Hi everyone :-)
Ive been around cc for a while, pop in here and there and am super grateful for all the advice people give.
My question is... i have issues with compulsive exercise. Altho i feel bad calling it that, cos there are people who run miles and miles everyday and my vice isnt that bad. its just obsessive! basicaly, I walk... alot. i have managed to cut back, but i am still doing about 60mins of fastpaced (i mean people saying "ohmygod, look at that girl speedwalking") type of walking. i DO enjoy it, and cos its part of my daily life, getting to work and stuff, i dont feel too worried about it during the week. but half of me knows its ED driven cos even at the weekend, i feel like i HAVE to do it, but yet still dont eat enough to cover the burn. i cant enjoy a leisurely paced walk cos i feel like its not 'doing anything'. i also cant quite believe i need 1500 let alone 2500 cals per day. i have about 1000 a day at the mo and then i guess im burning about 300 from walking? (not including my job as a teacher...)
The second part of my compulsion is these pilates core strength exercises i do. ive cut back to doing every other day, stretches and planks/side planks and one 40min pilates core session i do in my room once a week (bicycle, 100's, reverse crunches etc...) i like the once a week pilates sesh, but im enjoying the every other day planks less and less cos they hurt my arms and i feel so weak (i am still very underweight) but i make myself do them cos i feel like if i dont, my stomach will go back to being jellified. (i was a typical pencil shape, skinny fat if you like...) i tried JUST doing the other stretches that are less stresful, but then i feel like im not doing enough.
GAH! part of me knows that abs are made in the kitchen and it wont make THAT much difference if i stop doing these all together, but then i think... yeah but i shud do them anyways, just in case. then im worried im doing too much walking and i shud just let my body figure out what it needs to gain some weight so that i can see that the world doesnt end if i eat. i dont NEED to exercise to earn food. but its so hard...
do i stop cold turkey? will it really make a difference? is it true what people say about diet being the main part of your weight. like 80% diet, 20% exercise or something??? i just need some reassurance (and possibly motivation!) to get myself gaining properly, i dont want this half-arsed recovery anymore... its not DOING anything and its not making me very happy :-(
Oh hun :(
I didnt know how much you were struggling with the ED. You are still under-eating and you are doing so but a huge amount! You NEED 2500. It doesnt matter how you eat it but you must start eating it! You have so much damage to repair and your body is crying out for cals. You also must stop working out. I did NO exercise when underweight OR gaining and i am NOT fat. Nor is there such a thing as 'skinny fat'. Please talk to your mum, tell her you need more help eating the cals. Talk to the boy. Talk to someone who can keep you on track. TBH you will probably need more than 2500 to gain at a slow and steady pace due to your job.
When you start gaining you know the weight will go to the places you least want it to (stomach) BUT the reason for this is your body is trying to protect your vital organs!!
Regarding exercise - you should stop cold turkey. Thats what would happen in IP and if you stop now you will learn how much you can maintain on. If you keep exercising when trying to reduce the cals to maintain after you have reached a healthy weight you may never feel able to not exercise as you may worry that you only maintain due to the exercise (I do hope what i am trying to say is clear!)
Love you hun <3
this may be contradicting to the comment above but i think i may relate to you better. with my ED its about 50% exercise addiction then the rest is all about the food... i would say i am still addicted but not as bad. i used to bike (40-70 min) to the gym, work out (90-120 min) then bike back home (40-60 min) and only eat 2800 calories. i have that EXACT feeling. but for me i am re-assured by facts. the more i learn about the human body (threw biology, youtube, my doctor and nutritionist) i find out how harmful that is to your body. and now im down to working about 5-6 days a week. its been a slow process of my obsession of exercise going away but its still there, even though i know less is more when it comes to building muscle (my goal hence the weight gain forums) i have a 3-4 day weight training split. and i run or bike twice a week. and my sessions are not usually over an hour in total.
i really suggest not stopping cold turkey cuz you may go two days without working out and just freakign hate yourself. dont do too much of those core strengthening exercises. only do it 3 times a week i would say. so every other day then once in the week take two days off. you need to let your muscles recover and repair even for endurance muscles like your abs. and trust me, you do this and eat enough and you will see so much improvment on your strength and endurance for those exercises and your overall energy. as for the walking, it dfoesnt burn too many calories and isnt too hard on your body. you jsut have to be carful and accound for how many calories you are burning. i would say you should get a solid 3000 calories a day witht he work your doing but if you cut the pilates even just a little you may be able to get away with 2800 calores. remember, your underweight. your body isnt normal. it cant handle stuff normal bodys can. also, i assume your young, you got your whole life to be super fit, AFTER you recover from this. so just make sure you can that weight. i have continued to workout threw out my whole recovery. it has caused some minor relapses but for the most part i have now been able to easily put down enough calories to gain weight, i have even finally gained some muscle and strength.
i hope this helped a bit. you may always have this obsession with fitness and exercise. i know i will. but its all a matter of control. its taken about 6 months but i have a lot more control than i used to and im sure in another 6 months i will have even more control. so dont stop cold turkey, its really hard. i could never do it. my doctor and nutritionalists keep tellign me to and they keep saying its stunting my recovery. and i know they are probably right. but i cant just not workout! i have been seeing gains and thats just motivation to carry on.
