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Exercise obsession!

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    So, quick background. I am a recovering anorexic and exercise freak and I am pretty much weight restored. I began exercise again after getting clean from dope five years ago. It started out “healthy” and progressed to hours a day, no breaks. I cut down the exercise significantly when I began AN recovery but I am still very obsessed. Now I am back to 7 days a week and sneaking in more time (exercise is supposed to be monitored). This past year I have had two injuries (pulled chest muscle I think and lower back injury). I finally stopped the HIIT and Plyo training and feel better but I am slowly pushing it again. I want to take days off but the anxiety is ridiculous. I don’t want to ruin my body and not be able to do day to day activities because my body has been abused. I NEED suggestions on dealing with the anxiety and understanding the importance of off days. I guess I just need someone to drill into my head that I am insane and need to rest! Thanks


    BauerPower, I’ve replied to your posts in the past so I apologize if you’re sick of hearing from me. First of all, you are not insane at all:) Your ED is telling you you need to exercise and your rational mind is telling you you need to rest and that’s why you’re posting on here. You need to rest but you also need to find replacement activities. I think you’re familiar with youretopia so I won’t link you to the article on exercise but let me know if you want it. Your body needs to heal and recover and cannot do that if it’s energy has to go to repairing muscles after exercising. Days (and even months) off exercise are important! However, don’t just stop exercising without looking at what needs exercise is filling for you and then find other ways to meet them.

    For example, is it calming your mind? Replace with meditation or mindfulness or gentle yoga, painting, guided relaxation, baths with candles, etc.

    Is it meeting a need for connection (social)? If so, maybe there’s a meetup group you can join? Bread making, meditation, learn to knit, pottery class, gentle yoga, birdwatching, potting plants, jewelry making…

    If it’s a need for fun: board games with your partner (fiance I think you mentioned), card games, funny movies or tv shows, watching comedians, reading funny books, trying to find the funniest youtube videos, going to comedy shows, you could even try something new with your fiance such as dancing lessons (as long as they’re not too cardio like and more just like learning something new and slow), cooking lessons, taking a painting class.

    I’d be more than happy to do a more through needs assessment with you if you want. I’d take it day by day if you can. Think of the time you’d be exercising and make a plan for that time. If you need to transition slowly, you could take a very slow walk at that time. Maybe drive to a beautiful place. Or sign up for a restorative yoga class (no power yoga) or just a stretching yoga class. Even better yet, go to a meditation class at your exercise time! Buy a bunch of fun summer reading books and lie out in the sun and read during that time. Join a book group! I’m a huge reader and would be happy to start a book with you and we could talk about it. You could even make a plan for every day this week and write down the activities you’ll do. Others might include: getting a manicure and pedicure or doing your own nails, massage, meditation, long slow walk in a beautiful place, restorative yoga, etc.

    Hope this isn’t too long of a post. I promise that it gets easier not to exercise. When I first put my crossfit membership on hold I cried and cried to my coach and husband and I felt so jealous as my husband would go off to crossfit. I almost didn’t even want him to tell me about his workouts but now I’m fine! I walk a little and ride my bike a little and every now and then go to a gentle yoga class but I honestly haven’t been to yoga in a while since I’m enjoying resting so much and seeing really high temps.


    THANK YOU. You are absolutely helpful. The needs assessment sounds really great. I remember reading somewhere that the eating disorder is serving some type of purpose and once you figure it out you can start to nurture yourself in healthier ways. Yes, I am very familiar with Eatopia but never committed to her MM guidelines 100%.

    I think I am still running on fear as I am scared what will happen if I cut down on or stop exercise. Exercise for me gives me a calming feelings and helps me to rationalize eating for sure.


    Here’s the link where exercise is talked about
    There are other posts on exercise but scroll down to the part “No exercise”

    Here’s an excerpt:

    “There is plenty of clinical evidence that there seems to be no way to return a woman who is on the Female Athlete Triad (inadequate energy intake, amenorrhea (lack of a regular menstrual cycle) and bone density de-mineralization) back to a regular menstrual cycle with adequate bone re-mineralization without having her cease all activity. No matter how much we increase the intake, or change the timing to try to negate any energy deficit, nothing happens until she is usually injured out and the forced rest reverses the situation…

    I also have my own direct experience with patients with this condition. One in particular spent 5 months trying to increase her intake to have her period return regularly (she was weight restored after a long intermittent history with anorexia, then bulimia, then anorexia athletica). Within one month of finally hanging up the running shoes, her period returned with no additional weight gain at that point (she was already BMI 23).

    There is nothing wrong with taking this in steps, but essentially you have to keep focused on replace and distract while getting to the minimum daily intake every single day. Once you get there, then you have actually started a full recovery process.

    So, replace and distract.”

    The replace and distract is what I was talking about. You can take this as slowly as you need. Maybe try cutting back a day or two at a time. I had to read and read the youreatopia guidelines and phases or recovery for this to really sink in. I also printed it out for my husband and then he would talk me into it. I wanted to start restricting again a bunch of times (probably 3 times I really planned on it) but then when I really sat with it I realized that if I did I’d just find myself in this exact same place a year from now.

    The eating disorder and exercise are serving a purpose and meeting a need. Exercise is wonderful but you want to make sure you’re in a healthy place when you’re doing it and you’re doing it for the right reasons- when your body is in a healthy place and you have so much energy you just want to move in a way that makes you feel good. Once I looked at this as just a phase in my life I realized that I will exercise again. I love it and will return to it again but I’m not in a rush and know that I will begin exercising when the time is right.


    Thanks again, you seem so at peace with everything! Something I am striving for :) I wonder if I am experiencing over-training syndrome sometimes. My symptoms are a constant want to sleep, tight muscles, apathy, low concentration, RESTLESSNESS, rapid heart beat at night, tight chest and difficulty taking a deep breath, inability to stretch out the tight muscles, etc. Sounds crazy just typing that :(

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