Lake Effect Series

Thank-you.

On Monday evening it happened.  Together we reached raising $2,000+ for Ophelia’s place.  I sat there in shock, in amazement and overall wow.  I don’t think I have been more proud or excited about something.  After realizing the significance of how much we have raised, I cried.  Good and happy crying but I just sat there crying.

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I cannot thank each and every person for donating, for sharing their story and for sharing this series with others.  Not only have we fundraised but we have raised awareness. With only 2 weeks until the Lake Effect Half Marathon, I am getting more and more excited.  I am excited to run my heart out for such a good and rewarding cause.

So thank you. 

Thank you for sharing your story.

Thank you for donating.

Thank you for supporting Ophelia’s Place.

Thank you for supporting me.

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With over 2,000 dollars raised and the primary goal met, the sky is the limit.  If you have a story you would like to share or would like to donate please don’t hesitate!  There is still over two weeks to continue building awareness and fundraising.  If you or a loved one has a story to share my blog is always open.

I cannot believe 61 people donated and together we raised 2,035 dollars.  Stay tuned because next week a few companies have sent me products to raffle off for those donating.  I’m really excited to have companies supporting this cause too!

No questions today, words can never truly express how thankful I am.

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Lake Effect Series

Lake Effect Series: Never Hitting Rock Bottom

Note from Hollie: This story is extremely heartbreaking but I know many people can relate too.  As she never hit rock bottom but had clear struggles with disordered eating and pushed through.  Thank you to everyone for sharing and donating.  I am hoping to reach my half of my goal by mid January so anything you could donate would be so appreciated!  And if you have a story to share, please don’t hesitate to email me at lolzthatswim(at)gmail.com.  It truly means a lot to me to everyone supporting me during this race, whether you are donating, sharing a story or just sharing my story.

Submitted by anonymous 

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I have always been athletic. I started gymnasts at the age of 9 and competitive cheerleading shortly after.  Both sports are notorious for body imagines issues and I have dealt with body image issues my entire life.  For as long as I can remember I have felt very body conscious. It probably didn’t help to have one of my gymnastics trainers put me on a special diet when I was 10. I can’t imagine starting a diet at that age was a good idea and it most likely contributed to some of my issues. Either way, I was always incredibly insecure about my body.  I maintained a healthy weight throughout high school and college.

I believe my body image issues developed into a full blown problem around the time I graduated and felt like I was at an in-between phase in my life. I graduated college with a bachelor’s degree in accounting but did not feel ready to enter the real world. I was interning while going to school and I just found myself a little lost. Everything up until that point in my life was mapped out for me – Elementary school, middle school, high school, and then college. Now nobody was telling me what to do or where to go next and I wasn’t really sure myself of what I wanted to do.

So I went right back to school to get my Master’s degree. I bartended my way through college for extra money which was fun while I was in college. In Grad school, I had to continue bartending for money as I was not working full time and was going to school during the day and interning part time at an accounting firm.

This is when my problem started. All of my friends and roommates who I went to college had gone on to get their ‘big girl’ jobs. The girls I lived with would wake up and go to work every day and I would not have class until 2pm. I didn’t like the feeling of being unsettled and not knowing what to do next. On top of it, being a bartender – I was feeling like I was on display all the time.  My uniform showed my stomach. This was not a good combination for someone with a body image issue.  As time went on, I found myself getting more and more confused.  I lacked direction and wasn’t sure where I was supposed to be and as a result I became depressed.

On top of it, I had a serious boyfriend for about 2 years who I thought was ‘the one.’ He was a year younger, still in college and was bartending as well.  When my boyfriend graduated college he became pretty much obsessed with the night life industry and I started to absolutely hate it. I wanted to be settled in the next phase on my life that all of my friends had entered. He let himself go physically and lost all motivation to do much of anything outside of the bar scene. Although he loved me very much and treated me very well, I just wanted to move forward and he was obsessed with everything I started to hate.

At this time I felt like I lost control of everything around me. I wasn’t where I wanted to be at all. Somewhere during this time I discovered counting calories. I started counting calories and experimenting, and I started losing weight-fast. I loved the way I looked, I felt great, and I thought I looked great.  It was the one thing in my life that was going the way I wanted. As someone who has always been self-conscious, I finally felt comfortable in my skin.

For the first 6-7 months I legitimately did not realize what trouble I was getting myself into. I thought I was fine, I thought I was healthy and looked great. In reality, I was eating 3-400 calories a day. About once a week I would get so hungry, I would eat everything in sight, and then I became bulimic as well. I lost 20 pounds off my already small frame and my weight was all I could think about. I think it was a distraction from everything else in my life I was unhappy about. I wrote down everything I ate and my mood completely revolved around whether or not I was “good” or “bad” that day with my diet.

My boyfriend, friends, and parents obviously became concerned and I found myself completely unhappy in my relationship. I knew I had to break up with him which tore me up inside even more because I knew how good he was to me.

My friends and family started saying things to me and I became incredibly defensive because I legitimately did not believe I had a problem.

But I did.

