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Insights from an ED survivor #1: The one about MOVEMENT!

**warning: eating disorder TW**

Movement does not need to be sweaty, painful, energy zapping, guilt driven, daily, punishment, or dreaded.

Movement is not needed to deserve your food.

Movement can be leisurely, feel good, give you energy, bring you joy, balanced into your routine, and exciting.

Movement is best paired with proper fuel from food.

When I was in the midst of my ED, the thought of skipping a workout sent waves of anxiety through my body: “I am so lazy if I can’t make this happen”, “I don’t deserve dinner then”, “I will gain weight if I can’t workout today”… my workouts looked like long gym sessions (primarily cardio) most days of the week, running, and ab workouts from home in between everything else. I was obsessed, and I thought I needed to keep up with this grind. It was miserable, I was miserable. I did not know yet that I was damaging my mental, physical, bone, and reproductive health. Manifestations I still cope with today, over 10 years later.

Admittedly, my movement looks a hell of a lot different now that I am doing it to bring joy to my life. My gym workouts are no longer most days of the week, instead I go when I have the drive to feel stronger and I respect my body by opting out when I feel the need to go because I “have to”. I paired WAY back on cardio because (surprise, surprise) I realized I hate it and it was not serving my health. I spend MUCH more time outdoors moving my body in the mountains, which aligns much closer with my values and helps to ground me. I am stronger, I am happier, I am not sporting a malnourished 6-pack and that is okay.

When I shifted the mindset of movement from penance to something that could fill my cup, I started respecting my body for all it does for me. It is now strong enough to carry me through 30k hikes, it is warm enough to allow me to enjoy the Okanagan in the winter without going numb from hypothermia, it allows me to recoup from workouts faster and lift more weight than I ever could in the past. It would rather be outside than inside, and it feels so much more alive when I am adventuring in the trails than it ever did when I was spending countless hours on the treadmill thinking about what my next meal would be. It is freaking strong and so resilient, it is mine!

So thank you body - for forgiving my past, regaining strength in the presence, and carrying me into my future as strong as possible.


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