7 Ways Exercise Enhances Your Recovery

And 7 easy ways to add some fitness to your daily life.

exercise-helpAt around the two years clean mark, I reached another rock bottom. I was devastated by my appearance, and distressed about my lack of control around my appetite. I was around 150 pounds overweight and was out of control with my eating. I was ruled by my emotions and sought out food as a means to soothe me and change the way I felt. It was my last fix. I could no longer use drugs, alcohol and nicotine. Food was the only thing left.

I reached a point where the pain became too much. I was on my knees. I had reached a point of surrender and I needed help.

What I was experiencing was a ravine of disconnection between my behavior and my goal to be well in all areas of my life. I was acting out with my goals. I was powerless. I was utterly confused by my contradictory behavior. Why was I unable to control my hand feeding me? What formed this disconnection between my mind and my hand? What was wrong with me? How was I able to stop using drugs addictively, but not food?

I have spent the last two years of my recovery bridging the gap of that disconnection between my desire to be well and my behavior. I want to share with you the key lessons I have learned and some practical tips to help anyone in recovery experiencing the same problems, the same pain. Research shows that exercise can actually enhance your recovery. It can help prevent relapse and provide an integral part of a recovery toolkit. This is what I have learned and how I have applied that information.

The key lesson that I have learned is that I cannot do this alone. Like recovery, our greatest successes are when we see our fallibility and get humble by asking for help. So I did. I hired a life coach, who specialized in good nutrition and exercise, and asked for help.

Furthermore, I learned that recovery has to be a holistic process. And that process is one of uncovering, discarding and letting go, one fix at a time. It is a process that looks at your whole self: mental, physical and emotional well-being. It enables the unveiling of reasons why we used drugs and alcohol. For me, that was to avoid crippling depression, overwhelming anxiety (including paralyzing social anxiety), fear, lack of confidence and little self-worth. I used as a means to “cope” with difficult feelings and life events. I had to discard behaviors which didn’t work for me. First I let go of alcohol, then drugs, then smoking, and was left with overeating. And I ate my feelings like there was no tomorrow!

Food is different to drugs. You can’t abstain. You need to eat to survive. But the application of the same holistic recovery process is the same: you surrender, you ask for help and you apply those suggestions.

Which leads me to exercise…

Exercise was, and is, my friend, truly. I am able to use it as one of the most powerful recovery tools. Here are some of the benefits of regular exercise:

1. it releases feel-good hormones which can help improve your mood, alleviate depression and help cushion the negative effects of stopping using

2. it is an effective means of relieving stress

3. it can assist weight loss in the burning of calories and cause some appetite suppression Read more “the fix”…

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