An Athlete's Struggle with an Eating Disorder

Table full of fruits and vegetables
November 23, 2008

D3 Staff



My journey in life will always be changed. I thought that an Ironman would change my life style, but I was wrong. All my love of racing and challenges couldn’t change the disease/disorder that I had. The only thing that could change it, was the courage that it took to face it and drop out of the most loved thing that I had and that was training for Ironman Wisconsin 09/07/08.

During the midst of my training, I realized my body couldn’t handle it unless I got help. I decided to get help. My battle with the eating disorder started to show seven years ago when I was a freshmen in college and playing a college sport. I had a lot of pressure to perform at a high level and felt like things where getting out of control. The only thing I could control was me, and that’s when I developed a full blown eating disorder. During this time I learned to love running and triathlons and started to realize that I needed it in my life and to have that along with my eating disorder wasn’t going to work.

During my eating disorder, things would go from bad to worse in a mater of days. I would go from restricting all day to purging everything the next day. On those days I would eat around 900 to 1200 calories, but not keep it in. While doing this I would be running any where from six to sixteen miles along with swimming and biking many miles a day. I knew I needed to run and have something in my life that I enjoyed since the eating disorder was taking everything else away. With all the affects of the eating disorder and running, my body took a toll. I needed IVs and potassium supplements, but with even all that and the fear of dropping dead, nothing stopped me from my eating disorder. I thought I could tackle this on my own. I fought hard, but it was still beating me. I was determined to race so I signed up for an Ironman thinking that would give me enough motivation to change. I had the motivation to race, but I couldn’t just stop the eating disorder. I continued to struggle and decided that no race or training was going to stop me from continuing my eating disorder, I knew I needed help!

On May 15th, a special person named Lisa Hatten came into my life. We had agreed on a program that would work with my training and treatment for my disease/disorder. She picked me up at the airport. I was determined to stay there only a short amount of time and get out so I could race the rest of the summer. I started to realize that thirty days wasn’t going to stop a disease/disorder that has been in my life for who knows how long, and its been active for seven years. I agreed to stay another thirty days to see what could change, but I knew I would have to make a decision about racing. I didn’t have my bike and couldn’t get the best training in, but I had to make a tough decision. It was one that basically my life depended upon. It was one of the hardest decisions I could make, at that time it felt like the eating disorder was getting another part of my life. But I was wrong, the eating disorder wasn’t going to win, I was, by getting healthy and racing healthy.
Lisa Hatten has given her life to help others who struggle with eating disorders, she has opened up a home for women with eating disorders. Women ranging from 17 years to 40 years old have gone through her doors. I was one of those lucky women who had the opportunity to go through those doors and into her home. She showed me that I can live my life and be happy. I learned so much, but also learned my racing had to be put on hold in order to save my life.

Not only was I signed up for an Ironman, but I was also signed up for the Twin Cities Marathon, one of my favorite races. When I started getting better and healthier, Lisa offered to sponsor me in the Marathon. I have done this race three times, but I have yet to be at full steam. This year will be different. With the help from Lisa and her staff they have shown me how to live, believe, train and be a healthy person.

I will be wearing a racing shirt with the name La Bonne Maison on the back with “SAVED MY LIFE” just below it. On the front it will say “HOPE”. I want to promote awareness of this disease/disorder and show that this is a very important organization.One in four women suffer with an eating disease/disorder, and girls starting as young as seven years old are dealing with this. Not only are women affected, but men are as well. This disease/disorder will be one of the largest epidemics in the country regarding addictions.I want to be able to share my story and explain what this disorder/disease is and show women and men that there is hope! Racing with this shirt and proudly promoting the place that saved my life will help me do that.

Getting the help is and was the first step to a new life. I want to be able to tell as many people as I can. I want people to ask what is La Bonne Maison? It means, the Good House, and then I can share my story and hopefully help someone else. If that help is information for treatment for them or someone they know, I am more then happy to share and lead them in the right direction. If I can help one person through this, then that is one less person that this disease/disorder took!

I will be returning to La Bonne Maison to help other athletes who struggle with an eating disorder. I want to help as many people as I can. I will be training for an Ironman, the thing I enjoy the most, the thing that the eating disorder took away from me. Now I will be doing this healthy and excited for life and to race. I will also be wearing the same shirt to promote awareness of this disease.

Thank you for taking time to read my story. I hope I can show others that there is away to conquer your fears and struggles.

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