Reintroducing Exercise After 2 years in ED Recovery

Trigger Warning: Involves talk of exercise and other potentially triggering information on eating disorders.

 

This year on May 21st, I will reach 2 years of eating disorder (ED) recovery. These past two years have been difficult but wonderful, and being able to remain free from my ED has been such a powerful experience. Having been deep in my ED from age 11 to age 22, my ED was extremely severe. After four months of inpatient care without exercise of any kind, I felt like exercise was never going to be an option for me. I didn’t know how or if I was ready to begin exercising again. I had to find a type of exercise completely outside of my ED experience, making most of the activities I had used during my ED, such as walking, running and going to the gym, off-limits, as they could be potential triggers. At first, I had considered rock climbing, but in exiting inpatient care, I realized that I needed to focus on maintaining my eating schedule  without adding extra snacks in response to exercise.

A year later, COVID-19 started.  With the added stress of isolation and my inability to access a rock gym or other activities separate from my ED, I decided that it was better to hold off until I felt completely ready. It was only at the beginning of this year that I began to feel secure about my recovery. I began to search for ways to exercise that wouldn’t feed into my ED, and that would also be fun. In my search, I wanted to find completely new activities that I had always wanted to try, and that’s when I remembered wanting to learn to roller skate in my first and second year of university. I had never gotten the skates both because they were such an expensive investment, and  because I live in the middle of nowhere a half-hour drive away from any paved path. 

During COVID-19, this distance began to matter less. Exercise in the form of roller skating began to offer me a much-needed way to escape the house and a fun activity I could learn and love. After an hour and a half of practice, I still suck at roller skating, but I’m learning something new and getting a much-needed break from my screen, and I’m also doing it in a way that supports my recovery.