It’s a hard one, and there’s many conflicting views about it.
CAMHS might advise you against it, but you might have a love for it, and want to do it anyway. So, what should you do? What’s the right thing to do?
Firstly, I need to make a disclaimer that anything I say in this post is my own opinion drawn from my own experiences. You should always listen to, and engage with, your treatment team. They are the people who are looking after you, and they have your best interests at heart, no matter how much your eating disorder tries to convince you otherwise.
Exercise has been a part of my life for so long. I’m a runner (was county level) and so I naturally wanted to return to the sport I used to love so much when I was well again. It has been (and continues to be) a very slow return. I’m easing myself back into it all gradually, at the discretion of my CAMHS team.
I love running. It is my release and it gets me through some of my most stressful and darkest days. I don’t run to satisfy my eating disorder, I run because it is my passion and I love it so much.
I do have to be careful when I run, because a big part of my Anorexia, alongside restricting, was overexercising. When I run, I now do so under the watchful eye of my coach who has been massively involved in my recovery. He makes sure that I don’t do too much, and I now also trust myself enough to go against any urges that I have telling me to ‘do more.’ I am able to differentiate between the ‘healthy Lisa’ and the ‘unhealthy Lisa.’ Waking up when it’s throwing it down with rain, going for a run being the last thing I want to do but going anyway, that’s unhealthy. That’s driven by negative energy. But waking up with excitement at the thought of feeling the wind against my face as I run and chat to my running friends, that’s fun. That’s what I run for. Not to loose weight, but to feel alive.
Now you know why I run, I want you to ask yourself why you want to exercise. Is it because you genuinley enjoy it or is it because it satisfies your eating disorder? If it’s the latter, then stop exercising. There’s a whole world out there waiting for you to explore. Find something that you really do enjoy for what it is. Have you tried baking? Arts and crafts? Photography? Try something new today (or tomorrow depending on what time it is that you’re reading this!) And if your answer is the former, then that’s great that you enjoy movement, but don’t let it take over your life. Make sure you stay well. That might mean having someone with you whilst you exercise to supervise you, or it might mean finding new hobbies so that your life isn’t solely centred around exercise (because that’s not healthy.) Remember that balance is key to living a happy, healthy, fulfilled life.
So, I hope this post has made you really consider your relationship with exercise. If anyone has any questions or just wants a chat, I’m always here! You can drop me an email by heading over to the ‘contact me’ section of my blog.
As always, thank you for reading and be sure to take care of yourselves!