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5 Ways to Make Peace with Exercise in Eating Disorder Recovery

Because exercise is often used as a form of weight control, it is often deemed dangerous and contradictory to the recovery of eating disorders. For this reason it has been off limits and forbidden.

At Empowered RX we believe in the transformative power of fitness and exercise, all when it is done with balanced, safe and an individualized approach. Of course we need to be weight restored and in a phase of recovery that is not severe.

Many of us have used exercise in a self-sabotaging and unhealthy way. To eliminate it all together is the abstinence-only method of relating to an important part of sustaining wellness, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Finding a balanced approach to exercise is a vital part of our recovery. Empowered RX strives to help women reestablish healthy boundaries with exercise while learning the science behind why less is sometimes better.

For so many of us, exercise was a demand that our ED was unrelenting with. When we enter recovery, we may have no interest in working out at all. That is OKAY! Take as much rest as you need. If you do wish to keep moving here are 5 ways to make peace with exercise in recovery!

1 - Let go of old beliefs.

Many of us who have had an eating disorder associate exercise with weight loss and control. We have punished ourselves with exercise, reached near exhaustion and quit simply have used it as a means to an end. Working with your therapist or coach to reframe your relationship to exercise is going to be imperative to ever have a better experience that isn't triggering.

2 - Get a Coach

Just like you have a dietician or an Eating Disorder Specialist Doctor.. get yourself a wellness coach who is informed in trauma and eating disorders. We cannot stress this enough. The general information out there on the internet is created from a diet culture lens with the objective of getting customer engagement. Following random advice not only is dangerous while you are in recovery but predisposes you to relapse. Having an Exercise Physiologist or specialist who understands the physiology of exercise and eating disorders not only decreases health risks, but also helps to prevent relapse.

Empowered RX is an organization that specializes in just this. Head to our website and book a FREE discovery call today to get resources and get started in the right direction. Allowing others to help us in recovery is soooooo hard but it is imperative.

3 - Listen to your body. This is going to be monumental. You HAVE TO LEARN TO LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Eating disorders are largely about control and as a result we end up in a state of disembodiment. This essentially means we get really skilled at disconnecting our bodies sensations from our brain. We end up ignoring hunger and full cues. We workout through injury and pain. We suffer daily at the hands of our ED. We have to shift our mindset to be more loving and compassionate. If your body says it's tired, rest. If you feel like fresh air.. explore the outdoors. If you feel hungry, eat. Already eaten but still feel hungry? Keep eating!

4 - Join a Community

Seriously.. There is a reason that Alcoholics Anonymous is so successful. Having a community with a common purpose, positive influences and peer to peer support is a game changer. The Empowered RX programming and free community offers all of this! It can be triggering to join a regular gym and be around people with different goals or who might still be immersed in diet culture themselves. You will be influenced by those you spend the most time with. Make sure you engage with content and people who will lift you higher and not bring you down! The focus of the community should be on wellness, balance, happiness and friendship. NOT weight-loss. NOT competition. NOT looks.

5 - Be honest with yourself and your Team Have you ever noticed that your relationship with exercise is identical to the relationship you have with food? At first it can be a struggle between your eating disorder’s way or your treatment team’s way. The key to finding balance with this struggle is being brutally honest with yourself and your intentions. If exercise is triggering you, speak to your treatment team and start small. Remember: Acting on your eating disorder’s demands is not wellness, it’s part of the illness.

If you could relate to anything we just said, or if you have strong emotions coming up after reading this... please reach out! Seriously, e-mail us or join our free community!

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