Monday, November 29, 2010

Our Relationship with Food

This is no food blog. I love to cook and eating can be fun, but no one needs to see every morsel I put in my mouth. It’s just not that exciting.

Food is a complicated thing. A substance that is meant to fuel us and to be enjoyable has become an enemy to many, especially women.

“Losing weight has become our national obsession, our holy grail. The cultural assumption seems to be that there’s something wrong with wanting to eat. Appetite is something to be fended off, with willpower or chemically. We're locked in a war with our own hunger, which is the primal force that sustains us. We’re socialized to fear our appetites, whether they’re for food or sex or power. We’re taught from birth to make ourselves small and dainty, to not take up room.” (Harriett Brown, Brave Girl Eating).

It is fascinating to consider how far away we’ve gotten from the true meaning of food. Everything is labeled good or bad, this will make me fat or it won’t.

I’ll admit it, I’ve gotten lucky in the genes department. The women in my family are all pretty small, naturally. That said, at 5 ‘ 5” I once weighed 30 pounds more than I do now, so there was a time when I struggled with my body image. Throughout that process I shifted my thinking about food. I began to see it as a positive thing to be enjoyed within reason. A fuel source that allowed me to feel good and to be fit. I don’t diet. Never have. Hopefully never will. Weight fluctuates with the seasons, with activity levels, with life’s ups and downs. This fluctuation is natural.

As you know, I’ve got a nine year old daughter. I worry about her vulnerability to an eating disorder as she gets older. At home we never speak of weight, calories, getting on a scale. We talk instead of balance and feeling good in your own skin. No food is off limits, in moderation. I have tried to protect her from the world of negative body images and constant comparison between herself at some ridiculous “ideal.” She sees me enjoy food. She sees me eat reasonably. She sees me take care of my body by fueling it and letting it move and be strong.

But, we can only do so much. She is growing up in a world where the majority girls think they are fat and restrict their eating from an early age. Her friends and the media will likely do a number on her at some point.

I had a gymnastics' coach in 7th grade who made us get on a scale. She stated our weights out loud and let us know if we needed to lose a few. At age 13, I was 112 pounds. She said I needed to lose 2 pounds to be a better gymnast. Until then it had never occurred to me to criticize my weight. The seed had been planted. Like I said, the messages of “you are not good enough because you weigh too much” are widespread. The sad thing is, the scale gets to determine how we feel about ourselves, if we let it.

Even now, there was a comment left on this very post stating, “I know a few people who think your broken bone was due to malnutrition from an eating disorder.”

First of all, it wasn’t a broken bone, it was a stress fracture/reaction. Two different things. Secondly, those “few” people need to find another hobby instead of speculating about my weight and lifestyle. If you spend anytime here at all you know how much I espouse a life of balance and healthy mind, body and spirit. I live it and breathe it. I live honestly and out loud. So, don’t throw that eating disorder crap my way.

I recently read Brave Girl Eating. It’s about a family’s struggle with anorexia as their 14 year daughter becomes more and more sick. Fascinating with much insight into our culture’s obsession with being thin. Too thin.

I don’t know what the answer is. I am going to start coaching for a Girl’s on the Run Program which helps elementary and middle school girls build self esteem through running and feeling confident in their bodies. It is a small thing, but can have a big impact.

Do you struggle with your own eating/weight gain/relationship with food? How does running play a part for you? Does it make you feel better about yourself, or is it merely a means of burning more calories? If you feel comfortable sharing, have you struggled with an eating disorder? How do you hope to help your own sons and daughters develop a healthy body image and relationship with food?*

I’m enough – we all are,


*And thanks in advance for being so open about a private and tough subject.


  1. i think it's most excellent that you're going to start coaching a girls on the run program. i think you're an excellent example. not really in terms of food (because i just don't know you in that way although i'm sure you're great there too) but because of the way your persevering and going after goals. rock on lady :)

  2. That's great that you are helping others with that program!

    And I can't believe they weighed you like that at 13!

    My parents raised us to be confident and strong (we were already very tall!). I'm not sure how they did it, but I think it has to do with family stability and not focusing on weight and looks. I have always been "overweight" in my adult life, but was taught to be healthy. The focus was on being healthy and in shape.

    I can't wait to see some of the answers! In my son's second grade class, the girls talk about being fat! It starts early. I want to raise my boy to be healthy and confident and to not worry.

  3. I loved this post. I've flirted around the edges of eating disorders and definitely felt the heavy weight of low self-esteem and feeling depressed about myself. With God's help, I've come a long way in grasping who I am - my own strength and identity. A lot of that was with running - seeing my body as strong, seeing food as fuel, pushing myself and having a personal sense of accomplishment. I run for fun - not for numbers. I'm happy it makes me healthier. But most of all, it just plain makes me happy.

  4. I'm filled with body image issues. I hate how I look and feel most of the time - deservedly so as I'm pretty overweight right now. I fluctuate wildly between strict dieting and not giving a damn. I do the same with my running - I run like a madwoman trying to beat the weight back and/or off. Occasionally I am able to just enjoy my run but most of the time it is in some way connected to my weight.

    On October 14, 1979 my world changed when I gave birth to my daughter. The one thing I vowed to do for her was give her what I never had: a healthy relationship with food, and a confident body image. Somehow I managed that and am proud to say, at 31 years old she's a healthy size 6-8 and has never been on a diet.

  5. I absolutely LOVE the quote you exerted from the Brave Girl book, although, I tend to disagree with the family approached therapy that the book advocates. I haven't read it yet, but hope to get it on the shelf soon.

    I am an eating "survivor" (once 80 pounds and 5'5"), and thankful to be part of the small percentage of people who can call themselves fully recovered.

    I hope my girls don't fall into the national obsession of restricting calories. They are all involved in group sports, and individual sports, and I try to role model good eating and provide nutrition information rather than banning foods. I hope to get them in a local Girls on the Run too!

  6. What a great post.
    I have struggled with my weight my ENTIRE life, and I am surrounded in my family by women who have struggled with THEIR weight for their entire life.

    When I started running this past summer after my second son was born, I finally began to see that food was designed to be FUEL, and not to fill the emotional needs that I had.

    Since I have been dealing with an injury (not a hip fracture, but plantar fasciitis, which is pretty debilitating to a newbie runner!) and not been running as frequently, I have slipped back into old ways of thinking, and eating, and I hate it.

    Thank you for the reminder. Thank you for sharing your heart on this issue.

