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anorexia/restriction, running, and how to stop the insanity

Blog Forums Eating Disorders anorexia/restriction, running, and how to stop the insanity

  • This topic has 25 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 9 years ago by j-lo.
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  • #12058
    tennosea
    Participant

    Hey folks,

    I just registered but I’ve been following Matt and devouring his writing and podcast content to the extent possible for probably 6 months. I’m also a member over on youreatopia. I don’t see a dedicated list of rules here so I’m not sure what is and isn’t allowed; in fairness to anyone else struggling please heed my warning that this post will contain numerical details.

    I’m 33 years old, currently about 5ft6in, and 101.5 pounds. I have had anorexia for 10 years and been inpatient 3 times. I restrict and over exercise. My restriction for many years was pure restriction and in the early days I got much lower in terms of weight, but as I’ve grown into adulthood with responsibilities like bills and work, I haven’t been able to ‘achieve’ as much with my anorexia because honestly if I get too weak and malnourished I cannot work. So being more of a grownup has forced me to take a bit more responsibility with my health. When I was in my 20s I spent a lot of time living with my parents, which definitely enabled the ED. Anyway, regardless of the fact that my ED isn’t as severe these days, I do still eat a very large amount (really, the volume of food is quite astonishing) of very low cal foods. On top of that I go through phases of extreme exercise obsession.

    I LOVE running, and it used to be more than exercise to me; it was sport, hobby, passion, etc etc. But my relationship with running is now so complicated because of the ED and as of last week I agreed (with my therapist and RD) to go on a hiatus of unspecified length. I told my T I’d stop exercising altogether but I’ve continued to go for walks daily. They aren’t over the top but it is still a bit compulsive. Yes, I can be compulsive with even gentle walking. After 8 days of no running I am really really itching to get back to it.

    So, anyway, I am looking for support and also wondering if I am ready to ‘play hard’ again and start running. TBH I do not at all want to gain weight and even in this first week of not running I feel disgusting and huge. I am not yet ready to change my food too much-keeping with lots of veggies and low cal/fat free/sugar free for now. I know I need to make those changes eventually but the running thing is what I’m struggling with now. I really, really do not want my body to change; but I also really want to get back to running as soon as possible, but in a healthy way. I think that being able to run again and not do it as punishment but to truly be able to enjoy it is a major motivation form me.

    I do not count calories because I basically eat the same exact thing daily and numbers are very triggering for me. So I quit counting daily totals years ago because I knew it wasn’t good for me. Same with weights. Actually up until my RD appointment I really thought my weight was 110ish, so I was a bit surprised and yes delighted to see it was lower. But now I’m also paranoid now that I know it was 101 last week that it’s going to jump back up. It’s all so confusing. But I’m in my 30s now as I said and I don’t want to continue down this road. I know it needs to change now before even more serious consequences start to pile up. So if anyone has any advice, experience to share, words of wisdom….whatever….I will gladly take it.

    #12060
    MrsBMoo
    Participant

    If I understand you correctly, you would really like to run for fun, not have to eat more calories and not gain weight. I don’t think the laws of physics are going to allow this. Running burns calories and builds muscle, even if it is for fun. If you tried, you would likely over time end up back as an inpatient which would be a miserable loss of control over your life. I wish I could give you a different answer and I tell you that as a person who ate one small sausage link for breakfast and was refusing lunch because I gained .2 lbs overnight.

    #12062
    tennosea
    Participant

    Well, thanks for your honesty, and yes, I realize that my goals are at odds with my willingness to change. That is the contradiction that I am trying to work through: what will win out? I realize, of course, that ultimately if this is going to turn around and if I am to ever get past the point where food and weight control me I am going to have to eat more, gain weight, and let go a bit. So I am asking, I guess, for insight into how others might have managed to do that, what it was like for them, what helped, and so forth….and most importantly I guess maybe some reassurance that it will all be worth it in the end-giving up whatever I get out of being so thin, grieving that loss so to speak. But yes, the laws of physics and all, haha good point not lost on me as I am actually an engineer, funny enough.

    #12066
    BauerPower
    Participant

    Hey tennsoea, I understand your struggle. My stats were almost identifical to your current stats and I also have exercise obsessions. The best thing I EVER did for myself was start eating. I was miserable and unable to keep going the way I was going. Did I want my sick body? Yes, in a way I did. Do I want that body today? Absolutely not. I am strong, healthy, and although I still deal with exercise issues I am working on them. Yes, I grievedthe loss of my body, but today I get to celebrate my new life. I go out to eat with my fiance, go swimming with my family, enjoy school, etc. I am doing really well and feeling better each day. Sure, I have crazy ED days, and I am sure in some way I always will. I do know that I can be free though, and by not entertaining the ED thoughts I feel better. I still deal with issues, but it is NOTHING compared to how it was a year ago, or even a month ago. I just keep healing, eat well, see a therapist, and work on my exercise stuff.

