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What I’ve Learned in One Year as an Author (and Speaker!)

A year ago today, Running in Silence was released.

The best way to sum up this year would be that it has been a huge learning experience. Writing and getting a book published doesn’t suddenly make everything easier–I had a LOT of work ahead of me. The more emails I received from those who went through similar journeys, and the more people that attended my talks and spoke with me afterward about their struggles, the more I realized I needed to get out there and keep hammering the message.

As a recovering perfectionist (striving to be an “imperfectionist”), writing a book and having it published without being able to make big changes or adjustments when I overthink scenes or experiences in my life has been terrifying. I see ways in which I can grow as a writer, but I’m thankful that I’m not still laboring over the same piece a year later. My perfectionism might’ve left me with this book still in only my hands for the fear of publishing something I might STILL deem not completely “up to par.”

The reality is, I had to get it out there. It was time.

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Promote a Healthy Attitude About Sport and Fitness

EDCare recently designed an infographic that I believe very well describes 12 signs that an athlete or fitness enthusiast is closer to injury and illness than health and wellness–many of which are associated with eating disorders. It also includes tips for parents and coaches on how to spot signs of obsessive exercise and unhealthy eating patters. Thus, I was glad to have them share it in this guest post. Please check out the post by EDCare below, and at http://eatingdisorder.care/index for more information and resources!

Young athletes may dream of becoming the next Serena Williams or Tom Brady, but most know that it’s just that — a dream. They come to realize that top athletes are a rare breed. Even so, they press on. They still want to see how far they can go with their own physical abilities and mental stamina.

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Interview with National Champ Erin Herrmann: Speaking Up About Eating Disorders

I had the privilege of interviewing National Champion for the 3000m Steeplechase from Hope College Erin Herrmann, who came out about her eating disorder in May. She shares her story & advice for others who may be struggling in the video interview below! Biggest tip? TALK ABOUT IT.

Will be posting more YouTube videos SOON, so be sure to subscribe!

“Trust in the love of the people you are surrounded by. They will help you see what you need to see in yourself.”

Order your copy of Running in Silence: My Drive for Perfection and the Eating Disorder That Fed It here.

Why I Kept Silent About My Eating Disorder, and Why Coaches Shouldn’t

Dear Coach,

You are required to detect the early signs of concussions, and to know when to stop an athlete from continuing to play, all with good reason: concussions are common in many sports. Unfortunately, so are eating disorders—and we still don’t know how to talk about them. Coaches aren’t even required to discuss them.

By leaving this topic in the dark, we are failing our athletes. And as a past eating disorder sufferer and runner, my heart breaks to see other athletes struggle as I did—in SILENCE–because they don’t think their eating disorder is “bad enough,” or they don’t think you would understand. I read these emails, and hear these stories over

and over

and over again.

As a fellow cross country coach, I want to thank you for wanting to do something about this.

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The Chin-Up Podcast: Eating Disorders in Running

I first connected with Amber Sayer (author, exercise psychologist, and certified personal trainer) years ago when I read her memoir PR: A Personal Record of Running From Anorexia. It was one of the first eating disorder running memoirs I had read so I appreciated that it was a new angle, and that I could relate so much. I recommend you check it out, along with Amber’s blog at ProcessingProblems.com.

Recently Amber invited me onto her new podcast, The Chin-Up Podcast, where we talked about eating disorders in runners, recovery, writing, and approaches for coaches for athletes with eating disorders. Check out the link below (photo) for this podcast along with the others she will post in the future!

Order your copy of Running in Silence: My Drive for Perfection and the Eating Disorder That Fed It here.

[Dumpster] Diving Into Male Eating Disorders: Matt’s Story & Recovery

Several years after I graduated from my high school, and well into recovering from my eating disorder, I heard about a guy running cross country at my high school who had developed anorexia. From afar I yearned to help him, but not knowing exactly who he was and feeling I would overstep boundaries (a random woman who wanted to help this guy because she experienced something similar?!), I stayed distant and heard he was getting the help he deserved.