  7. I have a mother who was always obsessed with various diets and exercise and weight loss programs my entire young life, and a sister who will always be a recovering bulimarexic, so no, I am not a healthy eater. If I am happy, stressed, sad, upset... or feeling any emotion at all (or none), I want to eat. It has nothing to do with hunger for me. I always see myself as fat, even when I am thin. In fact, until last weekend, I couldn't get myself to quit smoking because I was too afraid of gaining 10 lbs.

    But. Day 4 of no smoking, am running more, but shorter (running is keeping me from exploding without the nicotine, so I am taking small runs a couple times a day instead of longer every other day ones).

    Running gives me hope. That I will keep not smoking, and that I won't become a whale before the end of the year. But I know I have to pay attention to what I eat, because otherwise I would simply eat constantly. I wish there had been someone when I was a teenager who would have taken the time to get me moving, and to show me what good eating looked like. Good for you with this Girls on the Run thing!

  8. I've had weight issues most of my life.... have struggled with disordered eating and tried every diet in the book. I am so grateful to have discovered running because it taught me to truly care for and love my body. Over the last few years running has gradually changed my view of food as fuel and nourishment rather than as an enemy or escape. Yes, I will always enjoy my indulgences as well... I finaly understand that that is okay too!

    Great post and sounds like a valuable read for a Mom to a young girl in this day and age.

  9. Girls On The Run is a great program, can't wait until my daughter is old enough. Body image and weight is a tough one, for all of us. Having lost some weight recently, I can attest that I'm a better runner for it. Part of me wants to take it to the extreme to see how fast I could get. That's scary (and it won't happen because I'm also incurably lazy).

  10. Great post! It is amazing how food has become such a negative thing and that everyone is striving for 'perfection' whether or not they kill themselves doing it. I struggled with an eating disorder and depression in college and turned to running and exercise to dig me out of the hole. At first it was about calories but then it turned into doing it for the feelings of accomplishment. Now I feel like food is there to fuel me through my work-outs and I now enjoy food and love it probably a little too much!
    I think that what you are doing is so important for your daughter. My sis is always complaining about her weight and talking about her latest diet in front of her daughter and it makes me so mad. They are getting enough pressure from the outside world that they should not feel pressured in the home to loose weight and be skinny. I can't wait to hear about how 'girls on the run' goes. Those girls are going to love you. Thank you for the post, it is such a great reminder to me being a high school teacher....I really need to help these girls realize how much they are worth and how to live a healthy and happy life.

  11. Great post. I have struggled with food issues pretty much my whole life. I was recently diagnosed with multiple food allergies. It seems the food I love to hate is actually slowly killing me (by an auto-immune disorder)...and still I struggle. I try to view food as fuel for my runs, knowing if I don't eat enough it will show up in my performance. But then I look in the mirror and all I see is FAT (no matter what the image being reflected back at me is in "your" reality). Running for me actually helps keep me on track with food. I know I won't have a good run if 1) I don't eat enough, 2) eat too much, and/or 3) eat food that is causing an immune reaction. So I log every morsel right along with every mile.

    I hate that I've "caused" my 16 year old daughter to have the same love-hate relationship with food and with her body.... And, I hate that I don't have the courage to post this except under the veil of anonymity. Thanks for ripping the band-aide off a festering wound that really does deserve attention!

  12. I def struggle with food to a degree. I am a healthy weight but want to lose 10 pounds and can't seem to. I don't eat junk food but that's because I'm cautious of the chemicals etc we put into our systems. I as you never use certain terms in our home I only teach them what is healthy and why it's not, and how to make good choices to help extend our lives not shorten them.

  13. Wonderful post - and very timely! Food issues are so complex because we must have food or we'll die - if you are addicted to almost anything else, you can give it up completely and never touch it again. Food, not so much.

    And I hate our societal focus on weight as a measure of our value - it's so ridiculous! We are more than the number on the scale!

  14. I'm glad you did this post. I know a few people who think your broken bone was due to malnutrition from an eating disorder (one used the term "drunkorexia!").

    I have some experience with food issues - my first girlfriend was an anorexic, for example, and I was once skeleton-thin myself (runs in the family) - but I've recently been a target for saying some extremely thin women are completely healthy (you can't run a marathon in 2:40 and not be healthy, IMHO), when what I've been trying to say is that there's a very wide range of "normal" and that the first step for women to accept themselves is to stop denigrating each other.

    Weight's just a number. Health is what counts. I've known some people with eating disorders get better with exercise regimens because their focus shifts, but I've also seen some get obsessive about both food and exercise and get worse.

  15. I too struggle with severe body image issues due to years of abuse from a family member in the physical sense and then mentally from another because i was overweight as a child. To make it worse once i hit puberty, well it was just bad all the way around and I was ostercized (sp?) from the entire jr high school except for one person. and she was just as bad off as i was. This all ruined me for life.

    even though by high school i was thin, skin cleared, braces off and all of a sudden friends with the popular it would haunt me even 47.

    i am so critical of myself every single day it seems, and i do restrict on some days (calories/food), or i will do IF (intermittent fasting)...etc.

    but to answer the one ?, no running is not a means to burning calories.

    its a mean to keeping me sane. its the one thing I know that I CAN do and do by myself. Not that I am good (fast) at it by any means but I'm not slow either. n ot that it matters really.

    all i know is that its the only time i feel free.

  16. I struggle with this every day. I hate how I look even though I know I am healthier than most, a healthy size, because I used to be, should be about 15 lbs smaller. So I mess with my diet and I workout a little too much. But I'm working on it. Working on being ok with where ever I happen to be at that moment. Still hoping to get back to my happy place though.

  17. I struggled with an eating disorder through my late teens and early twenties. Therapy helped me see that the real issue wasn't how my body looked (that was only a part of it) but a larger issue about controlling my environment. Keeping your daughter (and any adolescent girl) aware that they are safe, loved and happy goes a long way to avoiding that kind of thing.

    I once read an article that hypothesized if addiction disorders -alcoholism, etc. - runs in your family, you can be more prone to it.

    It's something I struggle with still, but you get through it. Being aware as a parent is one of the best things you can do too - it took a long time for my mom to realize something was wrong. I'm still trying to be ten pounds lighter, and haven't gotten there yet.

    On a happier note, I just got my SUAR sticker! Thank you, it's awesome!

