HOW to stop compulsive exercise & movement in eating disorder recovery:
It is all good knowing we have a compulsive exercise problem and even the theory behind why it is there but does that help us in stopping it?
Please don’t think I am perfect.
I am working hard to address my compulsions with movement, walking, lower level stuff (having managed to stop the harder forms of ‘exercise’) but I don’t always get it right…
For me, this can be harder to cope with than the eating (and that is tough) and to do the two sides together – arrrgh!
But, I know that unless I beat these movement compulsions during recovery that I will never truly be free of this illness.
So – how do we stop it?
We stop immediately any formal exercise – there is NO excuse for this. This is not only crippling mentally but it also puts dangerous pressure on the heart & body and in ED does lead to death… it must stop.
Cancel gym subscriptions, leave any sports clubs or groups, sell the bike & fitness tracker, turn off the movement apps (or delete them!), throw the trainers in the bin.
Avoid people who are going to trigger you into wanting to exercise more or think it is a good idea.
Lighter forms of exercise – aim to STOP it all if you can.
Even yoga and pilates – if you are doing it to try to control your shape or weight or if you are anxious at missing a session, then despite how relaxing it is: it is disordered and you need time out.
Walking – stick to the essential stuff (and you need to be very honest here). If you can take the car or the bus then do.
Get someone else to walk the dog.
Take the most direct routes when you do walk somewhere.
As far as possible make sitting the default position for you and sitting in a relaxed way – not sitting tensed up and moving as many muscles as you can!
Stop unnecessary movement around the home… leave the housework as long as possible (ask others to do it) and sit!
Gwyneth Olwyn, who created MinnieMaud described the activity level of someone in recovery as needing to be the equivalent to couch rest – take on this mindset!
This is tough – you won’t feel relaxed when you start but it will get easier… the only way out is through – I wish there was a magic pill!