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Eating Disorders If you or someone close to you is struggling with an eating disorder, reach out here to ask questions or to receive support for recovery.

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emma01 Offline
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Exercising when recovering? - August 28th 2010, 10:23 PM

I just have a question here regarding acceptable amounts of exercise while trying to recover from an eating disorder. Now my doctor has told me NO exercise whatsoever, but I have be naughty and I have played netball for the season and I also go out with my friends and do Zumba, which is an aerobic dance class but its not hard-out, its just for fun. My doctor found out I did Zumba and said I can't do it, but I felt so left out as all my friends did it, so my mum said I could.
Now netball is over, I don't do anything on a saturday, and because mum and I are both runners - well I was - she is going out for runs in the weekend, and it makes me feel pretty low because I can't go. So I started going out, for walks at first, but then I started jogging. And it feels so good. I started feeling as though I can eat more, and I started feeling 'normal.'
The thing is, I want to gain weight in the nicest way possible for my liking which is slowly and I would like to gain a bit of my muscle back. I trust myself not to get obsessed over exercising and I also go out in the morning after breakfast, but before I eat anything else to avoid the thinking "I have to burn this and that off" so my idea is to train myself to think exercise is to get me healthy, not to lose weight. I am going to make myself healthier and happier, they are only about 25-30 minutes and also the MINUTE I feel tired, weak or even dizzy I STOP. Straight away. I do not push myself and I go at my own pace. I always make sure I have a good breakfast, usualy a bowl of porridge before I go out. I am getting weighed weekly and it is not making me lose weight so that is a very good thing.
So what do you think, should I keep this up...because Its amazing how much more fit I have got just running once or twice a week, im finding it a lot easier and I can run for longer without walking each time. I don't want to be doing myself damage but I do want to exercise a bit. I am still very much underweight, and I have still not gained anything. Mentally I am so much better, im eating chocolate and everything again, but the weight wont go on, which is what worries me about exercise, but I do want to be happy.
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Re: Exercising when recovering? - August 30th 2010, 03:37 PM

Hey Emma,

This is a great question--I love how much effort you put into keeping yourself healthy! It's fabulous.

It's a tricky situation, because on the one hand, I totally get that exercising helps you feel good--nobody feels good when they're not moving their body at all. But on the other hand, you do need to gain weight, and exercise might prevent that from happening. Also, you have to be very careful that a new mindset doesn't pop up without you recognizing it (you know how ED tricky thoughts can just creep in and you don't realize it until it's much later?), and that is: "I can eat as long as I exercise." A lot of times people who are struggling turn to exercise as what they think is helping them eat, but it ends up being a compulsion...and you just don't want to get to the point where you refuse to eat unless you've exercised. You know?

I'd say that there IS a compromise available. If you are going to be exercising, you'll be needing to eat even more to not only maintain your weight, but not lose it, and gain it. So if you increase your mealplan a decent amount (increase the amount of calories total that you are eating), then exercise isn't an issue--provided that the tricky ED thinking doesn't start up again.

I WOULD suggest talking to your doctor about this, though. Let her know everything you wrote in this post, and explain that you ARE willing to increase your intake so that you can continue gaining weight. Also, you might need to compromise on the type of exercise--like, running probably isn't going to be realistic. But taking walks, or doing a Zumba class here and there, is more realistic.

Good luck Emma! I'm proud of you.

"Do not ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

“if nothing changed, there’d be no butterflies”

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Re: Exercising when recovering? - September 1st 2010, 04:39 AM

Hey Emma,

I'm with Jen on this one. Talk to your doctor. If s/he doesn't want you exercising, there might be a reason? And if you do keep exercising, take it slowly and easily. I am very proud of you though.You are doing so well :]

Stay strong <3

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