  18. I was blessed with a daughter who actually doesn't want to be thin. Her metabolism is really fast so she actually wants/needs to gain weight. My relationship with food got a whole lot better when I started running. I have a lot of reasons why I run but losing the extra calories is not in the top 3. It's just an extra perk for me =)

  19. I’m proud of how you approached this topic both here on your blog and in your life. You’ve got a tough job helping your 9 year old navigate cruel misconceptions…she will no-doubt come into contact with knuckle-heads like the ones you spoke of in your comments section. I believe that your approach with all things for your daughter is the best one…lead by example.

  20. As someone who had battled weight since having my daughter at 23 and now having lost 70 pounds and keeping it off...I get this. My negative body image festered and I got to a place where I never thought I could love myself on the outside. I finally do because I am strong, fit and healthy. I feel good in my skin. My daughter may have been affected by it but at least she saw me change my lifestyle and has learned from it. She has started running and eating better too. So modeling behavior for our children IS the most important thing we can do.

  21. That is outstanding that you are going to be a positive role model for so many young women struggling with body issues.

    I have found athletics has empowered me (and so many others) and given me confidence. I hope your program can do the same for many young girls!!

    Good luck to you!!

  22. i love that you're getting involved, you'll be a great role model. i struggle every day and have since i was little. i wish i had more positive influences in my life to teach me about body image when I was growing up.

  23. Diddo what Q said. I don't necessarily struggle with body weight but do with body image. For example, I weigh within the normal body weight that I'm "suppose" to but I seem to always feel like I should be 5-10lbs less. I don't know why. So happy you are doing that program for girls that is awesome. My perspective is a bit different since I have boys and they play football. They are all healthy weights yet when they get on a scale their coach wants them to gain more weight. Suggesting they eat as much as they can. One kid on the team eats spoonfuls of mayonnaise to gain weight. I think that is stupid and my kids are just fine. Gain weight for football, lose weight for never ends. Parents have to be the example, it's the best way kids will learn.

  24. I have two daughters, 8 & 6, and so we're just getting into them caring about how they look and comparing themselves to others. I hope that my efforts to be healthy by eating in moderation and "real" foods, and being active (whether its running or whatever) will carry on to them more than what the scale might say. I admit, I need to lose about 20 lbs to be a "healthy weight" for my height, and I'm focused on that for now, but I hope my girls will enjoy being active before they end up where I am. Besides, I'm in pretty good shape for a "fat girl" --I have thinner friends who couldn't run a mile as easily as I can, so it's not entirely about what the scale says!

  25. This is a great post. And as a male I struggle with this all the time because I want to be at my optimal racing weight. I am obsessed with it and the best thing to happen to me recently was the scale broke. Now I go by how I look and am resisting the idea of buying a new scale.

    I have started to look at food more as a fuel and not feeling guilty with treating myself. For example last night we had mexican. I went with spinach and chicken enchiladas. They had cheese on them and I ate the white rice and refried the chips. In the end I did not feel guilty because it was one meal and not something that occurs on a daily basis.

    Thank you for the post and for letting people know that it is not necessary to view food as the enemy.

  26. I to know what it is like to have an eating disorder. I never could be skinny enough for myself. It is no way to live. I was able to over come my eating disorder with the help of my wonderful husband and running. But I still struggle every day with making good choice especially around this time of year.

  27. I'm so glad you address this. As in your house, talk about weight is off limits (unless of course you are trying to out-grow your mom as a 13 year old boy!). I have to admit though, watching our daughter's body change as she approaches adolescents has put me on high alert and made me more aware of my own body. Mainly because puberty was when my dad switched from physical to verbal abuse - I can remember his words about my body and his perception of it much more than any one instance of being hit.
    That being said, it is important that we - as women - learn to love our bodies so we can model that for our children.
    There is no such thing as perfect, however we can all LOVE what we have been given and treat it with the upmost respect.

  28. I'm actually glad that I have boys so I don't have to deal with the body image problems, like I experienced and still do to some extent. I have always been self-conscious about my body, even when my friends and family told me I didn't need to be. For me, it started when I entered high school. My older sister is tall and beautiful, she even modeled for awhile. Some times kids would say things like, "Your sister is so pretty, what happened to you?" Yeah, that really effected me in a horrible way, even though I shouldn't have cared what they said.

    I've always been athletic because I love working out. But, part of it too was to control my weight. Even now, since I stopped tri training and am really only running, my body is changing. I admit, I don't like it. But, I have gotten better at accepting the body that I have. My older sister is not athletic at all! She's one of the ones that are skinny, but have no muscle tone. So, while I used to wish I had a body like her, now I am grateful for the one that I have. My body allows me to run marathons, hike, backpack, complete triathlons, and do other amazing things. Although I still struggle with body image, I am learning to love my body more and more every day.

  29. Do you struggle with your own eating/weight gain/relationship with food?

    I started a whole blog about my struggle and it has helped me tremendously. In fact, I'd say I've done a complete 180!

    How does running play a part for you? Does it make you feel better about yourself, or is it merely a means of burning more calories?

    Although I do not run now, I used to. It started out as something that made me feel better about fact, the first time I ran I had such a feeling of power come over me. It was first time I really felt, "I'm gonna be okay." But it became about just burning more calories and I ended up overtraining and hurting myself.

    If you feel comfortable sharing, have you struggled with an eating disorder?

    I was never diagnosed, but I was definitely a binge eater/emotional eater. At my heaviest, I weighed ~230 lb. I got down to 168 in 2006, then bounced up again, gaining about half the weight I lost. That's when I started my blog. I do no weigh myself any more, but in the past year I have lost six inches from my waist and am now wearing clothes that I was wearing back around 170.

    How do you hope to help your own sons and daughters develop a healthy body image and relationship with food?

    I do not have my own children but I do have three stepkids who are now 25, 28 and 31. I think the best way to help anyone develop a healthy body image and relationship with food is to model it. It can't be a preach-but-don't-practice kind of thing.

  30. Oh, weight! Women's achilles heel. Because I've never met a woman who was above it, no matter how thin or how heavy.

    As an athlete, I think having a healthy relationship with food and weight is extremely important. People are more vulnerable to injury when they eat badly (and they don't have to be skinny, some athletes who eat crap increase their chances of injury while also gaining weight). Also, not being OK with the inherent weight gain/drop due to offseason/peak training can be tough to handle year in and out. I am happy I have a boy, but I still make it my responsibility to teach him healthy eating and to be kind with girls and acceptant of differences in body shapes.

