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Compulsive Exercise

Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Recovery is a great opportunity for you to evaluate and redefine your relationship with exercise and movement. Just as with food, the goal is to find freedom, to be able to listen to your body and to engage mindfully in movement.

From compulsiveness...

Exercise is great for both mental and physical health but should be done in a balanced manner and come from a happy place. In my opinion, you don't have to give up exercise completely during HA Recovery. Here you can read more about that. However it can be sound to reassess your intention behind your training. Are you doing it because you want to? Or because you feel bad if you don't? Here are some questions that can help you reflect and detect compulsive elements of your exercise:

  • Are you putting your movement before everything else?

  • Do you get stressed and nervous if you cannot fulfill your planned routine?

  • Do you exercise in secret?

  • Are you annoyed if someone wants to join your training because they "slow you down"?

  • Do you have a very rigid schedule with exercise?

  • Do you exercise to burn calories?

  • Do you exercise to change your appearance or control your weight?

  • Do you feel guilty if you skip a day of exercise?

  • Are you saying no to things (social events, travels, family) because it interfere with your training routine?

  • Do you exercise in order to "be allowed" to eat food or certain foods?

  • Do you feel obligated to exercise on vacation?

  • Do you exercise through pain or injury?

If you answer yes to some of the above statements it is a sign that you have an unhealthy relationship with exercise. It can be really hard to break free from the compulsion, for all in today’s society where exercise is often celebrated and congratulated. But it is possible. And you deserve it! flexibility, mindfulness and freedom

The end goal is to find flexibility with your exercise routine. Do you feel tired? Are your friend inviting you for brunch spontaneously? Is it poring outside? I want you to be able to skip a (planed) training routine without feeling bad about it. So how do you get there? There is no one-size-fits-all-solution. But here are some ideas that will help you start transitioning away from compulsive behaviors towards a more balanced enjoyable exercise routine.

  • Delete all fitness trackers and apps.

  • Clean your social media feed from "triggering" accounts.

  • Kick-start your break from exercise with a holiday - it might be easier to allow yourself rest if you are in a new environment.

  • Prioritize rest!

  • Return to your own Whys and Motivation

  • Ask yourself, do you want to live this way for the rest of your life? When you are 80, will you regret missing one day of workout or that you missed your best friends birthday?

  • Are you exercising in the name of health? Well if you don't have a period, exercising will only add to the stress your body is under and lead you away from your overall goal - lifelong health.

  • Allow yourself to take a complete break from exercise for a period of time. Give yourself this time. A few weeks or months without exercise will not matter seen over a lifetime. OR

  • Gradually cut back on the intensity, duration and frequency of your exercise routine.

  • If you exercise in the morning, sleep longer! Sleep is so important and beneficial for HA Recovery.

  • Fill the time you previously reserved for exercise with something new. Reading, hanging out with friends, learning a language.

  • Be honest with yourself. Are you going on the walk because your body feels like it or because you feel that you have to get in a number of steps?

Exercise should be a fun part of your life, not something that limits your daily life and causes stress. Feel free to reach out to me, than we can work on reshaping your training routine together.

Further reading:



You don't have to go through Hypothalamic Amenorrhea 
Recovery alone

If you're missing your period due to under-fueling, over exercising and/or stress I am here to help you heal. I have deep knowledge that I combine with an actionable approach. I would be thrilled to help you recover your period, and thereby fertility, regardless of if it has been missing for a few months or several years.

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