Should I Be Exercising in ED Recovery?

Uncategorized Mar 09, 2020

In the article I’m going to answer a specific question about exercising in recovery as well as my personal experience with exercise in my recovert.

“If I don’t compulsively exercise, do I continue exercising? I haven’t gotten my period back yet but I am in the basketball club in school and I’m not sure whether I should stop going for a while. “

That’s tough… because since you’re in school I’m sure there is pressure to continue with basketball from family or your school..

But I almost always recommend NO exercise until the period returns and are consistent and regular…

and even THEN, introducing exercise very mildly like once or twice a week for a while, and making sure to add in exercise slowly, making sure to keep yourself in check, so the period does not disappear again, or you don’t go down the rabbit whole and lose yourself to exercise compulsion again.

Because what happens is, people get too “chillax” with themselves in recovery, and don’t “keep themselves in check” and soon enough that mild exercise turns into a couple more days a week, then 6 days a week, or double the amounts per day, and up and up until it turns into a compulsion again…

So one has to be super aware with themselves and mindful of if they’re taking it too far, and focusing too much on how the body looks from the exercise, rather than how the exercise makes them FEEL

They then cling to their perhaps “fit” body again (which may begin showing signs of malnourishment or semi-starvation, or low energy, leg bruising,  hairs falling out, etc., but ignore or put off these signals that it’s becoming too much for their body) but begin to fear gaining weight if they back off the amounts of exercise they’ve reintroduced…

So I understand this person said their intentions were not to compulsively exercise, which is great,

BUT here’s the thing,

you still don’t have your period..

So whether you have good intentions or not, if the body is starved enough to keep the reproductive system off, then the body is showing it’s in a state of stress, in a detrimental way and that it needs rest, it needs nourishment, and what you’re currently doing is not a good environment for your body to heal.

If I were you I would take time off until your period returned and was regular.

You have the rest of your life to play basketball and if that’s your passion, you’ll find a way to play ball, but overall, your health and survival should be #1 top priority!

I’ll give you some examples from when I was in early recovery.

I thought because my period was back (after the first couple of months of getting my period back), although it was not regular but very sporadic, I still faced extreme hunger and bingeing, I was “feeling” heavy and uncomfortable and wanting to get in control of this whole recovery process,

I was not being patient and just letting things happen, and was wanting to speed up the weight loss process and what not, that I added back in exercise..

But it wasn’t light exercise, it was high intensity workouts or lots of weights most days of the week.

The intention was still deep down coming from a place of weight control because I couldn’t cope with the weight gain.

I wanted to add back in exercise to make up for the high amounts of calories that were coming in, because I felt guilty and ashamed of how much I was eating and for not exercising to calorie compensate, although my body obviously needed every single calorie it screamed for and also needed the complete rest from exercise to carry out the healing from the energy coming in.

So I continued to binge eat, my hunger and satiety remained out of wack but I couldn’t let go of the exercise.

This exercising went on for about 10 months. Until I was finally forced into stopping exercise because obviously I couldn’t do it, so god or the universe was like

“Ok Kayla, if you’re not going to stop, then I’ll force you to stop! Did the experiences of feeling like you were going to die every night for years not show you?!”

I wasn’t committed, and I wasn’t keeping myself and my intentions in check and therefore suffered the consequences, by prolonging my recovery, continuing to suppress my metabolism and not fully letting go.

So I came down with mononucleosis which is an illness that can last a long time – a month or months at a time depending on if you rest or not.

And if you have mono you’re not allowed to exercise at all or else your spleen – which is an abdominal organ apart of the immune system, – can literally burst because it’s inflamed.

I could feel my spleen under my left rib. In the first week before I knew I had it or before I went to the doctor to get it checked, my spleen would ache when I would exercise or go on a hike.

So I had no choice because any time I tried the spleen would be like

“umm nope, not gonna happen.. sit your ass down.”

Plus mononucleosis comes with extreme EXTREME fatigue.

So I was already fatigued from dieting and then recovery but this fatigue was even more intense!

So of course I was forced to stop exercise completely and after several months, the virus went away.

During that period I was shown that hey, I wasn’t exercising and continually stressing my body out, and whilst that couple of months of complete rest after a year and a half into full committed recovery, my extreme hunger and cravings began to die a bit down finally, (not from the illness, but consistently stayed like this thereafter the virus was long-gone)

The edema, water retention and swelling as well as overshoot weight gain began to SLOWLY come down a bit, not completely because this process took months and months to slowly come off,

and my satiety became present from less amounts of food, which I’m not saying one should be eating less food, it’s just what ended up naturally happening after my body wasn’t stressed from the exercise it didn’t want to do coming from the negative compulsive mindset and obsession with weight gain.

