How Learning to Love Exercise Helped Me Stop Binge Eating
Like many binge eating disorder sufferers, I've always had a complicated relationship with my body — particularly when it comes to learning to love exercise. I was the typical kid who always got picked last in gym class, and that experience gave me an aversion to exercise that lasted into adulthood. Instead of taking care of my body through movement, I learned to self-soothe with food, alcohol, and other destructive behaviors.
When I started working out in my mid-20s, it was with an all-or-nothing mindset. Exercise was a punishment I believed my body deserved, and I forced it through grueling at-home fitness programs. This approach was unsustainable, and after a few months, I fell back into a sedentary lifestyle. Falling off the wagon fed into negative thought patterns that took me back into destructive cycles of behavior.
Learning to Love Exercise After Reframing My Relationship with It
Learning to love exercise came slowly. But while in recovery from anxiety and binge eating disorder, something clicked. I realized that, in order to recover, I had to learn to be kinder to myself. I stopped using exercise as a punishment my body deserved for not being "perfect," and reframed it as a necessary self-care practice that served both my mental and physical health.
This was a revolutionary step in my journey. I stopped focusing on my fitness goals and prioritized my wellbeing above all else. This made it much easier to incorporate regular movement into my routine. The big difference was that it no longer mattered if I skipped a day or even a week — I simply started again instead of throwing in the towel.
Having a more positive attitude toward exercise helped me stick with it, and the positive effects on my mental health solidified the habit. The more I exercised, the better I felt — not because of the aesthetic changes in my body, but because I realized it was capable of doing things I had previously thought were impossible. This improved my confidence, and I started to feel proud of my body. It became easier to sustain regular exercise as part of my daily routine. As a result, my mental health improved, helping me escape the cycles of binge eating.
How to Incorporate Exercise into Your Routine
If you're suffering from binge eating disorder and have a complicated relationship with exercise, I recommend taking baby steps to incorporate physical activity into your life and learn to love exercise naturally.
If you have been sedentary for a long time, the idea of exercise may feel overwhelming. If so, start small. Find ways to be more active, such as parking your car a block away and walking, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Find ways to move your body that feel fun and not like a punishment. Experiment, be patient with yourself, and focus on having fun — the results may surprise you.
Have you learned to love exercise during binge eating disorder recovery? Let me know in the comments.
Peel-Yates, V. (2020, June 30). How Learning to Love Exercise Helped Me Stop Binge Eating, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, July 10 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/bingeeatingrecovery/2020/6/how-learning-to-love-exercise-helped-me-stop-binge-eating