In the past decade there has been a huge surge in popularity with yoga and other relaxation-based exercises. Yoga stimulates your mind, body, and spirit, so there it comes as no surprise that trained individuals have started using it for treatment of psychological-based medical conditions. Needless to say I was ecstatic to hear that there was a Yoga-Based Eating Disorder Treatment Program, and was even more ecstatic to find out it was run by a Registered Dietitian and many other qualified staff members.
So often people think that overcoming an eating disorder is something that an individual can just fix or stop doing; I have had people say this as if they are talking about fixing a leaky faucet. Nothing could be further than the truth. Eating disorders are multi-faceted medical conditions that have a strong psychological hold on those that suffer from them. More often than not, food is not really the problem, but the vehicle through which the problem is carried out or expressed.
I believe one of the most powerful things an individual suffering from an eating disorder can learn is how beautiful, strong, and amazing his or her body truly is. I have read many stories about individuals who took overcame the daily struggles of their eating disorders by taking up distance running. While you may think this sounds counterproductive, but it is not (as long as this is monitored by a physician who is aware of the eating disorder). Distance running is not an easy task that individuals who are malnourished can be successful at. The individuals whose stories I’ve read talk about how empowered they felt once they started running – they were amazed at the strength their bodies had and felt as if they finally found a reason to both love and nourish their body the way it was intended. These women talked about how they had suffered from anorexia for years, underwent numerous inpatient and outpatient treatment programs, only to continually find themselves back where they started. It was not until those individuals started to learn more about their own bodies that they began to see how beautiful they truly were.
I am by no means saying all eating disorders can be cured this way. However, I do believe that body image satisfaction could potentially be improved if individuals see their bodies as something strong and functional, as opposed to something others are judging. If you know anyone who is struggling from an eating disorder, I recommend you pass on the link above. The treatment program is staffed by highly-trained individuals and the methods used are much different than those one would find at a standard inpatient treatment facility.
If you know of anyone who has tried an eating disorder or body image treatment program that uses physical fitness to aid in the treatment process, I would love to hear more about it – the modality, was it successful or unsuccessful, where the treatment was done, the credentials of those providing treatment, etc…