Life without Anorexia

My motto is
'Dont let the sadness of your past & the fear of your future ruin the happiness of your present'

My life at the moment is completely different to how it once was. I spent 5 years sick with anorexia nervosia and depression as well as struggling with self harm and overexercising. I spent 2 years in different treatment centres.
And since 2012 i have been declared healthy from my eating disorder.

I have been blogging for 7 years, and my whole journey is written in my posts. I now represent healthy and happiness. I want to show anyone struggling that it is possible to recover, no matter how hard it may seem.

I now blog about recovery, my life, veganism and positivity!

If you have any questions leave them in the comment section as i am much quicker at answering there, otherwise you can always send an email: lifewithoutanorexia@hotmail.com

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How i stopped over exercising

Ive been asked by a few people, several times if i could write how i stopped over exercising, as that is something which is quite common when you have anorexia.....
   For me, it was one of my biggest problems.

Im not so sure that i can give a fully concrete answer, how or why i stopped over exercising, got over my problem...
  Im not even sure i can give tips how either.... Its pretty much the same as starting to eat again. You just have to not exercise. Not go for that walk, not do those sit ups, not go out running or whatever it is... just the same as eating.. but instead you have to eat. You have to stand out with the anxiety... face the anxiety face on. Not shy away.
  Because anxiety there will be. But the anxiety wont kill, if you dont let it kill you.
  An over exercising problem is dangerous... just as dangerous as not eating.
There is a new 'diagnos' - but not a new thing - called anorexia-athletica, which is basically the diagnos of being an overexerciser, where exercise controls your life...
  And then there is of course, the overexercising due to anorexia and compensation.
  If you over exercise and dont eat enough, your body isnt getting enough energy, enough vitamins or nturients.. you are wearing out your body... your organs. And it can happen that your heart will collapse... there is only a certain limit that your body can take... only a certain amount of abuse and pushing.
   And of course, HAVING to exercise... forcing yourself out in the rain and cold to do you Xkm run isnt fun. When exercise steers you life.. when you miss things because they interfere with your exercise routines... if you arent already secluded and isloated enough because of you eating disorder... then having an exercise problem pretty much isolates you completly. Between your problems you dont have time for anything else....
 
But onto how i recovered from my exercise addiction/problem.
  Trying to stop exercising, cut down on the amount of hours i spent doing some form of exercise was hard.... i guess it started when i was admitted to Mando, for my last time (in April 2011). I had been admitted 3 times previously, but whenever i got the chance i would exercise... so my exercise problem just got worse.
  But then in April, also when i decided to actually recover from anorexia. I was on complete lock down. I was put in a wheelchair 1) because i was so underweight, and my heart could stop & 2) because they wanted me to do absaloute 0 activity. Of course, i tried anyway.. getting up, walking around, doing one thing or another... but the staff had complete control over that. I was pretty much put on 24/7... which you already had when you were an inpatient... but that i pretty much had a staff sitting beside me all the time.
  And then i had to have an acitivty monitor on pretty much all the time.. but i didnt give a shit about the results.
   I was told by my case manager that i wasnt allowed home until my exercise was cut down to zero... of course, i was all like.. but im on my ass 24/7... i dont have any exercise. Which at that point i didnt... there was  no way.
   My first few permissions home, i had an acitivity monitor on, and had to have a wheel chair. So that there would be the bare minimum of exercise involved. Of course, the voice in my head was screaming... telling me that there was my chance... i could exercise. But i didnt.
   I was with my mum, the whole 4 hours or so that i was at home.

Friends and family are your EDs worst enemy. Trust me. They wont let you stand, they'll tell you to slow down when you suddenly want to start power walking. They'll find it weird if you just sit with a black coffee and everyone else is eating cake, or you keep saying you've already eaten for lunch.. or when you are continuously working out?
  When your with friends and family.. you try to act normal. 'normal/healthy people' dont understand how someone wtih an ED is so scared to eat, or the desire to exercise continuously.

 Ok... im rambling and going onto complete different things...
   Basically, i was saved from my exercise problem by being admitted. It was so hard to not exercise while i was at home, but my mum didnt let me out of her sight... i wasnt even allowed my own door to my room, as i was someone who would lock myself in my room and self harm, exercise and never leave.
   I once locked myself in our bathroom and stayed there all night, basically more then 12 hours i stayed in the bathroom refusing to come out, until my mum threatened to call the police... (Now, i can laugh at that... i.e, the police getting a call from my mum telling them that her daughter had locked herself in the bathroom and was refusing to come out... Of course, its not a laughing matter...)
   After that i wasnt allowed locked doors...

