The Truth About Exercise in Recovery

Alright, beautiful Warriors. Time for a little bit of Wednesday night #RealTalk.

And I’m gonna be straight up – Just like I like my tequila. 🙂

Exercise.

What comes to mind when you hear that word?

Do you feel anxious, maybe because you wish you could be doing it right now? Do you feel guilty, maybe because you know you’re pushing your body beyond the extreme as a way to purge calories? Do you have a pit in your stomach because you use exercise as a form of self-punishment? Do you feel obligated in order to earn the right to consume food?

Any of that striking a chord?

#RealTalk: Your gut reaction to that word says a lot about your relationship with it.

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First things first (let me just get this disclaimer out of the way) :exercising when you’re at a dangerously low weight is recipe for disaster, and I definitely do NOT condone that. At all. Get your doctor’s “go ahead” before doing anything physical in recovery.

Ok back to the #RealTalk

There will come a point in your recovery where you’ll be given the “all clear” by your doctor to begin physical activity or exercise.

But the real question, is should you?

ED is a stealthy bastard. And one of the things he’s best at is morphing your eating disorder. OK, so you started out with one eating disorder, but maybe now you can see aspects of another sneaking into your life.

#RealTalk: ED CAN “GET’CHA” WITH EXERCISE

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I’m going to be honest with you guys – as clearly, I always am – but exercise addiction was something that I definitely struggled with through the early stages much of my recovery. Boom. I said it. It’s out there. But for — literally years — after “recovering,” I was enslaved to exercise. For me, it was a way that made me feel as though I “deserved” to eat. That I “earned” the right to consume calories. And if I’m being really 100% honest with myself, it was actually a physical way to withhold gentleness and self-love from myself, because that’s what I thought I deserved.

Obsessive exercise was a way that ED maintained a foothold in my life, even after I had given up the anorexia itself.

And I have a feeling that this may be ringing true for some of you beautiful loves, as well.

And it was only a few years ago that I literally became free from that demon in my life. Free. That’s the only way to describe it. No more obsession. No more exhaustion. No more anxiety. No more pressure about going farther, running longer – One more class. Five more minutes. Two more laps. — Freedom.

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So how did I do it? How did I break the chains that kept me in bondage to grueling workouts and marathon-esq runs day after day after day?

I GAVE IT UP COLD TURKEY

*Gasp* Whaaaat? Howwww the heck does one just give it up? That may seem preposterous.

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So I’m gonna give you the short version: As you already know, I have Ulcerative Colitis. And during a flare several years ago, I was literally on bed rest for almost a year. The flare was horrible. I had to move home. Go on an obscene amount of medications. They almost had to remove my intestines, but I’ll spare you the details. The point is, before the flare, I would mistreat my body, day in and day out, with olympian-caliber workouts. And then — BAM — I was put on bed rest for ten months

I was so scared. I thought, surely I was going to just balloon up to the size of a whale and have to be carted out of there on a fork lift when all was said and done.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t.

You see, this period of what could have been seen as a devastating turn of events — where my life was thrown on its head and all my plans derailed — was actually a major blessing in disguise. Yes, it flipped my life upside-down…but in a good way. Because it was during this time — when my body literally forced me to — that I began eating three meals a day and two snacks, rather than just one large meal at the end of the day, like I had been doing. And if that wasn’t already a big enough deal, I gave up exercise. I mean, we’re talking: I couldn’t even walk to the mailbox. I was on bed rest.

And let me tell you something remarkable, friends: I didn’t gain weight. In fact, (and I hate to put this on here as it may be triggering) I actually lost weight. You see, by eating only one big meal at night, my body had grown accustomed to just “holding onto” every calorie I’d eat in that one gigantic meal, because it knew I was going to put it through hell the next day during my insane workout, and I wasn’t going to eat again until dinnertime the next day. It was when I nourished it throughout the day that my metabolism started to pick up and my body started trusting me. And I started trusting my body.

You guys, it is crazy how much we can eat without gaining weight. Seriously. You don’t have to kill yourself on the treadmill just because you had an extra helping of dinner. Trust your body.

So where am I now in my relationship with exercise?

