Thin Enough? The Athlete’s Dangerous Secret

Following up on the recent bravery of Michigan State University standout runner Rachele Schulist, I want to share my story too, because I think it’s important for all of us who’ve dealt with body image issues to speak up–
and that includes MANY of us.
Let’s examine what Rachele calls, “the lie of not being thin enough”:
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TOP LEFT PHOTO: Being thin for collegiate running got me school records, 6th & 7th places at the national cross country and track meets, and times a minute faster than I had ever run for a 5k. Sounds “successful,” right? It also created isolation, obsession with food, constant hunger, and a disconnect between me and my teammates. My only identity was cutting food and running fast.

BOTTOM LEFT PHOTO: Being thin also surprised me with binge eating disorder for the next FOUR years. I was injured–muscle and tendon strains, strength issues, a full-blown kneecap fracture, and I was constantly punishing myself for my lack of “discipline” and “willpower” that our society so quickly projects onto people who they say “just can’t stop eating so much.”
RIGHT PHOTO: Me this year on December 3rd, a full year into recovery, balanced eating, and at this point, exercising twice a week. I’m still learning how to come back to running again. The obsession with weight and speed damages. It breaks you. The entire process feels like it utterly defeats you.
And so we write our stories. We share our stories. We learn from each other’s stories. In this third photo, I am also an author of my debut self-help memoir Running in Silence where I share my story. Because this post is only a glimpse, and when others share their story, it is also just a glimpse into everything that goes on.
With that said, check out Rachele Schulist’s Instagram to read her AMAZING message. It is my greatest hope that we come across more like these in the future.
#shareyourstory #breakthesilence #RunninginSilence #strongnotskinny


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.

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