BUT, if you can stop cold turkey and be fine then yeah do it cuz you will recover faster and be able to get back into it waaay faster
Thankyou so much for your responses... i agree jakederry, stopping cold turkey might end up freaing me out more and do more harm than good.
my problem is that i dont feel like i can eat if i havent done some type of walking, even if its half an hour. which is totally do-able most days, but if its not then i freak out. if its not my "normal" waking routine, then i feel out of control and restrict my intake even more than the 1000ish cals i have normally. the idea of getting up to 2500 is a scary thought (id like to do it, i just dont know how to deal with the paranoia)
during the week i am busy and active, so i dont worry so much, but the weekends are really hard for me cos im not at work and dont HAVE to be active. like today, my mum is driving me to london to help a friend move house. i will probs get a short walk when we arrive but otherwise im in the car all day. this scares me no end. i feel like i cant have breakfast cos i wont have time to have it properly and then i dont feel like i shud have a big lunch cos i wont have "earned it". its so messed up in my head.
i try to listen to the factual "logic" like you said, but even when i tell myself that its ok to rely on eating your basic calorie amount and NOT exerciseing, i feel like that would make me lazy. i dont really understand the whole BMR and then adding cals on to exercise thing. like if i ate my BMR and did NO exercise would i really not gain weight? or lbecome all flabby?? it scares me to try.... even tho i would like to test the theory to know exactly what i DO need to gain/maintain.
lbella, sorry to hear your going thru the same, it sucks doesnt it!!! are you in recovery? what is your situation??
your BMR is irrelevant. you want to know how many calories you burn on an average day. if you ate at your BMR you would loose weight...for example, my BMR is about 1800. so if i were to lay in bed for 24 hours and sleep i would burn about 1800 calories. but i dont sleep all day i eat food, walk around and exercise. so i actually need about 3000 to maintain.
i totally understand the "earn food through exercise" thing. and even i still fall into that. i try to reduce my carbs on days i dont workout wich is normal and normal people do it but im trying to gain weight and i really shouldnt care about that.... but what i do is when i do work out or exercise my post-workout meal is just freaking huge. i will eat atleast 1000 calories to make up for the 500 i burned. i can eat like crazy now. although it is hard to deal with it mentally somtimes but for the most part i can get about 4000 calories in easy. ..
so i suggest just doubling your meal size on days you workout. or adding in another meal in the day. or making a snack, a meal. i find it is easier to deal with eatign and exercises if you just stuff your face more when u workout then when you dont just try not to think about how much food your eating.
oh and one more thing. if you ate your maintenance calories and did no exercises then you wouldnt gain weight. you might loose muscle cuz you would be inactive but you can only gain weight if you consume too much food. the reason why people end up gaining weight without trying is that they will just eat whatever but be active... then they will get older and be less active but still be used to eating the same amount of food. so their metabolism will slow down and they get fat. you DONT have to worry about that. trust me. remember, your not trying to get fat, just to a healthy weight. just eat your excess amount of calories and you will gain weight. once you get to a weight where your body is happy. jsu tmaintain it.
Ok, so if i ate my maintenance and did no exercise i wouldnt gain but i would lose muscle??? this is what worries me about exercise... i dont want to loose weight, hell no! but i worry that if i stop, then i will lose all definintion and tone and just turn into a flabby jelly stick girl! if i stop completely, will i be able to tone up after i reach a healthy weight? or will the weight that ive gained in that time have turned to flab?
Also, curious to know what my maintenance would be... i get that you say BMR is irrelevant, but i worry that im not even reaching THAT if im still around the 100cal a day mark. but if im maintaining on this, then what would i need to gain at a steady pace? or shud i just eat more and then figure it out?! i tried typing my stats into the TEE calculator so i could get an average, but i know i tend to underestimate what i do for activity in a day! (blame the ED)... and i also know that the body is not a machine, therefore it will vary from person to person.