Well, I can honestly say that since my flare, and giving up exercise cold turkey, I haven’t run since. I don’t even belong to a gym. I have learned how to exercise for enjoyment. I now take a 45 minute walk in Central Park for enjoyment — To soak up the sun. To move the beautiful body that God has given me and enjoy the endorphins released from light physical activity. It’s not an obligation. It’s not a form of self punishment. It’s a form of love.

There’s nothing wrong with exercise. Let’s be clear about that. Exercise is a beautiful and wonderful and healthy thing! There are SO MANY benefits. Exercise is not a demon. But there’s a difference between taking a “Tone and Chisel” aerobics class, and abusing your body to the point of collapse.

And here’s the realest #RealTalk of them all: If you are “working out” for more than 90 minutes everyday, you need to check your motives. 

Friends, you can stop. You can press that big old, red “Emergency Stop Button” on the treadmill – figuratively and literally speaking.

Your body isn’t going to blow up overnight if you don’t workout. Your thighs aren’t going to automatically become massive if you don’t run for two hours everyday. Believe me. That’s what I believed. And after spending ten months literally in bedeating more than I had ever eaten, and actually having the opposite happen, I am living proof that you won’t balloon up.

I have adopted a spirit of gentleness with myself. I’m learning to love myself more and more, and one of the ways I show myself that love, is by not punishing myself and torturing myself with exercise. And it is so incredible. I have time for hobbies now that I’m not spending every free moment at the gym or working out. The condition of my feet has improved dramatically — I can now wear sandals without being self-conscious about the amount of callouses and blisters from all the pounding. I’m not exhausted all the time. My life isn’t ruled by the gym, or fitness class schedules. I can be spontaneous. I can be me

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But I had to trust myself first. Take that leap. I promise, it will be the greatest thing you’ve ever done.

It’ll be…”grool.” 🙂

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61 thoughts on “The Truth About Exercise in Recovery

    • Thank you so much, Alison. I really appreciate that. 🙂 and haha, I have definitely taken a few Tone and Chisel classes in my day — along with all the 50 year old women who frequent that class — hahahahahah 😉 have a great day!

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  1. Interesting topic, for me, exercise controls basically everything, so I wouldn’t know how to stop unless really somehow physically forced… It is also confusing because I feel like my motives, or rational surrounding it are not irrational, but then again, don’t most people? Or rather, don’t most people with EDs, or other such disorders (I also have OCD, so it makes it even more of a “have to” for different reasons) always feel like it is somehow rational or “right”? Yet I know in some form or another things will change, and me feeling now like I could “never” stop, does not mean it is the case.

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    • You bring up some really great points and thoughts. Exercise is different for everybody. And everyone’s mind has a different relationship with it. All I know is that, when I really took a good, hard look why I was doing it, and my relationship with it, it was definitely disordered. I realized that I was letting ED dictate and control me through exercise. You’re right, a lot of people, ED-or not, do exercise in order to control weight or “earn” an extra slice of cake, but there’s was just something off — something unhealthy — about that in my particular case. ED was taking it to the extreme. Hang in there love. Keep fighting. You’re a warrior and your strength is something to be celebrated. 🙂

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      • I didn’t really mean to imply that those things are not disordered, but rather, our minds, when it comes to obsessions, compulsions, disordered drives, will often (in my case it is like always?) try to rationalize why something is legitimate, swearing up and down it is for “good” reasons, when the true fact may be it is seriously disordered. I think there is probably too much normalization of this sort of thinking as to where it gets confusing in our society/culture. I know my exercise is obsessive and others will says it is excessive, yet I have no way in my mind to justify stopping. I also don’t see the excessive. I see it as barely enough. Or not enough. But again, minds try to rationalize what is “normal”.

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  2. I absolutely loved reading this post. I suffered from exercise addiction but I didn’t realize that it was as bad as it actually was because I would compare my own habits to those of others that were completely different and more intense I guess you could say.
    I can’t say that I was forced to quit necessarily but I ended up having an injury to my knee which essentially gave me an excuse to stop, and from that I finally found a balance. I gained weight, but I gained happiness and balance. ❤ stay strong!

