Staying Active: How to Find Pleasure in Movement with Binge Eating Disorder

Runner finding Pleasure in Movement

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC

For many individuals who are recovering from an eating disorder, exercise is often something that needs to be renegotiated.  Exercise may have been something that was done excessively and for weight control purposes only or something that was dreaded and avoided altogether.

There are often many negative associations with exercise, created by the idea that exercise should be used as a form of punishment for overeating or eating the “wrong” type of foods.  When speaking of exercise, many individuals may imagine a gym with equipment and machines that tell you how many calories you have burned or how much longer you need to reach your acceptable goal.

Our Bodies Love Movement

Sport activityThe truth, however, is that as human beings, our bodies crave movement and pleasurable forms of exercise.  In order to be effective, exercise does not need to be excruciating, painful, or punishing.

In fact, if exercise has been any of these things to you, there is a good chance that you may need to renegotiate what exercise and movement mean to you.  Staying healthy and active can be accomplished through pleasurable movement, and moving towards these forms of activities and exercise is essential for eating disorder recovery.

When in recovery from binge eating disorder, it is important to be cleared by your physician and treatment team to begin any form of physical activity.  Staying active through pleasurable activities can actually be very therapeutic and supportive of your recovery efforts.

Work with your treatment team and healthcare specialist to determine what forms of activity may be most appropriate for you in the current stage of recovery that you are in.

It is important to understand that movement should indeed be for pleasurable reasons and allow you to feel good in your own body.  Exercise does not need to be about weight or food control, and if you are continuing to exercise with this mindset, this should be discussed with your treatment team.

Whether gardening, going for beach walks, playing at the park with your kids or pets, discovering a new trail, stretching, hula-hooping, there are endless possibilities to forms of movement that can be pleasurable, fun, and support your health and wellness.


The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders.  These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.  We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors.  If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on October 9, 2015. Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

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