  31. I love this post - and I love the healthy attitude you have in your house!

    My mom tells me I was just 2 years old when my dad started telling me I am fat. I remember being in the 2nd grade... I still know the exact spot I was standing in. I had maybe 3 or four Fruit Loops in my hand and he said, "You don't need to eat that! You are fatter here (pointing to my 2nd grader baby fat tummy) than you are here (pointing to where I should not already have boobies)." Even then I knew that I was flat chested and I was supposed to be. But let me tell you, the seed was planted. I've spent 30 years "knowing" I am fat. My mom believes I have an eating disorder -- but not the traditional kind. I have a terrible relationship with food. I like maybe 3 things. And that is all I eat. Forget about potlucks - can't do them. I feel ashamed even just grocery shopping. I really don't think that I would have these issues if I hadn't essentially been brainwashed about it as a child. My dad and I don't really talk now. But I always notice how he still talks about people being fat. He has the naturally skinny metabolism - while my mom's side is just normal. Happily my family accepts me as I am -- which is just normal! :)

  32. Great post. I am probably 30lbs overweight. I have 3 kids - all girls... the oldest is 11. I consistently espouse the virtues of being HEALTHY - I never, ever say we're eating this low-fat chicken breast and quinoa dinner because it's on my diet... it's all about, this is gonna give your body the protein it wants, and the broccoli brings the fiber to the game, and your body needs these things to be healthy.

    I run for the same reason.. because it's GOOD for me.

    it's a tough line to balance with young girls. Am I 100% confident in my skin? Nope. But do I want to share that with them, and be honest about things that I've struggled with, and the causes? Or do I ACT confidently, and hope they emulate it? I don't really know the answer.

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  34. I struggled with my weight in high school and I’ve been overweight since then. When I turned 40 (2 ½ years ago), I weighed over 300 pounds. I’m not sure how much more because I had been “dieting” for a few weeks before I had enough courage to get on the scale. I weighed 300 pounds on July 18, 2008. Since then, I’ve lost 153 pounds. Not by dieting so much as watching what I eat and exercising. I started cycling & bike commuting that summer and started running in January 2009.

    My problem with food is that I eat when I’m emotional and I don’t seem to have an off switch once I start. I eat when I’m sad, angry, happy, nervous, whatever. Any overwhelming emotion could trigger a binge. I know now that it was because I started internalizing my thoughts and emotions after my parent’s divorce and the death of my favorite aunt (I was 14 for both). I don’t use past tense when I talk about this because it’s still somewhat of an issue but those times are usually months apart now.

    I am looking at food more as fuel now. I want to make sure I’m fueling my workouts so I can get the most out of them and have enough energy to do what I want. I definitely don’t run and ride to burn calories. I see that as more of an added bonus. The way that they help me is they keep me eating sensibly. If I know I’m riding home from work, I eat a sensible lunch. If I know I’m running & riding in the morning, I eat sensibly for dinner. There’s nothing worse than training after overeating. So they keep me on track because I love both of them and don’t want to miss out on them. Does that make sense? They also help me work out negative emotions so no bingeing.

    I don’t have children, but I do have two nieces (12 & 10) and I know they are both being pressured by friends to be thin, the older one especially and I hear her passing that off to her sister. I hope that they see me as an example of what you can do no matter what weight you are (2 marathons in 2 states done, 48 to go!). They’ve been to some of my races and have seen that all types are runners and that it’s more about being active and having fun. They’ve even gone out running with me but they live in Arizona so that doesn’t happen often.

    I love how far my body can take me now and the adventures I’ve had with running and cycling. Now I feel free and strong and powerful…and sexy. I wear this quote from George Elliot on my road ID “It is never too late to be what you might have been”. I am a runner. I am a cyclist. I am an athlete. It took me a while to get there but all that matters is that I did. Thanks to running and riding.

  35. Wow. A 'few people' have some serious issues. It never occured to me to think you had an eating disorder. You can't run marathons if you don't eat!

    I'm a walking body image distortion. I was on the dance team in high school and we were weighed every week. Skinny girls got the front row and 'fat' girls were in the back row. At 5'4" and 120 muscular pounds (3 sports athlete) I always felt fat and ended up with my finger down my throat into my early 20's. While I'm more comfortable in my own skin now, I have never been completely satisfied with how I look.

    I love that you're doing Girls On the Run. It sounds like a great program.

  36. Personally, I struggle because I do not feel happy when I weigh over 140 lbs. I don't feel good about myself or have a lot of confidence over that weight. I struggle with gaining weight simply because it is in my genes to be big. My mom had gastric bypass surgery. My Granny weighs over 200 lbs and my sister struggles with her weight, as well. I don't want to do that. I enjoy being active and feeling good about myself because of the things I have accomplished. I was never a runner until a year ago. I started running to help battle my genes. My dad had a heart attack when I was pregnant with my second child and I decided that I wanted to be heart healthy and fight the good fight.

    I may not look like I did when I was 16, but I am also not "that girl that got pregnant and gained 50 lbs" I am happy where I am but would like to challenge myself to lose another 9 lbs. Maybe I need it, maybe I don't, but I want to be the one to decide if how I feel at 130 lbs.

    I agree.. I don't want my girls to worry about their weight. But I also feel by showing them how to eat healthy and exercise is the most important thing I can do.

  37. I grew up with a skinny mother and 3 brothers, so food was never a matter of concern. But I see how young girls dress, talk, and eat these days and it breaks my heart. I hope i can be a mother like you some day!

  38. Hey,
    Great that you bring up this issue. I just read Brave Girl Eating and pondered many issues about treatment that I'd never thought of before. As a woman, it is amazing how the issue is always around. Whether it's friends that I know who suffer from eating disorders or whether I question/diagnose some one from a far because of how I may perceive their image. I have to admit that many women runners who are around me and appear to be thin, I worry about whether or not they're giving their bodies enough fuel to keep running without getting injured. Obviously, the injury can be more then food related but it's often the first thing that pops into my mind. Running for me means eating food. It's why I run. My issue is that I often over eat instead of just eating what is necessary for energy. I definitely wish some days that I would be faster as I was 20lbs ago. However, at the same time, I feel healthy and fit compared to the rest of the general population.
    GOTR is a great program. The Columbines just worked with a school this fall.

  39. This post left me scratching my head a bit. Especially this part: "She is growing up in a world where the majority girls think they are fat and restrict their eating from an early age."

    Really? Statistics show that the majority of girls her age ARE overweight. Maybe it's the difference in our geographical locations (Colorado vs. the deep-fried South), but to me it seems that obesity is the greater issue. I'm not saying that to detract from the fact that eating disorders are an issue. I know they are.