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    • thank you for your comment. Yeah, exercise is tricky because it can be justified as being “super healthy” or super fit. But for me, I really had to look at the reason why I was doing it. And there were red flags that definitely came up. I’m sorry about your injury, but i’m glad you were able to find happiness and balance:) thanks love. you too! thanks for stopping by! xox

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  3. Hey, I am currently in recovery and Ik if i do any intense cardio I will just relapse, so i am just doing a 20 min abb workout ( because I am so obsessed with my stomach) and a 10 min leg workout. Is this 2 much and will this still make be bloat. I am practically eating all my meal plan i just struggle with snacks.

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    • Hi Yasmine, thanks for your comment! I’m so proud of you for sticking to your meal plan! Exercise is definitely tricky in recovery. When I was in weight restoration mode, I didn’t do any exercise. And to be completely honest, I had to really be ready to do it, not from a physical standpoint but from a mental one. I had to be in a place where my motivation for exercising was from a place of self-love/appreciating my body/NOT to lose weight. Because otherwise Ed used it as a foothold. I hope that helps. That’s just my brain though. Everyone’s recovery is different. You just have to find what works for you. ❤️❤️❤️

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  4. Thanks for the wonderful advice I really needed it 🙂 exercise-obsession is something that I’ve struggled with so much and still struggle with… I’ve been in recovery since the start of this year and my weight has finally reached a healthy level. However throughout this entire period I’ve been exercising regularly 4 times a week, sometimes running 2-3 miles, and doing an average of an hour Pilates/gym session. It hasn’t affected my weight too much fortunately, but UNFORTUNATELY my period which has been missing for more than a year has yet to return:( I was wondering if u could share with me any advice? Did u struggle with getting your period back too? sorry it’s a very personal question I know. I know exercise can prevent periods from returning because of hormonal imbalance so I’ve cut down a lot. I only go to the gym for weights once a week. But I’m really hoping you can share some advice with me? Thank you:)

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  5. hey hey!
    thanks for this post, it really spoke to me and cleared my self doubts and confusion 🙂 was wondering if you would be willing to share regarding your ‘one huge meal’ at dinner/supper? cuz i seem to have that problem too 😦

    anyway, do u happen to be in the ‘soldiers’ group on facebook? 🙂 if u dont mind, u could add me on fb! 🙂

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  6. This is a question that I have been considering for a little while now. I have struggled with various forms of disordered eating since I was about twelve years old. At first, it started as night time eating, where I would sneak in and consume large amounts of food without my parents noticing. It then morphed into bulimia and anorexia, which I had to go inpatient for for about a year. Long story short, I have been what I consider weight restored (BMI over 21) for about two to three years now, but I have also been doing a large amount of exercise. I’ve been running marathons and half-marathons, as well as doing heavy strength training. Until now, I thought I did it because I enjoyed it, but I’ve been taking a long, hard look at my reasons for exercise and I’m slowly starting to suspect that rather than doing it for enjoyment, I’m doing it because I feel I ‘have to’ or to somehow justify me eating a good quantity of food.

    I’m not sure what to do about this, because I was never athletic before my ED, and now I somewhat wish I could go back to not exercising, but I’m scared of what will happen if I do. I realise that I might not be as healthy mentally as I thought I was, and that really depresses me. Because of my exercise regime, everyone knows me as ‘the fit girl’ and I would be lying if I say I don’t enjoy that, but it also makes it really hard to reduce my exercise as I feel I have to live up to the expectations of others.

    I’m sorry for the essay, but your blog post really resonated with me! I hope you have a wonderful day and thank you for being such a great voice in this community!

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    • Hi Sigrid, thank you so much for your comment and sharing your story. Reading your words sounded so familiar. Because that’s exactly where I was. I was barely at a “healthy weight” and doing Olympian caliber workouts. Seriously. Hours a day. And although I, too, enjoyed being known as the “fit girl”, I was miserable because it was all to justify eating and was just another form of my eating disorder. I know this probably sounds, seriously, absolutely terrifying, but stopping cold turkey was the only way for my body to “reset.” I did no exercise, and for the first time, I honestly consumed three calorically sufficient meals a day. This involved me living at home. Which was really helpful for the accountability and support. But here’s the thing: I didn’t balloon up. I didn’t turn to jello. My body began to metabolize food the way it should. And honestly, I hate to say this on here, but for the first time ever, I love my body. I am truly healthy. I don’t kill myself exercising for hours a day. I don’t even run. I just take a gentle 45 minute walk about 4x a week—if I feel like it. And honestly it’s more for mental release than anything else. Freedom is possible. But for me, it took finding out that, no, my body will not whale up over night if I stop exercising. It was really difficult, but with the support and love of my family – and God, I was able to break free from the treadmill, quite literally. Sending lots of love your way. You can do this. I believe in you. Seriously. ❤️

