By Megan Samuels, The Eating Disorder Center Intern
In high school, I was plagued by varsity sports. I ran for hours every day, whether I wanted to or not. If we did a skill wrong or lost a game, we ran as punishment. We had to get under a certain mile time. Everything in my life revolved around running.
Later on in my recovery I realized that varsity sports was not my form of joyful movement. Through working with a therapist and a dietitian, I eventually realized that I didn’t actually enjoy running. This was a difficult conclusion at the time for me to make. However, in being truly honest with myself-I realized that I ran when I didn’t want to, it came from a place of wanting to alter my body, and I ran to punish my body.
Today, years after varsity sports, I asked my family if they wanted to play tennis during the long weekend. We went to the local park and played for fun. We did not keep score, however, we did count the number of times I was laughing uncontrollably because I would serve the ball into another court. During this tennis game, I realized that I was doing joyful movement. This was it. Moving simply for the fun of moving and being around my family. It had nothing to do with altering my body and that was such an amazing feeling. I felt at peace with my body. I was playing tennis just to play tennis, have fun, and enjoy my life.
I often think about joyful movement in the sense of how small children play. Children run outside and play soccer when they want to and when it feels good to them. I am working on honoring my inner child and I believe that I achieved that goal today.
Below I have listed some of my favorite ways to move:
**Please note that if your treatment team has asked for you to not be doing any form of movement right now-it’s so important to honor that for your health and well-being.
It’s important to be mindful that part of my recovery involved complete rest from exercise-and that this was a crucial aspect of my healing process. Actually taking time off from movement during the recovery process often leads to better recovery outcomes. Sometimes taking a period of rest, is actually the healthiest thing for you.
One of the privileges of being at a later stage of recovery is exploring forms of joyful movement and reconnecting with my body, in a way that comes from a place of self-care and joy-rather than punishment.
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The Eating Disorder Center is a premier outpatient eating disorder therapy center founded by Jennifer Rollin. We specialize in helping teens and adults struggling with anorexia, binge eating disorder, bulimia, OSFED, and body image issues. We provide eating disorder therapy in Rockville, MD, easily accessible to individuals in Potomac, North Potomac, Bethesda, Olney, Silver Spring, Germantown, and Washington D.C. We also offer eating disorder therapy virtually throughout California serving those in cities including Palo Alto, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Woodland Hills, San Jose, and Beverly Hills. We provide eating disorder recovery coaching via Zoom to people worldwide. Connect with us through our website at www.theeatingdisordercenter.com
The Eating Disorder Center
We are a premier outpatient eating disorder therapy center in Rockville, Maryland.