One of my new bad habits is surfing “pro-recovery” accounts on Instagram. Some of them are very encouraging, helpful, and relatable; others… not so much. Specifically speaking, the “recovery” accounts that are ALL about fitness and macros (what even is a macro?).
Throughout the recovery process, I’ve been taught that everything needs to be done in moderation. Moderation is key to a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle. That means eating must be balanced, work must be balanced, extra-curricular activities must be balanced, and exercise must be balanced. So on and so forth. How can an individual who struggled with an eating disorder claim to be “recovered” if all they ever do is hit the gym? Isn’t that just another form of an eating disorder?
According to the Eating Disorder Hope website, “excessive exercise is frequently a daily activity in which the person reports intense anxiety if they are unable to engage in the exercise activity. Those engaging in excessive exercise may plan out their day prominently focusing on exercise, scheduling other activities around their exercise goals. Those engaged in excessive exercise may reduce their social, school and work activities in order to exercise” (https://www.eatingdisorderhope.com).
The more I surf these “pro-recovery” Insta accounts, the more upset I become with the population that claims to be so healthy. Is exercise good? YES! Is acquiring an exercising routine at some point in recovery a healthy way to cope with stress and anxiety? ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY! Is obsessing over your physical appearance and counting macros (tracking the number of grams of protein, carbohydrates and fats you consume on a particular day) living a recovered lifestyle? I DON’T THINK SO! It’s just another way to control one’s emotions and stressors through diet.
For a while, I became extremely discouraged with my own recovery (and, if I am being honest, I still am sometimes). I feel as though I am doing something wrong because I am not trading starvation for exercise and macro counting; I feel like a failure for not putting on 20LBS of muscle; and I feel inadequate because I don’t have abs or a perfect perky tush. But, then I try to remember that recovery is about freedom—freedom from counting, freedom from weighing, freedom from obsession—and then I don’t feel so bad.