The Evolution of Eat, Run, and Everything in Between: Where it all began and how I’VE evolved.
I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. It’s definitely long overdue. However, I also knew that writing this post would be a big undertaking. Why? Because I started this blog almost 5 years ago, at the beginning of my senior year in college. To those who have been following my journey from the start (primarily college besties & fam) THANK YOU for continuously supporting me through all my crazy foodie ups & downs. To those who are newer to the community, thanks for joining along! This post is to highlight the ups, the downs, and of course, everything in between of my health journey. This is certainly a more personal post of mine & is something I really don’t talk about often, even though my whole journey has truly shaped me to become the person I am proud of today! One last thing – I know this is long, but just stick through it, I promise there’s a purpose for sharing ALL of my past.
Though I began my blog nearing the end of my college career, my journey with food & health truly began around my sophomore year of high school. I had just completed my sophomore field hockey season and was starting up indoor track & field. I originally signed up for track as a means to stay in shape for field hockey and improve my speed. However, little did I know, this would turn into more than just that, running became a HUGE part of my life, very quickly. By the end of my spring track season, my coach and I began to realize that I had some talent here. I wouldn’t compare myself to the crazy fast girls on my team that went on to run at various Ivy leagues and such, but there was definitely something there worth exploring through A LOT of hard work, grueling track workouts, and serious dedication. At the end of my sophomore year, I decided I was going to pursue running all three seasons and drop field hockey. This was an extremely hard decision for me because I REALLY loved field hockey & it brought me so much joy. However, I knew that if I didn’t commit to training all year round, I wouldn’t make any of the championship meets I had longed to race at and would not be training with the fastest runners on the team.
That summer I trained my ass off, past the point of being “healthy/okay”. I look back at it now and it’s crazy to think I put my body through all of that! I would wake up early in the morning and go for a 5-miler. I’d come home, change, bike a few miles to the yacht club and then teach sailing all morning, have about a 1-hour break for lunch, then I had sailing lessons for another few hours out in the hot sun. I’d bike home and top off my mileage for the day anywhere from 3-5 more miles. I’d repeat this everyday that entire summer. On top of the increased running & additional exercise, I definitely was not feeding my body adequately. The added pressure I put on myself led to this idea that I had to have minimal fat on my body. The smaller I was, the faster a runner I would be. Of course now I know this is not true, but at the time, I really believed it. Also, I meant to mention that while all of this was going on, my parents were also in the process of getting a divorce. I think that is why I used running & food as an outlet. It was really the only thing at that time I could control and excel at. I also didn’t process it at the time, but running was 100% a form of meditation for me whether I realized it or not. PS – that fall, I ended up getting injured (stress fracture in my shin) early on in the XC season that put me out of commission for the rest of XC and into my winter track season. This was living proof that I put my body through too much and it had enough. It literally broke down.
That summer going into my junior year of high-school and prepping myself for cross-country was also the point in my life where my relationship with food changed. Before that point, I never thought to much on what I was putting into my body. There was no stress or anxiety that used to come around eating. Since then, I’ve had so many up’s and down’s with food – what’s healthy and what’s not? What’s the right diet and what’s not? The list goes on. Anyway, fast forward to the summer before entering my freshman year of college. I came into college pretty fit after following the XC training guide all summer. However, within just a few months, the “freshman 15” caught on for sure. I think I had this idea that because I ran everyday, I could also eat whatever I wanted to. I wasn’t used to this much freedom around food (and booze). On top of the weight gain, I also was not running fast. My body was changing, (as most most women do when hitting puberty – I was just a late bloomer!)and I wasn’t fueling myself with proper food to adapt to those changes.
Shifting to the summer going into my sophomore year of college, I decided running was the problem and quit XC. At the time, I do think this was the right decision for me. I joined the club field hockey team and still ran everyday. As a matter of fact, my running was improving and I was beginning to eat the RIGHT foods and not 3 servings of cheese pizza every night. Taking the pressure of competing on a college DI team out of the picture had a really positive affect on me. The only thing that I struggled with was that all of my best friends were still on the team. I missed them. Just as they were closing out their XC season, I reached out to the new track coach & before I knew it, I had rejoined the team and was prepared to compete that indoor track season. I’m so glad I took the time I needed to myself to realize that I really did miss my friends, the team atmosphere, and of course, competing. This had become a HUGE part of my life and would shape my college career.
That sophomore year, going into junior year I began to focus on my weight again and watch what food I was putting into my body. As you can probably tell, I become extremely passionate and determined when I put my mind to something. This tends to be why I hit a lot of extreme “highs” and “lows”. This type of mentality continued throughout the rest of my college years. I went abroad to Spain my junior year and definitely over-indulged. I would run long, grueling miles throughout my time there to try my best to keep some of the weight off. I came back that summer and once again, whipped myself into shape and watched what I was eating. This brings me to the beginning of my senior year of college where I wrote my first blog post.
This in itself was scary and definitely out of my comfort zone. I still remember the day I shared my first blog post on facebook. I was scared to see what people would think or say about me. At that time, blogging (especially on food, health, and wellness) was still fairly new. I wish I could have told the old me WHO CARES WHAT PEOPLE THINK??? But, hey, you live and ya learn! It literally makes me cringe looking at the photography of my food pictures now haha! I also remember when I received my first free product from a well-known brand. I had written an article about chobani and they sent me a huge box of free yogurts. I was seriously HEAD OVER HEELS excited about this. I think I was only at 400 followers at the time, but I didn’t care. I finally felt like I had a purpose. Food blogging was unique to me and it was something I became extremely passionate about.
Unfortunately, as I’ve mentioned a few times here, this passion can turn into an obsession for me, which it did. Looking back at some of the food I made in college now, I can’t even imagine how those portion sizes filled me?! Blogging in college had its benefits, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think many college kids can say they got creative in the kitchen. I never realized how much I enjoyed cooking in the kitchen until I started experimenting with my meals out of my college dorm room. Somehow, it’s been 4+ years since I started this blog and here I am, still going strong. I may not have a lot of followers, but it really never was about growing quickly for me. This was and has always been a passion of mine. Sometimes blogging had its negative impacts on me. There was always (and still is) the comparison trap. “So and so is eating that and running those times, so I should do the same” or “that girl is super small so I should copy her meals”, etc. etc. However, there’s also the positive side that came out of blogging. This movement is certainly more recent, but I’m so glad that people are being more vulnerable and putting emphasis on doing what’s RIGHT and HEALTHY for your body. Realizing that I can eat REAL food and fuel my body, while eating a higher caloric intake. Realizing that healthy FATS are good. Realizing that I didn’t need to eat a 100% vegan diet to be “healthy”. Realizing that EVERYONE’S body is different and what one person needs to feel healthy, isn’t necessarily what I need to eat and do to feel healthy. And lastly, being HEALTHY doesn’t mean I need to strive for a certain weight or “look” a certain way.
So with that, this blog post has now gotten to be a short novel and therefore, I’m thinking I’ll need to write a part II very soon. I hope this helps give you an idea about the person behind EATRUNANDALLINBETWEEN. I’m human too. I’ve had my struggles and have learned my lessons. We all have and it’s OK. All of this has shaped me to be the person I am today. I’m really happy with where I am and my relationship with food and fitness. I don’t run crazy miles everyday anymore. I’ve found happiness and simplicity in yoga and wholesome foods. I try my best to indulge every now and then, while maintaining a balanced diet and not letting it get the best of me. Everyday is still a work in progress, but I truly believe I’m in a better place now, more than ever.