Runner's World SA
New Model Image Credit: Runner's World SA
New Model Image Credit: Runner's World SA

New Model


Lisa Abdellah


I battled with a series of eating disorders during my teens. I would either starve myself, or I would binge on food and then purge. Controlling what I ate helped me cope with feelings of inadequacy. I also became dependent on alcohol. By the time I reached my mid-twenties, excessive drinking had bloated my figure, and purging had made my face look swollen. I wasn’t overweight; but I was disproportioned.


I came to South Africa to treat my alcohol addiction. Once I had adopted regular eating patterns and cut out alcohol, I started to lose weight quickly.

Initially I couldn’t find a balance between eating and listening to my body. For as long as I could remember, I had been swaying from one extreme to the other.

After two months of sobriety, I took up running to improve my health. I’ve always had a special relationship with running: when I was young, I broke course records in short-distance races at school.

When I ran, I rediscovered my love for nature, and the alone time running afforded me – and most importantly, I began to love myself. The start of a run is always tough; but once I gain momentum, I feel like I can go on forever.

It all boils down to balance: I’m the kind of person who, if I were to look at running as a competition or a goal, then I would go to extreme lengths to reach that goal. For me, running is more a journey than something

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