Food, Exercise & Recovery

Brittany is holding a note that reads "You don't need to exercise to eat"
🏃‍♀️“Good morning! Would you like to grab something to eat?”
“Ha! Definitely not. Sorry —it’s just that I can’t. I haven’t exercised yet.”
This sounds rather silly when said out loud. However, this is the answer I’d rehearse in my head when exercise dictated my life.
Food is no different than air or water in that it’s a necessity to survive. I understood this intellectually, but that didn’t always translate into me abiding by it. I bargained with survival. My eating disorder convinced me there was an algorithm to how I should incorporate food and exercise into my life. There were rules to follow should I want my anxieties to rest. And when it came to eating, the rule was simple: Exercise was mandatory.
Food soon became a conditional matter contingent on exercise. How much I ate, when I ate and what I ate were determined based on how much I exercised, when I exercised and what type of exercise I did. This quickly became problematic. Physically, my body couldn’t keep up with this regimen without rest. And mentally I hovered on the verge between total panic and complete burnout. The demands of my eating disorder were unsustainable.
It was challenging at first to unlink food from exercise. My anxieties skyrocketed and my OCD raced wildly. The process of relearning to eat without exercise felt very much like diving into the deep end. Food is not something I could abstain from. And to begin healing, it required that I replace exercise with rest. The discomfort seemed intolerable at first, but it lessened with time.  I realized I could rest and still nourish myself.
My whole life began to improve the less imperative exercise became. To my surprise, I even experienced the many physical and mental benefits of rest such as: muscle repair, strengthened immune system, improved cognitive function, better sleep, hormone regulation, emotional stability, and an overall sense of clarity.
You don’t have to exercise to eat —ever. They aren’t dependent upon one another. Food is not something you earn, or a reward. You are always worthy and deserving of food free of conditions. And with time, you’ll learn to enjoy it again too. ~Britt💜
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