So I was able to let go of the attachment to exercise and how I had the belief that exercise was needed and in high amounts in order to maintain a healthy weight.

In fact I found it was quite the opposite and how I needed to approach exercise in a healthier way when I have energy or if I’m having back pain or to help with my mental health, (but not in extreme ways, only if my body wasn’t being starved),

because I knew it had to heal first, physically and mentally in order to get the benefits from exercise because exercise is only very stressful on the starved and over worked, over trained and stressed out body.

So after the next 11 months things continued to balance out, while I continued to not exercise other than some non-extreme hikes here and there or a walk at the park or power yoga only once a week, (if that)

and RESTING! (P.S. Having a comfy bed for resting and sleeping a lot in recovery, I wanted to recommend my bed comforter that is so dangerous I never want to get out of bed lol, you can check it by clicking here if you want)

and that’s it!

My life is pretty sedentary because I am self employed and work from home on the computer mostly.


low and behold I found myself in a very stressed out state going through a stressful growing pain period of my life as well as stress from doing too much exercise again like 4x a week level 2 power yoga (yes that was too much for me at that point)

because I felt competitive with my significant other lol

and I knew deep down I was doing too much for myself at that time in my life but I ignored it..

This only went on for a couple months this time though… and then I got a back injury.

So it wasn’t coming from a place of “I want to lose weight,” but it came from a place of competitiveness and I was consciously pushing myself further than my body wanted and ignoring its signs to take it a notch  back..

..and as a result, I got a back injury that was so bad I couldn’t do anything, even walking aggravated it for months. This went on for about 6 months.

So it was, yet again, another lesson to keep my ass in check! Wherever the intentions are coming from that do not serve my greatest good.

I  currently don’t have a set fitness regime, it’s so sporadic and for the past almost year, I haven’t done much of any consistent exercise to be 100{bc41f1766daa04dbdd5b5711e818927d3780af7c44cc3bed9ffa58212d0b10bc} honest.

Considering that back injury happened last February. I’ve done yin yoga for my back pain and scoliosis or we’ll go on a hike like once a month, or we have a weights machine in the garage, I used that for a couple weeks like twice a week, not high intensity either, but then I got bored and found alternate activities.

I still am pretty sedentary, although I would like to be a bit more active  with my energy currently and because I find my mental health is better, but I know I have to keep myself in check indefinitely,

I have to make sure to check in with my intentions, and I know I’d never ever want to go back to where I was in my disordered eating days!

I know my intentions are good, I wouldn’t want to be in a starved state again nor would I want to have to go through recovery again, it’s sooo not worth it!!

Omg is it not worth it.

Anyways, if you’re having a hard time quitting exercise and remain in pseudo recovery or quasi recovery and you can’t seem to get anywhere,

first of all this stuff takes time – as in years, so be patient

but second, are you being honest with yourself?

  • Do you need more of a rest from exercise even if your period is present?
  • Do you need to eat more of a variety of foods and still hold on to some restrictions in your diet because of specific health trends out there that say sugar is the devil or gluten is inflammatory or meat is acidic or that white washed grains will cause leaky gut or whatever, and you need to let go?
  • Are you not learning the necessary lessons from each situation you end up in and therefore they continue to stay in your life and you continue to stay stuck because you’re not focusing on the internal and often hard work so your mindset and beliefs around food and your body and your true self or other  emotional and mental issues and blocks?Or else the universe or god or whatever you believe in will force you too, or you’ll have a long hellish life of an existence.

I want to you keep challenging yourself, no matter how painful things get.

Know that if you are called to step up for a specific challenge like what you’re currently facing or have been facing, but in your gut you know you’re on the right path, that these are growing pains and they are helping you to step into your power in which you’re meant for.

It’s a long journey we all have, but at the same time, a life of complacency or playing it “safe” can be dull, boring and meaningless and this kind of life might only push you back into the obsessive, addictive, negative coping behaviors and lifestyles and the cycle will continue!

So challenge yourself to be completely honest with yourself this week.

Whats the next best move that you know deep down you need to face but you’ve been putting off for the fear gets in the way?

Do the exact opposite of what the fear tells you to do, and turn to the trust. Trusting yourself and your body.

If you liked this article please give it a heart and don’t forget to leave your comments below! Let me know in the comments below what it is you could be more honest with yourself about and what you’re going to do to challenge yourself!


Kayla Rose

Holistic Nutritionist

P.S. I’m hosting a free masterclass specifically for people who want to stop feeling obsessed around food and truly heal their metabolism and you’re invited! Click here to sign up.



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