fake it till I make it.” I basically pretended to be a confident person who loved herself and her body. Whenever I wanted to mentally beat myself up I would just stop and not let it happen. Slowly but surely without even realizing it my pretending turned into reality.

The food side of things was a bit harder, seeing as that was more like a physical addiction to me. Even when I stopped feeling super guilty every time I ate, my body had a hard time keeping down and digesting food. So then I would just NOT eat, but the deprivation would trigger such an intense desire for food that I would end up binging. Sometimes I purged, sometimes I didn’t. I sure didn’t like gaining weight from that though. I found a book that really resonated with me – it’s called Brain Over Binge and like me, the author didn’t find traditional therapy to be very effective. Instead, she looked at her bulimia from a physical standpoint where FOOD actually IS the issue (binging becomes an addiction). I was so glad to have read this book.  Gradually, my situation with food got better. I was over feeling guilty, so I just needed time for my body to get used to being fed consistently.

It’s not as if I’ve never worried about my weight or had poor body image since then, but it in no way shape or form dominates my thoughts anymore. I became more focused on what my body can DO versus what it looks like. I’m more proud of my athletic accomplishments than I ever will be about any weight loss. And I love my body enough to treat it well and want to feed it with appropriate nutrition to support my activities. I was very into crossfit and bootcamp classes late in high school and I started to appreciate my abilities rather than my looks.

I no longer swim. I started to swim in my freshman year of college, but I found myself mentally reverting back to old habits and thought processes. My eating disorder past is just too entwined with swimming. Now I’m in love with a new sport – rugby! If there’s any sport that is completely discourages eating disorders and thinness, rugby is it. I am incredibly lucky to be at a point where an eating disorder no longer dictates my life and I can focus on my friends and family, school, and rugby. My relationship with my mom was once extremely rocky and fragile, but now we’re very close and don’t fight anymore. We never talk about my eating disorder though. I hope that everyone struggling with an eating disorder can find their own path to recovery. Thanks Hollie for everything you’re doing!

Time Keeps on Ticking…

I always enjoy learning more about bloggers whether it’s their personal life, a random story or question and answer post.  Though to be honest I still could care less what your favorite color is…I will probably forget two seconds after commenting.

Though the mention of swimming on this blog seems like a life time ago, there was a time where I swam and didn’t run (anything before August 2010).  My old lolz swimming identity was lolzthatswim…ever wonder why my email is lolzthatswim?  I never changed it to fueledbylolz (at) gmail…I feel there has got to be a pretty streamline (ha) way to do this…I just don’t know how and haven’t looked into).  Just over two years ago, I quit competitive swimming forever and made one of the best decisions at the time for me.

I swam throughout high school and I swam 3 years of college.  I logged lots of swimming miles…from point A right back to point A…in a circle for hours and hours.  I believe my most famous quote from swim team was (after being asked why do you like swimming the 1000)

“Because I like to start at point A go into cardiac arrest and come back to point A 20 times.”

Lately I have been thinking a lot about my past life.  I often get the question if I regret not running in high school or early college (instead of swimming).  The answer is always no.  I wouldn’t trade those swimming moments for the world.  I met some of my best friends swimming in high school as well as college.  Women I might have met otherwise but our friendships grew strong and blossomed throughout those terrible swim practices.  (I’m looking at you 10X400 IMS…or you 5X1000 timed off the blocks)…so no I don’t regret not running earlier.

If we live our lives in the past and wonder what could have been, we cannot move on in the future.  I don’t regret not running in high school or early college because I don’t think I would be enjoying it as much now if I did.  If I ran and was pressured into speed workouts during college I think it would have not allowed me to develop the passion for running I have now.  I would have burnt out.  I know I would be exercising now but I don’t think I would consider myself a serious runner.

I think for me personally it took a lot of time to realize how much I truly enjoyed running.  Coming from someone who absolutely hated running in the past and nearly failed the mile several times in both middle and high school (shout out to my gym teachers who screamed at me to pass) I could not fathom that in the future I would be writing a blog about how much I enjoy running. 

Who knows, in five years I might enjoy cycling.  I don’t like to live in the past whether it’s my run life, personal life or overall life.  I think we have to move upward and onward.  I loved swimming and will never regret those times or friends I made but my time with that has long passed.  Perhaps one day I’ll get back into the pool and love it…or perhaps I never will.  Only time will tell.

