Why Exercise Is My Therapy.
Many wonder how I’m so consistent with working out & how I don’t lose motivation.
Like most people, a big part of why I work out is to stay healthy, energized, active & build strength. But a huge part of it is also to strengthen & preserve my mental health.
I started working out (DISCLAIMER: per my DR’s approval) at a crucial point in my recovery (July 2017). I was just five months in & there were days where I almost felt like I’d relapse.
Coping with the changes in my appearance was hard because I wasn’t as mentally stable as I am now. That made it harder for me to deal with triggers & to fight ED’s voices.
I turned to exercise for therapy & it saved my life. It became my safe haven for working out my emotions.
Working out taught me that if I could push through physical struggle, I was also strong enough to push through mental struggle. In turn, it also helped me perceive struggle with less fear & more resilience & determination.
Working out also provides a release for me & allows me to let go of all the thoughts preoccupying my mind & trying to weigh me down. When I work out, it’s just me & the spin bike, me & the punching bag & me & my dumbbells. I try not to focus on ANYTHING else & it helps keep me grounded. I find peace in the silence & I work out my struggles in my head. Yes, the thoughts still come back but they’re easier to cope with.
Working out taught me to find positivity & comfort in small victories. Every time I’m able do a little more, lift a bit heavier & last a few minutes longer, I feel like I won. This boosts my confidence & self-esteem & teaches me that hard work does pay off.
I like to see every workout as a place of starting over & bettering myself not only physically, but mentally & emotionally. I’m no longer in a place where I fear relapse because I know that relapsing means I lose all my progress, mental stability & physical strength and abilities.
Exercise helped shape me into a better version of myself & provides me with emotional & mental release incomparable to anything I’ve ever experienced.
One thing I want you all to keep in mind is that there’s a time & place for everything. Don’t rush into it before your body is able to (& before you get the approval from the medical professionals following your progress). It was only five months into recovery that I got the green light to exercise. The wait was hard but, thankfully, I waited.
And let me tell you, the wait was worth every minute.