    It seems to be a difficult balancing act. Where's the happy medium between juvenile anorexia and juvenile obesity?

    Major kudos to you for leading by example and stressing overall health, fitness, and happiness over all else. You're a great mom, Beth!

  40. Thank you for this post. I struggle with this exact same thing every day, and have for most of my life! I started running in high school to lose weight, even though I didn't need to - my distorted body image told me I did. It quickly spiraled into an eating disorder in college and I continued to use running as my means to an end: burn calories. And as someone else alluded to in a previous post, it also was another way to control things in my life. Running controls my weight. It does and you would be lying if you said you did not run for that reason. Why else do we obsess about the fact we can't run when we are injured and lament that we are going to "get fat" because we can't do what our bodies are used to doing every day? Because we know what running does for our bodies.
    Obviously I would not still be running 15 years later if that was purely the only reason I ran for. But I would be lying if I said that was not one of the top reasons I run. I DO run for me: its my private time, my time to think, to feel good, to get my body moving and enjoy the exertion. I have running goals now and that helps to keep my mind focused on another goal rather than losing weight. But it also makes me feel a lot better about eating what I want when I want it.....and that works for me. I am no longer anorexic and am at a healthy weight for myself, but just because I no longer restrict calories insanely doesn't mean I don't constantly think about it on a daily basis. Its not always a fun place to be and I pray that my daughter, age 8, is growing up with a completely different view of exercise and fitness than I did. I watched my mom doing her "grapefruit diets" and fasting, her infrequent bouts of aerobics to get into that dress she wanted to fit into, but never had a positive model for HEALTHY exercise and fitness. If there is anything I do right in life, its my hope that I instill this in my daughter through my own relationship with running.

  41. my entire life i was super skinny, it was the first thing anyone who meet me would say. i ate whatever i wanted - junk food, i was picky and like me junk and sweets. for me i did not embrace being skinny, i was flat chested and for middle N high school boys wanted boobs NOT a skinny girl like myself, nothing fit me and i hated clothes shopping. this was my life till i turned 30. my college and post college was me eating/drinking whateva and never having to exercise. i look back now and i realize damn i had it good and never appreciated it. i meet my husband when i was 30, i swear i think i finally was happy and i started putting on weight, i filled out. then i had kids, and suddenly i had 30 extra pounds on me. it was a strange feeling. i probably did not weigh 100 pounds till after college - and if i did i hovered near 100 for a long time. i never owned a scale.

    now i weigh 127 pounds, and i hate my tummy, i can't believe when i think back to how flat my tummy wass. i believe if i had learned better eating habits and exercise then the weight i gained after kids would not have stayed b/c i would have known to eat healthy etc.

    i am highly concerned for my 6 year old who has OCD, anerxoia is a form of ocd, my mother in law and sister in law had it, so i am terrified for her. she has my genes and is skinny as a rail, so i am hoping that really she won't ever think about it. body image is so huge for girls and i hate that i never had good body image and it was b/c i was FAT, i was skinny and had the bad boyd image.

  42. I have dealt with eating disorders. I'm 32 years old, and I'm just trying to get it figured out.

    I started wanting to diet at about the age of 9. I started wanting to starve myself by the age of 11, and when I wasn't successful enough with that, I made myself vomit. 10 year ago, I got help with my bulimia and dealt with some of the issues surrounding it. Some.

    The following 10 years began a rollercoaster of yoyo dieting. Lose 40, gain 60, lose 55, gain 85. Have children, put it on hold for a few years.

    Being pregnant was like a gift. For the first time I remember, I ate entirely with the goal of eating healthy. For the first time I remembered, I still wanted to eat good, healthy food, but wasn't hung up calories. I gained 30 pounds with my first pregnancy, and 35 with my second. I lost every single pregnancy pound plus 5 more by the time I was 6 weeks post partum. To me, this was a sign that I really had learned to listen to my body.

    Enter 3 years of sleep deprivation and martyrdom. I didn't take care of myself during that time, so nothing really changed.

    Then I decided to lose weight. I decided to change my life. I went back to what had "worked" before. I returned to weight watchers - essentially counting calories. Then one day, I realized that I wanted something more. I wanted to acheive something. I decided I wanted to do a triathlon.

    I couldn't run for more then a minute and I was terrified of deep water.

    Through the process of running and training, I started changing the way I viewed food. For the first time in my life, I started seeing it's role as fuel. I learned that I could not go into a 10km (6.1mi) run having just eaten an apple.

    I learned that too much or too little negatively effected my runs. As the runs have become more and more important, the nutrition has followed. It's a balancing act right now, and I do count calories. I find when I listen to my body and eat what it asks for, I maintain my weight quite nicely. Only thing is, I still have weight I need to lose. After all, I'll run better once it's off too.

    I know longer want to lose weight because so my body can look a certain way. It's so that my body can DO certain things, and do them better.

    And, what about raising children, particularly a girl? For one, I am working very hard to deal with my issues before they remember seeing me deal with them. Yet, already I'm wearing off. Both my kids love to run (2 year old gril and 3.5 year old boy). My older one loves strawberries more then anything, and stops eating when he's full, even if he's eating ice cream (or strawberries).

    I don't know that everything will be perfect as they grow older, and I'm terrified of my daughter falling into the trap I did. I represented the third generation of obesity. But, she will never know that.

    I don't know if this was what you were asking, and I've rambled on quite a bit. I hope it contributes to the conversation. :)

  43. A timely post. Only now, since starting to run, have I even begun to think of food as fuel. I'm not yet at the point where I can think of ALL food as fuel. I found myself wishing the other day that food didn't taste good, so I could view it as fuel and nothing else. Somehow, that didn't bring me to preparing food with no taste...

    I learned from my mother that fat was bad, at the same time watching her eat an entire large bag of Doritos in a single sitting. At a healthy 135 lbs., I believed myself fat all through high school. I've been to OA, but didn't find it helpful. I frequently have to ask myself "am I really hungry?" while looking in the cupboard or refrigerator. *sigh* I hope one day to not worry about how much I ate, how much I'm allowed to eat, or how to avoid eating everything in sight...

    That being said, I don't want to be 135 again. I know that is no longer a healthy weight for me. I would like to get down closer to 150, if only because I will feel and move better.

