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Cut Back On Exercise with EDNOS?

By February 6, 2013

Hi, After suffering for 8 years with varying degrees of anorexia and bulimia, I have recently been diagnosed with the European version of EDNOS because my weight is currently within the healthy range (although this is predominantly from muscle weight due to my exercise) and I don’t binge enough to qualify for bulimia. My doctor was very helpful and has referred me to a dietician to help me learn to eat properly and to a cognitive behavioral therapist so that was positive, but she also told me I had to cut back on my exercise but without telling me how! I aim to exercise for 2 hours a day, any more is a bonus. Some days it is 6 or more. If I don’t burn off everything I’ve eaten in the day so far by the time it comes to dinner time, I can’t eat dinner (unless forced). How am I supposed to cut back my exercise? I am worried that if I cut back my exercise and don’t have that way of getting rid of food, I will resort again to making myself sick, which until now I had reasonably under control. I am soon going to have to start eating proper food and proper quantities of it so in my disordered way of thinking, I will have to burn off so many more calories to combat this. How do I stop?! Thanks for your help. – Katy

Hi, Katy.

In order to answer your concern, it is important to understand the word metabolism. Someone’s resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the number of calories that are needed for the organs to function optimally at rest. When someone is simply sitting all day long, the organs burn calories. The heart is beating, the lungs are pumping oxygen, the liver is detoxifying, the kidneys are excreting waste and the brain is coordinating everything that is going on. All of that “work” requires calories and a lot of them. An average 5’2 women weighing 110 pounds needs over 1200 calories for the organs to work without doing anything. Then just by doing daily activity and eating (eating actually burns calories) that amount needed jumps to 1500.

Now, if you feed the body less, the organs suffer. “Sorry heart, lung, brains, kidney and liver. I’m only going to give you half of what you need today.” So the functioning of the organs suffers. Now let’s say you exercise to burn 1500 calories, and the organs don’t get much of anything because the fuel was used in exercise. The organ functioning slows and suffers.

The bottom line is that our society forgets to tell us that we need food (calories) for organs to function, and we can eat a lot more than we think because the organs use up so much fuel. There is no need, and it is actually destructive, to exercise so much.

Eileen Stellefson Myers, MPH, RD, LDN, FADA