Find peace with food and overcome disordered eating.
Eating Disorder Therapist
Overcome disordered eating and find peace with food
Exercise - for body love or punishment?
by Harriet Frew on March 24th, 2014

I go running once, maybe twice a week if I fit it in. I am lucky to live in a picturesque cathedral city where it is a pleasure to pound the streets and soak up the buzz; history and activity of the place. I love going out in the evening when the lights of the cathedral and the theatre dominate the skyline and people are out visiting cafes, pubs and bars. Then it is onto the city parks where it is time for escape; calm and reflection away from the frenzied activity of the day. Running is MY time.
I love running for the feeling of health. I hardly get a cold; I am pretty robust with illnesses generally. I am sure some of this is down to a good dose of luck and robust genes but I think running plays a part. If I don’t go running, I miss the time out aspect. I don’t feel as energised. My mind feels more cluttered. However, if I don’t go; life still continues; I feel okay; I don’t have to do it. In busy times, I am lucky to make my weekly run.  When on holiday, I might go more often.
Being fit and taking care of your body is valuable self-care and hopefully will help guarantee you a longer life. However, when it becomes a necessary compensatory activity after cake eating (in an attempt to erase the guilt), or becomes associated purely with body shape control, it can be more of a problem. This can destroy the pleasure that can be gained from moving your body. You are also more likely to ditch the exercise when you are in a ‘bad phase’. The all or nothing approach to exercise is not self-caring.
Does over-exercising bring the benefits you hope for? Interestingly, some research has shown that doing more exercise actually results in your eating more overall. You also feel more tired and are then more likely to be sedentary in-between your exercise bursts. Then, when tired, you are likely to rely on sugar and caffeine which destabilise blood sugar and may cause you to actually eat more. You can set yourself up in a vicious cycle.
You will often find that naturally slim people are often very active and bounding around but not necessarily doing heaps of exercise. They might be walking everyday; active in the garden and running around with their children, friends or family.  They are not necessarily clocking up miles.
It might be worth you thinking about your activity and how it relates to your body image and eating.  Do you feel compelled to exercise? Do you enjoy it? It is good to move and to value your health and your body, but is also worth looking at the bigger picture.

Please post any comments below. Do get in touch with me if you would like to explore these issues further.

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Find peace with food and overcome disordered eating.