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Ah The Rewards Of Recovery

Posted Nov 20 2011 8:16am

When I posted a sample of my meal plan the other day I got a few e-mails about my exercise routine.

I am VERY open with you all about what physical activity I do on a daily basis, which I have received some criticism about considering I am in recovery for exercise addiction and restrictive eating habits, BUT, being active has always been an enormous part of my husband and my life together, and it seems unrealistic to completely be without it.

That being said, I see some validity to both sides of the argument concerning getting healthy and eliminating workouts, so the reason I wanted to discuss this this morning is because I want to emphasize that although I participate in Zumba 1-2 times a week, and walk on my treadmill every day I do not do Zumba, THIS ROUTINE IS PROBABLY NOT RIGHT FOR YOU.

Just like a food plan, there is no one exercise prescription that is right for everyone. Some dieticians and doctors are very strict in the fact that they don’t want those they are “treating” to partake in anything physical, because of medical or mental issues that may occur.

When I was in inpatient there were a few weeks where I was not allowed to move from the damn couch I sat on because I was in danger of having a heart attack at any second. Did I believe them when the nurses kept telling me this? No, absolutely not, but they are professionals and I am telling you now, it is best to listen to their advice.

If you are struggling with these forms of addictions, obviously your plan of action hasn’t been the most healthy, so at this point if you are serious about getting well, their rules might be the ones to help you get there.

Now that I feel completely preachy (I totally did not mean to come across that way, so I am very very sorry!) I guess I should explain why I am even mentioning this on a beautiful Sunday morning.

You see I will tell you what my “surprise” is tomorrow when I am actually permitted to do so; Don’t get your hopes up because it really isn’t that exciting, but anyway, the life change that happened has also brought on a TON of stress, equating to a ton of body image issues and ED thoughts that I am seriously trying to reframe.

When I have a lot of feelings I don’t like, for example stress and believing I am inadequate, I tend to resort to comfortable or familiar behaviors, but these are also not productive behaviors for me in recovery.

Exercise is my best friend at these times.

I crave movement!

Any kind of movement to prevent my mind from spinning so fast, or at least as a way to ignore the hampster wheel for a little while because it is seriously driving me crazy.

I found myself begging Ryan to allow me to start jogging again, wanting to go to an extra Zumba class even though I was mentally and physically exhausted; I was reprimanding myself in my head for being lazy even though I did my normal morning mileage.

This is not a healthy response to my stress and sends up a huge red flag.

I really had to evaluate whether or not my desires for exercise were because I actually wanted to be outside and take another walk, or was it because I was hating the way my stomach hung over my pants and it was a way to burn off the extra Clif mini I had as a midday snack.

Sometimes making this distinction is not so easy.

Sometimes I really cannot remember what is normal or healthy, or appropriate for me.

BUT…as a general rule of thumb, usually you (I) do know. Usually deep down in your (my) heart you can figure out the true motive behind the drive for using a once destructive behavior.

Just check in with yourself every once in a while.

I know I am having to do that more and more lately and that’s ok. To be honest I think it means I am making progress because I can actually admit when I am wanting to do the unhealthy thing. It means I don’t just resort to these actions naturally thinking they are ok.

And remember if you do happen to slip, DO NOT….I REPEAT….DO NOT….beat yourself up about it.

Plenty of people make mistakes. In fact, everyone messes up every once in a while.

I happen to prefer the phrase, “learning opportunity,” rather than mistake because that is precisely what they are. It is a chance for growth and that’s what I am chalking these last few days and my immense desire to work off my “Buddha belly” as.

Isnt recovery awesome?

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