Sit ups to sores

Back in 2012, pounding the streets, I would think to myself “if only my PE teachers could see me  now!” At school I was never sporty. I liked to walk but mostly I hated sport. My love of netball disappeared when I stopped growing and stayed too short to reach the ball. I was relegated to “special PE”- plastic rackets and foam balls style sport.

Anorexia convinced me I was succeeding at exercise finally. I was doing so much more exercise than I had ever done. But anorexia is a trickster. I wasn’t healthy, I wasn’t getting fitter. I was torturing myself. Before being admitted I was walking hours a day, at least 10km every day. I was forcing myself to skip manic-ly for every extra calorie consumed. I reached a point where I was so unwell I wasn’t allowed to use the stairs at my outpatients and yet I was constantly moving as soon as I finished my appointment. I remember walking down fulham road, freezing cold and praying I could get home without collapsing. I would walk past Chelsea and Westminster hospital wondering whether I should go in as my head was spinning, my chest was agony and I could barely stay upright. And still I made myself keep exercising.

And then came the day where I was admitted as a day patient. Only it didn’t work, I was so terrified of the food I was being made to consume I left the unit after every meal and speed walked for hours. I was still sure my exercise was healthy, everyone always says you should walk more right? But as I spiralled down I was caught and fully admitted to the ward. My head went into overdrive. I couldn’t go on my walks. I couldn’t go to the gym or for a run. Why were they stopping me being fit when everyone always said exercise was a good thing? That was when I hit my lowest times with my exercise. I used to lock myself in the unit shower room for hours, exercising to the point where I had sores on my spine and bruises on the backs of my hips. I refused to sit down after night snack until 2am when I would finally let myself rest.

It took a very long time for me to start rebuilding my enjoyment of exercise. I had programmed myself to rely so heavily on extremes and numbers I had to teach myself how to exercise safely. I no longer go running, for me that was just a form of punishment. But I walk the dogs with my family and once a week do a two hour keep fit session. I’m learning I need to fuel my workouts, how I survived on so little whilst doing so much I really don’t know. It’s still hard sometimes to switch my brain off. I have to make a conscious effort  to exercise “at my level”. I used to think that meant working at the highest intensity without taking a break, always wanting to burn the most, do more repeats with less rest. Now I see that sometimes I have to step back listen to my body when it’s tired. It’s not easy, but I’m getting there.

 

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One thought on “Sit ups to sores

  1. Grainne

    It’s never easy is it? No matter which way you go, it always feels either wrong or is hurting you more than helping, regardless if you’re trying to be healthy and cherish your body by eating and exercising in a ‘healthy’ manner or going the other way.

    This was great to read though Becca. Sounds like you’re doing a really, really good job in this fight you’re fighting. Happy to hear you’re listening to your body and learning more about how you can maintain a small body size but not be on death’s door every time you climb a stair. xox

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