Eating disorders can manifest in a variety of ways.
You don’t have to be underweight to be sick.
You don’t have to only eat crackers or devour entire pizzas in one sitting, and then run to the bathroom.
The disease is about MUCH much than these symptoms. It is a way of coping with things that occur in life, and masking emotions that make a person uncomfortable. It is a NEED for control in some aspect of your life because you cannot have power over others.
It is very very complicated, to say the least.
And one of the things that tends to happen during recovery is new behaviors begin to replace old ones, because as the feelings emerge from eliminating unhealthy ways, it is hell and you need something, ANYTHING to take away the pain, anger, sadness, etc.
I have always been an exerciser.
Other than being in the hospital, rest days are never ever in my routine.
Actually exercise is probably the biggest “problem” within my personal story since I have never skipped a meal, restricted as much as your textbook ED patients and I truly do enjoy food.
I have a relationship with my treadmill, and every morning me and my friend get together to de-stress, and so I can shut my mind down for sixty minutes.
I always have a goal in mind when I get on the machine, patterns I follow, numbers to hit. This has drastically decreased in the past few years because I no longer leave my home to work-out, but instead have a treadmill a few feet away from our bedroom were Ryan can easily monitor what I am doing.
I am not allowed to run anymore, but I do an inclined walk for an hour every morning and participate in Zumba once a week (which is a lesser amount than earlier in the year) in order to keep my sanity.
A few weeks ago Ryan requested I eliminate walking on Zumba days.
I was definitely against this because I don’t consider dance an exercise. It is too much fun and immeasurable so absolutely not does that substitute for my treadmill time.
I didn’t win this battle and stopped walking on Zumba days but those are some of my hardest times to “justify” my caloric intake.
Whoa. In the last two paragraphs I mentioned exactly why my husband HATES the treadmill; I am relying on it more and more to accept my meal plan, claim I NEED it to maintain sanity and am completely rigid and controlling when it comes to my routine.
That is probably why he AGAIN asked that I cut my hour down to less mileage, and fewer minutes.
So why are these things a problem?
I am kind of obsessed with numbers and I need to have at least the perfect hour or basically the physical activity doesn’t count.
Obviously this is my black and white thinking at its finest, and the fact that I cannot break from a rigid habit is not doing much for my recovery; especially since my desire for restriction increases when I am less active (remember that replacing one behavior for another?!)
Most people can and will give their bodies a break. If they don’t have time for a long workout, so what? Any exercise is better than no exercise. But on the days where I have not done my “norm” my brain goes nuts. I have trouble concentrating; I get antsy, stressed, am irritable, feel lazy, and have trouble believing I need proper nutrition.
*P.S. These things are not true!
I have made a lot of progress in this department but it is still very much a part of my day I am not entirely willing to give up, and as much as I will take criticism for this, I can accept Ryan’s wish for a cut-back temporarily, but I love being active and the feeling it brings.
My goal is not to completely break up from the treadmill, but essentially form a healthier relationship where it doesn’t always have to be a certain kind of cardio that counts, it doesn’t always have to be the distance or time, and the inflexibility is no longer there.
I kind of alluded to this earlier, and know it has come up in past posts, but I have a belief that I need to EARN food.
Like I said, Zumba days without my walk, and the past two days where I have abided by a reduction in exercise time, have been immensely difficult in the food department.
I don’t think I restricted anything, but the negative voice was CONSTANTLY present, asking, “are you sure you really need that…you didn’t do anything today so why are you hungry…you could do without that morning snack…”
This isn’t the right mentality at all, because a body expends energy regardless of a gym session. Exercise is actually a minimal part of the equation when it comes to how much someone burns.
When I bring up my hesitation for a snack or item because of my “skimpy” workout, Ryan always asks if I think his patients in the ICU don’t deserve food because they lie in bed all day. Of course my answer is OH MY GOODNESS, THEY NEED THE NUTRITION, so why am I different?
In my mind, I am always the exception.
So in the past few days I have toned down the routine, but learning to sit with the feelings of being unworthy, lazy, body image distortions and other pesky emotions that I would really like to ignore, has proved to be incredibly difficult.
Many of you have told me this is the only way to get through it; be uncomfortable, endure the pain, it gets worse before it gets better, but this really sucks.
I am holding onto the hope you provide because with a still VERY long road ahead, more pounds than I want to gain essential to happen before summer, and the ferociousness of my negative thoughts, I need something (other than exercise) to get me through the day.
You guys are awesome. Thanks so much for all you do 🙂