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Healing comes first

Updated: Apr 22, 2023

A few weeks before I went to Cyprus, I strained a calf muscle by overtraining and had to take time out to let it heal so I could recover in time for my holiday. It was really tough. The aching and pain didn’t bother me, but the fact I couldn’t exercise as much made things extremely hard.

Exercise is so important to me, I often ignore an injury and keep training. The thought of not burning enough calories scares me. The ED voice is always there, telling me “you’ll put on weight if you skip the gym, you won’t be able to lose it”. So I keep going and wait longer for recovery.

Not this time though - my Cyprus trip was fast approaching and I wanted to hike those mountains. I chose to rest and recover. I cancelled a hiking weekend and stayed at home nursing my injured leg with heat and ice. I cancelled weight training and went for a swim instead. My hip was hurting too, so I listened to my body as it was telling me my muscles wanted a break.

The ED voice bullied me 24/7 demanding more calorie burning if I want to eat, and I did my best to ignore it. I went to the gym, as gentle exercise can help; the ED voice told me to do my usual 1 hour of cardio, but I fought it and did some easy bike exercise instead.

I am pleased to say I didn’t notice myself restrict food too much. Although my laxative use went up, I still fed my body the nutrients it needed. Always remember you need and deserve to eat, no matter what you’re doing and how you’re feeling. I know my body can do amazing things, it can heal injuries and get me up mountains, but I have to keep it nourished!

My therapist and I are currently discussing how I need to prioritise my hobbies over weight loss, and then I will have my freedom back. If only it were so easy! It makes complete sense – when I place more importance on food and weight than anything else, it allows the ED voice to own me and dictate every decision. This time, I chose Cyprus, I chose mountains, I chose the memories I wanted to make exploring a new place. I prioritised my holiday and it was very hard, but so worth it! This has proven to me that I can make different choices and I hope that one day I will be always choosing life over my eating disorder, and then I can have total freedom.

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