  44. I feel good until I see a photo of myself - and then I think, really? But that can be deceiving too, because I have some photos that reflect how I see myself,looking pretty good, and then others in which I think I look fat. I think I have a distorted image of myself. My mother who has always maintained the weight of 112 lbs and is much smaller boned than I am, many times used to tell me as a young adult- You could stand to lose ten pounds. Or even now, I was shopping with her and she handed me something two sizes too big for me and said - Here, they have it in your size. Nice huh! Or when I was little and would be eating a normal breakfast she would often say - You better watch it or you'll end up like _______ ( the neighborhood obese person). My ex-husband used to tell me he'd divorce me if I ever got fat!
    Luckily, I have developed good self-esteem over the years,despite these people, and for the most part am comfortable with how I look - just waiting for those runners legs to reveal themselves :)

  45. WOW, these are some LONG comments and very thoughtful and heartfelt.

    I have struggled with food issues right up until I started running marathons and I realized that food=fuel. Duh. It's simple. Figure out the ratio and it suddenly became scientific and not social nor emotional.

    I am so concerned for the girls and women growing up in a world that still places so much emphasis on being thin. I'm thrilled you'll be working with some of these girls and , hopefully, their families.

  46. Running allows me to eat anything i want.. however, once i stop running, i could lose 20 pounds and be a happy camper!

  47. In response to anonymous above who said, "Running does burn calories and you would be lying if you said you did not run for that reason. Why else do we obsess about the fact we can't run when we are injured and lament that we are going to "get fat" because we can't do what our bodies are used to doing every day? Because we know what running does for our bodies."

    While many run to burn calories, you can't say that is why everyone does it. When I am injured I don't miss running b/c I'm not burning calories. That is not even a thought on my mind. If I cared that much I could count calories I burn water running or biking. I miss running b/c of the release it gives me that I don't get from any form of exercise. I miss that type of movement, the trails, the challenge. It is my favorite form of exercise, hands down.

  48. Pam, you wrote: "Statistics show that the majority of girls her age ARE overweight. It seems to be a difficult balancing act. Where's the happy medium between juvenile anorexia and juvenile obesity?"

    You make an excellent point. They are two opposite ends of the spectrum and they are both grave concerns for our society. I chose in this post to talk about eating disorders (bulimia, anorexia) but that in no way suggests that childhood obesity is not also a major epidemic in this country.

  49. Whenever this topic of conversation comes up I always am reminded of when I was 16 and extremely depressed. I never ate except maybe 3 granola bars. I dropped to such a low weight that even the doctor mentioned how worried she was because I continued to get sick and lose weight. The problem was that people congratulated me on being so thin. Girls came up to me and asked me how I was so tiny and why they could not look like me. One male "friend" of mine actually measured the space between my legs with his hands and said I looked better than I have ever in the few years he'd known me from middle school to high school.
    It's demented and has stuck with me. There are days I struggle with how I look and then there are days I say "screw it, eat and enjoy it, and be merry, don't worry, run tomorrow, go to the gym, indulgence is healthy in moderation."
    I worry about my teenage cousin, my niece who is only 3 months old... If it is like this now, what will it be like for her? Will she be just as afraid of food or will she have the strength to say no to these ridiculous standards for the female ideal weight/body shape. I hope that between her mother and I she will grow up to be a confident woman who will not succumb to that.
    I wish all women felt amazing about themselves no matter their size and shape. As long as they are healthy and confident. That should be all that matters.

  50. I'm not the normal young woman...I love food, I know it's fuel, I eat in moderation, I exercise in moderation, and I think I look great. In fact I do look great ;-)

  51. I'm the Mom of three boys (18, 16, 12) and I believe I have a tremendous influence on their future relationships with and perceptions of girls and women. All Oedipus jokes aside, I try and make sure I model a lifestyle where they see that I take care of myself beacuse I want to stay strong and healthy. I hope they are able to encourage self esteem, and confidance in their girl friends.
    I'm not going to say that I don't care about my weight. I still let it get me down, but I am working hard so it will not define my attitide, self esteem and outlook. I focus on the fact that I work full time, go to graduate school and take care of my family. Due to health issues and years where many things were taken care of before I took care of myself - I've put on 25lbs that I would like to lose. I started running 5ks and committed myself to carving out time to exercise. They weight hasn't come off, but I had surgery last week and the pre-op nurse was very impressed with my heart rate and other vitals. She even asked if I was a runner:) I don't consider myself a true runner (especially whe I see all the amazing stories on this blog) and I'm, a little rounder that I like, but I am healthy.
    Boys are also faced with body image issues. With our local high school winning a football state championship two years in a row, it seems the whole community reveres the football athlete - aggressive, big and bulky. My 16 year old at almost 6 feet and 140 lbs is very thin. He does not fit the mold of the agressive competitive athlete. Instead he has a beautiful voice that he trains and competes with in music and choirs. He runs cross country in the fall and I believe he will maintain that healthy lifestyle habit and balance longer than many of the football players.
    It will be four more weeks until I can get back to running and weights. In the meantime I'll stay positive that my body is healing and that I will be able to recommit to being strong and healthywith even more energy than before.

  52. love this.
    where was someone like you when I was 16?


    This one is hard for me.

    What I know without a doubt IS - I will do all in my power to make sure my Peanut does not go through this. I could write a two page comment and it still would not be enough......eating disorders suck. I would do just about anything to prevent another person from going through this.

    one of my favorite posts ever.

  53. I'm really glad you brought this up.

    Like a couple other people who have commented, I started running because I thought it would help keep me away from my eating disorder (yes, I am literally running away from my problems. Sigh). It works, for the most part - I genuinely like running enough that I want to be able to run well, and I can't run well if I'm not eating.

    The thing is, my eating disorder has very little to do with body image. Yes, too many young girls have negative body images, and yes, that's something really important to focus on. But - honestly - the only times I have lousy body image are when I'm not eating right. Most of the time I can truthfully say that, while I don't love every freaking thing about my body, I'm happy with it overall. I don't feel fat. It's only when I haven't been eating (and probably when I've lost weight, but I don't allow myself to weigh myself anymore so I wouldn't know) that I start to think that something is wrong with my body.

    I do worry sometimes about using running as a means to burn calories - I mean, I actively try not to make that the point (I've heard people say "I run so I can eat" - well, me, I eat so I can run), but I've also blacked out at the gym because I haven't eaten enough. I worry that that will happen in a group fitness class, and I worry that eventually running won't be a strong enough incentive for me to eat.

    Oh, right, I had a point: I grew up with strong female role models. None of my relatives ever said anything about my weight (except for my sister, and that was in the context of her body image being not so great); I've never heard my mother say a single thing about her weight. As in your family, nothing was off-limits; it was about moderation.

