The eating disorder life becomes focused on isolation. Eating alone. Exercising alone. Doing everything independently so people won’t realise that you’re not eating, or that you’re throwing up, or that you’re doing far, far too much exercise.
This week I have gone swimming 4 times, and I was thinking today as I lazily swam up and down the pool that I really should get into exercising more often with people. It’s probably an eating disordered thing that I generally opt to do it alone. I mean, swimming alone has its benefits. I find it quite relaxing actually. It’s lovely to shove the ear plugs in the ears, whack the goggles over the eyes and think – it’s so quiet and wonderful!
But having other people around can be a good thing every now and then too. Perhaps it’s a useful tool for anyone who takes their exercise too seriously, or is prone to becoming obsessed and addicted to exercise. So maybe it’s good to be accountable to someone.
I think even now I have to be pretty careful – when I started exercising heavily, I only did a few gym classes a week before that erupted and then I was somehow doing 30. I think I could still quite easily become obsessed with it. So in order to prevent that, I need to acknowledge it, be aware of it and cut right back on my exercise if my eating disorder is completely lapping up the attention.
But I’m mostly eating disordered free these days, isn’t that pleasant?
I think one of my other big fears in exercising with some people is that they also would take it too seriously, or be competitive (and oh man, is the eating disorder competitive!) and not just see it as a relaxing, slow paced activity. So yeah, I’m being a control freak and preventing that from happening in exercising alone. I’m not sure how one goes about solving that.
So be honest with yourself: are you doing too much? Are you isolating yourself for a purpose? Are you in control of your actions, or are they driven by your eating disorder and fears of weight gain? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – don’t let your eating disorder win!