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  7. I am so glad I found this post today. I have been struggling with anorexia for about 6 years and although I am better now and have a mostly healthy weight, I still exercise everyday. I realized this week that it is sucking the life out of me and ruining my happiness. I’m laying in bed trying to overcome to the urge to exercise- I really want to give it up cold turkey for awhile until I can have a healthy relationship with it and restore the mind/body connection that I seem to have lost. Anyway, your post inspired me! So happy that I found it. Cheers!

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    • Hi Meghan, thank you so much for this thoughtful response. Believe me when I say that I have been there. Literally. Lying in bed fighting the urge. I am sending you so much love right now. You’re doing the right thing. You hit the nail on the head: exercise, when done from an unhealthy place, keeps us in bondage and sucks the life out of us. I’m rooting for ya girl. You can do it. Hugs Xoxoxox

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  8. I have recently been diagnosed with anorexia and I’m really struggling especially in these first few weeks. I don’t know how to increase my calories or not feel the need to work out. All the sample meal plans for recovering anorexics are 2,000+ calories which is more than I have eaten in months…I currently have a BMI of 16.30, am 92lbs, 5″3, and 17 years old. I don’t think that’s terribly anorexic and I’m scared of gaining too much weight. Honestly I’m just freaking out about everything. Any advice would be much obliged.

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    • Hi Alena, thank you so much for sharing this. First of all, I’m proud of you for knowing that you need to make a change that is a huge step that should be celebrated. Facing an increase is always scary, but your body truly needs the nutrients. It is screaming for the nourishment. It wants to thrive. And you deserve it. What helped me was thinking about everything that ED robbed me of. He’s a dirty thief and wants nothing less than to destroy your life. Get angry. And then use that anger as motivation to follow your meal plan, increase and resist exercise. Let every bite you take be a way to say a big ” F U ” to ED and a way to reclaim your life. You deserve that freedom. You deserve a life of joy and a life without fear or anxiety. I believe in you ❤️ and you’re not alone in your fight. My faith was instrumental in my recovery as well ❤️ hugs to you friend. Stay strong warrior

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  9. This post resonated so much with me. I began running aged 15 and was diagnosed with anorexia at 17. I am now 30 and have been battling ever since. I have been hospitalised countless times, refer, stopped from exercising but this has changed nothing for me. I quickly return to restriction and over activity. I am in this postion once again and know I need to act quickly and find strength to increase my intake significantly and be brave as you were to stop! These experiences have led to PTSD due to my specific health complications which were only identified in the past two years. The exercise is the crux of my problem. It is a strange paradox that I hold on so tightly to something which I hate. I have been unable to run for many years and therefore have replaced this with endless walking which is equally as destructive on so many levels; mentally, physically, socially. I have little quality of life because my exercise routines dictate my every waking moment and the fear of weight gain if I cease activity despite knowing I need to gain a considerable amount of weight as I am far from a healthy weight. I struggle to believe I can eat three regular meals a day and snacks without ballooning as you say. I desire to be able to eat pizza, pasta with cheese, the occasional bag of crisps, whatever ‘I’ desire not what the illness orders. I see so many people announcing they are ‘recovered’ but their maintenance diet plans show salad, vegetables, steamed fish and rice- in other words vegan or orthorexic.i understand recovery looks different for everyone and if they are content and happy in life to nourish their bodies this way I have respect this choice however I know I would not be satisfied to sacrifice the foods I so desperately miss eating. I worry if I start eating better I will never feel satiated as I am currently always hungry so much so it is painful. Should I respond to my hunger even if I have eaten? If I eat three calorie dense meals and potentially more if my hunger increases will the weight gain be overwhelming baring in mind I am very underweight and I am guessing when you embarked on going cold turkey you where a near healthy weight?
    I sorry this is such a long reply I just would really appreciate a response from someone who understands what I am going through and could possible help provide the motivation I need to take that leap of faith.

