They’re just like us….

Okay friends, bear with me because I’m about to get a little Brene Brown up in here with some vulnerability. Just like the most beloved section of Us Weekly magazine says, NP Co-Leaders: They’re Just Like Us! That’s right. Sometimes our shirt is on inside out, or we miss our pre race poop, or even half ass a burpee or two (sorry BG and Bojan, but it’s true). But right now I want to talk about something a little more personal that unites many of us in the fitness community, which is, sometimes we struggle with eating disorders. I have had a disordered relationship with food and my body for over three years now and while I have made progress in my recovery, this is a journey I, and many others in this community, will be on for a long time. 

“I have to push myself a little harder” and “there’s no way I deserve to eat until I’m fully satisfied”. Thoughts that run through my head on a daily basis. I feel stuck in a never ending cycle of trying to prove to myself that I can push myself further than anyone else; I can be the toughest. And not only can I be the toughest, but I can do it all while running on less fuel. Then when I “achieve” this, there’s a rush of power and control and it’s addicting, so the cycle begins again. Can I push myself a little further next time? This is the downward spiral so many athletes find themselves in. I am fortunate. I sought help and have made progress in my recovery through therapy and community support. I can now recognize these thoughts and label them as harmful, but that doesn’t stop them from creeping into my mind and holding power over me.

I started attending November Project workouts a year and a half ago and often ask the question, has becoming a member of NP helped in my recovery? And honestly, I can’t say for sure. It has given me new ways to push myself and more incredible people to compare my abilities to, but it has also given me an unbelievably supportive community. A community that genuinely wants to connect, listen, and move forward together. When I have been open, honest, and vulnerable with my closest NP friends, I have always been met with understanding, encouragement, and love. 

The past year and a half has been shaped by this community that loves working out purely for the joy of being active together. The slogan “Just Show Up” has proven true time and time again when I see people listening to their bodies, taking the workout at the level they need, and just enjoying being outside with like minded people. The constant reminder that not only is it okay to be tired, but then to actually say “I’m tired”, has been impactful. So with that, I want to say thank you to every November Project member who has shown me how to take a step back, reflect, and wholly celebrate the successes of others in our community.

I’m not here to say I have any answers or honestly, even a single answer, but what I can do is share my experiences and hope that others can take something from my words. We need to face the reality that mental health is not given enough consideration by the fitness world and athletes of all genders, races, and sizes are subject to unrealistic expectations. We are constantly being asked to push ourselves a little harder, give a little more, be better. But I am here to say that just by showing up as our true selves, we are better and are actively making this world and our community better. 

Much love, Emily (MSP)

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