Exercise Bulimia

Exercise Bulimia

When I was struggling with my own eating disorder, exercise was anything but intuitive. It was an obligation, a necessity, a rule, a requirement – demanded by the voice of ED (eating disorder) – and exercise was anything but enjoyable. It was a way to compensate for what I’d eaten that day (which is a type of Bulimia, using exercise as a way of purging, sometimes referred to as Exercise Bulimia). Exercise was also a form of permission to eat a little bit, a little later (which is a type of Anorexia, a combination of exercise and restrictive eating). Mostly, I was the Exercise Bulimia type. I was overly focused on what type of exercise would burn the most calories, what time of day that exercise would burn the most fat, and didn’t care about liking the exercise. It was like the voice of ED was a boot camp trainer, screaming at me to push harder, go longer, do more and more and more… and it was never good enough. In retrospect, I can see how punitive Exercise Bulimia was – however, at the time, I had learned to override pain signals from my body, so I was unaware of the actual torture I endured, being driven by the voice of ED, holding me captive in my own head.

If you have clients who struggle with Exercise Bulimia, or if you recognize some Exercise Bulimia in yourself, there is hope for healing. Intuitive Exercise and Mindful Movement are keys to recovery! Keep reading – or, join the upcoming ONLINE PRESENTATION & DISCUSSION WITH DR. DORIE

You get a “free pass” for this presentation when you enroll in EDIT™ CERTIFIED LEVEL III – LEARN MORE

What Is Intuitive Exercise?

A few years later, when I was fully in recovery, I remember the day that I was about to go for a walk. I paused and checked in, “Is this the type of exercise that I really want to do? What is my body telling me it needs? What pace and distance will feel good? Am I about to go for this walk to burn calories, or do I really want to move my body?” The response I received during that pause was, “Yes, it’s a beautiful spring day, and it will be wonderful to see and smell the flowers in bloom, and hear the birds singing. It will feel good to move my body in a gentle way.” What was this voice? This is what I call the Intuitive Therapist (IT), which is within us all. Recovery is about remembering and reconnecting with this healing wisdom within. As I was on that walk, I realized that similar to Intuitive Eating, I was engaging in Intuitive Exercise – by pausing, checking in with IT, and engaging in exercise according to IT’s guidance. Ah, yes! IT is the “Personal Trainer” I like!

To this day, I pause and check in, “What type and amount of exercise will feel good today? Or, do I need to just rest today?” Yes, Intuitive Exercise also includes REST! No calorie counting. No compensating. No focus on fat burning. No worries about weight loss or body shaping. No forcing it to then deserve something later. Intuitive Exercise involves shifting from ED to IT, which I call an ED-IT healing transformation. In the EDIT™ Certified training programs, you’ll learn more about Intuitive Exercise, which is a part of the second EDIT™ Principle, “Be True To Your Self.”

What Is Mindful Movement?

Over the years of my own recovery and ongoing healing at deeper levels, I have started using the term “Mindful Movement” in addition to Intuitive Exercise. I sometimes associate the word “exercise” with that old voice of ED. However, I have learned to reframe the word “exercise” as something similar to “nutrition” – things that are benefits to my body, when done in truly healthy ways. Wait – that word “healthy” – can also remind me of ED. I gently ask myself, “Where am I coming from?” Meaning, is ED telling me to “exercise and be healthy,” in a sneaky way of controlling me? Or, is IT guiding me with what I call “True Health,” which can be engaged in and enjoyed as my True Self?

Overall, I am guided by my Intuitive Therapist, and since I live in the mountains just outside of Denver, Colorado, I can enjoy outdoor activities every day. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter – I love to hike, trail run, snow shoe, cross country ski – I am so grateful to live in such a beautiful place, amidst nature all the time, which enhances my Intuitive abilities and feeds my hungry soul!




Article may be reprinted with the author bio below.

©2021 by Dr. Dorie McCubbrey. Dr. Dorie is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist who is passionate about training professionals to effectively guide clients in recovery from eating disorders. She is the President of the EDIT™ Training Institute LLC, which provides training and certification in her method of Eating Disorder Intuitive Therapy (EDIT)™.  She also provides sessions for clients who struggle with these issues, either in person or by phone/video. Learn more at: https://www.editcertified.com


Want more that this “taste” of EDIT™? Dr. Dorie is passionate about her method of Eating Disorder Intuitive Therapy (EDIT)™ to help people overcome eating disorders.  She provides customized programs for people in recovery from eating disorders and who struggle with weight issues, and  EDIT™ eating disorder training and certification for clinicians, coaches and mentors worldwide.