Five years ago, Rachael Ross Steil struggled with body image as she ran cross country and track for Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI. However, on Saturday, Jan. 21, Steil greeted readers confidently while promoting her book “Running in Silence: My Drive for Perfection and the Eating Disorder that Fed It.”
The book signing was held at Holland’s Barnes and Noble store from 12 – 2 p.m. Steil chatted with readers, signed books and promoted her speaking engagements and YouTube channel.
“Running in Silence”, which was published in November of last year, documents Steil’s experience trying a raw food diet during her freshman year of college. “I wanted to not only run faster but lose more weight,” Steil said.
At the event, Steil explained to readers that she wants the book to help women whose weights aren’t dangerously low but whose mental relationships with food are an issue.
“My weight wasn’t low enough for people to suggest that I go to the hospital, so an eating disorder didn’t even come into my mindset at first,” Steil said about her personal experience. “But I wasn’t living a full life, and I didn’t realize that until I came to terms with realizing it was an eating disorder.”
Hope student Rachel Bartkowiak (’18) attended the book signing and spoke to Steil. “It seemed like [Steil] had a lot of relatable information to share,” Bartkowiak said. “While I wouldn’t say I have an eating disorder, it was nice to hear from someone that there doesn’t necessarily have to be extreme story showing an eating disorder. It can be a more ordinary experience.”
Steil also told readers that she is in the process of editing her second book. The sequel will revolve around her experience injuring her kneecap and breaking away from her identity in running.
She also stressed that the book will explore how she’s made friends with other interests, saying, “I was suddenly now in this whole new world because I’d been in this running world for so long.” Steil hopes that the book will be released in a few years.
Runners and readers interested in Steil’s story can buy the book at runninginsilence.com. She can also be found on Youtube, where she posts frequent videos about overcoming obsessions with diet and exercise. For fans who prefer Twitter, she can be contacted through her handle @RachaelSteil. Her vulnerability is sure to help many.