Question for you: Is there anything you wish you started earlier?

Staying Flexible

The moment I got into the NYCM my life became pure chaos.  About a week after signing up for the marathon I decided I would work for the summer in VA then move to Texas with Tim in the fall.  He was graduating around that time and it made sense it would be a good time frame.  When I made that decision in May I thought I would have the summer to train for the marathon and keep that training in the fall while living down in Texas.  Since moving down here only two weeks ago, life has thrown me a lot of curve balls. 

Somewhere in college I lost the ability to be flexible.  I think it was the day I signed up for the cross country team while already being on our collegiate swim team.  (Looking back I think why was this a good idea?) Between college work, classes, running and swimming I needed to be in a routine to get everything done in the day.  I knew what I needed to do and when .  I also knew I needed to have life planned out a few days prior to accomplish these tasks.  That worked out well for me throughout school and I was able to thrive in everything I set out to do.  It worked out well solely because I had no one elses schedule to work around.  It was just me.  After making a lot of life decisions senior year I stayed pretty routine to finish my new major on time while still running.  Even on days that I didn’t have class until noon I liked to wake up around 7 and do homework in the morning.

When I got a job in Oswego I kept a planned routine.  I essentially had been living by myself and on my own schedule for three years and just needed to worry about myself.  Now living with Tim I’ve already learned very quickly you can’t plan or make plans based upon yourself and you have to be flexible.

For instance Tim doesn’t always get done with work until around 6, 7 or even 8.  He also doesn’t know when he will get done and can’t text and say I’ll be done at such and such time.  So I have to be flexible of when I’m eating or making dinner.  Maybe he will show up at 5…maybe 8.  Both have happened on numerous occasions.

We also thought we would be moving again at the earliest in January.  That isn’t in the cards for us and we will have to be in New Jersey by early November.  That is only a month and a half away. I just unpacked and moved to Texas and now I have to repack and move to New Jersey.   There was little or no warning and he just came home and said “hey check this out”.  Oh these are our move dates.

Incase you forgot I’m also running the New York City Marathon the first weekend in November.  So I have that bit of stress to go along with moving and training.  Moving, training, looking for a job was not all part of my plan and routine when graduating college but it’s what happened.

So over the course of the week I learned that I will have to move again BEFORE the marathon on November 3rd.  I have to repack everything and due to some training Tim is doing be in New Jersey before he gets there.  We were not expecting this at all.  Would I have moved to Texas if this was the case?  I don’t know but no sense in playing the what if game.  I don’t regret it.  I am enjoying my refound spontaneous and flexible attitude.

Being flexible is something I have come to embrace again in the last few weeks.  I thought I could live my life on a set routine but moving down here has taught me that is not the case at all.  I am glad to have found a spontaneous happy medium.  I don’t fear the future like I once did I am embracing it.  Things will happen when they happen.  I will find a job when I move to NJ and worrying about it now isn’t going to do me any good.  As much as I would love to preach this to others I know it is something they must find on their own, just as I did.

Question for you: Are you spontaneous or a routine oriented person? 

Top Instagram Blogger Cliches

After reading an article about the top 15 most cliché instagram photos, I got the brilliant idea from Danielle to do the top most cliché healthy living/fitness blogger instagram photos.  Since I have all the spare time in the world…I thought I would.

It’s not a secret that I overpost on instagram and fall into 90% of the most cliché instagram photos but also 90% of most cliché blogger photos.  Instagram is one of my favorite social medias and that is something I’ll never hide.

Healthy food 

Look I like to eat healthy salads.  I am awesome!

Look I like to eat healthy salads. I am awesome!

 

Dessert: 

Look I treat myself.  Balance is key!  I am awesome!

Look I treat myself. Balance is key! I am awesome!

Selfies before workouts

Look I am going to go workout!  Proof!

Look I am going to go workout! Proof!

Selfies during workouts

Running with my brother!  I almost didn't take a photo, how would it count?

Running with my brother! I almost didn’t take a photo, how would it count?

Post workout selfies

Look I worked out and am sweaty.  I know I look god awful but like my photo!

Look I worked out and am sweaty. I know I look god awful but like my photo! (Why did I even think this one was okay?)

Garmin and GPS watch

Here is my watch.  It is dirty

Here is my watch. It is dirty!

