Friday, July 15, 2011

a new perspective on exercise

A little over a month ago, I renewed my gym membership. (Okay, I know what a lot of you are thinking right now but... hold on! And keep reading this post before you start to worry about me having a gym membership.) It's been a really long time since I have had a gym membership and to be honest, I was a little nervous. Especially since compulsive exercise was a big part of my eating disorder. But I trust myself, I trust all the progress I have made, and I trust my family and friends for their support if I feel like I am going too much, or it's starting to become compulsive again. 
But so far, so good! And I am pretty proud of myself for being "responsible" when it comes to how often, and how long I am working out. Naturally, there are those times when I push myself to go longer than I should, or when I go every single day when I know I shouldn't... but I have noticed that the main reasons for that are just a way of coping and releasing stress and not me trying to lose weight... Shocker! I know!! I bet a lot of you never thought you'd hear me say that. But I'm so happy & grateful to be able to say that I have been able to incorporate exercise into my life in a healthy way. A good way. A positive way.

Especially since in the past, pretty much my only motivation for exercising was to lose weight. (I did also use exercise in the past for the endorphins because I was so malnourished and tired all the time that I needed that "high" that exercise gave me.) But for the most part, it was to see the number on the scale drop lower and lower... and lower (and of course, no number was ever low enough...) But I'm learning to love & be comfortable with my body, and so even though I do still struggle with body image things - I am not acting on it, nor do I want to. I know I am healthy. I am right about where I should be. And I am slowly learning to accept that, be okay with that, and love that.

I'll be honest... a part of me still feels that urge to lose weight - not nearly as strongly - but it is still there. But I think the difference is that it's not the reason why I exercise now. When those thoughts do come, I try to ignore them the best I can. And when I can't ignore them, I try to distract myself or talk to someone about how I am feeling. Because I have learned, throughout my recovery process, that talking about how I am feeling is one of the BEST ways to give the ed thoughts less power. (instead of holding it inside, keeping it to myself -which only allows the thoughts to grow and become stronger.) And it works! Not always, but most of the time it works! And I am able to let go a little more from the ed and continue pushing it further and further out of my thoughts, emotions, and... my life!

My goals in regards to exercise now are:
  • rebuild & strengthen my muscles(!)
  • build up my endurance.
  • a (healthy) way to relieve stress & anxiety.
  • to feel strong, healthy, and capable.
  • get those "feel good" endorphins to boost my mood & give me energy.
  • also, even though I am at a healthy weight, I do still want to tone up a little. Which I think will only help me with my body image struggles. And give me that extra confidence. (But if you notice - it's the last thing on this list... It's not my focus when it comes to exercise, all of the other things that I listed are more important to me.)
But... I am doing all of this the healthy way. I'm trying to at least. And that is one of the differences between the old me and the new me. Exercise is a good thing to incorporate into your life. But in moderation, and in a healthy way. And not just at the gym. I also want to try to incorporate other means of exercise into my life like hikes, sports, swimming, dance, rock climbing, ect. I enjoy all of those things, and I enjoy an active lifestyle. For example: tonight, I am going indoor rock climbing. (something that was introduced to me earlier this year). And soon, I hope to try it outside as I continue building up my strength and endurance.

And also, another important thing is to make sure I am eating properly. And eating enough to compensate for my workouts is just as important! I am still a work in progress in both of these areas, but every day I am working on it. And when I slip, I just get back up and keep on going. I am trying to learn from my slips, and I am trying to live a healthy life. Not a "life according to the ed." And I do have to say... a life without the ed is a much happier one!


  1. Sounds like you're making good progress. Good to see you writing again. HUGS!

  2. Yay! Now I can suggest you try a Zumba class. I've been doing it for 7 months and LOVE it! It doesn't really feel like exercise... its just dancing and getting a huge stress release. Try a class and see what you think! Or, wait until I get certified and I'll come teach you. LOL!