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Relationship mind, body and soul

By November 12, 2015 45 Comments
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The Trail Sisters write about the difficult relationship we runners have with body weight. http://i-rn.fr/WeightHeadGames – This shows up on my Facebook feed and I read while eating my 8 banana pancake castle and as I have already done my morning training, and I´m not tempted to start with my “to do” list I start reflecting on the subject.

For sure the weight and the body image is something more or less every one is aware of. You get feed ALL the time with pictures of the perfect body, how to train to loos weight and how to get those abs and so on.

I would lie if I said I never thought about my own weight. Sadly I do, even though my rational side always tells me to stop. So I do. Because I love my body as it is. It´s pretty awesome to run a 100 miler and feeling good afterwards. Or a 20 km, or climb or ski a whole day, or just enjoying a Swedish semla. I thank my body and mind for this.

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Being surrounded by runners in different shapes, different diets or as many say I don´t really like desserts or chocolate (is it possible?..!) makes you think. To enjoy a good dinner and dessert and let the soul get happy is something I would never change.

I don´t know why but I feel awkward if someone after a dinner say no thanks to try a tiny bit dessert. But only if it´s athletes, never non athletes. Then I think oh yea it´s good to think about not eating too much. I guess I have a picture of athletes with a complicated relationship with food.

I have so much experience taking a big plate of dessert and no one else are taking any..! Just sitting drinking hot lemon water and maybe a half apple. I feel sad for them, but maybe without right? Maybe they feel sad for me looking to my plate and thinking- why? Maybe they get as uncomfortable as me? I get like the opposite when I experience that. I want to show, somehow ,that it is possible to be a good runner eating exactly what you want. And of course I believe some athletes eat exactly what they want, and others with an intention to keep the calories down to keep the weight. And I´m not saying it´s wrong. Or wait, maybe that´s exactly what I´m doing?

I want to have a healthy body that will serve me for long, give me babies, keep my bones strong forever and have a uncomplicated relationship to food.

I think you can have a healthy relationship to food even if you count calories and eat “healthy” but it´s such a fine line from there to have a complicated relationship with food.

Looking to the younger athletes I feel like I want to be someone to relate to, someone to look to and say, oh god she is strong, she look healthy! I don´t want to be one that you say “if I only had a few kilos less like her”, then maybe I could be as strong. Even though it can be tempting sometimes. For sure thoughts like ” imagine if I had 5 kilos less, this vertical would be so much easier” can flicker my mind. And maybe it would be easier, but it´s not a good way to think, here the fine line is coming in. I believe we can be as strong as we want having a healthy body, we just need to find the way there. Maybe the way gets longer but I think it will keep us healthy, and for me that is the most important. I love running and skiing to much to risk a unhealthy body.

I wished the world of athletes could be more focused on health. Not weight. Not the little at around the waist.

Every now and then I get to here from people that meet me for the first time; oh you don´t look like a runner. I always ask- what do you mean? I never get an answer, the just mumble and walk away.

Can you imagine to hear that when you are 18 and maybe a little less self confident? Devastating.

Or when I ran my first long race KIMA in 2012, that was in the beginning of my athlete carrier. I had finished the race, super happy to have accomplished a long race and going to get some massage. And the first thing he say is wow you are a little fat. Can you imagine? I started to cry, being all happy and exhausted and letting that man destroying all my feelings.

I´m not big, I´m fit and strong. Looking to the body procent measurement table I´m in the lower part of “normal” but of course upper part of athlete. So what? Love what you have! For sure it´s hard to find what is right for you, but it´s even harder to have the – “no I should´t eat that because I get fat” (roughly said) mindset than “wow I try a piece because it looks so tasty”.  With a pretty normal ratio of training/intake you shouldn´t need to worry about that.

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For me I see my own recipe to become the best athlete I can become like this:

Eat what you want. But learn a little about nutrition that will make you eat sustainable and healthy!

Be aware of how much you train, for me if I don´t train as many hours for some weeks, I probably shouldn´t eat 3 cinnamon buns after the dinner, maybe 1 is enough.

Train good! Push yourself hard every now and then.

Recover.

Feed your soul

Don´t read “weight loss, get these abs, how you get this skinny” articles.