Like any problem, you have to face it head on.... its not going to kill you if you dont exercise.
   And you have to think like this... if you want to recover... and need to gain weight.. is exercising going to help? Basically, all that you're eating, wont make a difference if youre just going to burn it off? I remember when i started thinking like that... but Ana had something to say to that aswell....
   It felt like something bad would happen if i didnt exercise...

It takes time to recover from.. it wont just happen over a day... each day you have to just... relax. Of course, doing normal things like walking to the bus, going shopping, standing and doing the dishes or whatever is fine... i mean, you have to have some sort of activity in your life...
  and i am someone who believes that everyone should do some form of exercise everyday, whether its 10 minuts of stretching, yoga, swimming, running or just a walk with a friend or your dog... i believe its just healthy . But its when exercise controls your life, where you get anxious if you dont exercise, or if you feel like you'll die if you miss a workout or you cant eat if you dont exercise... if you feel like that, then its a problem .Then its an addiction.
  
I was on complete 0 activity for several months, and then i started with a 20 minute walk with my dog, and my mum had strict control.  But then when she realised i wasnt abusing my freedom, she started to realx a bit more. And i started to develop a healthy balance of activity and relaxation.
  Relaxing was my hardest problem... i am very restless, and can find it hard to just sit still and watch tv or do work... i always have to do something else or jump up and like get a glass of water and then go sit down again...
  but ive gotten a lot better... i.e im normal now. I can sit still and watch a 2 hour film, but i do have to like scroll through tumblr or draw or something... but i dont have to jump up and walk around like i did before!!! :)
  
In time, i started swimming, and then i did a bit of dancing and then i  started running again, which was a huge thing as that was something i had abused while i was sick... but i didnt run to burn calories.. which is very important. You should find the exercise you enjoy, that you do it because you like doing...  because you find enjoyment... there is no point pushing yourself to  do an activity you dont like, especially not if you dont need to lose weight.....

If anyone has actually read this far... Congratulations... if you havent ... no problem... what im going to say next basically sums up all that ive written... which seems to be a hell of alot...!! XD
Friend and family are the most important part of your recovery. Make sure to schedule in coffee dates, or go shopping, or just sit and watch a film or go for lunch... things that interfere with your 'regular' exercise times. You want to break your routines and habits, start new healthy ones...
   Keep yourself busy. Keep your mind and thoughts busy, thinking about other things.
   And then of course... face the anxiety head on... dont be scared. Do the opposite of what the 'voice' tells you to do. Plan spa days, lazy days. Film marathons... and dont feel guilty for not doing anything.
  I mean, how much fun is it really to be killing yourself (literally) at the gym? spending hours doing things you dont want to do? now you have the chance to read hte book you never got the chance to do, to watch films or series.
 And when you go for walks, dont push yourself forward, power walk to exericse... but actually look where you are going. Take in the scenery. Stop and take photos if there is something you see which looks pretty or whatever.... that its ok to walk without power walking... which was something that i had hard to accept. For me, i didnt understand strolling... it was powerwalk or running, nothing less... but now i can actually stroll with my dog!! haha XD

If there is anything just comment or mail me!

I understand that this post is very messy and very badly written, and i apologize... there just came so much out at the same time... but at the same time.. there was nothing important to say?
 i hoope youve gotten some good information or tips though :)

9 comments:

  1. This ss so helpful, thankyou... like you experienced, exercise is a big part of my anorexia. I find it hard to stop as i genuinely believe its "bad" to do nothing. i feel like something awful will happen, my body will never be able to get back to healthy if i dont have some kindof activity. which i know is silly, but its very hard to keep that in your mind when the ED is screaming at you for being lazy :-(
    Lately tho, i have been getting more and more annoyed with all the things this stupid exercise compulsion gets in the way of. I cant do spontaneous things with friends cos i have to plan my walk around them and often im too tired after that. I cant just walk home from work with a friend, cos i feel like i wont be getting my usual "power-walk" in. its sad and its depressing. but i know that there is light at the end of this struggle... there is a chance to be free.
    I guess i just need reassurance that it IS ok to do nothing and that it wont mess my body up forever.... (also how long shud you be sedentary for? and is it ok that i am lightly active at work?) i guess i just want bit of advice as to what to expect etc!
    thanks hun :-) xx

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    1. Hello!!! I am SO sorry that I haven't replied back.... :/ I've been so busy and then forget about replying.
      I know what you are talking about. I was exactly like that... it felt like something bad would happen if I didn't exercise. But that is just Ana. It is fine to havee a day where you do bare minimum. I mean when you are healthy you wont be following a meal plan. You won't be eating to gain weight. You eat from what your body needs
      And as you are a teacher I take it that you're not just sitting all day. I am sure you are doing a lot of standing and walking around. And remember that is exercise / activity.... just not the same as PW or running or something..... but you do burn calories.... but don't think like that.... 'burning calories'. If you feel tired. Allow yourself to rest. And then there are days when you just have SO much energy. Then it's ok to go out for a long PW to get rid of some energy.