    #12068
    j-lo
    Participant

    @tennosea – (Love the name, by the way.) Your honesty about your current situation really touched my heart. I have been in a very similar situation in the past. I did 20 years in quasi-recovery. Which is to say, I was very, very unwell. At my lowest points (and there were several) I was down to under 120 pounds at 6′ tall. I’m a man, and I’m guessing that you’re a woman and BMI is BS anyway, but all the same, factoring in for those considerations, I’m guessing that your current weight is probably similar in many regards to when I was at my lowest weight. (Almost identical BMI, which, as I said, is BS, but at least a reference point.) So my initial thought, before I even read the rest of what you had written, was that your weight sounds dangerously low. I’m sure you know that from your engineer mind, but knowing that from your emotional mind is another thing. I know. If all it took was logic, then I wouldn’t have lived with ED for so long. But on the other hand, logic can be a powerful ally. So I wouldn’t dismiss it just yet. To be entirely honest, for me, I got so sick eventually that something just switched in my brain. It didn’t make all my problems go away, but it was a definite shift whereby I simply wasn’t willing to believe my own neuroses any longer. But somewhere in there I believe that logic was a strong ally. First, I had to be willing to take a good and honest look at my situation: I was starving and I was doing it to myself. I was going to die sooner rather than later, and, to be honest, I was so miserable that I would have been happier to die than to have continued in that way. Perhaps that is what led to the shift. But upon taking an honest look and account of my situation I then reasoned that the only possible way out was to eat and to rest (i.e. no exercise.) Now, of course, I also knew that there were reasons that I restricted and exercised compulsively (as well as plenty of other compulsions) – it was all an attempt to relieve the (seemingly) unbearable anxiety that I experienced from the obsessive thinking that I had. My brain was always on, always talking, and it was tyrannical. It went something like this: “You shouldn’t eat that. If you eat that you’ll feel bad. And sugar/fat/meat/grain/etc. is morally, ethically, and spiritually impure. If you eat that you’ll be impure. By the way, don’t eat that apple that you’re thinking of eating either because it too might have some as-yet unknown or unseen impurity. Best not to eat anything.” Or “You ate that food that had something wrong with it. Now you’ve got to do something about it. You have to fast. You have to exercise. You have to do penitence.” Etc. Etc. And then there was the physical sensations that I tried to avoid. I didn’t want to feel full or bloated. I wanted to feel light and pure. But I knew, logically, that I needed to eat, and I needed to eat enough, and I needed to eat unrestrictedly. Oh, and I also knew that I needed to reject the compulsions. For me, I realized that it was absolutely not worth living the way I had been living – obsessing, starving, etc. So I decided that I would eat, eat enough, and not restrict for the rest of my life starting immediately. And I decided that I would not give in to compulsions any longer. I found YE, and I decided to follow the MiniMaud guidelines. I took it upon myself as as new challenge, to see if I could be creative enough to succeed. And for me it definitely has taken creativity. My digestion was so compromised that I simply couldn’t eat that much food at first. So I had to find ways to dramatically increase my calories without adding a lot of bulk.

    I searched for years and years for the secret that would allow me to defy the basic laws of this reality – to be able to eat little to nothing, be severely emaciated, be obsessed, engage in compulsive behavior…and still be healthy, with boundless energy, enthusiastic, and happy. I finally concluded that there is no such secret. For me, the real secret has been this: thought is just thought, nothing more. My ED was fueled by the fact that I believed my thoughts. Even if I rationally could understand that my thoughts were lies or at least flawed, I wasn’t truly seeing through them. There was still some degree of belief that I held in them. I had super paranoid thoughts (i.e. someone just put something “bad” in my food when I blinked my eyes or turned away for a second) that I rationally knew were not true. But I *did* believe the thought that followed those “crazy” thoughts – thoughts such as “if I don’t follow this compulsion not to eat or to exercise or whatever, then I will be punished or suffer.” So for me, I had to completely see through all thoughts. I eventually recognized that thought has no substance. No thought is true. It is just a thought. What is true is true, and thought is, at best, an interpretation. But it is not the truth. For me, understanding that I didn’t have to believe my thoughts gave me a new freedom. It didn’t take away the anxiety immediately. For that, I had to be willing to just ride it through without giving in to compulsion. For me, the greatest way through that is to physically relax. Any time I felt anxiety I chose to do a sort of PNR (progressive neuromuscular relaxation) style relaxation – scanning to find where I held tension, and releasing the tension. Soon I found that I was less anxious less often. And now, I don’t obsess about food or anything like I used to. I feel a sense of freedom that I would have had a very difficult time imagining just a few years ago.

