When I was on the eating disorders unit and being made to gain weight, my biggest fear was I wouldn’t be able to stop. I remember arguing over and over with staff that if they made me eat I would get fat. The idea I might go back to being overweight was the worst thing for me. I remember them assuring me that wouldn’t happen.
Well, the worst thing did happen. A combination of bulimia, medication and a long term general psych admission saw my weight shooting right up. Into the overweight range. I’m not going to lie and say it’s easy, that anorexic voice is still there. But now I can see that being overweight isnt the worst thing that could have happened. I could have died from a heart attack when my weight was so low or found dead in a pool of my own vomit or with a ruptured oesophigus. Being overweight isnt ideal but it isn’t the worst thing that could have happened. I’m still, against the odds, alive.
My thighs touch now, my stomach no longer concave and I cannot count my ribs. This body feels alien at times.
But this body is strong.
This body saw me take on the biggest physical challenge of my life this weekend just gone. These legs carried me over 45km in a single day taking part in the Just Walk event over the South Downs. They propelled me up hills I couldn’t have tackled even six months ago. Taking part in this challenge with my mum, I laughed a lot, yes i had the odd wobble and tear but together we put our heads down (and our rainmac hoods up!) and after 12 hours and 45mins we crossed the finish line. My fitbit said we did 49km in all.
Scary to think in the last few years I’ve been too weak to climb the stairs, unable to stand for long without passing out, being pinned down in hospital to receive fluids and glucose. I look back and I’m so glad I’m not that lost girl anymore. Walking this walk made me realise I am strong and determined and stubborn. I have the best family (mum kept me going and my sister met us at the end with cake for the car journey!) and friends and boyfriend around me.
Sometimes I miss it, that cold clear feeling of starvation. But actually, I’ll take a few extra pounds any day if it means I can live my life and keep challenging myself.
I walked the Just Walk 45km for Beat eating disorders. I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of support people have shown me. The fundraising page is http://www.justgiving.com/rebecca-stenning1
I’ll leave you with some pictures from a soggy, difficult but exhilarating day.