So, I have a bit of background for you all (which will be very familiar to those of you who battle/battled eating disorders). When I was suffering, I spent a lot of my time over exercising. I would probably spend two hours a day doing cardio at least. It would be late at night normally and I would have eaten roughly 1000 calories. Obviously exercise was not enjoyable for me, rather, it was a kind of punishment. I pushed my body to a place is most certainly couldn’t handle and due to my minuscule food intake, it nearly always made me dizzy and sick.

 

Therefore, it took me a while to get back into exercise after my recovery. I had a weird relationship with it after over exercising for so long, so the only exercise I did for a long time was very gentle yoga. I started to get back into exercise properly last September and I am so glad I did it the way I did. Exercise used to be a very solitary event and that was what I wanted to avoid when I started again. As much as I once loved running alone, I knew that when I started exercising again I needed to do something different. So I trudged to our student gym on the top of the massive hill our university sits upon and signed up to 3 different fitness classes. I resolved to go to one a week to start and I eventually built up how often I went.

 

I tried out different classes even though it made me a little nervous to start so many new things at once. I knew I had to just conquer that anxiety of not being good enough to find what I loved. I never knew just how different it is to go to a class rather than to the gym alone. I didn’t have that nagging feeling in my head of “am I burning enough calories? Am I doing enough? How much longer should I go for?” I put my health in the hands of someone who knew how to exercise and told me it was okay that I couldn’t do a full push up or a full plank. It took away any stresses I had about getting back into exercise because I trusted the instructor.

 

There is also a great comradery in fitness classes. My favourite class is all female and we all like to jump about and have a giggle. I forget about any of that language that surrounds exercise in the media i.e “Burn fat fast etc”, and I just have fun. This is why I always recommend classes to people when they want to get stronger or fitter, because they can be so much more enjoyable that running on a treadmill alone for god knows how long. These classes really helped me focus my energy on enjoying myself and I stopped feeling like it was a punishment.

 

I think the bopo movement sometimes gets a bad rep for devaluing exercise but honestly that is not the case. The bopo community want people to be happy in themselves and want people to know that they deserve respect regardless of what they eat or if they exercise. I couldn’t have begun doing any kind of workout without having a great support network. Your health, mental and physical, is not some cut and dry thing. Sure, I was exercising more when I was anorexic, but that was extraordinarily unhealthy for me to do. I went through a couple of years of pretty much no exercise and that was because I was on a journey to finally get to this point in my life. It was important that I worked on my mental health and getting back into healthy eating before I began working out. This is why I think it is unacceptable to comment on how a person lives their life in regards to health because you may not know what someone is going through.

I wanted to encourage you guys to check out fitness classes if you were thinking of getting into exercising because I personally find them more fun and positive that exercising alone. I’m sure some classes aren’t as fun as others, but if you take a leap of faith then I am sure you can find one that suits you.

 

Essie xxx