Just as my eating disorders reached their zenith, I reached out for help. My mother, being the psychiatric nurse she was, knew that I would have to ask for help before it would do any good. As quickly as I pleaded for aide, with the same force we went to the hospital. There, I was given a simple ultimatum, to either start eating or stop playing hockey, the only source of happiness and release in my life. My pulse was weak, my muscles could not take any more and my stomach yearned for food with such ferocity that it constantly grumbled, a sure-fire sign that I was doing “well” for the day. I was put into group therapy, counseling, and dietitians but nothing seemed to work. High school came to an end, college began and the same problems resurfaced. In college, it was easy to be an anorexic. There was no one to lie to about how much I had eaten or worked out that day. I subsisted wholly on cranberry juice, cereal and beef jerky. Hockey continued, but I wasn’t as good at suffering through malnutrition as I had been in high school. I passed out on the ice more than a few times; this combined with team meals informed my teammates that there was something seriously wrong.
I didn’t want to eat because I didn’t like the way I looked but most of all; I needed control in my life. Things spun out of control when my parents got divorced and as I spun with it, I grasped at whatever I could to stay steady. But as my world began to steady itself, my eating didn’t. Not eating caused my body to hold on to any food I allowed to settle in my stomach, so my muscle compounded. I didn’t look like one of those girls who ate more than their body weight after a long tournament weekend, worse yet it was my fault. Time, as cliché as it is, does heal wounds; that and hunting.
My eating issues have dissipated a little but since I began my hunting adventures, my relationship with food has gotten worlds better. Overnight, food turned from something to be hated to something that is labored over, worked for and enjoyed. There was no better meal than the first one I crafted from the deer meat that I had harvested. This notion changed my way of thinking entirely. No longer did I fear that which nourished me, I upheld it in such a way that made the process of eating it a blessed event.
The thought behind this post occurred weeks ago when I was talking to a trainer at the gym I frequented. I found that I could no longer lift weights without my arm being in serious pain the next day. When I explained my conundrum to the nice man, he asked me how I got so much definition in my back and arms sans weight lifting. The answer, to me, sounded normal, “I shoot a 47 pound bow and carry guns around in woods for hours.” Obviously, I was met with a blank stare, thinking that he was questioning how that could be called exercise, I blurted out, “Do you realize how heavy guns can get?” He recovered with enough time to tell me that given my normal training, doing weights would do nothing to help me. Resistance training would be the name of the game from then on in. It was then that I realized that I was trying so hard to be someone that I’m not that my body rejected any sort of foreign invasion, that my muscles are functional, not pretty.
So with that, I’ll wish you all a great Cinco de Mayo. As for me, I’ll be whipping up some venison tacos tonight and I will enjoy them.. because I finally can.