I’m with Lauren Fleshman: Eating Disorders in the Running World

Life has been busy. Not only have I started my own YouTube channel, but I’ve also been scheduled for numerous speaking engagements, one of which I most recently completed this past Saturday with Yoga For a Cause. That event involved my first-ever radio interview with Rachael Morrow of the Grand Rapids Center for Healing Yoga a few days prior. And to be honest, speaking on the radio felt nerve-wracking. But practice makes perfect, right? Or imperfect is okay, perhaps, in accordance with the message of this website and the Running in Silence book.

The shirt from the yoga event: “I Love This Body.”

I Love This Body

As a speaker for Yoga for a Cause I was given an awesome “I Love This Body” shirt that I ended up wearing for the rest of the day. The strange part was that I had this uncomfortable feeling that I came off as “too proud” or that I was “showing off” by wearing it. I know that’s just the voice of society that has been ingrained in my mind, making me feel I am not important enough to be heard, or that we should be critical of our bodies.

To love ourselves is revolutionary. I believe the body love movement is gaining momentum, but even as someone who is eating disorder-recovered, it still doesn’t seem quite “comfortable” enough yet. I’m working to break that mindset.

Rosie to Rosy

Then there came my laptop failure. After five years with “Rosie” the laptop, I had to give her up. With a faulty touch pad, a keyboard that no longer allows me to type “d,” “f,” “k,” and “h,” I was screwed. Another investment was to be had since a functioning laptop is an essential part of my writing and marketing process. So here I am tapping away at Rosy, laptop #2, thanks to the advice from the #1 boyfriend for a woman who is far from tech-savvy in choosing the “perfect” (here we go again!) laptop.


As for the YouTube videos, it’s been a lot of trial and error, many retakes, what seems like minutes of “nothing-happening” recording time as I stare at the ground to try to gather my thoughts (promptly deleted in the editing process, of course), and admittedly, fears that people will not always agree with what I have to say. I believe in what has worked for me, and I know I must speak up for myself in order to help others just in case what I’ve done may be the right tools and create “aha” moments for those listeners. I’ve felt that any time I’ve worked in the eating disorder world, it’s been a tricky sphere, and perhaps that’s what makes it so difficult to talk about–especially for athletic coaches.
Which brings me to professional runner Lauren Fleshman’s most recent podcast on eating disorders. Recently retired from the sport of running, Fleshman is in a phase of “rewiring,” which means stepping up the game in bringing important issues to light in the running world–one of which is eating disorders in athletics. She recently posted an amazing podcast on the subject, to which I responded as a coach, and as someone who has dealt with an eating disorder herself. Please check it out to gather more information for yourselves, and help them by filling out the survey below it!

Coaches, we must address this issue each year in athletics.
Sufferers of eating disorders, we must speak up not only to help ourselves, but also to give a voice and confidence to those who are afraid.
Those who do not understand eating disorders must find tools to help us spot the eating disorder “signs” and refrain from comments that may perpetuate the eating disorder and disordered eating epidemic.
Eating disorders–and the shame and isolation associated with it–affects so many of our loved ones and keeps alive this false sense of “success” that we must break to develop our young athletes into more whole, balanced, happy people. Another big thank-you to Lauren Fleshman for her work so far. We can do this.

About Rachael

Rachael Steil is a graduate from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts. Steil an author, speaker, and a recipient of the Spirit and Outstanding Runner award for the Aquinas College cross country team and has received 6th place All-American accolades in cross country as well as 7th place in the NAIA track nationals.

This entry was posted in Body Image Movement, Call to Action, Coaching, Running and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to I’m with Lauren Fleshman: Eating Disorders in the Running World

  1. You’re doing important work, Rachael. Isn’t it just a miracle how these things happen? I don’t think we had any idea! Keep it up.

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