Compulsive Exercise Dietitians and Nutritionists

Compulsive Exercise
Compulsive Exercise

Do you or a loved one struggle with your relationship with exercise? Have you exercised through illness or injury? Is it difficult for you to have flexibility with exercise so you find yourself following a rigid schedule?

Struggling with compulsive exercise can feel isolating and overwhelming. The dietitians at Courage to Nourish are highly trained and experienced in working with individuals of all ages who are struggling with their relationship with exercise. We know how incredibly scary and challenging this can be. Our team is highly skilled in working with compulsive exercise and are here to accompany you on this journey of gaining your life back.

What is Compulsive Exercise?

Compulsive exercise, sometimes referred to as exercise addiction, is when a person is driven to exercise obsessively and frequently. Sometimes, we see compulsive exercise as an isolated concern, but it typically occurs alongside an eating disorder diagnosis. Exercise can be used as a coping tool to process or numb emotions. While exercise can be a useful tool to relieve stress, anxiety or other feelings, it can be a harmful tool if it’s the only tool. Within the context of eating disorders, some clients engage in obsessive exercise to cope with food guilt. This can be problematic as people who struggle with compulsive exercise often restrict their nutrition intake, exercise through sickness/injury, prioritize exercise over other important values, numb their emotions and/or have general anxiety related to food and body image.

How We Help Treat Compulsive Exercise

At Courage to Nourish, our dietitians work one on one with our clients and their treatment team to improve compulsive exercise thoughts, urges and behaviors. We value trusting and compassionate relationships between our dietitians and clients. We value safety and a non-judgmental space so our clients are able to process their relationship with food and body in a way that is met with understanding and empathy. Not only do we work with you or your loved one in individual sessions, but we also collaborate with various members of the treatment team. We also provide text and email support and keep our caseloads small. This can assure you are getting the highest quality of care.

We understand how important exercise may be to individuals who struggle with compulsive exercise. Our goal isn’t to completely take away a coping mechanism that has gotten our clients through some really difficult times. Our goal is to support our clients in having an overall improved relationship with movement and exercise. We work alongside our clients’ therapists so they are able to build a toolbox of coping skills. Additionally, we discuss nutrition with our clients to assure they are fueling enough. If appropriate, we process food rules and food guilt.

Typical Clients We Work With

Families

Families

FAMILIES

Courage to Nourish specializes in working with families and compulsive exercise. If your family life has been disrupted by compulsively exercising, contact us to learn more about how our highly trained dietitians can support your family in healing. We work closely with parents and children to create a supportive home food environment.

College Aged and Young Adults

College Aged and Young Adult

COLLEGE AGED AND YOUNG ADULT

Courage to Nourish specializes in working with college students who struggle with compulsive exercise. Learn more about our services and how our dietitians can work to support you and your relationship with food. Contact us for more information about how we work with college students who struggle with compulsive exercise.

Teens and Adolescents

Teens & Adolescents

TEENS & ADOLESCENTS

Courage to Nourish specializes in working with teens who struggle with compulsive exercise. Learn more about our services and how our dietitians can work to support your teen and their relationship with food. Contact us for more information about how we work with teens who struggle with compulsive exercise.

Pregnant Individuals

Pregnant Individuals

PREGNANT INDIVIDUALS

Courage to Nourish specializes in supporting pregnant and postpartum individuals who struggle with compulsive exercise. Learn more about our services and how our dietitians can work to support you and your relationship with food. Contact us for more information about how we work with pregnancy and compulsive exercise.

Athletes

Athletes

ATHLETES

Courage to Nourish specializes in working with athletes who struggle with compulsive exercise to assure adequate fueling and completing food exposures as desired. Learn more about our services and how our dietitians can work to support you and your relationship with food. Contact us for more information about how we work with athletes who struggle with compulsive exercise.

Adults

Adults

ADULTS

Courage to Nourish specializes in working with individuals who struggle with compulsive exercise of all ages. We work with kids, adolescents, young adults, and adults who compulsively exercise. Our dietitians are highly specialized in eating disorder treatment – learn more about our services and how we can work to support you and your relationship with food.

FAQs About Compulsive Exercise

How do I know if I have exercise addition?

If you find that you are struggling with your relationship with food, body or exercise in ANY capacity, please note that you absolutely deserve space and time to heal, regardless of the symptoms you’re experiencing. If you suspect you or a loved one is struggling with compulsive exercise, please take our quiz.

How long does it take to treat compulsive exercise?

Treating an eating disorder takes time! Most of the clients we see are “long term” clients who we work with on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. It is difficult to set a time frame, but it’s not uncommon for clients to meet with us on a weekly basis for at least 6 months. If you feel like your healing journey is taking “too long,” just remember that recovery is not linear. It’s normal to have ups and downs.

Will I need to follow a meal plan?

That is up to you! While we can support you in creating a meal plan that meets your needs, we also recognize that meal plans aren’t helpful tools for everyone. We would never want you to feel like you are on a diet or enabling your eating disorder.

How can I help a loved one with compulsive exercise?

Supporting a loved one with an eating disorder, including compulsive, can be so difficult. As loved ones, we often want to “fix it.” But, recovery takes time and there’s not much we can do other than offering a listening ear and a non-judgemental space. Read our blog on Supporting a Loved One with an Eating Disorder. Also, visit our resources page and sign up for our newsletter to get more tips on how to support your loved one.

How can I find support for compulsive exercise?

Courage to Nourish is happy to help. Contact us for more information about working with us. We provide both virtual and in person services. If for some reason we are unable to support you, we would be glad to refer you to other resources. You can also read our blog and resources page for more ideas and support on eating disorder recovery.

Have more questions?

About Courage to Nourish

Courage to Nourish is a group of eating disorder specialized dietitians. We have in person locations in Alexandria, Virginia, Columbia, Maryland, and College Park, Maryland. We offer virtual services across the state of Maryland. Virginia, Washington DC, Pennsylvania, and Colorado. We offer individual nutrition therapy. As well as support groups. We would love to guide you in building a better relationship with food.

Courage to Nourish team

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