People use the saying “I am OCD about it” loosely; if they knew what OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) was really like, there would be no ground for comparison. At 13, I was diagnosed with the disorder which identified why taking caring of myself felt seemingly, for me, impossible. While most of my peers grappled with age-relevant struggles, which I by no means discredit, I found myself spending hours washing my hands and perfecting routines that prevented my belongings from becoming contaminated. Contaminated from what, you ask? It’s an illusory contamination.
I was able to deal and somewhat re-immerse myself into “normal” teenage life by taking my prescribed mediation daily. Advised by 10 plus therapists and doctors, my family and I knew this was the only way we would all be able to cope with my disorder. The medication made me extremely tired. I slept every moment I got and I found I had little motivation to do anything active. I made it through high school with the support of an extremely loving and understanding family, community, and group of friends.
After only a few months in college, I found myself unraveling. I was no longer in organized sports. I had unlimited access to food that was absolutely toxic to my body; fast food galore and an all-you-can eat style cafeteria, sweets included. These changes in my life, as well as moving from my life-long home of 2,000 people to a city of almost 1.4 million (where I didn’t know a soul) led me to be at my absolute worst, both mentally and physically. My OCD became barely manageable, and I was gaining weight like crazy.
By the end of my freshman year, I weighed 200 pounds. I had been an athlete my whole life and suddenly found it difficult to move in my own skin. I began to run to try to shed some weight, and as the weight came off, I found that running worked wonders for me mentally. I was addicted. I ran my first half marathon one year later, and my first Imogene Pass Run (17.1 miles over a 13,000 foot pass) two years after that. I started going to a hot yoga class with weights to add some cross training, stretching, and general Zen to my life. I became addicted to hot yoga, as well as the extremely supportive and encouraging environment that came from my instructor and the other ladies who attended. Recently, I jumped on the Paleo bandwagon. I hate the word diet, and eating Paleo is anything but. Paleo is all about eating food that fuels your body. After motivating myself to exercise, knowing how to eat properly was my next biggest struggle.
I have lost 60 pounds since I started running, regularly going to yoga, and eating to fuel my body. My OCD has been more manageable than ever. I can honestly attribute all of this to having a consistent exercise routine, a healthy relationship with food, and surrounding myself with people who support me. It is the surefire way to make the most of every single day, to overcome a breakup, a job transition, a move, or any other roadblock that comes up. Fuel yourself through health and fitness, and your happiness will radiate.