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For some people, the gym is heaven. community. release. movement.
For others, the gym is a nightmare. The treadmill screams. 5 minutes left. Raise the incline. Pick up the pace, girl, it’s okay to fall.
The gym is full of people who look better, perform better, and have a better presence than you. Mirrors are everywhere, so you can’t look away. Mirrors seem to reflect fat, dimpled skin, and whatever anxiety you’ve ever had.
It’s truly Distortion’s funhouse, a gateway to whispered conversations with yourself in the changing room shower. you suck. you are stupid everyone hates you
I was one of them.
For me, the gym has always been about extreme thinness. Where skinny prevails above all and eating disorders can roam freely. , sunken eyes. I know you I know what you’re doing here you are like me
The problem, of course, was not the gym.
When an eating disorder has its hook on you, it finds and digs a hole in your life – a hole in which despair, anxiety and lack of control live.
Lisa, you are trying too hard to be liked. Lisa, you buy too many clothes. Lisa, you are too strange.
Rest there and wait.
Recovery from something like this is no joke. Treatment. It’s a loving partner or friend. It’s constant maintenance and hard work. A reorganization has to take place in the brain to put the old back in place and make room for the new. Make room for food, joy, energy, life, and everything else that an eating disorder robs you of.
When I untangled my brain – when I forced myself to do it – I found healing The gym, the most unexpected place.
I was in recovery for over ten years. I carried and delivered her three babies, ate enough to keep up with three boys, and lived life to the fullest. Yet the disconnect between my mind and body was palpable. Much like my eating disorder once, it haunted me: Why didn’t the way my body look reflect what I was feeling inside?
My mind was stronger than ever, but my body seemed softer than ever.
My husband is a firm believer in tough love. Yes, he held my hand and tried to encourage me in every possible way while I cried because my old clothes didn’t suit me. I am also a person.
What about strength training?
He suggested it many times and each time it brought me to tears.
Twelve years into my recovery, the association between dumbbells and the pursuit of extreme thinness is still so strong that the mere thought of walking through the gym door made me cry.
Especially with my new mom.
Finally, 10 months after giving birth, I went feeling recovered from childbirth.
Having an eating disorder feels like it’s written all over your face, all over your body.
But when you recover, you can easily hide the buried. And I think that’s what I feared the most – going back to the gym would reverse recovery and all the things that bothered me before: weighing, compulsive physical exams, compulsive I fear the inferiority complex will return. I felt it was impossible to keep myself fit and going to the gym.
But here is the difference. This time, I am not doing it alone. This time, I have an attendant other than an eating disorder.
Almost immediately, I found people at the gym who somehow understood my history without me saying a word. (“You should try it,” she said..”) Then I found a trainer who suggested that instead of focusing on getting slim, I focused on growing stronger. he shrugged and said, Want to learn how to do pullups? ”
These two things – the rude decision to choose exercise beyond the limits of my postpartum body and the decision to let my body grow outwards by building muscle rather than inwards by losing weight. The idea that it was possible to think – is what changed the movement for me.
I love that it feels as good as jumping rope with my best friend on a hot summer day.welcomed Strength Training Ideas as Therapy – Repetition of counting reps and sets and the reward of seeing your body accomplish something it couldn’t do the previous week.
None of them pursue thinness. far cry.
Rather, these ideas Centered on the comfort that comes from the joy and strength of movement. They are honed week after week by friendships with people who understand exactly what I need to hear.
For some people, the gym is heaven. friendship. recovery. safety.
Continuing to recover is a lifelong pursuit for me. For now, I’m at the pull-up bar, making eye contact with myself in the mirror.
I know you
you are very strong
Lisa Shoemaker lives in Oakville with her husband and three sons. She works full time as a writer.