Today, these memories act as preventative medicine for my mind as I am constantly bombarded with superficial images of anorexic models portrayed as sex symbols. When I see the skin and bones of models, I no longer feel the envy, because I actively focus on remembering the pain I felt to achieve this.
Not one of the many specialists that I visited wanted to recognize that I was clearly struggling with an eating disorder. Eventually, when all else failed, I was diagnosed with "runners' hematuria" -- blood in the urine -- from running too many miles. "It happens to marathoners all the time," one doctor said dismissively. "It makes perfect sense."
I can go on forever about how exercise has physically challenged and changed me. But above all, spiritually, this has been a lesson of evolving, facing my fears and feeling deserving to (as my sister says) be proud of and own the body that houses my soul, that takes you to the next day, the next dimension.