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    • Hi friend, thank you so much for sharing this. I’m sorry that we have this link that connects us, but I fully believe that you can and will beat ED once and for all. When it comes to exercise, for me it had to be all or nothing when it came to cold turkey. I had to stop the barreling freight train, because you’re right it dictates every single thing you do. So I had to just stop. And I didn’t ballon up. At all. The body is an amazing machine that knows how to metabolize food properly. And the combination of truly eating three meals a day and then not exercising was the key that made my body get back on track. I could encourage you to give it a try. I know how incredibly scary and impossible it seems but you are strong than this. Today, my relationship with exercise is normal. I eat three meals a day and work out (i.e. Take a walk) about 45 minutes a day for about 5 days a week. And it’s enjoyable. I don’t do it for punishment or weightloss but simply for the enjoyment of being outside and loving my body. I hope this helps. The body is an amazing machine that will let you know when it needs more fuel, so definitely listen to those hunger cues! Thanks for reading my love. Rooting for you!!

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    • Hi Laura. I can relate exactly to what you have said about endless walking and walking and walking…! Just so you don’t feel guilty about having one meal in the evening. Have you ever found anything that helps? I’ve only just been diagnosed with anorexia and I’m really struggling with having to exercise a certain amount each day. It’s taken over my life! I would love to have someone to talk to about this. Wishing you all the best, Georgina xx

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      • Hi Georgina, thanks for sharing this. I too struggled with excessive exercise. I know what you mean-it was ruling my life. But I promise, there is freedom in letting go of that need. Which I know is A LOT easier said than done. I had to cut myself off completely -cold turkey- to learn to trust that my body does indeed know how to process food. And it does! Now I don’t even belong to a gym! My “work out” now consists of a 30 minute gentle walk most days. Sometimes I’ll take a yoga class with friends but it has been so freeing to not be chained to it anymore. I believe in you girl. You can do it! Hugs and love xox

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  10. I have tried to leave a reply twice now and wondered if your reply box was limited to a certain number of words as my comment was quite lengthy. If so is it possible I could email you this comment to save me re writing it all out again?

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    • Hi Laura! Oh no! I’ve gotten all of your replies, approved them and responded to them! So I don’t know why you can’t see them. That’s so strange I’m sorry about that! Sure thing. Feel free to email me at BeautyBeyondBones@yahoo.com. You don’t even have to retype your original comment cuz I got it. I’ll just email you my reply if you want. Sorry for the headache!

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  11. My experience was so different from yours. I began “recovering” in November, gained a small amount of weight, and then began excessively exercising and tracking my food and making sure it was clean every day. Sure enough, the chills and giant pit in my stomach returned and I had a total “fuck it” moment when I decided enough was enough, so I stopped exercising and began eating to my hunger cues. However, I was eating all the time due to extreme hunger and I did balloon up. Even when I was eating normally again (the crazy EH didn’t take long to subside), I would still gain 10 pounds in one week sometimes. I guess this is a testament to how incredibly sick I was but wow, its been just awful to deal with. All I heard were stories like yours so I thought it wouldn’t happen to me. Thought I’d provide a counter example but thank you for your story.

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    • Hi friend, thank you for sharing this. I’m so sorry that you had to deal with that. Yeah EH is a struggle. I definitely dealt with that at times too. It’s just the pendulum swinging back after all that time at the other extreme. Hang in there, warrior. I’m cheering you on in your recovery! Hugs and love xox

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  12. This post resonated with me. Exercise is something that I’ve done for the wrong reasons I’m the past. Being totally honest, deep down I trained for a marathon partially so I could eat whatever I wanted, not pay attention and not gain weight. Ironically, I never lost weight training for my marathon because I wasn’t fueling properly, probably wasn’t eating enough (even though I ate a lot) and my body seemed stuck at that weight.

    I’ve since accepted that: 1) my marathon weight is likely my set point or close to it and I’m OK with that. I mean I ran a freaking marathon in this body, at this weight and that is awesome. 2) I never want to train for a marathon again. I didn’t love running anymore by the end and it is hard on the body. 3) since I tend to over do it, I’ve started practicing exercise moderation: no more than an hour a day (most sessions are about 30 minutes), at least one or two rests days (or more if my body feels too tired.) The taking rest days in key, because I used to obsess over a missed day, go too hard and end up getting run down and sick.

    Thanks for your post!