    So - I don't have kids, but I make a point of *never* talking about food as good/bad or about people as good/bad for eating a certain way, weighing a certain amount, etc. I also make a point to focus conversations on things other than appearance. Appearance and body image is only one part of the problem, but at least it's a start.

    Anyway, thanks for bringing it up, and sorry if I rambled!

  54. I've gotten the "eating disorder lead to x and y" myself. And I have to say it is difficult even for the fittest individuals not to scrutinize what you put into your mouth. There's this weird phenomenon in the distance world (such as the concept of "racing weight", etc.) telling us to "fuel up, but only SO much and on this and that"....this is fine for some, but this can be a double-edged sword and especially confuse and cause unneccessary stress on athletes.

    BAsically, as hard as it can be, we have to think outside the box and be our own person when it comes to nutrition. I know after my fracture, I ate more cheese at will and haven't looked back-and feel much stronger.

    Comeback run #1 in the books tonight, I might add!!

    Thanks for sharing this.

  55. I run to burn calories. I also run because i enjoy the hell out of it. For me food tastes too good....but I have learned over the last year that I don't have to cut everything out, I just have to have it in moderation. I have also learned that for me, just because I run does NOT mean I can eat whatever I want. I will put the weight back on pretty easy.

    I think even attempting to live a healthy lifestyle is a bonus for kids to see. I know my Dad was my hero growing up...just because he was/is my Dad. Pretty powerful stuff because I note a lot of people posting about this blog have parents who made negative comments that have stuck with them for years. Imagine what a few positive comments could accomplish!!

    Great Post SUAR

  56. WOW! Just WOW! Can't believe someone would leave a comment like that - sorry you had to deal with that.
    I think you're doing all the right things with your daughter - living a healthy lifestyle in front of her is exactly what she needs.
    I am a recovering anorexic/bulemic. Can't belive I typed that, other than that is part of the process. I was sick with buliemia from the ages of 3-20. I even at one point spent 3 months in the hospital due to complications from the anorexia - heart and stomach stoped wanting to work. But I can honestly say now, that I am an healthy, happy woman and don't have to think about it everyday. I had to hit rock bottom for myself to begin recovery. It takes a lot of work, a lot of self love, but with the right support, anyone can overcome an eating disorder if they want to.
    I was reading a lot of the comments, very sad to see so many grown woman still battling the same issues. Eating disorders are a disease, just like someone with alcholism. It needs to be treated as such. Until you're ready to surrender and take charge, you can't begin to heal. It's almost harder in a way though, you can never have another drink in your life and still live healthy. But you need food everyday - it's a scary battle.
    Thanks for sharing this. I hope some of the women who commented on here take away from this that it doesn't have to be that way. There is lots of help out there to people who are ready to embrace a healthy life in recovery. Overeaters Anonymous and the national institude of eating disorders are a great way to being to heal.

  57. I read some of the comments on this post. Some are uplifting, some are sad. As for me, I've struggled with weight my whole life, though never to a scary point. I've been overweight a few times, but I've been at a upper-end-healthy weight for many years. Running is part of that, but it doesn't do much for my weight. Food is hard. The more I cook, the more I shop, the more I understand how bastardized most American food really is. And that scares me.

  58. Love that you're getting involved with this. I have tons to write but lacking the right words. I'll try to send you a private message later.

  59. That's terrible that someone would suggest you have an eating disorder. Some people are just naturally smaller than others. I recently lost some weight and over time more people have commented on it. Mostly I feel good because I know I've accomplished something by getting fit. Not specifically losing the weight, but getting fit. But a few of the comments have sounded a little like, "You're looking like you lost too much weight." This is frustrating. There's just no winning! Too big, too small...what's a girl to do?? I recently wrote a post on the same topic. I'm posting the link, but feel free to not read it.

  60. Thank you for posting this. My mom has always struggled with body image, and she unfortunately passed along some of her traits and habits to me. While I do run because I genuinely enjoy it (and it is my favorite form of exercise, too), I also use running to stay at a healthy weight, and at times to "justify" eating a "naughty" snack. I'm very fortunate that I have a roommate who eats organic and healthy food; she's taught me a lot about taking care of my body by putting good stuff in it. Brave Girl Eating sounds like a fascinating read. I also want to read Women, Food and God.

  61. You are 100% correct. Great post! Thanks!

    Btw, have a look at our new club created in Barcelona: BARCELONA DRAGONS TRIATHLON are more than welcome to visit our website ( and send us an e-mail about your doubts or questions!

    We are looking for expat living in Barcelona and wanting to join an expat "feel as home" triathlon club.


    "XTB" Xavi moving from Hong Kong to Barcelona.

  62. Great post - First of all - WHO the HECK suggested that you have an eating disorder and that is the reason for your stress fracture. That would pi$$ me off.

    Secondly - mother has struggled with eating and body image her whole life - and my whole life, I just didn't want to be like that. It is a weird thing when a daughter works her whole life to not be like her mother physically, while trying to be as much like her in personality and graciousness and so many other ways (because she is awesome)...

    But the truth is..I have feared being "fat" for as long as I can remember. I would say I struggle sometimes because I am occasionally an emotional eater...which my mother is too - I catch myself and need ask - am I hungry really?? Do I NEED to eat this bag of cinnamon sugar pita chips at 9pm?? REALLY?

  63. It's funny. So many people hear they are too big growing up. It was the exact opposite for me. I was too tiny. Too skinny, too thin. In all honesty, I was a very healthy weight until I reached college. Then, I gained 30 pounds in less than 6 months. Thank you, Lucky Charms. I lost that 30 pounds during my next 3 years of dancing non-stop. I gained a bit back, lost some. Then, I quit smoking and in one year went from 133 to 187. Yikes! I tried to diet (salad for lunch every day for 30 days? I still can't eat a salad!) Dieting doesn't work. Moderation and eating to fuel myself, those two things are working for me.

    I don't run to lose weight. I run to stay sane and I run because I was always told I couldn't. The weight loss was an added bonus. I'm learning to love foods, good for me foods, but I still know sometimes you must indulge. If you don't, you eat the whole house. And that would be very bad.

    Looks like we have something else in common, too. I'm working with a group of other women here locally on getting Girls On The Run up and, well, running. I hope to be coaching some girls sometime in the near future. I don't want any girl to be told they can't - because that should only fire us up to prove we can.

    Run on.