      You will be free one day. To be able to do nothing in a day and not have anxiety. It doesnt happen over night. And it is hard.... you have to stand out with the anxiety. Just not exercise.... take the anxiety. Take your mind off things.. . Do something else. Something fun. Or like I said.... schedule some coffee dates or something when you usually exercise
      I mean its ok to exercise... it I'd healthy. It is ok to go for a walk everyday.... but it's not healthy when it's an obsession and you get anxiety because you don't exercise.....

      Butility it is also ok to have a day where you do nothing... I mean while I was at Mando and was eating loads. And had 0 exercise... some weeks I had lost weight..... the body uses so much calories each day. I mean you said you walk to the school and back? Why don't you just stick to that.... keep the exercise to that level. Really I would say NO exercise when you are trying to overcome an exercise addiction.... but I know myself that it helped to have gone for a half an hour's walk....it felt like I had done something...

      But believe me. You can recover. You have to be strong. And go against the voice.

      If you think about it... there are many skinny and eat whatever they want... ??

      Xxx

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  2. HI! I'M 5'11 116 LB MALE. I EXERCISE EVERYDAY. NOTHING STRENUOUS REALLY LIGHT WEIGHTS AND BIKE 1.5 HOURS TOTAL BUT HAVE REAL ANXIETY ABOUT WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I DON'T MAKE IT TO THE GYM (ALTHOUGH THATS WEIRD BECAUSE I WANT TO GAIN) WHAT RESULTS DID YOU HAVE WHEN YOU STOPPED? WHAT WAS YOUR MEAL PLAN DURING THAT TIME? ANY ADDITIONAL ADVICE? PLEASE EMAIL ME JRDUNN0508 at GMAIL.COM

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  3. I have been struggling with over exercise for some time and you blog post has been very helpful. I feel more empowered to tackle things after reading your blog, thank you for sharing your experiences. It's also great to hear you've been able to add in healthy exercise, I'd love to go running/dance without worrying about the repercussions on my weight. One day...

    Thanks again

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  4. Thank you for this post. I am underweight and have been walking and running too much. I need desperately to stop, and youve given me the internal power to do this, Thank you

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  5. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have printed out important paragraphs and posted them on my walls. Everytime I go to pull on those shoes I have a look at your words and they help me untie the laces and go watch a movie.. You're helping to save a life so I thank you

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  6. This article has been the spur I need to tackle my over-exercising and eating disorder. You have quite possibly freed me of the biggest burden and creator of negativeness in my entire life. Thank you Izzy.

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  7. Hi I'm 36 and have had anerexia for on an off since I was 18 I over exsersize and can't stop I have been better than this iv traveled the world and have a atr MA , have you ever tried antidepressants I'm at the point where iv tryed every thing Ells and I'm so lonely and trapped with guilt and rigged thinking all the years and time and pain iv cut off all my friends and only allowed a small window to see my family when iv exsersize all day
    Tommy

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  8. I'm in a bit of a sticky situation...
    I have been struggling with anorexia for the last 5 years.
    Exercise has always been my biggest deamon I think... I've been admitted to hospitals Afew times for different reasons, and that has normal been my turning point, to get back to a state of recovery again. Hospitals have broken the cycle in other words.
    I have been at home now maintaing my weigh for over a year now but for about 8 months things haven't been great but I have still been maintaing my weigh , so nobody suspects anything or should I say realises that there is a bigger problem than what seams...
    Basically, I've been obsessing with the number of steps I do using my phone as a pedometer, at first my daily target was just to do at least 10,000 steps a day ( the recommended amount ) quite easily done by normal daily activity of walking my dog and other normal things without getting in the way of life but then things started to get out of hand and 8 months later long story short, my daily target is at least 19,000 steps. This is not so easily done. I get up at a ridiculous time every day to fit the majority of my steps in, as 1) it takes so long to reach that target and if I do it during the day, there's more risk of being caught and my parents trying to stop me and me not being able to and going back into a unit 2) I literally get NOTHING done if I don't wake up early to do it, and since I have my final year exams in May, I like to get school work done.
    My eating has been deteriorating those past 8 months too, I have gradually been ristricting and limiting my intake but my weight has been maintaining so no one has been particularly bother, cos I'm still eating , but recently things have been out in the open and I have been leaving my evening meal.
    Since I have a history and am quite predictable to professionals, I don't think that they will hang about too long before I get admitted
    I really don't want this as I love my family and have the thought of going back into a unit.
    But I don't know what to do!?!
    I think the only way I will be able to get back to normal is if I go into a unit, to break the cycle, but I don't want that! HELP!!!

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