Jog group helps Emily open up about mental health

28-year-old Emily from Castle Donnington has taken more than most from her journey with Jog Derbyshire group Melbourne Joggers. After suffering from an eating disorder and struggling to balance a healthy link between eating and exercise she’s now found a supportive group who’ve helped change her mindset and gain confidence she never knew she had.

She explains:

“Suffering from anorexia, I went through a period of over-exercising, under-eating and feeling suicidal.

“After spending a period of time in hospital I joined the Melbourne Joggers to be able to run with other people. I was supported to continue running by my doctor as long as I was eating properly. This was slightly unconventional but running had never been the main problem and it made me put a lot of trust in her.

Being able to open up to others

“The group were all so friendly and supportive and the leaders are amazing. They’ve seen me go through a relapse so they really get what I’m going through. If I get anxious I can just go for a run and I always know I’ll feel better for it.

“The best thing about the group is it’s such an open place to talk about things. Because you don’t have to make eye contact with someone when you’re running it’s easier to open up more than I would do with other people.

“I feel so much more confident about my body when I’m running. It doesn’t matter what speed you’re doing, everyone is doing it for their own reasons. The group encourages you to be your best, rather than measuring you against anyone else.

Achieving goals

“Last year I decided I wanted to run a marathon. I’m very goal driven and my health care team really supported me in my decision.

“The marathon was amazing, I loved every second of it and raised money for an eating disorder charity. But for me the achievement wasn’t about the day itself, it was about the training. I had a training partner and it meant I had a motivation to get up in the morning even when I wasn’t feeling my best, because I didn’t want to let anyone down.

“It completely changed the way I think about food. Now it was about helping me fuel my running rather than thinking it would make me fat. I had to eat properly.

Changing my mindset

“Being part of the Melbourne Joggers has made such a difference to me in so many different ways. I recently organised teams for the sunset relays which I would never have had the confidence to do before. Going to watch them was a really great feeling.

“I even went out for my first social outing with them for pizza the other day. This was a massive milestone for me. I usually don’t go because it always involves food which makes me feel nervous but I really enjoyed it.

“It’s amazing how much my mindset has changed. I only really noticed when someone was talking to me about how they felt they weren’t fit enough to run. When you think of it like this you’re focusing on the negatives and worrying about what you think are your failings. If you think about it in terms of getting stronger, that’s a much more positive and powerful message.

“I definitely feel like being part of the Melbourne Joggers has made me stronger.”

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