As summer approaches, the warm weather and school ending can bring up the desire to be active. If you are recovering from an eating disorder, you’ve been doing a lot of hard work healing your relationship with food. But what about your body – with exercise? Have you used exercise in an attempt to manipulate your body size? Have you used it to punish yourself or compensate for the foods that you eat? If so, it can be hard to know how to work with your body, not against it.
It is important to talk to your treatment team about exercise, and it is often recommended to take a break from exercise early on in your recovery – for medical reasons and so you can focus on food. You should not be exercising if you have not met your nutritional needs FIRST. If you are medically cleared for exercise, talk to your dietitian about how and where to start.
Here are 3 tips for healing your relationship with exercise:
1.Don’t get caught up in creating a “beach body”. The diet industry sells and makes billions of dollars off the idea that there is something wrong with your body and that it needs to be fixed. Ads for strict workout plans, diets and detox teas that will give you the “perfect body” are everywhere this time of year. But the truth is that you don’t need to change your body – you are the same being, same soul, and same heart regardless of the shape and size of you. Its up to you to reject diet culture and not let it be a driving motivator for why you exercise.
2. Find what truly moves you. Perhaps you’ve never had a healthy relationship with fitness, or maybe you have had bad experiences in the past. But our bodies are meant to move, and it is possible to move in a way that feels best for your body. If you are counting the seconds while running, getting injured and feeling run down from bootcamp classes…maybe its time to re-think what the word exercise means to you. What brings you joy? What connects your body and mind? Would you rather be outside connecting with nature instead of in a sweaty gym? Exercise doesn’t have to be regimented – intuitive exercise is possible!
3. Ditch the numbers. The fitness industry can often make us believe that in order to be successful with our goals, we must meticulously and obsessively track numbers. Weigh-ins, macro grams and percentages, distance run, calories burned, steps stepped…the list goes on. But is this really helpful? No – it can lead to mental and physical burnout, and also takes up a LOT of time and energy that could be spent elsewhere. If you find yourself feeling guilty or “not measuring up” to your calculated plan, perhaps its time to let go of it and go back to the basics of moving for the purpose of feeling good, stress relief, or just for fun.
If you are struggling to find your balance with fitness, or don’t know how to begin, talk to your nourishED dietitian! Book your first appointment by contacting us here.