I watched a couple of Tabitha Farrar videos called Neural Rewiring Compulsive Exercise and Sit the F#%K Down! They were awesome. She talked about how when we're in recovery, we may normalize our eating or restore our weight for a few weeks or months and think everything is fine. No problem if I go for a short run or replace some of those cookies with vegetables, but in the mind of someone recovering from an eating disorder, exercising and restricting food are very tightly linked to each other and the disorder. So, putting back exercise too soon or trying to eat "healthy" too soon can fire up that whole eating disorder neural network that had started to go dormant. Really shutting it down takes longer. The rewiring process needs time to become strong, months and years. The person who wrote in had taken two weeks off compulsive exercise and was super eager to start again.
Thinking about that disordered neural network firing back up makes so much sense when I look back at how many times I thought, "I can't restrict and overtrain anymore!" and was all about moderation for a few days or weeks until I decided to read about some new workout plan or "optimize" something about my eating. Then, BAM! I was right back in the crazy.
I've been eating whatever for quite a while now. That has helped tremendously, no templates, no habits, no principles, nothing. I quit worrying about it. Way back when, I did quit the gym and take it easy for a year. I think I got a grip on exercise way before I solved food. I crippled myself, more or less. So, that helped. LOL And, because the two are so tightly linked, not exercising is what helped calm down my food obsession to the point where I didn't feel compelled to follow diets anymore. The first inklings of happy eating came from breaking my leg. Which is ironic. You would think if I couldn't exercise I'd have been even more controlling of my food, but I just couldn't. I lost all desire. I was just trying to get through the day. I don't know how many times I tried to carry a plate of food on crutches, it all slid off onto the floor, and the dogs ate it. At some point I just sat down and let my husband bring me some of whatever he was eating. Nothing bad happened. That was an epiphany.
Now that I’m not dieting, I have no desire to follow a rigid workout schedule. I still have the desire to move and be active, but that comes from being rested and fed, not from fear. It’s more of a desire to play, or to feel strong, or to try new things. But diet and exercise are no longer bound together as some kind of ultimate solution to life’s problems.
Yes, we can tell ourselves and others all manner of crazy stories but the body is never fooled. Restrictive eating and overexercise are bound together with fear. Engage in one and the other will come bouncing along after it.
Rest, consistently adequate food intake, and "doing the opposite" (of whatever fear dictates) all do wonders. It is truly impossible to see the situation clearly when we're underfed and exhausted. Emotions run high. Everything feels really important and really dire. With stress hormones coursing through us and the migration response all fired up, it's difficult to even sit still. We feel like something terrible will happen if we do. It's not true though.
I keep finding these gemstone posts! It's fun and exciting to me, because ALL of it is so pertainable (which I've discovered is not a word...) in every way. It's EXACTLY why the therapists and nutritionists at Carolina House were so adamant I not go back to teaching Jazzercise after 6 weeks in treatment. I convinced them that they were idiots - I wasn't returning for the exercise, I was returning for the community, support, love, and friendships - but little did I know that I may have convinced them and myself but my body was no dummy. No matter how much I ate it simply didn't matter. I went into treatment on January 4, 2016, got out sometime in March and I'm pretty sure by the end of April/beginning of May I was back up to exercising a lot and the bulimia had returned. :(