Legs

These are my legs getting a massage.  How adorable.

These are my legs getting a massage. How adorable.

Sneakers

Hashtag hoarder.

Hashtag shoe hoarder.

Long, motivational words of wisdom

This one I couldn't find the proof but here is a photo I posted on instagram on my training a while back...I'm so inspiring...

This one I couldn’t find the proof but here is a photo I posted on instagram on my training a while back…I’m so inspiring…

Blogger meet ups

Kailey, Shannon and I are presh

Kailey, Shannon and I are presh

Ready to race

Wish me luck you guys or I might fail.

Wish me luck you guys or I might fail.

*All these photos are from my instagram…because like I said I’m a healthy living blogger.

Questions for you:

Do you fall into any of these?

What are more that you can think of? 

College Growth

Many of my friends (real life and on the internet) are starting college this week.  It’s hard for me to believe that I’m not going to college or anywhere near a college anytime soon.  I spent four years for my undergraduate followed by  a year interning and working at a college.  So long story short this summer has been my time away from the entire college scene with no plans to go back.  (to work or for a graduate degree).

There are plenty of bloggers or websites that are better resources for great (and better) college advice but since I currently have a degree I guess I made it through college and did okay for me.  The best piece of advice I can give is:

Do what makes you happy

I joined swim team my freshman year because it made me happy.  I quit swimming my senior year because it made me happy. (I don’t regret any of the three years I spent swimming). I decided to run because it made me happy.  I said yes to going out on a Friday night 12am and that at the time made me happy. I changed my major to community health senior year of college because it made me more happy (then math).  You only have four years (plus or minus) to do things in college to make you happy.  Don’t let them slide by.

Long story short college should not be an extension of your high school experience.  I went into college thinking I knew exactly who I who I was and no one could tell me otherwise.  I still thought that until the end of junior year when I rediscovered myself little by little.  I started to realize I didn’t have all or any of the answers. My senior year I decided to let people in,  put myself first and I slowly changed into someone I was truly proud of.

I’m not saying you aren’t allowed to grow or find yourself outside of college but I am saying being thrown out of your comfort zone you can truly discover things that make you happy. 

Just to prove I went to college…Here is my college experience in a nut shell:

freshman year

freshman year with my freshman year roommate Kierstin

Sophomore year

Sophomore year with my two suitemates

Junior year leading a swim cheer

Junior year leading a swim cheer with my senior year housemate Julie

senior year

senior year

Also senior year ;)

Also senior year ;)

Questions for you:

When did you find you truly discovered your interests or grew (in college or out)?

For me it wasn’t until my senior year of college when I switched majors, left swimming and made other personal choices.  I would also say I learned a lot about myself the first year out of college working.

All the Blogging

It’s hard for me to believe that three years ago I jumped on the blogging bandwagon…sipped some blogging koolaid…started a blog.  My blog has evolved a lot since then as has my life.  I primarily started my blog as a 20 year old college junior beginning my journey with my first season of cross country.  I was brand new to running.  I wanted a place to jot down my thoughts regarding running and my experiences.  The other catcher was I was also a collegiate swimmer.   Since the majority of people reading now weren’t reading then I swam for close to 15 years (distance freestyle in college) before quitting my senior year of college.   At that point I was swimming on our varsity team as well as running for my college varsity team.  Looking back I was doing brick workouts 5 days a week.  (I was running a lot lower miles (around 30) as you don’t just hop into running 70 mile weeks).

Swimming the Mile, Can you tell?

Swimming the Mile, Can you tell?

Here is a swell photo from junior year with my housemate Kelley and math tshirts.

Here is a swell photo from junior year with my housemate Kelley and math tshirts.

One of my first cross country races

One of my first cross country races with a teammate

Since starting my blog, I have broken up with swimming, broken up with a boyfriend, changed majors, graduated college, interned and worked a real person job.  The only real factor that has stayed the same is…I’m still running.  (and of course that my grammar has yet to improve and I’ll continue to type like I talk).   It’s hard for me to generalize any big moments in my life from the last 3 years because there have been so many.  I know it took me a long time to realize what I wanted to blog about, life, running, swimming…food but every blogger goes through that.  The fear they need to blog every day or blog about certain topics or they will lose readership.  It somewhat reminds me of a scale really, the number of readers you have…your weight…who cares.

