working out again after ED - how to progress?
I'm new to the forum, mostly because I have question I can't really find a lot of information about elsewhere. Basically, I'm currently recovering from anorexia: a few years of subclinical restriction which snowballed really badly about a year and a half ago. I started working out more and more, cutting more and more calories, until I reached a point where for about 8 months, I would literally eat nothing at all (except water and coffee) for 10-16 days at a time. These fasts would be punctuated by periods where I had to be around my boyfriend or family and have to eat (as little as possible) of normal meals. When I was rushed to the hospital in April with a failing heart (along with pretty much every organ in my body) and a BMI of 14.7, my doctor was crying because she was sure I was going to die. I didn't, though, and was clearly forced into recovery at that point.
It's been a little over three months (I've been pretty strictly paleo since the start of my recovery), I'm at a BMI 20, and I was cleared to exercise a while ago. Since then I've been following the PBF plan pretty much: I walk for 30-40 minutes every day at about 3.5-4.5 mph, every other day I do "strength" with the PBF movements (wall squats, wall presses + a few knee pushups, forearm planks, etc) and a quick sprint session once a week.
My problem is, the things I am doing barely qualify as working out, but they're far from effortless for me; I can only do about five knee pushups before my form goes to shit and failure comes soon after that. I'd love to be doing heavy lifting but have really no idea where to start and am pretty terrified of looking like an idiot in the weightroom. My muscles completely atrophied over the course of my ED, and my heart physically shrunk a good deal as well. How much more can/should I be doing to build muscle/burn fat? (I can't really lose weight at the moment, because I'll be "flagged" and possibly sent inpatient, but I'd like to improve my body composition as much as possible since so much of the recovery weight was fat.)
Sorry to barge in with such a lengthy post, but I'm really at a loss of how to do this properly + primally while still seeing results. Any advice would be super appreciated!
If it's challenging for YOU, you're doing good!
It's all about YOU.
Progress in little steps!! As LONG AS YOU'RE MOVING FORWARD YOU'RE DOING IT RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A JUG OF WATER, IT IS FILLED WITH LITTLE DROPS!! - Buddha!!!!
And I'll tell you what, you came to the right place. We're all here with you, YOU'RE NOT ALONE!!!!!
Don't compare your workout to anyone else.
If your workouts are "far from effortless" then keep doing what you are doing. Your body is repairing itself and that doesn't happen overnight.
Keep it up, you have a lot of support here!
Agreed with above. No change is needed until it feels easy. And once that happens, progress to the next level on PBF. Your body is going to take a while to heal itself, so go slowly.
Thanks for the thoughts, everyone. I guess I'm just scared that I could physically be pushing myself harder, but just "don't know what I'm capable of," somehow. Like I went soft with recovery with recovery or something? (At the beginning of the ED, for example, I would do two Insanity sessions + ballet every day, and now I'm so sore all the time just from these short walks.)
Oh...and work on kicking fear's ass, not yours.
Originally Posted by gray
Walk for exercise and let your organs, bones and especially your heart heal. Practice patience, right now. You'll only continue to damage yourself, if you focus on what type and how often to work out; trust me.
You are the sum of all your thoughts - buddha
Thanks very much for the advice and good thoughts, everyone! I guess I need to relearn my signals here, the same way I'm having to relearn how to be hungry/satiated. It's difficult because before I always just worked out as much as I possibly could, just like I would eat as little as I possibly could, because those were the safest options. I can track my intake to make sure it's at least somewhat appropriate, but figuring out exercise is even less cut-and-dry.
Gain some mass before you start with heavier workouts, meanwhile heatherdarbs has it right, walking is good or light jogging if your body can take it. Give yourself time to gain strength and heal. Most importantly, just listen to your body. I had to take it easy for a while after I started eating right again after 10+ years of being underweight (BMI was 18-19) because I would get severe headaches with any sustained effort. I could tell when my strength really started to come back and I enjoyed workouts rather than suffering through them only to see how much I lost on the scale.
You are on the right path, be patient and know that you have support here! Stay strong, healthy and beautiful!