Trekking through an eating disorder
My name is Kat and I have been living with binge eating disorder on and off for the past five years. But my eating disorder is not the only thing that defines me. I am independent, stubborn, and academic. I am a researcher, a traveller, and a blogger. I practice yoga, mindfulness, and self-love. And I am in eating disorder recovery.
During my master’s degree in Psychology, I wrote a dissertation on physical activity and binge eating disorder, with great support from Beat, who assisted me with participant recruitment and study promotion. Through Beat, I have also gotten the opportunity to attend an eating disorder conference in Croatia later this year. So when I came across a Do it for Charity event – a trek in the Sahara desert to raise money for a charity of my choice – that choice was pretty obvious.
I decided to raise money for Beat to support them in the amazing work they do for people living with eating disorders, their promotion of eating disorder research, their support for family and friends of eating disorder sufferers, and their campaigns to spread eating disorder awareness and reduce eating disorder stigma. Most of all, I wanted to say thank you for all the support they have given me.
The trek (nine days, 100km, sand dunes, desert heat, and up to six hours trekking every day) would be a challenge for even the fittest of us. For me, however, this challenge is as much mental as it is physical. Living with binge eating disorder means that I am overweight. I am not physically active. I am not physically fit enough to complete this challenge. I would like to stress that everyone’s experience of binge eating disorder is likely to be different. But for me, this is my reality. So when I took on the challenge, I had to acknowledge this reality. I knew I had to prepare. I knew this would be a journey. But for me, this was not simply a journey of losing weight, getting fitter, and gaining strength. In fact, those things were secondary in my mind. My primary goal was to reduce my binge eating, and become healthier on a mental level. The physical benefits were simply a result of that.
I am still in the process of fundraising to reach my sponsorship total, and I have about half of the way to go. I have sold clothes, shoes and accessories, I have received online and offline donations, I have put aside some money from my own salary every month, and I have arranged fundraising events. I appreciate everyone who has supported me along the way and donated to my cause, as I hope to raise even more money for Beat leading up to the trek.
My training is also in progress. I am walking and strengthening my muscles. I am preparing mentally, as well as physically, for what is likely to be one of the biggest challenges of my life. And step by step, with support from Beat, and through my own mindfulness practice, I find myself today not only on the path to the trek, but also on the road to binge eating disorder recovery.
Contributed by Kat
You can help Kat raise money for Beat here.