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    Old 02-25-2007, 07:58 AM   #1
    Daniella28
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    Recovery and Exercise?

    I have been trying to recover from anorexia for many years and have been hospitilized many times. I'm in outpatient therapy and have gained a lot of weight but still have more. I'm on a high meal plan. I have always had issues with exercise and though gaining still was doing too much. I'm alway in pain and then got a bad injury. It takes the place of other things and I do it at weird times. I try to be normal about it but it never works. Well since this injury I'm going to give up exercise and yesterday was my 1st day and today is the 2nd. I'm panicking and feel so guilty. I know I need to gain still and if I want to have a real life I can't keep any obsessions. I feel like a bad person. Has anyone stopped exercise? I'm also thinking since even when I was at a healthy weight the exercise was an obsession to when healthier just doing yoga a few days a week but I feel so bad about this and right now still eating this high meal plan. Thank you for any help.

     
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    Old 02-25-2007, 11:55 AM   #2
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    Re: Recovery and Exercise?

    I had to stop it completely when I started gaining for 2 reasons: 1) I was so ill that my body just couldn't take it any more and 2) I really messed up my knees and ankles running so much; it was over a year before they felt normal again.

    I did have an exercise obsession/compulsion. I spent so much time exercising, I had little time for anything else. I almost never skipped days. It is very hard to break exercise obsessions because of the enormous guilt you feel when you don't exercise, but it has to be done to recover from the ED. I knew the amount of time I spent each day exercising was NOT normal and there were plenty of fit people who spent a whole lot less time exercising. Moreover, I had stopped enjoying exercising. When I first started it, I really loved it, but then as I did more and more and it became something I HAD to do every day, I realized I did not enjoy it at all, it was a chore that had to be done each day.

    When I could exercise again, I gradually re-introduced it to my life and never to the extent I had done before. Since I was still recovering at first, I just did walking (normal walking, not power walking and not long at all and just a few days a week). Now, I exercise for fitness, and it is something I enjoy doing again because I don't let it rule my life. I exercise a miniscule amount compared to what I did before and when I do exercise it is only once during that day instead of multiple times. I always take 1-2 days off from exercise each week now and I don't feel guilty about it. I take off more days if I'm ill or have sore muscles. I don't exercise at all when I go on vacation; everyone needs a break sometimes!

    What I had to do to break the exercise obsession was find something else to fill my time. I did arts & crafts hobbies--painted glass, drawing, latchhooking, making jewelry, soap, candles, potpourri. Anything to distract yourself and hopefully it is something you enjoy doing--writing, light gardening, photography, join a book club, volunteer someplace.

    Good luck to you in your recovery!

     
    Old 02-26-2007, 03:21 AM   #3
    Daniella28
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    Re: Recovery and Exercise?

    Another day and I didn't do any exercise and stuck to the plan. I'm an anxious wreck but in reality I hate the obsession but feel so guilty for two things one for not wanting to go back to it and just to focus on things like yoga and maybe a couple weight classes when at a healthy weight. I feel like I'm bad or weak but everything around the cardio gets out of control and doesn't allow me to do other things. Also that I'm sticking to the meal plan and accepting reaching a normal weight but I know I have to do it. I hate this being my focus and want to be a good nurse one day and have hobbies. Thank you.

     
    Old 02-27-2007, 08:11 PM   #4
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    Re: Recovery and Exercise?

    i had to reply to this as i had a massive scary dream last night which made me realise how the ed is ruling mylife, even though im at a healthy weight.
    i had a dream that i couldnt exercise for the day.....yes, i no its sounds manic but the good thing about this dream was the fact that i woke up and realised just how dominated and ruled i still am.
    so...i hear what youre all saying and am doing my best to over come exercise obsession now.
    take care all
    love chookie

     
    Old 02-28-2007, 08:33 PM   #5
    pinkygirl
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    Re: Recovery and Exercise?

    hey guys i am having a hard time with giving up the obbsessional exercise too. inspired by the posts in this thread, i decided i would not do my usual rigid routine today and now i am really feeling bad about it. i know i should be positive that i actualy took control of the obsession i cant stop the anxiety and feelings of being a fat, lazy slob for not doing as much exercise as i usually do. i hardly ever cry. i just cant get it out. but then today it was just all so horrible i did cry hard.
    i can understand that distraction is the best possible thing to try, but even then the thoughts and emotions are so so strong that they cant be dulled.. does this get any easier? did i do the right thing? im not sure what i will do tomorow, i almost dont want to think about it..

     
    Old 03-01-2007, 08:38 AM   #6
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    Re: Recovery and Exercise?

    nzgirl,

    It gets easier over time. I won't say it happens overnight, but it does happen. Good for you taking a positive step! It's really the cumultive effect of the exercise, not to mention that overexercising kills your metabolism just the same as restricting and is very hard on your muscles. I had quite severe knee damage from running so much, and it was over a year again before I could even contemplate exercise more intense than walking, not to mention I completely messed up my toenails with all the overexercise. They almost all fell off, and some of them grew back normally, but others did not. My toenails still look really gross and it's been 5 years for me now. It's a small thing, but sometimes I'm self-conscious about it, when I'm at the beach or bare foot or wearing sandals. I doubt I'll ever have nice toenails again, but on the positive side, they look much better than when my ED was full-blown and I was doing way too much exercise.