    I don’t know if my story is anything you can relate to. However, I have found a lot of people with restrictive ED can relate. So I hope you find something helpful in there. From what I have read of others’ accounts and from my conversations with others with ED, it seems to me that most people ultimately find that they just have to jump in with both feet, start eating the minimums, stop exercising, and ride through the anxiety to discover that it doesn’t have to control them. I can’t promise you what your experiences will be, but I can tell you without hesitation that jumping in and facing the anxiety, seeing through thought – this is one of the best things I have ever done.

    #12077
    tennosea
    Participant

    superwow and thanks to you all for replying. I have a lot of thoughts/feelings in response to your replies but I want to re-read a few times what you have written to let your words sink in. Honestly I have been through 3 rounds of inpatient and countless rounds of outpatient/partial hospitalization treatment, been a member of half a dozen forums on EDs, talked and talked and talked to friends and family, and still am stuck here, and I feel like some of your words just really resonate in a way that nothing has, so thank you, and I will come back to this again, when I have more energy and it isn’t so late. But thank you.

    #12283
    tennosea
    Participant

    So it’s been a few days and I wanted to update and see if anyone has any further motivation, or tips, on how to deal with all of this.

    I do see and RD and a therapist. My RD and I sat down this week and made a plan for some small changes that feel huge to me-things like switching from egg whites to adding in an actual, real-life egg in the morning and adding a bit of variety to how I cook the mounds of vegetables I am currently eating in new and different ways. She thinks if I start by making minor, less-calorically-threatening changes to address the food monotony, over time we can gradually move toward more normalcy. I realize this isnt the 100% all out approach that many here seem to have embraced. I guess the idea is to get there-ish, eventually. Truth be told, though, she is a pretty traditional RD so I suspect she wouldn’t be totally on-board with this approach. She actually suggested that 115 pounds would be a workable weight for me (“workable” was her word) and I cringed but stayed silent. From my pre-ED past and a quick survey of the stocky Polish roots of my family I can tell you that at 5’6″, 115 pounds is still quite unwell. So in a way she’s on board with my ED there, because my ED is a lot better off with 115lbs vs. what I know my truly healthy weight would be (I have two sisters who stay in the 130-150lb range depending on water shifts, the time of year, etc.).

    I am still not running but I’ve worked back in the walking which is also compulsive-I can be compulsive about anything, yoga, walking, gardening, whatever I can convince myself counts as “activity”-so that is something else the ‘team’ wants me to work on-keeping it to a max 45-60 minutes a day and avoiding strenuous hills. I’ll confess that even this amount is enough to continue the obsession, but I’m not giving it up as yet.

    I guess I’m looking for some reassurance that it will all be okay, because even with these small changes I feel absolutely disgusted with myself, which is not at all a helpful feeling, but is a feeling nonetheless.

    #12308
    j-lo
    Participant

    @tennosea – I have been thinking about how to respond, and I’m still not sure what to write. What I know for sure is that I experienced many of the same category of feelings you are talking about, and I can tell you that as horrible, impossible, and bleak as it looked to me from there, it no longer looks like that from here, if that makes sense. I used to cower from my feelings and anxiety. I was terrified. And I would freak out for days over things that I can see now were absolutely trivial in the scheme of things.

    From what you’ve written, I’m guessing that your body is starving. The chances are that you cannot fully appreciate that from your present state. But nonetheless, it is most likely true. And in that state you cannot realistically expect anything other than what you are experiencing – anxiety and irrational thinking. This is quite normal for ED. And in my own experience that didn’t stop until I started nourishing myself on a consistent basis.

    My best advice to you at the moment is this: imagine that you are flying into the future. Imagine that you are now yourself ten years from now – ten years into a full recovery – ten years of freedom, happiness, health, and joy. Notice what it feels like to be in your recovered and healthy body. Notice what it is like to be free of the anxiety and stress. Now, from that perspective, look back ten years at the time when eating an egg yolk seemed so scary and threatening. With the wisdom you’ve gained during these ten years of full recovery, what does that change about how you see the experience? Allow yourself to embody this wisdom, and then fly back in time, retaining this wisdom, and be in your body now in this present moment in the year 2013. What does this wisdom change for you now?