i am 27, 5'7 and currently about 41kg i think (dont weigh myself) i work full-time as a teacher, so am often going from classroom to classroom up and down stairs etc. i get a lift to work (mum stopped me walking) but i go out in my lunchbreak and walk around town, get lunch etc... for about 45mins then i walk home for about 30mins quite briskly with my dog. i also do these pilates core stretches every other morning to try and stay toned (my stomach is always my biggest fear-area)
Thanks for all your advice on this!!! i managed to do minimal exercise yest cos i was in the car most of the day, then no stretching this morning cos the boyf was staying over. im feeling positive that i can try and stop the stretching compulsion, but i just get so anxious about loosing my firm stomach (its not flat, it bloats like crazy, but at least when i pinch it, i feel better cos its solid and not jiggly)
i understand the anxiety about your stomach. i worry you are over training your core and ur just burning muscle. but doing core exercises are pretty small movments so u dont burn a lot of calories. just remember, if you dont eat enough food... especially protein, you arnt going to be able to maintain or gain that muscle. if you can it is best to stop all that and let ur body recover and repair. then in a month slowly start it up again and in 2-3 weeks u will have re-gained the muscle u had before and then some. remember ur core muscles are always being activated so you wont loose muscle in ur core as fast as u would say if u were used to doing a lot of bench press and then stopped... now im not gonna lie. when u gain weight and get to a healthy weight, u may very well gain weight on ur belly. but it will redistribute eventually and be fine. and did you mean 1000 or 100 calories? 1000 is barley enough to live and function properly, 100 would have you hospitalized in a week with all that exercising u do. all that woalking in stuff isnt a big deal as long as your eating enough. just aim for that 3000 calories a day mark and u should be good.
i know its hard not to think about getting "flabby" but honestly, you probably dont have a TONE of muscle there, you just have low body fat % and once u get the weight up you will then be able to actually build some good strength and muscle there. you sound like ur doing okay though. missing ur stretches and not hating it. i hope this is helpful. feel free to ask many questions and i can do the best i can to help.
Sorry, typo!! yes its 1000cals, i DO eat (100 wud be impossible for me) but i tend to stick to all clean foods and mainly fruit & veg which i know probs doesnt help the bloating in my stomach, but i find it incredibly hard to eat carbs :-(
lbella, its horrible isnt it?! i feel like as soon as i start gaining all the weight will go to my stomach and even tho its never fully flat now (i bloat up after drinking water for gods sake!!!) but i worry that all the core stuff i do will be wasted. plus i dont actually know HOW to stop. i know that sounds insane... but when i set my alarm later so that i dont have time, i just panic and try to get them in really quick. even sometimes mybody instinctively wakes me up earlier and then i think "oh, might as well..."
but im worried about the over-training thing you mention jakederry... is it possible that i am doing too much??? i didnt think thatit applied to your core cos as you say, you use it everyday and you dont have such big movements... but i guess everything needs time to repair right? so ive been trying to only do every other day. but then i get scared and do abit, its so frustrating.... i also started doing squats, every other day to make up for the non-core stuff i was doing. so stupid to have started a new thing, cos now im compulsive about doing them too. GAH!
So do you think i shud just cut it out totally for a month or so and try and gain? or ease up to a couple of days a week just to ease my mind about the stomach thing? i know its probs more to do with low boyd fat than actually tone/shape, but im so scared of being a jellybelly, i think ill find it hard to cut it out completely in case the eating more makes me feel like the gain is all going to my stomach. i know im active in my job but 3000 sounds like alot considering i am over 25....???
i know im going on abit, but i seriously value your advice so much. sometimes it just helps to hear it from someone else y'know!? :-)
the best thing you can do is to stop and just eat your food and gain weight. its hard to hear but its true. but i know thats hard to do and a more realistic aproach would be to slowly ease out of it...
its monday today so lets say this is the start of the week. do ur core exercises today. wed. friday. then take two days off and start the cycle again. do it for another week then on that next monday do the same cycle again for the third time but literally cut the time spent doing it in half. next week try to only do the exercises 2 times then the week after try to just stop. that would be my advice on how to kinda ease out of it (if you really have no clue how to get out of this)
and right now the only weight ur really gonna gain, unfortunatly is fat. so realistically it doesnt make that much of a difference if ur gaining on a surplus of 500 or 800... so just go for 3000 cuz u will probably end up with a surplus of like 400 or 500. like, yeah ur 25 but u need to gain weight, you know? you just gotta put the weight on and try not to worry about the flab. i know its so hard! i have had the same thoughts. im addicted to exercise. even still. its just now i work out cuz i love it not cuz i feel like i have to (as much, i still sorta feel liek i have to) but i know im not making much gains from the working out i do so i am able to scale it back and not hate myself.