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    • Thanks for sharing this.you’re so right -exercise moderation is so important on all facets: physically, mentally and emotionally. I think it’s incredibly that you ran a marathon – that is a real test of endurance for your body, but I’m so glad that you’ve been able to embrace gentleness and loving your body. proud of you 🙂 thanks for reading! sending massive hugs xox

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  13. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I’m so proud of you for overcoming your demons and finding happiness again!
    I originally wanted to become more active and to sweat really hard. (Even if it was rather cold and I wouldn’t move at all, my feet, armpits and hand would become moist and I was soo embarrassed.) After about half a year I saw a the commercial for the annual marathon of our city and I decided to give it a try. For these two months I trained like crazy. But I didn’t hate it. Since the area, in which I used to run was so beautiful, I just enjoyed the scenery and nature. It boosted my metabolism, creativiy and I finally, really loved my body. Not because I lost weight, but because I was so proud of the distances I could run. I didn’t even care about the scale nor did I weigh myself regularly in the past. And most importantly, my parents were proud of me.
    But of course it all went downhill after a while. I’ve had problems with my father all my life, mainly because he would become extremely violent towards my mother since I was a child my mother. Because I was too scared to talk to him or to interrupt the fight and defend my moms side, it would just result in anger. I felt guily, because, since I was a little, I would always hide in another room and cry under a blanket, never standing up for her, never thinking that I was strong enough to help her. I told myself that I needed to protect my mother, so I started with weight training at home. I noticed that I would lose my composure and instead of doing push ups, I would destroy chairs and punsh holes into walls. Long distance running with sprints in between is just something I needed. Without that, I couldn’t release my energy and I would turn into the destructive, uncontrollable person my dad was. And on days in which I couldn’t run, I would punish myself with no eating (that was extremely rare though). I always made sure I was eating enough, but I didn’t understand that I actually had to eat between 3000-4000 or even more to compesate my extreme exercise routine. It was in the summer holidays by the way, so I had plenty of free time.
    Of course I ended up in the hospital. My heart was extremely damaged (35bpm) and I was severely underweight (42kg and 167cm). It wasn’t too noticeable though, because my limbs were extremely swollen.

    I’ve been in recovery for 1 year and my legs and face are still swollen after sitting or standing too long. My doctors told me, that I’m allowed to run again, since my weight-height ratio is “perfect”. But I’m still too scared. Have you ever had swollen feet, arms, fingers or even your face? I’ve been to a psychiatrist and I know that it was an addiction, but after ONE YEAR of practically not moving besides going to school. I just crave it. When did you start exercising again?

    Sorry if it was too personal or too much, but I had to let all of emotions out. Since my psychiatrist can’t really relate to me, you know? You actually experienced it and I want to hear more! Thank you for everything!

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  14. Thank you for posting this. I am having some trouble latley in remission dealing with eating and exercise. I still feel compelled to MOVE to earn my food. I need to break this connection. I don’t think I’m as strong as you to stop all exercise. Honestly I’m afraid to make the jump. Thanks again for this. It’s a huge help to me mentally.

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    • Thank you so much for sharing this. Yeah, it was definitely the most difficult “ED” behavior to leave behind. But going cold turkey was literally the only way for me to get it out from the roots. Know that I am cheering you on in your recovery, and I believe in you! hugs xox

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  15. Hi! First of all, thank you so much abut this article!
    I’m currently in my first week of recovery and I’m unsure about something. Today, I’ve increased my daily intake to 1800. The thing is, I have a job that makes me burn more than 1000 cal per day. Do I have to add those to my daily intake even if I’m just starting my recovery?? I can’t seem to find the answer anywhere, and I’m really worried because I still feel hungry sometimes, and when I look at my cal intake per day once I took off what I’ve burned at work, I’m only at +800!
    Thanks a lot!
    xx

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    • Thanks Frenchie, thank you so much for reaching out. First of all, congratulations on your recovery. That is so awesome and such a great thing to celebrate. Well, I’m not a doctor, but I do know the importance of nourishing adequately, because for a long time, I wasn’t. The body is a pretty incredible machine and is so efficient and lets you know what it needs. So I think it’s a big indicator that you’re feeling hungry. Whenever that happens to me I know that I’m not meeting my caloric needs. So yeah, I would encourage you to increase! I hope that helps. Thanks for stopping by! Big hugs to you friend xox