    #12314
    tennosea
    Participant

    Thank you again j-lo for your thoughtful reply. It sounds as if you’ve either had some good therapists or spent some good time with a few books on the topic of wonky thinking. I should appreciate the fact that I am now gleaning that wisdom free of charge. A 2013 egg yolk as viewed from 2023 certainly puts into perspective the illogical importance I’ve assigned to something so trivial and arbitrary doesn’t it? I wonder if you can tell from the sporadic and flighty nature of my posts alone that my brain is set to supercrazymaking? Ironically I’ve counseled others out of starvation brain before with similar observations, but it is so hard to apply to oneself isn’t it?

    I will try that egg today and I definitely wont remember it in 2023.

    I should also apply this thinking to a similar situation I am facing but it seems that it doesn’t translate from the egg yolk to something a bit more substantial in my brain yet. But I will try. Here is the trainwreck of thinking in my brain: I have gotten to where a formerly forbidden food has become safe for me as I’ve allowed myself to have it twice weekly for many months now and truly enjoy it, and this food is something I know my body is probably appreciative of because it delivers high calories and fat in a delicious hand-held package; it is a medium-sized ice creamy milky thingy from a fast food chain, and I usually allow myself a couple per week and have been doing for a while now, as the only real sustenance on top of the mounds of veggies I eat, and yesterday while off for the holiday, I was trying to act normal in the morning, leisurely sipping coffee with the newspaper, with a morning show on the tv in the background, and of course obligatory weight-loss feature, and hero lady who is praised for losing 100 pounds in a year….how did she do it? Well mainly by making one simple change of cutting out her trips to fast food joint two or three times per week to get (INSERT EXACT FOOD THAT I HAVE TAUGHT MYSELF IT IS OKAY TO ENJOY TWICE WEEKLY). Then diet guru of am talk show lady (in her stretchy tank top) revealed to me the EXACT calorie content of this food and told ME that having 2-3 of these each week will easily result in 10-15 pounds per year of excess weight!! Oh the horror! Well, there goes months of progress and my tiny bit of enjoyment, because I will never, ever order this delicious thingy again without thinking of the number that I now know, that I’ve actually strategically avoided all this time. I want my ignorance back but cannot get it. And even from 2023 or 2033 this number still seems significant, because by 2023 that is +100 pounds or more, so 2023 me won’t be flying, she’ll be slugging along in her miserable, obese body. :(

    Sorry if I’m being an ass. But what do I do with this crazybrain? And all these co-crazies out in this world with me?

    #12315
    Ashley
    Participant

    How I changed was like nike, just did it. I was afraid but I set a goal and I just did it. I didn’t like the changes along the way but I kept at it. I am in a much better state now. I have lost some of what I gained without letting myself go hungry. I am running and I’m eating like crazy and every week I can run farther and faster and easier. Now *that’s* fun! (I too, love to run :))

    I wasn’t in as bad of a state as you are physically (started this back in March). I was pretty bad, but not to the point of being underweight.. *sigh* not even to the point of being goal weight yet lol. But I work physically and hard, my body wouldn’t let me. I was trying not to friggen pass out left and right, I was sore all over. My hips took *months* to stop hurting after I began refeeding. If I wasn’t working so hard I could have really dug in and screwed myself up better. :)

    Anyway, no one can do it for you. You are going to have to decide to let go of this false feeling of control. You need to start living and let food be food and moving be moving. There is much more to life. Don’t miss out on it being bogged down in the details.

    Knowing isn’t enough, you have to do. Would you use the same kind of language if it was someone else needing your help? Would you say, “I know I need to feed my child (or dog, or aging parent etc etc- ) enough food, but I’m just not ready?” or “I know I need to stop kicking my cat across the room every time I see it but I’m not ready. Maybe I will eventually. I’ll just start by kicking it halfway across the room instead.” If it’s not good enough for your pet, is it good enough for the body you are relying on to live in in this world? No one can do it but you. It’s scary, it’s not fun, but what you’re holding on to is not the jewel it seems to be. It’s not valuable. You have to really see it for the old lump of coal that it is.

    #12318
    j-lo
    Participant

    @Ashley – Well said. Really well said.


