Fitness is something that I’ve wanted to blog about for a long time, but I’ve avoided it because I know it can be a triggering topic for people in recovery. Many anorexics and bulimics struggle with exercise-addiction; spending hours on the cardio machines trying to burn off every calorie they consume. Exercise is therapeutic and can help relieve stress and anxiety, but not when it is taken to unhealthy extremes.
Personally throughout my eating disorder, over-exercising wasn’t a prominent issue. Mostly because I was never allowed to go to the gym… But once I reached a healthy weight, I started working out regularly and I fell in love with it. I love anything that gets my heart pumping and makes me sore the next day. I love feeling strong and pushing myself physically and mentally.
It’s easy to get sucked in to the idea that exercise is for looks; I am sure that most people at the gym are there to get “sculpted abs” or a “summer body.” It’s easy to want to compensate for a missed workout by eating less or adding treadmill time the next day. But exercise has so many healthy benefits that will have a much more lasting impact on your life! Stronger bones and muscles, reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease, increased energy, and improved mood are just a few. I want to work towards having the strongest body I can, regardless of what that looks like on the outside.
For me, I know that I have a healthy relationship with exercise when:
1. I exercise because I want to, not because I have to. If I didn’t sleep well, if I’m sick, or if I just feel like my body needs a rest, I don’t push through a workout anyway.
2. I don’t put exercise before people. There’s a saying in the online-fitness-world that says “weights before dates.” Nonsense. Don’t miss out on relationships because you spend too much time working out. Go have fun even if it interferes with your gym time once in a while.
3. I fuel my body. I don’t restrict when I can’t workout, and I eat even more on the days that I do.
A friend of mine wrote in a similar blog post, “Next time you wake up to work out, ask yourself if you’re leaving your warm bed to ensure your body’s health or longevity, or if you’re on your way to chasing society’s idea of what your body should look like.” You hit the nail on the head, Bri!
Fitness is a big part of my life and I plan to make it a part of my blog as well! Whether you struggle with an eating disorder or not, I hope to encourage you to take care of your body by exercising in a healthy, balanced way. So go forth and get sweaty! 🙂