Love your hips, breasts, butt and belly. The fat keeps you warm. And healthy.

Emelie

Emelie

Swedish mountain lover. Loves running and skiing, farming and baking! ❤

  • Hello Emelie, I think you have put a lot of thought into this but is this necessary? I have spent many years in the food and soft drink industry (I do know well sports nutrition for example) and I get all sorts of comments from people who ask me about what they should eat and what they shouldn’t eat. I look at their diet and I usually do small corrections if I see that there is some extreme (like eating everyday a lot of cheese for example). However, what I always answer is, this is your body and you must listen to it, feel your body, your body is telling you what works and what doesn’t work. But please do not go extreme by saying I don’t want a dessert, yes have one a small one that will make you feel happy. I did some experimentation on my boyfriend, I follow a plant base diet because my body feels very well, but after one week my boyfriend was so weak, so we said ok let’s go back to meat for you but please reduce a little bit the amount and go for other proteins. Because we also have to think about sustainability, what comes from the earth is living and gives us all the minerals, phytochemicals…to make us strong, healthy and respectful of our planet. So what I do is give recipes to people, simple, cheap, easy to make with raw materials and ask them to avoid a lot of processed food because I know them far too well and know how the industry works (sadly, they offer us dead food). As an advise, I would say, keep 1/3 of food, 1/3 of water, 1/3 empty, be happy, find peace within yourself and connect deeply with the flavours of the food you consume. But be careful, with what you put today inside you because it’s only years later that our body tells us “why you have given me so much sugar not today when we are young…”.
    Have a peaceful day,
    Lila
    p.s. I will soon have a blog on sports nutrition and sustainability, helping people to consume right.

  • Tatiana Surazhsky

    You ARE still a very young athlete, Emily… and you are NOT fat in any sense, but you’ll (may be 🙂 ) notice in, let’s say 15 years, that HUGE dessert sits less comfortably in your stomach and your body reacts a bit differently… although I still eat whatever I want (just not junk).
    And, BTW when people say that I have legs like you, I consider it as compliment 😉

  • Andy Kirkpatrick

    In my experience, in a long game, thin ‘fit’ people have no sustain when pure performance switches to pure survival.

    • I think most Mountain Rescue team members would agree with that. I’ve never met a skinny one, yet I always trust them to pull me off a hill if needed.

      *eats second muffin*

  • Leanne Cooke

    I am naturally thin and find it hard to put on weight and I get passed by; guys with pot bellies, women 15 years older than me, women 1/2 stone heavier than me. I even got passed by a fancy dress smuff once. So enjoy life and don’t get too hung up on the calories. Eat, drink, run and be merry.

  • Johan Britz

    You look absolutely fantastic!

  • Robert Sanderson

    Good for you Emelie a well written post.

  • Ian J Corless

    Emelie one of the reasons everyone loves you and your running is because of your balanced love of all things. You have equal passion for food, sport, people, relaxation, reading and so many more things. That is so important and we all loose sight of that. You are a great ambassador and the more you share your thoughts the more you empower people to be individual and comfortable with themselves.

  • Sara Pinto

    Hi Emelie! I think your thoughts are in the right place – focus in being healthy and also happy! I don’t mean to be judgmental but I don’t understand people who live in a wealthy society and still they care so damn much about their weight and aesthetics, when all their basic needs are perfectly satisfied; or the opposite, people who don’t care at all and treat their bodies as a dump, while eating garbage all day long
    . Balance is required to live long, healthy and happy, being an athlete or a regular person. I would say you’re in the right track ;)!

  • Anna

    Thank You very much Emelie ?

  • Molly Bazilchuk

    Thank you, Emelie, you just made my day! (From someone who likes ice cream a little too much!)

  • Olga

    I used to have the same philosophy until I got injured and couldn’t exercise for 7 months (and still can’t). That’s where calorie counter and food scales got handy.

  • Erin

    Thank you, Emelie! You are such a wonderful role model for women and girls of all ages!