    @tennosea
    – Crazybrain is to be expected. Just expect it. And stop taking it seriously. You know it is crazy. Like Ashley suggested, would you take its advice (or mandates, as it were) if it was suggesting that you starve your loved ones? Of course not. Be daring enough to see yourself as worthwhile and important enough to treat yourself with basic decency and kindness – what you would offer to even your enemies.

    And I fully recognize the way of thinking that you seem to be practicing as exemplified by your milkshake/television diet guru anecdote. First of all, I must point out that you are definitely not trusting in your future wisdom if you are willing to deny yourself necessary energy now. The future you that you must get in touch with is someone who is healthy, happy, and free. This puts you in touch with your own innate intelligence and clear-thinking that is available to you right now. You have been stuck in limited, narrow, painful habits and ruts of thought. But there is a greater wisdom within you from which you know that you are not limited by any such patterns or habits. You are free to choose in every moment. If the milkshake or ice cream or burger or pasta or whatever appeals to you now then you are free to eat it and enjoy it and reap the nutritional (and emotional) benefits without any fear that it means anything at all. It doesn’t mean anything. You assign the meaning. You are free. You can eat what you desire now and trust that you will still be free. Eating something you desire now does not lock you into a new habit of being forced to eat that same thing for the rest of your life even though you don’t want it and it makes you feel sick and unhealthy. That is just more crazybrain. You have within you a deep and abiding intelligence that you can absolutely trust to guide you every moment of your life. And this intelligence wants only the best for you – your freedom, peace of mind, and a healthy body. You are starving right now. For just a moment, connect with that safe, peaceful, happy, and joyous wisdom within you, and look objectively at yourself. If you look at yourself in this way when you are anxious and restricting, what does that change? What if you see yourself as your own child or your own friend or someone who you can see without all the fear and anxiety you attach to your self-directed ideations? What does that change? As Ashley suggested, would you deny yourself nutrition then? Would you put it off another day? Another hour? Another minute? My guess is that the problem with the “fast food milky delicious thing” is that you haven’t given yourself full permission. You were still restricting by limiting it to a few times a week. And what about all the other things you want? What about the real food that you crave on a daily basis? What about the pasta, the potatoes, the rice, the butter, the egg yolks, etc? What would life be like if you took away all the restrictions? What would it be like if you no longer had to worry and stress about trivial things? What if you weren’t hungry all the time? What if you were happy? What if you were at peace? I can tell you that from my own experience it is worth it. Letting go of the fear and anxiety, giving myself permission to trust my body and my desires, giving myself permission to enjoy life – this is the best thing I ever did. I was miserable and now I am happy. I was perfect in my misery. I was the shining example of will power and self-restraint. I was infallible. I was the king of my perfect, starving self. And I was chronically stressed, anxious, and miserable. I will tell you something that might sound a little scary to you, but it is the truth: the happiness and peace that I experience today would still be worth it even if I was 300 pounds of fatness. It is truly that wonderful. I wouldn’t trade it for the skinniest, purest, most perfect body and self imaginable. I wouldn’t trade it for a trillion dollars if it meant I had to be miserable again. Screw all those diet gurus and weightloss experts and personal trainers and fitness obsessives. Screw them because they are promoting misery. They aren’t willing to be happy and free themselves, and so they try to manipulate others into joining them in their misery. Screw that. That is disgusting and deplorable. Don’t be duped by them. Laugh at your TV. Laugh at all the self-proclaimed “experts”. Why? Because you know the secret to happiness. And it isn’t about keeping up with the joneses or trying to garner acceptance from a bunch of narrow-minded bigoted skinny-minnies in spandex who deny themselves everything they need, sustaining themselves on stress hormones and smugness. It’s about letting all that go. Forget about it. Where did your idea of the “perfect” body come from anyway? From deep down inside yourself? I doubt it. It came from external sources – from these “experts” and “gurus” and from all the corporations that profit more by convincing you that you aren’t good enough and that you’re too fat and too ugly and too disgusting and so on and that you need to buy their products and listen to their advice and read their books and do their diet programs and do their exercise routines and so forth. But it’s lies. All lies. What about this instead: you’re perfect, beautiful, amazing, and wonderful no matter what, and you owe it to yourself and to everyone else you know to accept yourself and care for yourself no matter what. What if you redefine beauty as you and your body exactly as you are and exactly as you will be – whatever you look like and whatever your weight. Dare to be happy. Dare to be free. Eat the freaking milkshake. And while you’re at it, eat everything else you want too. Have so much confidence in yourself that you are willing to put on however much weight is necessary for you to be healthy and happy. Not just willing, but proud and happy to do so. Trust yourself. Trust your body. Yeah, you will put on weight if you eat enough. Why? Well, for one, because from the sound of it you NEED more weight. And secondly, you’ve injured your metabolism, and you’re going to need to readjust and ramp up your metabolism. And all that takes time and weight. So get used to it. But your starved brain tells you that another 20 or 30 or 40 pounds would make you fat. Sorry to break it to you, but at 33 years old and 5′ 6″, you need that weight to be healthy. Be willing to tell yourself the truth about that. Reset your thinking and your perception. You’re thinking is completely out of whack right now. Know that, and use your rational brain to acknowledge the truth about this. You need to gain weight to be healthy. Therefore, gaining weight is actually desirable. It is not something to fear. Make it your goal. Those weightloss idiots know nothing about you and care nothing about you. That woman in spandex on the TV doesn’t know you. She’s out to make a buck. But not at your expense. Not any more. Because you’ve got to care for yourself enough to know that he lies and her delusions don’t apply to you. If other people want to make themselves sick and miserable by listening to her then that is their business, but you’re goal is health, happiness, and freedom. And you know, deep inside you know that you need to eat. And you know that you can trust your desires to guide you to eat the right things in the right quantities. Don’t fear it. Flip it on its head and make gaining weight your goal. Picture yourself being strong and healthy. Do you really imagine that strong and healthy is going to look like a skeleton? I was there. I was a skeleton. And while I knew it rationally, I didn’t know it emotionally. But looking back at pictures from those times I am now amazed at how twisted my perception was. Strong and healthy requires energy, which requires food, and it means more muscle and more fat. Like Ashley suggested: just do it. Go for it. And don’t look back. Trust yourself. Trust your body. Eat the food. Give yourself permission. Make it all okay. More than okay. Make it important. Eating milkshakes isn’t just a cheat anymore. It is the most important thing you can do. It is your job. You’ve got to take it seriously. Work hard at it. Just as hard as you worked to starve yourself and be perfect and pure, now you’ve got to work that hard to heal and nourish yourself. Take it just as seriously (though the more seriously you take it, the more you’ll find yourself laughing and lightening up) and do your job by eating lots and lots of food. See it for what it is: important and a very, very good and necessary thing.

