For a long time, my relationship with food mirrored my relationship with the gym.
Hitting the gym really hard was my way of making up for a binge the night before. The more I overate, the more I used punishing workouts to compensate.
Then, there was the flip side…
Eventually, years of binging and excessive workouts caught up with me. I ended up facing some serious health problems, up to and including hospitalization.
So naturally what do you think I did?
I saw working out as the enemy–and I stopped exercising altogether.
If this kind of extreme flipping on exercise has ever happened to you, stay with me!
Today I want to show you how to restore a happy relationship with your workouts. In this blogpost and video below, you’ll learn how to use exercise to support your mental, emotional, AND physical well-being–and without going to extremes.
Even when I struggled the most with food and fitness, I honestly did love working out. I loved the idea of getting stronger and the competitive nature of it all.
But, my strained relationship with food triggered some destructive habits at the gym.
Working out for health benefits and friendly competition gave way to working out as punishment for not being “enough.” It went from something I did to get stronger to penance for binge and overeating.
The long-term results were pretty brutal, too.
My adrenals were in overload. My thyroid was taxed. My hormone levels were all over the map. My kidneys were shot.
Then, several years ago, I had a family moment that made me question everything.
My grandfather had passed away, and my family had gathered for his memorial. At the time I was intensely preparing for a fitness competition.
Despite all that was going on with my family circumstances and even with being devastated, the thought of missing one of my workouts that was assigned by my coach was plaguing me.
I was in the middle of a long training walk that I managed to get in when it hit me. WHAT was I doing?
Here I was at an important family gathering for the death of my grandpa, not able to be present for my grandmother. I couldn’t get out of my own head long enough to be fully present to honor my grandfather’s memory.
ALL because I was freaking out over missing a workout! What the hell!
I feel terrible about it now. I’d like to tell you that was the moment that changed everything, but I needed a few of those to really give up my old unsupportive behavior.
I stayed in that dysfunctional fitness relationship for a good while after that because of fear and not knowing how to let go of it!
Changing habits is difficult BUT, it did plant a seed.
As I began healing my relationship with food, I promised myself one thing: I would no longer do that whole “working out to make up for my binges” thing.
So step by step, I broke free of that trap. I started to nurture and care for my body, and the healing began.
Along with that shift, though, something unexpected happened. I started seeing fitness as the enemy–and stopped working out altogether.
When I reached this breaking point, I did have a lot of health issues. My doctors advised me not to work out because my body couldn’t handle it. So there was that…
But in a way, the medical advice almost made my workout aversion even worse.
Full disclosure – at the beginning of my healing journey, a break from the intense workouts was exactly what I needed. But it led to a hostility toward fitness that became as obsessive as my need to work out.
Eventually, my gym hostility turned into a habit of not moving my body at all. Not exactly the healthiest alternative right?
Pounding yourself into the ground as punishment for binging is definitely a toxic behavior. But it’s not any better to completely ban movement from your life. You know what I mean?
Your body is meant to move. They say that a sedentary life is as hazardous to your health as smoking cigarettes.
So what did I do to restore healthy movement without letting toxic workout habits hook me again?
I had to shed those exercise fears. I needed to renew a healthy relationship with movement once again. Slowly but surely, I started to bring it back into my life.
First, I started by choosing the types of movement that honored how my body was feeling. But I also chose activities that gave me enough of a push to expand my comfort zone.
I had to first navigate and get out of the crazy-workout mentality. You know, those sayings that become mantras like “sweat is your fat cells crying.” I replaced it with the intention of honoring my body.
At the same time, I intended to push myself just enough to increase my endurance, strength, and energy.
I started small with daily walks. I started attending yoga and pilates classes for variety. I loved it.
Eventually, I got to the point where I was ready to work with a trainer and move my fitness to the next level.
The best news is that since I started moving again, I’ve reduced almost all of my PMS symptoms. Wohoooo!
My thyroid and energy levels have gotten better than they’ve been in over a decade. And I’m feeling energized and supported again.
So hear me out when I say this – move your body in a way that feels good, and also in a way that takes you out of your comfort zone enough for growth (slow and steady growth is ok, and so is saying “you know what I just want to have some fun and go move” without focussing on growth!)
Choose movements that will support rather than stress your body.
You don’t need a personal trainer or an elaborate plan to bring supportive movement into your life.
One thing I always tell our clients at Beating Binge Eating is to schedule in time for movement. Then when your time arrives, check-in with yourself.
Maybe what you need is a nice long walk or a yoga class. Or it might be something more intense like interval or resistance training. The point is to make your movement support you and help you feel amazing as you go through your day.
There will be some days when you’re in more of a push mode. Other days you’ll feel the need for a more chill workout. The key is to find a balance that will optimize your mental, emotional, and physical well being.
Now, if binge eating is a struggle for you, this part of the process might need a little more attunement.
You want to ensure that your workouts aren’t taxing your body to the point of survival mode. That could make binge triggers worse. So remember to fuel yourself properly, and give your body the nutritional support it needs before and after your workout.
Bottom line? Working out, movement, and food are designed to go hand in hand. They are there to help support you in living your best life.
So if your relationship with your food or the gym is blocking your happiness, take some new action.
Honor your body. Connect with yourself. Then, incorporate food and movement in a way that supports you in living your dream life.
The goal is to feel energized, alive, and happy in your body the majority of the time.
Movement and nourishment should be a part of your life that feels free and easy. It’s a beautiful way to set yourself up for an amazing and rewarding life!
So if you need any support in this area, we are here for you!
Click the link below and get instant access to our latest training! It will support you in your relationship with your food, movement, and body.
You’ll learn how to put these strategies into real-time action steps so that you can stop stressing and start living! Get that training HERE:
Once you’ve got the training, leave me a comment and let me know how this post landed with you! Have you ever pushed yourself to the extremes with working out, either going all-in or not at all?
Let me know the insights and a-has you got from this post. We would love to hear from you!