ABOUT “Ana To Athlete”
This blog has come about 7 years after I was officially “recovered” from Anorexia – you know, according to the medical charts you now have a BMI above 18, are menstruating and managing to eat. You look pretty normal, you are expected to be a normal functioning part of society and to have the same normal problems that everyone else has….whoa hold up?! What the hell is “normal” anyway!?
As far as modern medicine goes, you are now recovered, but every ED patient knows that this is where the really hard work starts and alas – there is no-one there to help you anymore. You’re “recovered”, right? So everything must be fine. But no-one taught you how to live. How to laugh. How to enjoy food. How to be OK with this new “healthy weight” body. How to cope with the physiological issues that may remain with you for a while yet. How to address the fears and coping issues that got sent you down the ED pathway in the first instance. And not to mention the depression that is all too common in this stage.
WHAT THIS SITE IS, is a place for those of us who have been through the merry-go-round of “ED-Treatment-Recovery” (often with an addition or six of “relapse-recover-relapse” because let’s be realistic, no-one is perfect….) and have popped out the other side, now having our two feet relatively firmly planted in the healthy side of the ground, 90% of the time (what a mouthful!). My mission is to TALK ABOUT HOW TO LIVE AFTER ANOREXIA. And not just survive, but thrive. With a healthy dose of humour, experience, success stories, epic failures and celebrations. I don’t know it all, not even close. But I do know a lot, and I’ve been through a lot, and I would love to be able to help others in an area that is sadly lacking any information – the bridge between “Recovery” and “Happiness”. I would prefer they not be mutually exclusive anymore! So first and foremost this is a safe place to come to, like a “guide to life after Ana”.
Secondly, hopefully, Ana to Athlete will provide a platform for development of better recovery pathways, so that we can one day aim for reduced relapse rates and reduced rates of depression and anxiety disorders in recovered anorexics. There exists very little in research or practice to bridge the gap between leaving treatment, and achieving full participation in society (encompassing both health and happiness). Too often, the patient goes from a full support network – typically including a dietician, psychologist, nurse, fellow sufferers, and the routine of either a day or inpatient program – and once they have reached their goal weight it is assumed they are “healed”. But the mind is only partially healed, and the situation can be ten times worse because they now look normal – so they are assumed to be coping fine. It can be a fast and slippery slope into relapse from here, or worse – the improvement might remain static, so the person goes on to half-live a life carrying around a sub-clinical eating disorder. Too often, patients can hide behind their sport, “genetics”, or at times, their family network, and it never gets talked about. I would like to see more research and subsequent resources into bridging this gap in the future, and welcome any input from all of you out there regarding ideas and resources based on your personal experiences. In the meantime, I’m going to share what I have learnt along the way to becoming a successful athlete and happy adult following almost a decade of Anorexia.
And of course, as an extension of my recovery – the blog will delve into all that I have learnt about Ironman and in particular, female athletes. How best to train, eat, recover, race, psychologically prepare and generally celebrate life through the amazing sport that is triathlon. I don’t know many Ironman athletes who aren’t preoccupied with food and weight so to a large extent, the content is mutual.
WHAT THIS IS NOT, is a pro-Ana blog. It is not a “how-to-starve-oneself” manual, nor does it glorify ED’s – I wouldn’t wish one on my greatest enemy. Think of it more like a “how-to-love-life-and-become-a-kickass-athlete” guide: jump in and enjoy the ride.