Episode 63: Healing from Compulsive Exercise with Amy Gardner

Amy Gardner

Episode description: 

Amy Gardner, MS, CEDRD, RYT, is the creator of the program iMove and the author of the book iMove: Helping Your Clients Heal from Compulsive Exercise. The book discusses the difference between movement and exercise, and how each relates to eating disorder recovery.

In this episode of Peace Meal, Amy breaks down what compulsive exercise and movement are, both in and out of the recovery space, how to notice when exercise turns into a compulsion, and what to do when compulsive exercise starts to become the only way some individuals feel a sense of accomplishment. Amy provides insights based on her and her clients’ experiences with movement and offers different approaches to changing compulsive exercise routines.

We cover: 

  • How compulsive exercise turns into a feeling of obligation and how some may operate their lives around their exercise routines
  • Why slowing down exercise routines can be very uncomfortable, and how to address that
  • The difference between the terms “movement” and “exercise”
  • Questions to ask a healthcare provider if compulsive exercise is becoming a problem

In Amy’s words:

  • On realizing that compulsive exercise was a problem in her life: “It really didn’t even dawn on me until I started having a much different relationship with movement…when I started to incorporate yoga and meditation and I started to realize ‘wait a minute, what I’m doing with my body is not coming from a place of love and health, it really stems into my eating disorder.’” 
  • On what compulsive exercise can do to a person: “It’s more punishment-driven. It tends to lower mood [and] decreases energy so people have less energy because it is exhausting their bodies so they have less energy for other things in their life.”
  • On the concept of exercise to become tired: “This concept that we need to purposefully exercise to experience movement or to achieve this state of calm. Which I think a lot of people will do, whether it’s because of stress or trauma…they will exercise to exhaust themselves so they can finally rest.”

Follow Amy Gardner on Instagram (@imovewithamy) or Facebook (iMoveMethod). Download her free book iMove: Helping Your Clients Heal from Compulsive Exercise at imove-book.com and the free workbook at imovemethod.com

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About the podcast:

Peace Meal is a podcast that explores topics related to eating disorders, body image, and how society may influence our thinking.

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