“My goal is to spread awareness for eating disorders beyond just the ‘worst case’ accounts we read of anorexia and bulimia. You can’t always see an eating disorder! -Rachael Steil
I am honored to share Rachael Steil’s story with you all. I have followed Rachael’s journey for quite a few years now and we share many similarities. Most importantly, we are both speaking up about our battles with eating disorders in order to raise awareness and instill hope that one can recover and live a better life. Rachael is running in very different ways now, but she is no longer running in silence and I couldn’t be more proud of her!
“I shivered in my sweaty t-shirt and stretchy black pants as I sat before the glow of my laptop in the college library, my eyes scanning through a vibrant yellow website.
‘Eat all the fruit you want’
‘Never get fat’
Raw. Food. Diet.
It had been hours since I ran at track practice that winter, but I hadn’t bothered to shower let alone change clothes. No, I didn’t have time for that, because I had found the answer to my prayers.
This has to be it”.
In December 2012 I exposed journal entries I had written about starting a raw food diet on my website runninginsilence.com. It was the first time I had come out about my eating disorder to the public, and I received nothing but support and love from everyone. But the most eye-opening part about it? I received messages from so many people I never would have guessed dealt with the similar issue–and for the first time I didn’t feel so alone. I didn’t feel so “crazy.” And I didn’t feel like my problem was too big to conquer. With the help and support of my new followers of the website, I began to expose the Rachael beneath–where she had come from, why she came to the disorder, and how she could get out.
I want to show my readers how to do this in their lives, too.
In my upcoming book based on my blog, Running in Silence, I share how I clocked in as an All-American collegiate runner and ended up as the girl clawing for a comeback on a 30-bananas-a-day diet. This three-year struggle with raw food ended when I realized I had to find my self-respect beyond my identity as a successful runner on a perfect diet.
Running in Silence opens the door on the secret world of eating disorders. It provides vital insights for those who don’t suffer from this disease and an honest and harrowing personal story for those who do. My book challenges the stigma of eating disorders, looks past appearance, and dives into the heart of obsession. With questions, prompts, and suggestions throughout Running in Silence (and worksheets included at the end), I hope to provide ideas and guidance for everyone else to work through their own food issues, thoughts, and obsessions.
Through writing about my story, just as Brittany has done, I want to tell you that it is okay to ask for help. That no problem is too small to keep to yourself. That you deserve to speak for your body, and that perhaps those of us who suffer from eating disorders or other modes of self-harm have some of the toughest times asking for help because we have learned to speak with our body instead of our tongues. That we do speak, but in a language of silence when we leave the dinner table too soon, when we skip lunch, when we creep to the kitchen at midnight to fill our bodies too quickly and too guiltily, when we stow away to the bathroom after every meal.
Someone, somewhere in the world may “have it worse” than me, people say. But how many times have I stressed to others–and to myself–that it doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to speak!
WE DESERVE TO SPEAK.
We must speak!
It is the best tool we have.
Rachael’s book, Running in Silence has a scheduled release date for October 15th, 2016.
Rachael Steil graduated in 2015 from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She is a level 1 USA track and field certified coach and is currently the assistant coach at Grandville high school.
Steil has published articles about running and running with an eating disorder in Michigan Runner magazine, and has spoken about eating disorders for events at Aquinas College and at the “Go Boldly, Love Your Body” campaign in Grand Rapids. She has been interviewed for several websites, podcasts, and the Grand Rapids Press newspaper. Steil is a recipient of the Spirit and Outstanding Runner award for the Aquinas College cross country team and has received sixth place All-American accolades in cross country as well as seventh place in the NAIA track nationals.
Her greatest achievement was not breaking a physical barrier, but a mental one.
I love connecting with my readers! Feel free to subscribe and email/message me. You can find me here:
Email: runninginsilence [at] gmail [dot] com
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/runninginsilence/?fref=ts
Mogul Influencers: https://onmogul.com/rsteil12
You can donate to my marketing and publishing campaign for the book at gofundme.com/runninginsilence