For many of us in recovery from an eating disorder, reintroducing exercise and stepping back into a gym can be a recipe of triggers galore; from the calorie tracking machines, the ominous scale lurking in the locker room to the fat talking, body shaming exercise instructors and trainers.
Being triggered in the gym is pretty much a guarantee.
Once in the state of stable recovery, exercise can be reintroduced, but it can be scary because of the multitude of triggers surrounding any fitness activity. Like food, exercise is a part of a healthy lifestyle and is not only important for our physical health but our mental health as well.
So how does one go about navigating these triggers in the gym or fitness facility?
1. Stay mindful and aware of when your ED voice starts to scream at you. Being able to acknowledge that it is ED and not your authentic voice is huge.
2. Ask yourself how choosing harmful thoughts or behaviors will benefit your recovery.
3. Practice being nonreactive to ED thoughts or desires.
4. Revisit the trigger later in a healthy and productive manner through self-reflection or self study (“why did this trigger me?” “Are there other things going on in my life that might have made this trigger really intense?”) Share your experience with your therapist or support network.
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