I started going to the gym when I was 14, and from the beginning, exercise always sort of functioned like a punishment for eating. Going to the gym was something that I had to do; it was a chore rather than a reward or release. That isn’t to say that I never enjoyed working out, because I did. I was an athlete and my body has always craved movement. But even my most strenuous workouts never felt like “enough.” My criteria for what actually counted as exercise was super rigid, and I had no idea that it could be any other way. This can be traced back to an active eating disorder and a mind brimming with diet-culture misinformation. As a result, I looked fit and healthy, but my mentality around fitness was anything but.
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