  64. The pressures that women are subjected to in this world, not just in regards to food, but beauty and expectations in general, are the main culprit for these problems. I can't begin to tell you how happy I am to be a guy, we can eat whatever we want, no one cares too much if we are fat, and if we do anything that is not completely bone headed we get praised. May I suggest a sex operation? :)

  65. AMEN to what Cucipata said (minus the sex operation, part)!! I'm happy to be a woman!!

    Not only is weight part of the issue, but the unrealistic expectations as to what beautiful is. I couldn't respect DOVE more for their real beauty campaign. After Beth posted the link to the youtube Dove commercial, I played it for both my son and daughter.

    How can we expect our kids to appreciate true beauty when we have role models and examples of Hollywood perfection thrown at us everyday? Heidi Montag?? Come on!! Anyone watching the Victoria Secret show later this week? Not me. People are obsessed with the unattainable (or only attainable through plastic surgery).

  66. Such a good post. I'm not sure I've ever met a woman who isn't conscious of her weight or rather, self conscious. But instead of choosing exercise and healthy eating, many women think it's best to resort to one meal a day. Exercise, by their definition, might be cleaning house and cooking the meal. All good, no doubt, but we need more than that.
    When I was in high school, I tried diet after diet. The grapefruit diet..LITERALLY..all I ate was grapefruit for a week and ended up,not with weight loss but with mouth sores and horrible indigestion. It was a diet of eat grapefruit and drink heavily. I'd give up food but not alcohol.

    It's tough. We see those perfect model bodies in magazines and forget they are enhanced by computers. But how do you get young girls to realize that? Those models represent the perfect image to them.
    I don't have childen but sympathize with you guys who have to make clear that healthy eating, exercise will lead to a happy, healthy fulfilling life. I think Caitlin and the Operation Beautiful project is a great place to start.

  67. I love this post. I still struggle with body image problems. I am forever judging myself and never happy in my own skin. I once found a drawer full of Dexatrim in my Mom's dresser. I never asked her about it. She was 5' 9" and 140 pounds. Naturally, gorgeous. No need to fuss about her weight. She's gone now. I come by my body image problems, it seems quite naturally. I feel like I am in a prison of my body some days. I run to keep the weight off.

  68. Guess I have to comment again! My whole point was that people talk behind each others' backs - that there are people (otherwise quite nice) that automatically think that anyone who ways less than they do has something wrong with them and end up saying mean things that they'd never say publicly. Hope you've steered them right again!

  69. Kudos to you for writing about such and important and touchy subject. As a mom of a 7 year-old girl this is something that I'm continuously monitoring to make sure she has a healthy outlook on eating and her weight.

    Oh, and I run for the challenge, I run to be healthy, I run to stay in shape, I run to get away from my family (just kidding, sort of), I run because it feels good and I run because I can.

    Winks & Smiles,

  70. First, you do NOT have an eating disorder and I am sorry someone would even think that. And the girl's running program is a great project! KUDOS to you for being involved like that.

    With regards to the eating issues, it has been and still is a painful topic. I have struggled, and still struggle daily with my weight and being overweight. High school nickname (a behind my back kind) was 'Thunder Thighs' and goes downhill from there. My weight was even a partial culprit in a failed marriage. I hate that I can't eat or drink anything without thinking about it.

    Too much to say, too little space and time. I love that girls have options to learn more and hopefully have a better food relation that I did/do.

    Running is new for me, but it is helping. So run girls run!

  71. Interestingly, while all research is inconclusive and skewed, lots of stuff seems to point to sports as being the strongest predictor of girls delaying the onset of sexual activity, and running seems to be most often chosen as the best for that. And it's speculated that it all relates back to confidence.

    Can't imagine how to raise healthy kids (esp girls) with all the conflicting messages out there.

  72. I agree w/ Beth (comment 29). I think this is a great post and an important issue and for runners (and especially runners who like it so much we blog about it!) we probably are too hard on ourselves and need to focus on health not weight. But I have to re-iterate Beth's point that 60% of the population is overweight and 30% are obese. This starts in childhood. It is a HUGE problem. The sooner we view overeating as an eating disorder just as serious as undereating, the better.

    I'm so happy I stumbled upon your blog. Keep up the good work!

    Check out my blog at:

  73. I am with Emz, eating disorders suck. I am so happy to say I am in such a good place right now. My veganism is actually part of what changed my relationship with food. I started eating in line with my values and suddenly food became FOOD, just FOOD. It is energy, nourishment. I eat in a way that I feel is compassionate toward other beings, which allows me to be compassionate towards myself. This seemed impossible some time ago. Food was something I feared and hated. It consumed me when I should have been consuming IT. I am so proud of how far I have come.

    I could write 30 pages on this subject but I think you covered it so well. I hope to God my little sister doesn't go through what I went through. I see signs already at the tender age of 13. I fear for her and hope that my mother has raised her to have enough self-love to never feel inadequate.

    great post. thank you so much.

  74. Thank you for the great post - it made me really think about how I view my body, my health and inspired my blog entry today! I have for years flirted with disordered eating (I was a heavy kid) and only since I've been running do I view my body and food differently. Love your blog...thank you.l

  75. I love this post.

    I was going to respond in a blog post of my own, but if my family were to read it, they'd be hurt, and that is never my intention.

    I grew up in a house where there was ALWAYS dessert. Vegetables were drowned in cheesy sauce. There was always meat. Like ring-bologna, unhealthy UNlean kinds of meat. And my mother was ALWAYS on a diet, so she made this food for us but never ate dinner. We ate as fast as we could, my sister and I, because as soon as he was done eating, my Dad would light up a cigarette and then my Mom would too, so it was eat quick or eat with smoke in your face.

    I never had a problem with my weight until after college, but I never had a normal relationship with food either. We could play sports if we wanted to, but it was never demonstrated or encouraged. Somehow, after I had kids I found myself the fat one in a skinny family, with no clue as to how I'd arrived at that point and no clue how to get out of it either.

    All this to say, I've made peace with my averaged sized body. I DON'T obsess about food like my mom and sister, both of whom I outweigh by at least 50 pounds. But that doesn't bother me anymore - I can see that I have a much heathier relationship with food as fuel for our bodies than they do. I can see that I will teach my girls about being strong and pushing past our fears and trying new things. WITHOUT stressing about numbers either on a scale or inside the seam of my jeans.

    I run to be strong and healthy. Pounds come and pounds go, but I don't run for that.

    Thanks for such a great post!

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