Topic Tuesday: Exercise

“Working Out with ED” (By: Amanda Moulchin)

I am no certifamied trainer or body builder nor do I track my workouts through social media but I do enjoy working out. When I had my eating disorder I also had a compulsive exercise disorder; I would wake up at 3 am and run several miles when I was 13 years old and then go on with my day and workout again in the afternoon.

I really couldn’t resist the urge to get up and get on that treadmill every morning in my basement and speed through those miles. I continued this pattern for a good two years. These last two years were the worst two years of my eating disorder and at the end of the two years my mom had found an eating disorder treatment center. I agreed to go but I thought that nothing was wrong with me and that I was just trying to stay, “fit”.

The first doctor said that I had to immediately stop working out for the health of my heart and that my habits were far too intense for my current body weight. I, however, disagreed with him right away and I tried convincing him that I wasn’t intense. I had that same doctor get right in my face and say, “A fourteen year old girl does not get up at 3 in the morning to run, you are intense”. He then went on into detail on how much I was putting my heart through and how tough it was with my extremely low weight and body fat. If I had kept this routine up my body wouldn’t be able to take it anymore and my organs would slowly shut down.

That was when it hit me.

I really need to get control and get better. I looked my mom in the eyes and told her that I would do whatever it took to get my life back.

You see, my life revolved around food and exercising; I would limit my food intake and exercise two times a day. If I wasn’t worrying about what I would be eating next, I would be worrying about when I would workout next.

I would say no to going over to a friends house because I would get worried that I wouldn’t be able to do my full workout.

Both disorders were taking over my life.

While I went through treatment I was not allowed to workout at all and that was so hard for me to not do. It took awhile to get used to but eventually, I was in full recovery mode and extremely determined.

The treatment center helped me learn about exercising and that it is normal and also good for the body to take a day off. Then, my doctor slowly started letting me workout, which included cardio and lifting weights.

I’m no fitness guru but I enjoy staying active and keeping my body healthy. Some people aren’t aware that there is a thing called, “working out too much”. It is a very obsessive compulsive disorder that is uncontrollable, but with time and patience, recovery is possible. I am so proud for being able to walk into the gym and have a great workout while knowing my limits and being able to take a day off from the gym.

Sometimes you don’t realize how much time has passed and all of the improvements you have made. Take a minute or two to think about yourself 5 years ago, 10 years ago, or even more. What things have changed? What improvements have you made? How about all the accomplishments you’ve made?

Most importantly, take time to be thankful; be thankful for your family, friends, and other loved ones that are cheering you on from the sideline.

About the Author
Amanda Moulchin is a recent graduate of Valparaiso University majoring in Psychology in addition to a minor in Disability Studies in Behavior Analysis. She will be starting graduate school at Valparaiso University for School Psychology in August. Amanda is Kappa Kappa Gamma alum.