The North­ern Run­ner

Paws For Thought

Runner's World South Africa - - CONTENTS - BY LISA ABDELLAH

THE WAKE-UP

I bat­tled with a se­ries of eat­ing dis­or­ders dur­ing my teens. I would ei­ther starve my­self, or I would binge on food and then purge. Con­trol­ling what I ate helped me cope with feel­ings of in­ad­e­quacy. I also be­came de­pen­dent on al­co­hol. By the time I reached my mid-twen­ties, ex­ces­sive drink­ing had bloated my fig­ure, and purg­ing had made my face look swollen. I wasn’t over­weight; but I was dis­pro­por­tioned.

THE SHAKE-UP

I came to South Africa to treat my al­co­hol ad­dic­tion. Once I had adopted reg­u­lar eat­ing pat­terns and cut out al­co­hol, I started to lose weight quickly.

Ini­tially I couldn’t find a bal­ance be­tween eat­ing and lis­ten­ing to my body. For as long as I could re­mem­ber, I had been sway­ing from one ex­treme to the other.

After two months of so­bri­ety, I took up run­ning to im­prove my health. I’ve al­ways had a spe­cial re­la­tion­ship with run­ning: when I was young, I broke course records in short-dis­tance races at school.

When I ran, I re­dis­cov­ered my love for na­ture, and the alone time run­ning af­forded me – and most im­por­tantly, I be­gan to love my­self. The start of a run is al­ways tough; but once I gain mo­men­tum, I feel like I can go on for­ever.

It all boils down to bal­ance: I’m the kind of per­son who, if I were to look at run­ning as a com­pe­ti­tion or a goal, then I would go to ex­treme lengths to reach that goal. For me, run­ning is more a jour­ney than some­thing that has a start and a fin­ish line. Why would I want to run the risk of be­com­ing dis­heart­ened, and giv­ing up some­thing I love?

THE RE­WARD

Adopt­ing a sus­tain­able rou­tine has made my life eas­ier; not only men­tally, but also phys­i­cally. Run­ning helps me to feel com­fort­able in my own skin, to eat more healthily, to per­form bet­ter – and when the en­dor­phins kick in, it makes my day! – AS TOLD TO LISA ABDELLAH

RUN­NING HELPS ME TO FEEL COM­FORT­ABLE IN MY OWN SKIN, TO EAT MORE HEALTHILY, TO PER­FORM BET­TER...

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