  • Cristina Prat

    I can only say one thing: AMEN!
    This is absolutely what I think and what I have experienced myself. I tried to be leaner and thin, kind of good looking, showing all my muscles… Because when I was younger I used to hear that if you want to run fast you have to be as lean as you can. And because I was overwhelmed with this kind of articles and photos you refer. And, when I was loosing weight and training only with lettuce, I failed in every race, no energy to push a good marathon after 180k bike, absolutely impossible, no energy. But when I train eating whatever my body asked me (healty or not, including salad and fruits but also burgers, chocolate and pizza) I feel stronger than ever because my body has gasoline. And when you train for being better and faster, you never doubt, anymore, about what’s better for you.
    A lot of times people tell me some weeks before an IM race: “you are not as lean as you were 6 months ago…” (when I has less muscle mass because I wasn’t training hard) or “for X IM you were thiner”, and they think that if I am not that thin I will be slower. Lot of people think and says it! Even people who raced IM and long mountain runs! So this is why I am so happy to read your post, that a girl who is a referent for everybody says that!
    In my deepest mind I still have a complicated fight with that, because I see this “fit girls” and I also want to look like them, and I think that my boyfriend would prefer me looking like them. But soon I realize that what I really love and what fulfills me is being stronger and faster and better, and the perfect body will be the best to fulfill your dreams.
    THANKS EMELIE!

  • Stacey Pearson

    Thank you so much for this beautifully written post, Emelie. Your willingness to be vulnerable and authentic is incredibly courageous. You’re a role model for women of all ages.

  • Dreama Jean

    Emelie, I love that you wrote this! You are such an inspiration for so many women 🙂 I too have gotten that comment, “you don’t look like a runner” and when I asked why they said because I’m not so thin. I’m actually glad about that because I don’t want to be “thin” I want to be fit and strong!

    Life is too short not to enjoy the sweet stuff. I make pancakes almost every weekend, for breakfast I eat Peanut butter and Jelly on English muffins or cereal and I love ice cream. I don’t watch my carbs or count calories…I eat what I want but just in moderation 🙂 Overall, I enjoy eating healthy because it makes me feel good to know I’m taking good care of my machine but I also don’t deny myself a tasty treat 🙂

    Keep being real and you. You’re awesome!

  • Sakura N.

    Emelie, I really respect your honesty and candor. 🙂 I hope you’ll always express your thoughts and never change, as there will be lots of people who will benefit from reading posts such as this, to not feel so pressured to choose weight over health. Thank you & Cheers!

  • Tim Bennett

    Good reading 🙂

  • UltraPom44 .

    Great article Emelie. A balanced life, running and eating is a great mantra. It is very disappointing how little the human body needs to survive, and I have to remember that when in tapering! 🙂 but awareness of that is the main thing.

  • Ed Robinson

    Speaking for myself, diet is either on or it’s off. I either make hard and fast diet rules that don’t include desserts, or I end up giving myself freedom to eat like garbage too often (lots of pizza) . So, if that dessert isn’t a pre planned “cheat” I skip it and am totally fine with that, you’d have no cause to feel uncomfortable 🙂

    • Emelie

      Yea I guess that´s how it can be, I just react because of the fine line.

  • Alexis Soucie

    I have just “found you” and I have to say you are so inspiring!! I would kill to have legs and strength like yours!! Thank you for being so honest and sharing it with us!! On a random note, what is the workout gear you are wearing in the one picture running up the mountain??

  • Eimear Rose Nicholl

    Fabulous message Emelie. There is a culture in running of lowest body weight you can maintain. But running competitively and trying to get thinner at the same time is risky, as you say. I also find myself eating lots more than the other women around me, and I don’t do lots and lots of miles. Even though I eat way more than others, I sometimes struggle to eat enough, but I am getting better the longer I am running, and know better now what I need. The best thing I have learnt this year is to stop comparing myself to others. Maybe I just need more food than others to stay healthy. I’d rather be injury free and have strong bones and remain fertile than look like a model. We’re here to run, not walk down catwalks- so being strong has to take priority over looking very lean.

  • José Álvarez

    God… I love this woman!!!

  • Jorge Rocha

    Thank you!

