#10: Exercise?


In Tabitha Farrar’s opinion, exercising in recovery is like shopping for designer clothes with a maxed out credit card. You are in huge caloric debt. Probably not the wisest thing to be doing.

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Being malnourished means that you’re body is low on energy and functioning poorly. If you purposely exercise, you’re reducing the little energy you have even further. That energy will not go into healing. That energy that you use at the gym, could have been used for healing your heart, your bones, for your lungs. 

Do I exercise?

There was a period where I didn’t whatsoever, but now my relationship with it has improved, I do occasionally- mainly just group classes. Defintley no long distance running.

But it is probably one of my main motivations to fully recover.

When I was younger, I competed in athletics events every single weekend. Sport has always been my ‘thing’ and probably what I was best at. I hate AN for taking that away from me. Long distance running was one of the main problems in my ED.  Any form of exercise would have been a compensatory behaviour. Until I knew I was doing it for the right reasons, I did none whatsoever. But boy had I been tempted on occasions. 

I’ve read a lot that exercise is a form of ‘purging’ and I completely understand that. For most people, it’s not as easy as just saying stop.

So, how do I fight the urges?

I used to, and sometimes still do, get huge urges to exercise alot. Just a quick run won’t hurt, It’ll release some happy hormones, I tell myself. It will make me feel better. At the start of recovery, I tried to explain over and over again to my parents that, for all of my life, exercise has been my stress reliever. And thats true. It was. But I now know that for now it can’t be. Being realistic and entirely honest, I can’t tell whether AN is influencing my choice anymore… no matter how hard I attempt to persaude myself I have good intentions with it. I’ve found other ways of stress relief and distraction from feeling bad, which don’t involve using up energy.

Tabitha Fararr is someone who has helped me greatly in my recovery. She describes how a malnourished body that is responding to famine (not eating) sends you desires and allocates energy to movement. Picture a cave-man who lived in an area where no berries grew or animals wandered past. An intelligent brain wants you to pack your bags and move to an area with more food. So you FEEL that you have the energy to move a lot. I swear on somedays I’ve felt like I have tonnes of energy to go for a run.

My opinion: Go cold turkey until you feel like you could go a period without doing it with no struggle. Completley stop. You might feel guilty and awful for the first few weeks, but trust me, that feeling fades once your brain realises there is no point sending you a signal to move. Add it to your no list (see yesterday’s post). Fighting the urges ceases to be a problem when you don’t get urges, and the only thing that stopped those urges for me was forbidding it. Hanging up your trainers now or stopping those habitual home work-outs is more important than you might think. It’s those little compulsions that keep you trapped in AN’s grip. I really recommend you just try a few months giving your body a total break 🙂 It really helped me!

Always keep fighting,

Han xx

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