Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Exercise or not...


For months I longed to run. I needed to exercise. I wanted to feel the pavement underneath my feet. I wanted to lessen my anxiety and cure my body hatred and I believed that working out would do it. I dreamt about the moment when I would be far enough in recovery that I could safely return to swimming, running and training for triathlons. During times when I was really struggling with the eating disorder, I even looked at the scrapbook that I had made of my triathlons for inspiration to keep trudging forward. For Christmas the only thing that I asked for was a new pair of running shoes. I even talked about possibly doing the 5k that benefits the charity at the company that I work for.

Yesterday before work, I witnessed a lot of people running all over Gainesville and something crazy happened. I didn’t temporarily loose my breath. My heart didn’t skip a beat. I wasn’t jealous. I didn’t miss it or even wish to be doing it. There weren’t any feelings attached to it at all. I have no desire to run or exercise for that matter. I even plan on returning the nice running shoes that I got for Christmas. 

It’s weird to be at this point in my recovery. I believe that I could physically handle exercise and possibly not even overdo it. I don’t even think I would have a problem increasing my food intake in order to compensate for doing physical activity. I get off early enough that I could incorporate some kind of movement into my daily schedule if I wanted, except I have no desire to do so. 

For my entire life I have been known as an athlete. In high school I played water polo and swam competitively. I even considered going to college for one of these sports. In college I dabbled in all kinds of activities. I played a lot of intramural sports, began cycling, fell in love with fitness classes and began doing triathlons and running races. Friends would use me as motivation at the gym and constantly complimented me on my rigid training routines. The more I began to struggle with anorexia, the more exercise started to control my life. Not only was it physically destroying my body, but it caused me to miss out on other things. 

My priorities have greatly changed. I no longer care to hang on to the athlete label. I would rather spend my mornings sleeping in, reading blogs, walking the dogs and enjoying coffee. After work and on weekends, I cherish the time that John and I spend together. We cuddle, relax, watch tv, play board games, go to sporting events and much more. I have re-connected with a lot of family and friends and love hearing what is going on in their lives. I have recently gotten into writing and painting. I am also trying to learn how to crochet.

I don’t feel the need to try to use exercise as a way to lose weight or change my body. I have learned new and better coping mechanisms to help reduce my anxiety and am not looking for an escape from reality. There are no longer massive amounts of guilt attached to being lazy. On most weekends you can find my curled up on the couch with the pets, napping. 

Feeling this way and even writing this is very weird to me. Yet I feel a new sense of freedom that I can’t explain. I never imagined I would get to a point where I was healthy and didn’t feel like some sort of physical activity should be a part of my life. It’s in these moments where I realize how far I have come and can’t help but smile.

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