    #12360
    tennosea
    Participant

    Thank you so much. I’ve been reading and re-reading your replies. I cannot say I’ve jumped in fully but I have made more small changes and reading this is really helping me see that as the positive thing it is.

    #12362
    tennosea
    Participant

    Ashley-did you stop running/exercise altogether for a time? Or just cut back? I’m teetering on the fence right now. Not running, but definitely doing daily walks with the dog. I enjoy them but also feel compelled to do them, partly out of exercise compulsion and partly because, like many pet parents, I probably have OCD issues my dog’s digestive workings.

    #12388
    Ashley
    Participant

    I did quit exersizing entirely except that I have a farm and had to feed and milk my goat herd twice a day and had to trim some horses as I work as a farrier part time. At that time I was kinda wishing I didnt have those physical responsibilities. They were impediments, I felt. Though not for long. When I started refeeding I was *tired* all the time for a good month. I didnt even wantto run at all. So I just slept a lot. I just wanted to sleep and I pictured it helping my body little by little and it did. I just started back up running again in August and I took back to it well. I didn’t lose much conditioning at all and quickly gained past my previous abilities, even though I was carrying about 12 more lbs. running feels better now. It feels more natural and less jarring I guess? It just kinda flows. I got to where I was just having to push and push myself before and I was sore all the time. I ran 7 miles the other day and didnt get sore at all!

    #12393
    j-lo
    Participant

    I have never been a runner. But I had a history of lots of other forms of compulsive exercise including weightlifting, yoga, hiking, and bodyweight exercises. Like Ashley, I stopped exercising entirely while refeeding. In my case it wasn’t hard because I had been severely sick for a few years prior, and I had gotten so weak that I couldn’t do those things anymore. But what is amazing is that I still do almost no intentional exercise, but I am stronger and more flexible now than I have been my whole life. I do occasionally lift some weights for very brief periods of time just because it feels good. And the weights that I have had for years are too light by far! My strength has doubled without working for it. My endurance has increased. I can stretch much more deeply and comfortably than before. So it sounds like my experience echos Ashley’s in some respect. Perhaps that could be reassuring that there is benefit from NOT exercising for a while – not just in terms of healing metabolism, but also in terms of improving overall condition – strength, endurance, recovery time, flexibility, etc.

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