bloating is due to ur stomach shrinking cuz it is never full. once u start to fill it more often that stops. realyl focus two or 3 weeks and eating WHATEVER YOU WANT. that doesnt mean tones of crap, just eat a lot. and its hard to do that with veggies to u will have to scale back the veg and fruit and eat more real, solid carbs like quinoa, beans, brown rice, sweet potato... i am pretty into eating healthy. its what got me into this ED (orthorexia) i had an obsession with eating super mega healthy and basically it caused me to restrict liek crazy. i am a lot better now but i still get anxious if i am forced to eat somthing i dont know what EXACTLY is in it. i make all my own food. i often cook dinner for my mom and I. but anyway, i spent like 2-3 solid weeks just eatinglike crazy and at first my stomach was bloated liek crazy and i was uncomfotable but that goes away. i did gain some jelly on the belly but its already starting to redestribute throughout my body and im feeling better. you just gotta eat more and get to a good weight and the sooner u do that the sooner you can ge tback into working out lots and being healthy. see, the source of my current condition was from exercises. i was eating but not enough for the amount of exercise i was doing so i became clinicly "anorexic" it seems with you the exercises isnt as much the reason for ur ED and its more of a mental thing, restricting. i never intentially restricted to get thinner.
so that is where i think you and i differ...i think.
i dont know ur current medical condition but i know me, with my low BF% and the long strainuas exercising my body just couldnt handle it and i got it into a stae where it now doesnt produce any testosterone... and im an 18 male! i know testostorone is the growth hormone basically so building muscle just isnt really happening. which is why i am mor eokay with working out less
now i dont know what the case is for you. i dont know what ur hormone levels are like and i dont know if you are able to build muscle and strength or not. i would think so, but you NEED to eat more.
you can continue doing ur core stuff every other day (everyday would definitly be over training no matter how much u eat) if you eat a TONE of food. but if ur used to eating only 1000 thats really hard. and that wouldnt be helping the ED. ur better off to ease out of it so u can break the obsession then maybe later try and get back into it in a healthy way.
i hope this helps . stay strong, its gonna be all right.
i never restricted to get thinner either. in fact, i have always been on the low end of the BMI range. my family are all slim and i was always called skinny (altho when i think about it, i was skinny fat, cos i had no tone/shape... i never exercised for weight-loss, i never needed to. the only sport i did was at school and running about with friends)
Unfortunatly, my whole ED situation was a bad case of bad-medical judgement. I had ME and lost alot of weight, developed some nasty side-effects, blood problems that were probably underlying since birth and a range of intolerances that meant that pretty much anything i ate made me sick. i obviously lost alot of weight, the doctors told me to cut out the things that made me sick and so i did. then since i cut out so much stuff, i became scared of food, scared that it would make me sick again, scared of trusting my body and BOOM. hello eating disorder.
it was never about wanting to be "thinner". if i could go back to the pre-ED me, i would in a heartbeat. altho i will admit that i am much more knowledgable (and mentally stronger) because of all this.
i have already cut back to every other day on the core stretches, so i will keep that up and try to cut back again next week. im starting to realise that exercise isnt going to help me avoid gaining "bad" weight. i need to gain the weight with or without exercise, so i might aswell try and make it easier and cut the compulsion at the same time.... easier said than done. sure! but im gonna damn well try, cos this isnt the way i want my life to be.
i want to be the old me, fun, carefree and HAPPY again. So thanks for your help... you're right, its gonna be ok!
libella: you rock. well done for cutting back yest. think of all the stuff we could get done with the extra time we have!!! having an active job is great, but its a curse aswell cos im tired alot and even tho im very busy, i dont count that as a "burn". what do you do as a job?? i am trying to only have fruit and veg as a treat if i have had enough carbs and proteins. carbs are my big fear, so if i have my carbs i can have my fruit... (sounds strange cos fruit IS a carb... but im talking those big scary bread/pasta/rice/potato type carbs!!) good luck :-)
just a quick QN. did you increase to 2000 straight away or have you always been able to get that amount. i find it so hard to get over the fear of eating more... i stick around 1000-1500 and burn about 300 off with my walking. what does a days eats look like for you? are you eating that while sedentary now?? if so, did you have less before or the same??
I dont feel brave... i feel like a failure. everyone else on here is so strong and they push themselves to get over this horrible illness, yet i STILL go to bed every night saying "right, im gonna change this, im not happy.. i need to get better" and then everyday i wake up and do the same things. its like im stuck in a timewarp. i make little changes but theyre not sufficient enough to make a difference. i cant seem to get my head to do want i want....
i feel so guilty that i do still walk and stretch, cos i dont WANT to. but i feel even more guilty when i dont. i end up feeling rubbish either way!
im so proud of you for getting past the 2000 today AND taking it easy. a nice 15min walk is fine, so why the hell do i feel like i need to go walking for 30, 45, 60... mins, its just hurting my body. ARGH! i just want to get better dammit!!!