How much I weighed became the only thing in my life that mattered to me. If I was having a ‘good’ day where I was able to eat only the food I had planned to eat – I was happy. If I veered off track slightly I was miserable, and started making myself sick, a couple of times per week. I didn’t want to go out with my friends or do anything because I was tired all the time. I either wanted to go to sleep early to avoid eating, or I was upset because I had eaten more than I thought acceptable. It was not a fun time in my life, and yet I thought I was doing great and those that were concerned about me were crazy. I almost started to identify with my eating issues and they became a part of me I was strangely proud of, although I was severely depressed.

I don’t know exactly how or when exactly I got better; I think it was a combination of things. Throughout it all I purchased a treadmill and started running religiously 6 days a week as soon as I woke up in the morning. I found it to be the only other thing in my life to make me happy and it gave me time to clear my head and think.

I struggled but pushed through and finally graduated with my master’s degree.  I later broke up with my boyfriend and landed my first ‘real’ job. Things in my life, outside of my eating started to get better slowly. I started to do some reading online to see if what my friends and family were saying was true and the more I read the more I realized I absolutely did have a problem- it sounds cliché but it’s definitely true.

Realizing I had a problem scared the crap out of me but it helped me work to fix it. There was no true rock bottom moment or moment where I fixed my issue. It happened gradually as the pieces of my life started to fall back into place. I began seeing a therapist to just talk through my feelings….to get out everything I was thinking and everything I held on to and it helped big time. Although the underlying issue of why I went was my eating issues, we almost never addressed them, and it still helped make me better. The one constant that remained throughout my recovery was my running. It became my therapy, my release and my place where i could work out all of the feelings that made me feel badly about myself. Every morning I would work through what was bothering me on my run and start my day. Everything got better and I got happier. I came back to a normal weight and was eating more.

I truly believe you cannot fully understand it until you go through it. I even have a hard time relating to who I was when I was going through that time. I know I will never be fully recovered as I am still self-conscious but I no longer let it affect my life and running remains to be my therapy. I know I was lucky and not everybody is able to pull themselves out as I was – I had a great support system that was able to recognize that I was having a problem and urge me to get help. I think your cause is so important because I know there are so many people out there struggling and raising awareness is a huge part in helping people suffering and their loved ones.

Running, Training

Next Goal Race (Lake Effect Half Marathon)

Last year I ran one of the hardest half marathons of my life in Syracuse, NY.  Not because I was out of shape or the course was hilly or that I took it out to fast…it was one of the hardest races of my life because it was cold and snowing.  It’s not a secret that I absolutely hate the cold, snow and ice. Little did I know last year that the race was sponsored by Ophelia’s Place located in Syracuse, NY.

The Race director, Todd and I.
The Race director, Todd and I.

Yet I sit here today and that is the only race I’ve signed up for in the Spring so far.  I plan to drive 6 hours to Syracuse to run the Lake Effect Half Marathon February 23 as my next goal race.   Not a goal race because I want to PR (it’s next to impossible in white out conditions) but a goal race because I want to do big things with this race. 

Ophelia’s Place is an inpatient Eating Disorder treatment facility.  The Lake Effect Half Marathon brings in money and fundraising towards them.  This year I want to be a part of the Fundraising.  I will be running for Charity and raising money along the way.  Though I did pay for my own entry to this race my goal is to raise 2000 dollars and create awareness along the way.

I have never had an eating disorder but as every human I have struggled with body image from time to time.  Whether that is body image to make me faster in running, body image because I don’t feel like I look good in a bathing suit or spandex…every person has had negative body image thoughts at one time.

In college my major was community health.  My senior seminar was based upon creating programming for raising awareness about eating disorders.  It’s a topic that a lot of people don’t know or understand.  It’s a topic that is made light of yet such a serious mental health issue.  It isn’t a case of “I look gross today so I won’t eat” or I want to be thinner so I will just purge my food.  Eating disorders are very complex and deep topics that a single post or day couldn’t explain.  My entire program was 50 pages and I honestly felt like I hadn’t even begun to scratch the surface.

So I won’t try too in this post.  Over the course of the next few months while I prepare for my next goal race, The Lake Effect Half Marathon, I will be posting weekly posts and stories.  If you have a story or post that you want to share, please email me (lolzthatswim (at)gmail.

I realize that many bloggers or people who read my blog know far more about eating disorders due to personal experiences or a much bigger knowledge base.  That is why I am asking for help.  It would mean the world to me if you could help me reach my goal of raising 2000 dollars (or more) for Ophelia’s place and my next goal race. 

I have two goals for this race: to fundraise as much as possible and to raise as much awareness and educate as much as possible.  If you are interested in helping or interesting in sharing a story please email me at lolzthatswim(at) gmail.  

**If you would prepare to share a story anonymously please don’t hesitate to let me know.  If you don’t have a blog and want to share a story, please don’t hesitate to let me know!  Anyone is more than welcome! 

Also if you are interested in learning more about a certain disorder please email me and I’ll be sure to include that. 

Here is my fundraising page and I appreciate all the help, support and education that I hope will come from this.