Megan Overcame it, so can you!

It’s hard to stop doing something that makes you feel better. I felt great when I started exercising, running, and losing weight. I started the spring of my Junior year in addition to high school sports. My “healthy” eating and exercising became obsessive and unhealthy. The summer came and went, and I went from 125 to 105 pounds. I ran every morning and swam laps during my breaks while I lifeguarded. My breakfast consisted of a granola bar and my lunch was half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. By the fall of my Senior year and field hockey season, I was pushing 99 pounds. I had to get a physical before by my primary care physician, who told me I had lost a lot of weight (duh) and I should stop running (not going to happen). Since she showed what seemed like minor concern, I didn’t take her seriously. My dad and best friend were the other people who addressed my exercise and eating habits. They both wanted me to eat more and run less, but I liked the way I felt at that point in time. Even though I was the fastest runner on the field hockey team, but I would get really tired during games. My coach would set me out from time to time, but I always started and played my hardest.

I continued to obsess about running, counting calories, and fitting in my size 0 jeans. Even when my foot started to bother me, I ignored the cues from my body and continued to run. No one ever seemed to put it all together – that maybe I had a stress fracture and weak bones which were contributing the foot pain, and also connected with the fact that I didn’t get my period. One evening, my friend and I decided to go for a run on my street, and at the end I felt my foot pop. He had to carry me back home and I went to the ER the next day to get it checked out. Sure enough, the unknown stress fracture completely broke and I left with crutches and a boot. That was enough to stop me from running, but I still didn’t understand what had happened to my body.

My health, weight, and exercise struggles have been a learning experience. I am now stronger than ever and nourish my body with delicious, healthy foods to meat my exercise needs. I train hard, and then replenish my body and listen to it when it tells me it’s tired or worn out. I take time to relax, recover, and give it the chance to grow and be stronger. It’s easy to lose site of what it means to be healthy, especially as a female. Being healthy isn’t about looking a certain way or comparing your abilities to others. Being healthy means treating your body with respect, nourishing it with the food and movement it deserves, and loving your body for it’s capabilities. Having your period, and the ability to reproduce and have normal hormonal levels, is something every woman should take pride in and feel capable of doing. It wasn’t until after graduating college that I got my first period back. When I did, it was invigorating and empowering to know that my body was functioning the way it should. I now work on continuing to improve my health in every way possible, and believe every woman should. We only have one body to live in, so it’s important to take care of it.

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