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  16. I know this was written awhile back, but I needed this entry today! One of my biggest issues in my recovery over the past 8 months or so has been holding on to exercise while telling my team it is the only way for me to feel “good”, to relieve “stress”, etc. This week, after being told that if i was to move to a higher level of care again, it would have to be inpatient/hospitalization because my cycles just refuse to break…I got so scared that I stopped exercising since Tuesday. I’ve been having major mental meltdowns over it and I find myself just about ready to put my gym clothes on every day and go to the rec center in my apartment complex or to the gym to work out. Reading your account really helped me to recognize, again, that I have to just stop. Someone, during my initial round of recovery in May, told me that she followed her meal plan and didn’t exercise and no weight gain came of it …much to the same tune of your account. But you know how ED works, tells you those rules don’t apply to you–and I kept getting scared, kept getting worried it wouldn’t work the same for me. I think I’ve gotten myself to a point where I am starting to listen to other ED warriors, starting to take in what everyone is saying.

    I appreciate this post so much. So thank you 🙂

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  17. Thanks sis! I have an overeating disorder and I need to exercise. I eat my emotions and anxieties. Every time I inventory my week for successes and failures my lack of exercising makes me feel like I am failing myself. I’m tired of trying to do this on my own; I’m going to get some help. There are many resources out there but as long as I pridefully try to manage on my own I will stay stuck. Thanks for your transparency! Although I am on a different end of the spectrum the principles are the same, punishment, obssessing, guilt, and miniscule self love.

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  18. Seriously, i’ve been eating one meal a day at night, and i’ve found it’s so easy to maintain weight and enjoy food that way. Excercising three days a week with heavy weights, and a very interesting method to losing weight while eating this way.. is to use a calorie cycling method. Essentially eating at maintenance three days a week, and in a 900-600 deficit on non-exercise days. Usually higher fat those days. I find it very easy to diet for one day, but dieting for multiple days begins to put stress on the psyche “How long can I go?”

    when you are eating at maintenance every few days, that illogical fear goes away, and there’s no sense in binging because you know “Tomorrow i’ll have a huge meal”

    Take THAT ED’ 😀

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  19. Hi,
    I’m glad I stumbled on your blog. A close friend of mine struggles with an ED and, since at least a few months, with excessive exercise. We’ve talked about the ED but not her exercise patterns. Do you think it would be offensive for me to share your post with her without first addressing the problem in a conversation?
    Grateful to God for your ministry and for His glory displayed through you.

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    • Thanks so much Ella. I really appreciate your kind words and support. I’m sorry that your friend is going through that. It sounds like you’re a really great friend. she’s lucky to have you in her life. Hmm, that is a tough question. I think that sharing this post with her would definitely open up the conversation. And I think that it may be very beneficial. I might take her out to coffee and then perhaps broach the topic about what you’ve noticed and then maybe share it and read it through together and just ask if any of it resonates? I don’t know, that’s really tough. But as long as you are coming from a place of love, I don’t think you can the wrong thing. EDs are really tricky and difficult for everyone involved. I will definitely keep you and your friend in my prayers. 🙂 feel free to give her my email too if you need 🙂 big hugs xox

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      • Thank you for the encouragement and the great piece of advice. It makes me more confident in my ability to bring up the topic and help her somehow. Thank you so much for your prayers, it means a lot! My friend is not a believer, and I know that despite being as successful and smart a woman as one can dream to be, she has a lot of insecurities, and I think that Jesus is the only one that can ultimately heal her and satisfy her. So yeah, let’s keep praying for her! Thank you & God bless you and many others through you!

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  20. Hi, thank you, so much, for sharing your amazing story. I have been someone who relies (heavily) on exercise for my mood and mental health. I have been fortunate that I have never struggled with ED or body image issues. I don’t count calories or even weigh myself. I eat in moderation and rotate work outs between yoga, rock climbing and running. If I miss more than a couple days, my mood suffers. I also had colon issues and had a tough time eating for the first 30 years of my life-had 18 inches removed and most of my symptoms are gone (yeah!). Even with these small similarities in our shared history, I still can not fathom how hard your path has been. Congratulations with taking control and finding your personal balance!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog and checking it out!

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