Little did I know that around that time Matt had found my Running in Silence website, and knew as little about me as I had known about him (he didn’t even realize until later that we had gone to the same high school!). I eventually found Matt’s incredible recovery story online through the Daily Mail and finally had a face. Soon after, we found each other through social media, and participated in an event during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He agreed to connect further through the interviews I recorded with him below.

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Video: How Dad Responded to My Eating Disorder

For Mother’s Day I shared videos from my YouTube channel about how my mom responded to my eating disorder, and I figured it was good timing to interview my dad for this past Father’s Day. Both of my parents offer different, but very important perspectives of their understanding of eating disorders. I was also blessed to have parents who were willing to support me through it despite their confusion from the onset.

My dad, as you’ll notice in the videos below, has been a great source of laughter and joy through my difficulties. I am so thankful he was brave enough to do this with me, and he not only makes our conversations on the subject interesting, he makes them entertaining! You can read from a previous conversation we had years ago in The Difficulty in Understanding as well.


Order your copy of Running in Silence: My Drive for Perfection and the Eating Disorder That Fed It here.

Eating Disorder Recovery with my Mom: A Video Interview

From the first few chapters of Running in Silence my mom doesn’t suspect anything is wrong as I embark on a raw food diet. She doesn’t question my intense obsession with food and running fast, mostly because I kept the worst of the obsession to myself. I didn’t open up. I wasn’t myself, and HADN’T been for her and my dad for my whole life.

And then you get to the chapter where I come out about my binge eating disorder, but we both don’t know what monster we are dealing with. We are BOTH confused and lost, and she gives the typical answers to “cure” what I’m dealing with by telling me I can just eat less to lose weight again–a “normal” response from someone who doesn’t understand and just wants to help.

What my mom did right in that critical moment when I asked for help? She offered to get me the proper, professional help elsewhere. My mom brought me to an eating disorder support group to see a therapist and dietitian. My mom took on the role of eating disorder researcher, attended the parent support group meetings, and listened to me talk for hours on end about my fears, doubts, and why my brain was thinking the way it did.

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Visiting 3-Time Olympian & Mental Health Advocate Suzy Favor Hamilton: California Part I

Having read Suzy Favor Hamilton’s book Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running From Madness, I was not only intrigued with her bipolar disorder experience (and her “secret” escort job that soon followed), but also the eating disorder she discusses at the beginning of the book. With that in mind, I sent out a simple tweet asking for an interview.

One informative interview, an endorsement quote for Running in Silence, and another phone call later, I found myself scheduling a trip to stay with Suzy in Los Angeles.

“You absolutely have to visit!” she had urged me during our second phone conversation. And who would refuse a trip to Manhattan Beach?

The moment I walked into Suzy’s home on January 11, 2017, I realized how tall I am in comparison to Suzy. But packed in that small frame was a young heart full of life and energy. After showing me to my guest room, we immediately began talking, catching up (since our phone talks), and asking each other questions about our journeys through mental illness. It was interesting finding similarities in bipolar disorder with eating disorders (and how they sometimes overlap—see Wasted and Madness by Marya Hornbacher for examples). We of course touched on my experience with 30 Bananas a Day, and soon afterward decided that dinner that night would be hamburgers. : )

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Facing the Stigma: Living with an Eating Disorder as a Man

I am honored to introduce Steve Sanders for our next guest post. Steve is a recovering alcoholic , writer, and blogger at Haven House Addiction Treatment. He lives in Los Angeles, California and enjoys spending time with his family and on his motorcycle when not writing. He can be reached at oneroadtorecovery@gmail.com.

The typical image of a person with an eating disorder is a woman, or more specifically a white teenage girl from a well-off family. Almost all the popular information available about eating disorders is aimed at women and is about women.

But studies suggest that about 10 million men and boys in the U.S. will have an eating order at some point in their lives. In fact, while anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are more common in women, men are at greater risk of developing a binge eating disorder (overeating without purging or otherwise compensating for the excessive food intake).

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