Sunday, January 27, 2013

Reintroducing (Healthy) Fitness

Almost two weeks ago my first article for Libero Network was published about why it's important to take a break from exercise during recovery. (Read it here!) So of course, ironically, the very same day my therapist told me I'm to a point where I should start incorporating a little more exercise into my regimen.

A few months ago if I was given permission to exercise I would have jumped at the opportunity. My mindset was still highly eating disordered and exercise was all about burning calories. I couldn't walk around the grocery store or out to get the mail without thinking about how many steps I was taking and the number of calories I was leaving behind. It's time, however, to slowly begin the process of learning to exercise in a healthy manner.

So here I am, two weeks after exercise has been prescribed and I have yet to take action. Why is it that exercise always seems so much more appealing tomorrow? 

As a kid I was constantly on the go. At one point I was playing three sports and playing travel softball in the summer; I've never considered myself to be a sedentary person. Even after high school, I seemed to pick jobs where I was constantly running around a kitchen for hours on end. Sitting still didn't happen very often.

Eight months and fifty pounds later, it's safe to say I am in the worst shape of my life. Last week after taking the stairs to the third floor at school, I caught myself out of breath and seeking out the nearest drinking fountain. When did this happen? This afternoon I took a twenty-five minute walk and there's a good chance I will be sore by morning.

So why is it I seem to be having such a difficult time starting up an exercise routine? This seems to be a problem for many of us, not just eating disorder patients. 

With yoga being my exercise of choice, I'm terrified of making a fool of myself. Not only will I be the least in shape, but my flexibility has always been terrible. Just like eating, exercise is something I will have to re-teach myself how to do. There's a major difference between exercising for enjoyment and exercising to burn calories. In moderation, like everything else in this world, fitness can be a huge part of a healthy lifestyle; I just need to make sure I have the right mindset when I finally do get started.

After doing a little research, I have found that eating disorder recovery and yoga are a match made in heaven. Rather than competing with the person next to me running five miles on a treadmill, focusing on the self and being centered is taught in yoga. Mind body awareness is a great way for those who struggle with body image to become more in tune with their bodies. Yoga is about letting go of negative thoughts and judgments. There have also been studies done that suggest yoga can help relieve anxiety, improve posture, boost energy and strengthen the mind. 

I'm running out of reasons to keep avoiding a yoga class. 

Oh and I forgot to mention, my parents paid for my first few classes as a Christmas gift; so there's truly no excuse.

Just like every time we are pushed to face something new in life, it can leave a nervous jitter behind. There have been way too many times I have ran away from something new because it left me with an unsettled feeling- but I'm done with that. I made a choice to trust my treatment team a long time ago and this situation isn't any different.

Sadly, my days of being a lazy bum are over. In no way does this mean I will be spending everyday this week on the treadmill; my therapist and I would be content with one measly yoga class. But, like many things I have chosen to leave in my past, after a little time, it all starts to make sense why things happen the way they do. For this week, my goal will be to go outside of my comfort zone and add a little fitness back into my life.



  1. I've been hearing so much about yoga lately that I think it's time I got over my fear and took a class. I hear you when you say you're running out of excused not to take one...same here girl. It's mostly out of fear of the people who might be there that is making me stay away but I did sign up for two classes this week so we'll see if I can make it to one of them. They're free with my gym membership so I should really just go haha. Tell me how you like it if you take a class!

    1. Sounds good- I will definitely let you know! We should do one 'together!' haha :)

  2. Did you exercise during your weight gain phase of recovery?

    1. Kelly - in the beginning, while I was still trying to fight the process and my treatment team, I did sneak in some exercise. But after I got caught and in trouble, I finally gave up exercise. I was allowed two 15 minute walks a day, but didn't always do them. And I still don't really exercise to this day, almost a year after being weight restored.

  3. Thanks for this post, and your earlier one too about not exercising during recovery. I've found both to be extremely helpful during my recovery process. I have been in recovery for about 2 years, but I only stopped exercising in November and that was really the point where I feel like I truly began to "recover" since I was exercising obsessively and thinking about it all the time. Like you, I was always super active and I still love exercise and hate that I can't do it, but I know that I'm just not ready yet. I still have not accepted my current weight and would like to use exercise primarily as a way to lose weight. It's a real struggle though; although I like how I look, I still would like to be more "fit" and build muscle...I just can't tell if that's me talking or the eating disorder. Can I ask, at what point in your recovery did your treatment team think you were ready to exercise again? How far along were you and how did you know you were ready? Thanks :)