“Lifting weights and exercising made me recover from my eating disorder.”
Okay, so let’s say that you wake up tomorrow and you find out that you have an illness or injury that prevents you from doing any form of physical activity. How are you going to cope? Are you going to be able to feed yourself without restricting to “make up” for not exercising? Will you still be able to love your body if you are not able to aesthetically alter it? Will you still be able to love yourself without exercise being your most meaningful identity?
I didn't write the above but it's pretty much what I believe in. Sure exercise is great, it's fine to enjoy it but I don't think you can exercise yourself to recovery. exercise can not be the only reason to recover either... sure I had being able to run again as a reason and motivation to recover, but my huge goal for recovery was to have my life back. To be able to go to school, have friends, have a normal life. That was my main recovery goal, and then of course being allowed to do something I love again was just a benefit.
Exercise should be something you get into/get back into when both your mind and body are healthy. I have made mistakes with exercise, done too much, damaged my body, stressed my body enormously and I identified myself as the "fit and exercise girl". But I am more than that. ... it became a stressor when I thought " I have to workout because that's what people expect me to", for example if my sister made comments such as "oh you're not working out today?" On my rest days and I would feel guilty then. But I realised that exercise is something for me... its not my identity and not the only thing in my life. I bake and cook, I blog and write, I take photos, I do research and read books... those are all things I enjoy doing that aren't exercise related.
Of course I don't deny that if I were to suddenly not be allowed to exercise any more it would affect me somewhat negatively mentally as it is a form of therapy and a happiness for me. But I would cope, I wouldn't stop eating or panic. Though it would take a while to find a new balance and to have something which is a huge part of my life taken away, but I know that exercise is not my identity and I could cope without it.
But can you say the same thing?
If yiu exercise, question your relationship with exercise. Why you do it? Can you take a week or two off? Can you rest when you are injured? Would you cope if you were injured and not allowed to exercise?