    Some things that help to calm anxiety are taking long hot bubble baths, drinking chamomile tea, listening to soothing music, breathing exercises (long, deep breaths). If it's too bad and you have a psychiatrist, maybe you could ask for a prescription to help you deal with the anxiety issues, such as Xanax or Klonopin? You would be taking a positive step, and the Xanax does help when anxiety is high. I did not have Xanax recovering from my exercise addiction, but I do have it now to take as needed for anxiety attacks (though I seldom have these any more, usually it's once every 2-3 months). I do wonder if something like that would help you, though you have to be careful not to get addicted to it, but generally, if you taper these drugs, withdrawal is not too bad. I was on Klonopin too and did not have a horrid withdrawal; the only med I've been on with terrible withdrawal symptoms is Effexor (though everyone is different).

    Good luck to you!

     
    Old 03-09-2007, 12:58 AM   #7
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    Re: Recovery and Exercise?

    so its been a week and i havent been running.. my body has actualy felt so so tired, i cant believe how exhausted i have felt now that im NOT exercising! why would this be, is it just finally catching up with me? i talked to my mum on the ph about it and she thought that maybe it was just that before i was just overriding the tiredness when in th routine without even realising it. anyway i have tried really hard to distract myself with being busy as i can with university work, and avoiding thinking about it, but when i think about it now i feel so awful and so lazy (made worse by seeing others out running!!). my body kinda feels like its seizing up, really sore and tight so im stretching morning and night, hopefully it subsides? on top of this i have managed having meal supplement drinks from the dr as well. things feel pretty gross but im so so over being in this mess and i know the only way out is gaining some weight. im sick of feeling so lonely and miserable, watching my hair get thinner and thinner andn looking like a child. i want to be sexy and fun and find some enjoyment in life. ive been through hospital twice for 7 and 10 months and the second time i was so close to being normal and free but i couldnt maintain it and all that hard work was wasted, if only i could get there again.. im turning 21 in august and by then i DO NOT want to be this person anymore. i have to make things different, i have wasted to many years already - the ones everyone says are the best years of your life. sorry to go on and on, i just had to get that out.
    ox

     
    Old 03-09-2007, 07:58 AM   #8
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    Re: Recovery and Exercise?

    nzgirl,

    I noticed the same overwhelming tiredness when I first stopped the overexercising. I think what your mom said has some truth to it, that we just kept plugging and plugging with the exercise routine without stopping to notice how very tired we really were. Like I said, I really messed up my knees with all the over-running and I think it was made worse by the fact that I did not stop and give my body a break to recover when I first noticed the knee pain. I do remember running many, many days, weeks, and months through excruiating knee pain. I don't know how I did it, honestly, but when you're at that point, it's almost like during the exercise you become a robot and switch off the mind-body connection so that you don't notice intense pain or extreme exhaustion.

    When I first stopped the exercising and really started working on gaining weight, I noticed I was extremely tired for the entire first month. I would have to take naps every afternoon, I was so tired. I think the exhaustion was made worse by the fact that I did not sleep well at all when the ED was at its worst. I would be lucky to get 1-2 hours of sleep a night, if that; it wasn't unusual for me to go 2-3 days without sleep. There is supposedly a chemical reaction in the brain when you are starving that makes it difficult to sleep and keeps you thinking about food; it definitely happened in my case.

    You can do this, nzgirl! I'm sorry you were almost at this point before but didn't hold on to the recovery. In some respects, I'm glad I managed to recover without going inpatient (though I probably should have since I was so thin). But not being inpatient meant I had chances to sabotage my recovery all along the way but chose not to. I have heard so many stories about girls going inpatient only to get out and start the ED full-blown right away again as soon as they are out. You really have to want to recover for yourself, and if you go inpatient but don't have the mindset that you want to embrace recovery and are still wanting to hang on to the ED, you will go right back to it when you get out.

    I know you feel bad seeing other people exercising and feel tired and lazy because you are not exercising, but know that logically, you need to gain weight and get stronger and recover from your ED. You wouldn't expect a person with a broken leg to continue running; it's the same sort of principle; the body needs time to heal itself. Once you recover, you can exercise again though I do urge you to keep the levels moderate. Now, I mostly walk for exercise, sometimes use the ellipitical trainer at the gym. I exercise a fraction of the time I used to exercise and at much less intensity. I exercise for fitness, the lower end of the amount recommended by the U.S. department of Health to maintain fitness. I take 1-3 days off from exercise each week, usually 2 days off, but sometimes 3 just to give my body a break. Now, I enjoy exercise again and it's not a chore that consumes my time the way it did with the ED.

    Congrats on taking such huge positive steps! You can recover! You deserve to be healthy and happy, and let me tell you, recovering from my ED gave me a huge boost of self-confidence and self-esteem. I feel like I can do anything now!

     
    Old 03-09-2007, 01:08 PM   #9
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    Re: Recovery and Exercise?

    thankyou so much for your advice, evrything you say jsut makes so much sense. your posts have been so helpful, i hope you continue to as i am certain im not alone in thinking this.
    one day i hope il be as successful as you. have a great day because you are an amazing person oxox

     
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