  • Nicole

    I think I found another role model 🙂

  • Mandy

    I love this Emelie. You look fantastic and are a world class athlete. What you are doing with your diet must be right for you. A couple of people have commented that we have to be a bit more careful with what we eat as we get older. I don’t think that’s really true. I think we have to be more careful if we get sedentary but that is not the same as getting older. I will be 50 in a couple of months. I am slim and have been much the same weight for ever. Running is my passion and I run a lot but not huge mileage. I eat loads of nutritious healthy wholefoods which I love but like you I also love desserts, cakes, buns….they feed my soul too. Delicious cake with coffee is a special part of my day. What I’m saying is you can keep on eating treats and enjoying them. It’s not normal to get a little fat as you get older. It’s only normal if you become sedentary and keep on eating too much. I think if we keep on running or hiking or biking or whatever exercise we enjoy and eat a mostly healthy diet we can stay a normal body weight and continue to have the treats that we love. xxx

  • Kat Mitchell

    Yes I am tired of this. I have been told so many times , you do not look like a runner. And no I don’t. I am short, curvy and overweight but I can run some decent distances. I have a marathon in few weeks. But I am a steady runner. What is worse is when someone asked me ‘ why do you run?’. As people who look like me clearly shouldn’t be.

  • NFPalestine Turmudzy

    You’re so inspiring, Emelie!

  • Procyon11

    I’ve been following your runs and some snaps of your everyday life (on Instagram or Facebook) for years now, and I can tell you that one of the reasons that I consider you a role model is that you always seem to enjoy life at its fullest, and by that I mean that you always seem to be searching for the perfect balance in everything.

    When I started running I had a lot of insecurities being around other girls. I thought “gosh, they have such athletic and small bodies, and I, well, let’s say that I tend to have a bigger frame than most, as I am pretty tall and not super skinny, just normal”. I thought that because of that I was going to perform worse than them, but it wasn’t so. So I think genetics and metabolism take a great role in this, and it doesn’t say anything at all.

    I love that you wrote this post because it makes me feel happy that young women like me and many others can look up to something so rational, optimistic and well-balanced as you.

    PS: How could someone even tell you that you are a bit fat???!! I mean, you’ve always looked absolutely healthy and athletic and you have a stunning body type! No one can say otherwise! You should have given him a kick in the face with those killer legs! 😀

  • Rachel Reynolds

    Thank you Emelie! I’ll be saving these words for my girls as they grow older!!. They’re only 2 and 3 but my only wish is that they grow up with a mentality and perspective like yours. Stay healthy, stay strong and good luck for all your future events!

  • Meg Parke

    Well said, Emelie!

  • Jane

    Your last line really hit home. The “how to” get to that space is a different journey for each of us. Thank you for your honest and true words. Our world needs more ambassadors like you. Thank you.

  • The level of condition we reach, mentally and psychally , reflect our way of feel and perceive life.
    So, to everyone, its own feeling!
    The best for me it’s to eat raw food, sprouts, plants, as much as possible.
    In this way, i feel very energetic and with minimum environmental impact, that’s all.

  • Second aspect, but not of minor relevance, when i look the mirror my body, i need to feel pleasure.
    Egocentric? perhaps, but I think it’s a fundamental part of feeling good.

  • Linn

    Thank you! ?

  • Caroline Chaverot

    I like this post which reflects exactly my thoughts. I am quite surprised to see so much people restraining themselves to be faster. I share totally the point of view of Ian Corless: I am happy that you’re one of the emblematic trail runners, because you look healthy, you love cooking, training, practicing yoga and climbing and so on!

  • Dominique

    What a great, honest blog post and I agree with everything you said!!!!

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  • melanie_sakowski

    Thank you so much for this. I’m struggling with an eating disorder, and am realizing more than ever that “strong” is better. The mind is such a monkey, and people like you give such blessings of reminders about true LIFE.

  • Helen Munro

    thank you for sharing – everyone who saw you in Scotland at the weekend commented on how amazing you look – your mindset is as strong as your body! You are one awesome lady xx

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  • Brent

    The body is just a vehical for the soul to accomplish what it desires. If you’re a few lbs overweight by somebody else’s standards, but your body does what it is that you need it to do to be happy, then so be it.

    I know I’m a few years late to this, but bravo and keep at it.

  • Radiant Holistics

    Hey, very nicely written about the facts. Keep up with the good work.