I can honestly say I’m a completely different person then starting my blog three years ago and I’m okay with that.  I’ve met a lot of great people through blogging and made a lot of connections I don’t think I would have ever made walking down the street.  The internet is unique in that way. 

Thinking about the future I don’t know where I’ll be either.  Hell I don’t even know where I’ll be in three months.  I hope that wherever I am and whatever I’m doing I’ll be happy.  If it’s one thing I’ve learned throughout the last few years of blogging is keep yourself reasonably happy.

I changed majors (math and education to community health) at the end of junior year and full loaded senior year because I was unhappy in the math major.

I quit swimming senior year because I was in pain and unhappy.

I moved away from Oswego because I was unhappy and knew it wasn’t a life commitment.

I’m moving down to Texas and in with Tim because I know I’ll be happy.

precious.

precious.

Blogging has documented my highs, lows and everything in between.  Will I be blogging at age 26?  Who really knows…but I at least know I’ll be decently happy.

Questions for you:

How have you changed since blogging?

Where do you see yourself in the future? 

Allen Stone Run-Swim-Run Race Recap

The Allen Stone Run Swim Run has the most importance to me.  It was the first race I ever took first overall and it will always be hard to not compare myself to that. Allen Stone was a fallen Navy Seal, and this race is always well put together and a tribute to the fallen Seals and Seals in our area.   I’ve had so many different experiences from it.  Winning the race completely, DNFing because I developed a stress fracture…having a good strong finish…then this year…not having a great finish but not being injured either.

The night before I didn’t sleep that well.  I was nearly shook awake by my alarm when I normally wake up at the same time (5:30).  Dad and I drove to the race and were a little late…they were reading off names of fallen Seals and so we had to wait longer to get our bibs (respectable).  We got our bibs around 7:40 and for the 8:15 start, I did a 2 mile warmup and headed down to the beach.

The 1k run on the beach

Once the race was off, into the 1k run on the beach we went.  People were elbowing each other and pushing and shoving.  It was like post collegiate cross country.  I tripped and fell flat on my face.  Not a fall but fell and nearly got trampled.  The rest of the 1k was uneventful and I just did what I knew I was strong at and ran…I ended up tying with the first female into the water.

The 1k swim in open water

Which shocked my entire body.  The water, a cool 62 degrees due to upwellings sent my body into literal shock.  I was very close to saying no way.  I’ve had hypothermia before and even during my favorite race, it would not be worth it to me.  I allowed my body extra time to adjust to the water and then started swimming.  After that, I felt okay but the currents…being kicked in the face several times and my general unenjoyment of swimming kept it from being that fun.  The swim seemed to take forever and seeing the orange buoy was a glorious moment in my life and I headed into the transition area to change and start the 5k.  (Incase you wondered I was 16th female getting out of the water.  Yes 15 more females passed me).

If I looked any cuter a shark would have come up and gave me his number

If I looked any cuter a shark would have come up and gave me his number

Transition:

I tend to be rather calm in transitions.  I don’t rush because then I’ll get flustered and be slower.  Off I went.  I think it took me roughly 1-2 minutes to take off my goggles and cap, put on a shirt and socks and shoes and get out of there.  Seemed good to me.

The 5k on the boardwalk:

The run started off really slow.  My legs felt like literal jello and they were freezing.  I was defeated when my watch was reading a 6:30 pace on flat ground.  I shouldn’t have been since it was windy and I had just ran and swam…but it is what it is.

As the 5k progressed, my legs started to feel better and better.  My miles progressively got faster (6:39, 6:37, 6:10).  I ended up passing 10 of the females and getting 6th overall.  My final time for the 5k was 20:10 and an above 20 minute 5k will never really be something I’ll be overly thrilled with anymore.  Not every day can be your day and not every race can be your race.

allenstone1

To give you an idea of how physically cold to the bone I was, I finished the 5k run in 85+ degree heat and was shivering from the swim. 

I think part of the reason I was upset about this race was because this race does have a lot of emotion for me.  I’ve won, I’ve lost, I’m injured…I had high expectations for this race and although it wasn’t a goal race it’s still no fun to not have a good race there.  I’ll move on though and have a good race another day.  I’m still due for a 5k PR eventually.

Questions for you:

What is your favorite race of all time?

Racing in cold or hot? 

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