I want to start doing yoga again. I love yoga and have been practicing yoga on and off since I was in 9th grade. But, while creating a healthy yoga habit, I know that I have to make Mindful Unique Decisions and not get carried away.
I have a problem with exercise and it’s tied into my eating disorder. Exercise Bulimia isn’t talked about much, but it’s just as dangerous as regular Bulimia and it’s a battle I have fought for years.
“When you have exercise bulimia, everything you eat turns into an equation. You want a cappuccino and banana for breakfast? That’ll be 150 calories for the cappuccino, plus 100 for the banana, for a total of 250 calories. And to burn it off, that’ll be approximately 25 minutes on the treadmill. If someone brings cupcakes to the office, you’ll cancel whatever plans you had after work in favor of the gym (you’re looking at an extra 45 minutes of cardio), and the thought of missing a workout or eating a meal you couldn’t work off is practically crippling. (That’s the bulimia part; exercising, not vomiting, is the purge.)”
When I was a teenager exercise took a dramatic turn into unhealthy territory. I would exercise for hours at a time. I already wasn’t eating a lot, and was restricting, but if I felt I ate too much, I would have to exercise more to burn calories. I would look at the calories of everything I put in my body. If it was over 100 calories I couldn’t have it. Exercise was a way I could control how I was feeling, and control how I looked. I would exercise so intensely that I would hurt myself.
Even though I have been in recovery for three years, I still have to be extremely careful when it comes to exercise because it is extremely easy for me to take it into unhealthy territory. A year ago I decided to start a home yoga routine. I found a free program online called Yoga Camp and it was 30 days of yoga. Everyday had a different video program tied to it. As I started doing Yoga Camp, I loved it, and I felt good. But, Yoga Camp quickly became an obsession.
I started finding myself doing yoga every single day with zero days off. If for some reason I couldn’t do my 30 minutes of yoga, or couldn’t make it through a full video, I would get very upset and panicky. I remember one day my husband told me to not do yoga and I was literally in tears! Eventually, my husband and my mother helped me realize that my new “healthy” habit had definitely turned into an “unhealthy” habit and I had to stop.I need to have set boundaries. I need to have set rules when it comes to exercise. For example, I go to the gym 3-4 times a week for a half hour each time, but I only go with my husband, never by myself. When our half hour is up, we leave the gym for the day. Having a very structured routine keeps me from turning exercise into an obsession.
I want to start doing yoga again, but I know that doing yoga at home is not a good idea. If I’m at home, I can roll out my yoga mat at any time, and quickly without realizing it, turn yoga into an obsession. So how am I going to successfully start doing yoga again without getting obsessed? I’m going to take my yoga mat and my tablet to the gym with me, and maybe once or twice a week instead of cardio, I will do yoga while I’m at the gym. And that will be my structured yoga time.
It’s important to know your boundaries. It’s important to know what your triggers are. And it’s important to constantly make those Mindful Unique Decisions where you are making healthy decisions and not unhealthy ones. Just like my eating disorder, exercise will always be a trigger for me. But, as long as I know what my triggers are then I can continue to make Mindful Unique Decisions to live a healthy life.
We all have setbacks. I had a setback a year ago with a home yoga practice. But, my loved ones were able to point out and show me that my healthy practice had quickly become unhealthy. Keep your loved ones close. Listen to them. And keep growing and making healthy choices, even if that means having to stop and reevaluate what you are doing sometimes.
I bend so I don’t break.
Struggling? Need Help? Reach Out To One Of These Resources Below. You Are Not Alone.
NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association):
The Alliance For Eating Disorders Awareness:
Lantern App (Recommended by NEDA):
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