Why We Workout

As discussed many of times within this blog, exercise can be a sticky situation within ED recovery. Exercise is a beautiful thing, but only when practiced in a healthy and safe fashion, with good intentions. I used to work out to achieve a certain ideal, to look a certain way, to find a bit of self-acceptance in my reflection. I used to work out to sweat until I deserved that pizza, to push myself so hard that I was too exhausted to eat. I used to work out for what I thought was self-love, but in reality it wasn’t self-love, it was self-loathing, ring any bells?!

We say that we work out and exercise for self care and self love, but are we really doing just that? Or are we using this as an excuse to fit a mold, to fit an ideal? How many times have you heard, I worked out today, so I deserve that cookie, or I ran five miles, so I can go out to eat now. Or how about, I was so good today, I went to the gym, or I’ve been so bad I haven’t worked out so I can’t eat that. What is this? Why do we all of the sudden feel that food is to be deserved, why do we feel that we deserve FUEL and NOURISHMENT only after we push ourselves to the brink in the gym? This ideal is harmful not only to individuals within recovery, but for everyone, we do not deserve to eat, we do not eat for a reward, we eat for fuel and nourishment. Therefore, we need not work out for food, instead we work out for emotional, and physical strength, for an outlet, for mental health, and for self love NOT self loathing!

Why do I work out?

For the natural release of endorphins

To cleanse my mind

For a social activity

For emotional strength

For happiness

For health

For fun

For a mental and emotional release

For self care

For self love NOT self loathing

For recovery NOT an unattainable ideal

To gain strength NOT to lose weight

 

Why do you workout?

As you move through your week, I challenge you to ask yourself why you work out? Are you being true to your recovery? Are you truly practicing self-love and self-care? Lets allow ourselves a moment of truth and honesty and bring some awareness to the fact that food is fuel, exercise is for health, and they do not need to be tied to each other. You do not need to work out in order to eat that piece of pizza or that piece of bread, you deserve food because you are a human being.

The Fitness Culture within ED Recovery

We live in a fitness driven culture, and there are healthy ways to co-exist and thrive within this intense culture, therefore over the next few weeks, I will touch on how individuals within ED Recovery can succeed within today’s intense fitness culture. This #MotivationIsNotJustForMondays post is an overview of the current fitness culture, and how it affects those within ED and ED Recovery.

Millennials…this is somewhat of a tainted word in my book…. why you ask? Because it is a label that my peers, and myself fall under, a label that is saturated in shame, false assumptions, and negative perceptions, therefore I cringe when using this term, because in reality Millennials are incredibly innovative, hard working, and understand the balance between work, health and happiness.

Across the country, Millennials have revolutionized exercise, more so than any other generation. Think of all of the gyms, fitness clubs, yoga studios, barre boutiques, and spin classes with cult like followings, and even fitness apps where you can have access to a fitness class literally at your fingertips (See my Skyfit app posts…linked here). Yes, this generation has changed the way the world looks at physical activity, and health; statistics even prove that Millenials are the healthiest generation as of yet. 81% of Millennials claim to exercise on a regular basis, compared to that of 61% of Baby Boomers…therefore 76% of all regular exercisers are Millennials. Therefore, Millennials have had a major impact on exercise culture. For more statistics click here.

There are so many pros within this new view on physical activity, in that it creates a new focus on overall health within our every day lives. Focusing on health and wellbeing is a beautiful thing that I, and most helping professionals promote. Although, it is important to remember that when within a state of recovery, or a vulnerable state within your Eating Disorder (ED), it can be somewhat dangerous to engage within this exercise focused culture. I am not, by any means, saying that this fitness culture is negative or bad, instead I am pointing out the risks and dangers within this culture when living with ED.

For instance, as a millennial (cringe), a major part of my self-care is exercise and physical activity, but the intense hype that exercise receives on a social basis is incredibly triggering and intimidating for me within my own recovery. I consider myself far along within my recovery, and many professionals would consider me fully recovered, therefore it says a lot that I feel triggered within this fitness culture.

This fitness culture, focused around the intensity of exercise, can be incredibly triggering for anyone within ED Recovery. Certain messages can be persuasive to push oneself harder than necessary, to carry unhealthy motivations behind one’s exercise, and cause for behaviors that are detrimental to one’s recovery.

While we co-exist within this intense, pro health, fitness culture, it is crucial to stand close to your recovery and continue to bring awareness to the motivations behind your exercise. So as you move through this weekend, I challenge you to acknowledge the feelings that are raised while we live within this culture. I challenge you to find healthy motivations, and to keep yourself safe within your recovery as you partake in self care, whether that be through physical activity or not!

We will check in next week to discuss how to safely approach and thrive within today’s fitness culture, when living within ED and ED Recovery. Dont’ forget to Self Care it Out People!!! #SelfCare