Is exercise possible in recovery, or will it only feed into ED behaviors? As an eating disorder professional with a background in both nutrition and exercise sciences, I believe that there is a place for movement within recovery. What that looks like exactly will vary person-to-person, as each individual and every body is so different. There is no black and white, clear cut answer. But i do believe that recovery is possible, and I do believe that joyful movement can be part of that.
As always, if you are considering adding in movement to your routine, it’s good to start by having a conversation with your care team to assess the motivation behind your desire. If the majority of your motivation stems from ED behaviors or thoughts, it might be time to take a deeper look at where you’re at in recovery. Keep in mind that feeling like you “should” exercise doesn’t mean that it’s the only option! There is a wide spectrum of types of movement, duration, and frequency that can fit you wherever you’re at… including REST.
While rest is often overlooked or seen as inferior, our bodies and minds need rest in order to carry out normal bodily functions, prepare us for living our lives to the fullest, and allowing healing. Recovery is not possible without rest, so don’t underestimate its power! If you find yourself wanting to reach toward exercise as a source of control after food loses some of its power, it’s not uncommon. However, letting your ED extend to another aspect of your life only perpetuates the pain and will overall lengthen the time to recovery. If you find yourself at a crossroads of behaviors that might trigger your ED, such as exercise/movement, it’s best to talk about it with your care team and proceed with caution.
I’ll leave you with a few questions to ponder regarding your relationship to movement:
How will I know if I desire movement?
How will I know if my body/mind needs rest?
How have I previously defined movement/exercise? How would I choose to define it now?
What is my current relationship to movement/exercise? What term most resonates (activity, exercise, movement, etc.)?
What types of movements am I interested in trying or re-introducing? Which sound fun, playful, or interesting?
If you’ve chatted with your care team, have made a plan for movement, and are looking for more on joyful yoga without the diet talk - look no further! My virtual yoga class, Moxie on the Mat, is a body positive yoga class held weekly with access to the recordings all week long! It’s perfect if you’re looking for something inexpensive, beginner-friendly, and free from diet culture BS. Check it out here. See you on the mat!
p.s. Superfit Hero just launched a Pride Fundraiser and I’m so excited to announce it here! 100% of profits from the Movement Muscle tee will be donated to Pull for Pride's Share the Platform Scholarship to support transgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary, and intersex strength athletes. Get more information and purchase your tee here!
Send me an email or find me on social media to stay in touch. Want to learn more about what it’s like to work with a non-diet dietitian or yoga teacher? Schedule your free discovery call to chat or check out my online yoga class, Moxie on the Mat!