Updated: Jun 26
Hi everyone! Below is a contract I created for myself to help me return to running in a healthy, non-disordered way. It includes reminders and requirements which were very helpful for me to monitor and check in with myself and review with my therapist for returning to running while being almost fully recovered from an eating disorder. This running contract was also a source of encouragement with the helpful reminders and truth. Please feel free to look through it, I’ll include the word doc version at the bottom of this post to download if anyone is interested in utilizing it for themselves. Please keep in mind that this is specific to myself and may not reflect your individual recovery needs. If you choose to download a copy for yourself I’d recommend modifying it to your needs. As a reminder/disclaimer I had to take off many years from running and go through extensive therapy/dietitian appointments/support groups to get to a place where I could run again.
****I’m living my best life when I am giving my body adequate nourishment and not restricting any type of food. Life is fun and enjoyable instead of depressing and a struggle.
Maintaining my weight
Eating a variety of foods
Not restricting any certain foods
Not researching in general, especially other runners
No counting calories
No measuring food
No comparing to others
No body checking
Able to eat socially/go out to eat spontaneously
Following meal plan 100%
Follow exercise limits
**Must tell someone if I start noticing increases in thoughts or behaviors.
I need to eat more to fuel my body and maintain my health while running.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
God made me on purpose for a purpose. This includes my body. God gave me my specific body type on purpose for a purpose.
My body is a beautiful creation.
My body enables me to live my life.
My body is a precious gift that I must nurture and care for.
I do not want to have my eating disorder 5 years from now when I’m 27 years old. This means I must fight against the thoughts and not give into behaviors.
I have to eat to run NOT run to eat.
I am a child of God.
My value and worth are constant and infinite.
I don’t have to be the perfect runner. I can eat what I want, take rest breaks, run slowly, run for fun.
I refuse to tie my worth and value into running and my performance. I am a child of God. My value and worth are constant and infinite. No amount or lack of mileage or PR changes my worth and value. Whether I run 5 miles a week or 50 miles my worth and value is the same. Whether I run a 1:30 half marathon or a 2 hour half marathon or don’t compete my worth and value are the same. Whether I run 1 day a week or 6 days a week my worth and value haven’t changed. I am not more valuable if I run more and I am not less valuable if I run less.
My body houses my soul, my body is the vessel that enables me to live out my live and God’s purposes for me
John 3:16-17- “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
1 Timothy 4:8– For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
Psalm 139:13-14– For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
1 Corinthians 9:24-26- Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. (Megan’s take: Running is not all that important. To run is to run aimlessly for a crown that will not last. )
Ephesians 2:10– For we are God’s handiwork (masterpiece), created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20– Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
1 Corinthians 10:14– No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
1 Samuel 6:7– 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Matthew 6:25– “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
Philippians 4:13– I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Romans 14- One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean.
Romans 12:2– Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Colossians 3:2– Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13– I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.
Proverbs 31:30– Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.
Romans 12:1- Brothers and sisters, in view of all we have just shared about God’s compassion, I encourage you to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, dedicated to God and pleasing to him. This kind of worship is appropriate for you.
Psalm 55:22– Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.
Romans 8:26– In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
Ecclesiastes 9– Anyone who is among the living has hope[b]—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion! Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.
John 1:5- The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Isaiah 40:29- He gives strength to the weary and power to the weak.
Philippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus
Psalm 55:22 Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.
Zephaniah 3:17 For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
Mark 1:19 (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)
My therapist and dietitian are monitoring my weight, and will let me know about any major changes.
My body likes the weight I am at now.
There is not a “runner’s body”. Many of those tops runners I followed have/had eating disorders or were unhealthy and underweight. The runners I was looking up to were extremely unhealthy and not good role models. Every body is a runner’s body.
I would not want my future athletes and children to think they need to look a certain way or weigh a certain amount so I will not hold myself to different standards.
Rachele Schulist, Allie Kieffer, and Kara Baazi gained weight and ran just as fast or even faster.
I will not compromise my health or betray my soul to look a certain way, wear a certain size, reach a certain number on a scale or run a certain time.
I refuse to compare myself to elite runners. I refuse to aim to look like them. I cannot know their health and my body is completely different than their own. I do not want to look like someone that is unhealthy themself.
I refuse to try to look like anyone else. I refuse comparing myself to anyone else. My body is unique and not meant to look like anyone else’s so I refuse to change my body to look like someone else.
I refuse to tie my worth and value into running and my performance. I am a child of God. My value and worth are constant and infinite. No amount or lack of mileage or PR can change my worth and value.
I refuse to exercise to punish my body for eating “too much”.
I refuse to sacrifice my recovery or my health to try to do what I think I have to do to become faster.
I choose to nourish, fuel, and care for my body. My bones are already weaker than what I would like. My body needs nourishment to be strong and healthy.
I choose to exercise and run for enjoyment and the health of my body instead of punishment or destruction of my body.
Download the running contract here: running-contract
I hope this helps you in your journey!
1 Timothy 4:8- For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
Megan Ludke is a woman of God, Founder and Executive Director of Live RecoverED (formerly RecoverED Athletes), a school-based physical therapist, and a current PSU graduate student (M.Ed. Health Education & Promotion concentration in Eating Disorders). She is recovered from anorexia, orthorexia, depression, OCD, and social anxiety. Megan is deeply passionate about her work at Live RecoverED, having felt the pain and darkness of struggling with an eating disorder. When not working, Megan loves spending time with her boyfriend and family and loves being outside- hiking or reading in a hammock.