Exercise and Energy
The Gym: setting Healthy Routines
Universities have gyms. They have huge athletic societies. There are sports teams coming out of your ears and it often seems like everyone wants to be on the team. A desire to join in is understandable, but have you really thought about your motives?
Many use exercise as a way to manage weight. This can be done healthily, but it is easy for healthy exercise to slip into unhealthy calorie burning. Exercise easily breeds competition and there can be a strong desire to beat the targets that others reach. It is also easy for rituals to develop around exercise which build cycles and routines that are difficult to break. It is important to think about all of this before joining a gym; can you really join in responsibly and look after yourself?
The idea of signing up to a gym can be very tempting but doing so means that over exercise is a big risk. Try and think what is best for you, if you're suffering or in recovery then going to the gym everyday will not help you. Try and sign up to other classes like yoga or Pilates which are less strenuous but are a healthy activity and ask friends to join with you. If the temptation of being more active is too great then I found it best to sign up to programmed classes that take place only on a certain day and time. By doing this there is less chance of over exercise as the class will only run for a specific time, yet you still feel like you get to do some form of exercise.
Do you have Enough Energy to Function?
In starvation, the human body will stop feeling hungry. This is probably of evolutionary benefit: in periods of food scarcity it would be adaptive to adjust to starvation. The scary bit can be when re-feeding starts, when people start to eat again. All of that huger is suddenly unleashed. This can be terrifying. It leaves individuals simply feeling hungry all the time and often people will find that they feel hungrier after a meal than before it. Managing this craving for food can be very difficult and can force someone to be even more controlling and rigid about what they eat.
In this rigidity we may see a lot of abnormal patterns around food. To feel safe around food in the face of this enormous craving, people may put fixed rules in place such as the time, order and conditions under which they can eat. It might be difficult for someone with an eating disorder to plan ahead positively, but success at university depends on having enough energy to function and that depends on planning ahead positively. Whether or not you have a meal plan, it is vital to think about how you will manage good meals and snacks through the university day.