As write this, it's been about 3.5 years since this blog first started with The Inaugural post back in June of 2007. I had been inspired by a friend's blog, and I thought that it would give me fun way to track my workouts, but it turned out to be much more.
Throughout high school, I was your typical hard-working student, who loved the comraderie of team sports (soccer and XC) and loved competition and the satisfaction of pushing oneself. The summer before starting my freshman year at Princeton, I had dreams of joining the crew team or the XC team as a walk-on. I am by no means a stellar athlete, but I work hard and wanted to see how far I could go with that. I also had this vision in my head of what a Princeton student looked like: what it was to be have it "all together" and be smart, good-looking, sociable, and physically perfect. That summer before freshman year, beginning from an already trim weight, I set off to lose weight and burn fat and dropped a good bit of weight. But I was consumed by thoughts of food all the time because that's wha my body craved. I was moody from not having enough calories. I looked emanciated.
Enter college. I was put into a new environment, with academic stresses and the social stresses of trying to find friends in a new place. Food was something familiar, and on top of that, my body was craving it and decided to rebel against that summer when I had tried to get by on as little as possible. I ate a whole bunch, to compensate for what I hadn't been eating all summer, plus more. Foods that I, in high school, when I was normal, wouldn't have eaten just because it wasn't particularly good (not that it was forbidden at the time), I ate without reservations. In the dining halls, I'd pile up my tray and go back for seconds and thirds. I'd sit alone, not having the whole "friend" thing down, and being embassed about how much I was eating. I'd try to hit all of the free food events to get even more.
At the beginning of the year, independent of those food issues, I had joined the Princeton Evangelical Fellowship (PEF). There's are vibrant Christian communities even in the Ivy Leagues. Although it took me most of the year to start making close friends, as I went through that lonely year, even from the beginning, I felt like they cared.
During my sophomore year, students in the PEF would start having the opportunity to meet with PEF staff members one-on-one in "personal hours", where beyond the teachings of the Friday large group meetings and the weekly bible studies, you could have someone invest in your spiritual growth, helping to challenge you and ask hard questions. I had already known my "personal hour" staff member from the previous year, since she had been a senior the year before and was now an intern with the PEF. I remember the day that I shared my struggles with food with her, and the comfort I found in being able to do that. She'd pray with me, and we went through a Christian-based 12-step book and memorized Romans 8 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+8&version=NIV). During my sophomore year, I no longer ate foods that were as junky, but I'd still go thorugh entire bags or boxes of cookies or chips at a single setting, especially the nights before assignments were due, or even the night before the night before the assignments were due, as the stress of knowing that a stressful situation was coming up would be enough to trigger it. I'd make resolutions to get over it. I had a friend keep my stash of dark chocolate, so that I wouldn't even have the opportunity to eat it all. I thought I'd give myself a sticker for every day I didn't binge, and treat myself to something if I collected enough stickers. None of that worked. I was a slave to food. It was a cycle of resolutions, failures, and shame. I'd meet for "personal hour" and have to confess that I had X many bad days. I hated that I was going to food instead of going to God with my stress. Christians shouldn't have the social and food issues that I have, I thought. But I learned that we are weak, but that Jesus understands. He knows of the struggle between what you want to do and what you do.
15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.... 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:15, 21-25a)
Finally, by the end of sopomore year, I found myself mostly "over it"! I can't put my finger on any one event. I just realized that I was sick of feeling so sick and full after those binges. I realized that all that food never helped anything. It certainly wasted time that I should've spent actually working on the assignments, but that I also always felt sick and ashamed afterwards. There wasn't any great spiritual epiphany. I think I just consider it God's grace, that he freed me from it. It had been a 3-mo struggle with under-eating, then a 2-yr struggle with overeating. During those 2 years, while living in it, it felt like there was no end in sight. All of my attempts at conquering the problem with willpower failed. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how creative my strategies were, I always relapsed. It was God's grace that freed me.
The summer after my sophomore year, I started this blog, not for the purposes of having anyone really read it. It was more for myself. Writing down what I ate and when (no calorie counts!) just helped me keep things sane... you're less likely to overdo anything if you're actually having to write it out. It also helped me make sure I was getting all the protein, calcium, whole grains, and vitamins and minerals I needed. Blogging it helped a lot. Making note of workouts is also satisfying. Each workout is an accomplishment you can be proud of. I also shared a few stories here and there, or recipes.
In the second half of junior year, I hit a rough patch, when dynamics with friends changed. It affected me a lot, and I stopped caring enough to blog. It's hard getting over it, and I'm still working through remanents of it, but I guess if I've learned something from it, it's that people won't always meet your expectations, but God is always there for you. It's not necessarily a strong sense of presence, but something deep within, that you know deep witin your heart, that he's there.
I started blogging again after finishing my first half marathon, the Philadelphia Half Marathon. It was exciting. Making goals and going after your dreams makes life really exciting. I sometimes wonder if "fit 360" is tilted too far towards the "fit" part of it, but this blog at least helps me remember that there should be a balance. I am an athlete, for sure. But in the end, I am a Christian, first and last, created to enjoy and glorify him forever.
but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the LORD.
- Jeremiah 9:24