I’ve written in previous posts about lower level movement compulsions in eating disorders & the importance of addressing them in recovery. Facing up to eating more food and weight restoration alone does not a full recovery make!
Recovery entails overcoming all the little behaviours and compulsions that have wormed in over the years – some so well hidden, they are easy to overlook but if not addressed could just keep the eating disorder maintaining a tiny grip on us.
So, of the lower level movement, where can it hide?
Here are some of the behaviours I have been guilty of:
WALKING – but this is ‘not exercise’ & I ‘have to walk’ are excuses I used.
But walking for the sake of walking, no matter the weather; taking longer routes to a destination than need be; not using public transport or the car when most would… probably cannot be justified!
STANDING when most would sit – becoming very uncomfortable sitting for any long period of time or having set times of the day I was ‘permitted’ to sit but not otherwise.
Going up and downstairs for the sake of it… be that at home or at work or elsewhere. Finding an excuse to go upstairs even when there was no reason to –
AND with this comes taking the stairs when there was a lift or escalator.
Lots of housework & active chores… how many of us with an eating disorder have the most spotless homes?
Washing up instead of using the dishwasher!
Leg jigging and fidgeting – even if sitting down, the ability to sit still can be hard!
Taking the rubbish out one bit at a time or the laundry to another part of the house bit by bit.
Standing if I did use public transport and even if there was an empty carriage of seats… yep – I’ve been that odd person!
Yoga – for some in recovery yoga might be safe but for me in the past, this innocent means of ‘relaxing activity’ became another way for the eating disorder to justify movement and although I enjoyed it, it was compulsive and so had to go until I feel stronger in my recovery.
Any of the above, no matter how innocent they seem, were compulsive and debilitating because they keep the illness strong and me socially disabled.
I know a behaviour is compulsive when stopping induces an anxiety response and so then it has to be addressed.