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Movement and Recovery in Binge Eating Disorder

Movement and Recovery in Binge Eating Disorder

By Rochelle Rice, CSP, AS, MA

One of the most powerful things you can do is ditch the “all or nothing” mantra when it comes to movement and ease into a program that supports you and your BED recovery. 

But how? 

Let me introduce you to four powerful steps you and your health professionals can take to build and sustain your recovery.

Whether it is you or your health professional that begin the process, let’s begin with a few safe questions to ask yourself before you get started on your journey.

Lay the Groundwork

1 – Would you like to discuss exercise during your session? If no, please skip to #3.

2 – What words are you most comfortable with when talking about moving your body?

  • Movement
  • Activity
  • Active Lifestyle
  • Active Living
  • Exercise
  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Other

3 – What activity did you enjoy most as a child?

4 – Do you currently have a favorite activity, sport, or active hobby?

5 – Are there stairs in your home?

6 – Is your spouse/partner/significant other active?

7 –Are your children, nieces, nephews, godchildren, etc. active?

8 – What is your greatest fear, barrier, or concern about being active in your life?

The answers to these questions will set a solid foundation from which to build a patient driven, vibrant conversation about movement.

Identify Words with Impact

Often, we stay stuck using the same words to describe recovery. Creating new possibilities with diverse words expands the mind and invites more space and breadth into the process. Words with impact which are patient driven – chosen by you – will help you and your health professionals create a dynamic dialogue during your recovery. You can list all the words with impact that are meaningful to you or chose a few here that can be used in your discussions with your family members, coworkers, and health professionals. Words with impact are lively, energetic, and can rouse the imagination to create a dynamic shift in your thought process. 

  • Accomplish
  • Astounding
  • Bold
  • Breakthrough
  • Compliment
  • Courage
  • Daring
  • Dazzling
  • Effortless
  • Enthusiastic
  • Flexible
  • Free
  • Gain
  • Growth
  • Health
  • How to
  • Imagine
  • Incredible
  • Life
  • Love
  • Magnificent
  • Monumental
  • Nailed
  • Obtain
  • Prevent
  • Promotion
  • Quick
  • Relief
  • Revamp
  • Solve
  • Soothe
  • Value
  • Win

You can also ask yourself a few key questions in the process. “Do I need compassion?” “Do I need passion?”  “Do I need more knowledge?” It will be helpful to clarify if you prefer and need cheerleaders or quiet supporters where the outcome is not based on weight. Be fearless in describing exactly what you need and don’t hesitate to adjust as you move along in your recovery.

List Your ABCs

To nurture and support your recovery, give yourself permission to explore many movement options, even if they seem crazy at first. To open up possibilities, I invite you to create your Buffet of Movement©. Start with the letter A and list a non gym activity that begins with the letter A. Continue all the way through the alphabet. (Example: A: archery, B: bowling, and so on). If you have children or a spouse/partner, get them involved as well. Be creative and have fun with the list. Nothing is off limits. Next, to learn how to do the movement, try local recreation centers, DVDs, and even YouTube. You do not need to spend a lot of money to get started.

R. Rice - jumping for joyR. Rice - 2014-08-08 11.15.55

Post your list in a prominent place so you can use it frequently and wisely. Tune in to your body and listen.  Do you need stretch, strength, or cardio activity? Do you need to be indoors or outdoors? Do you need fast or slow movement? Choose wisely and over time this process will become not only easier, but a powerful foundation of the success of an active lifestyle.

Be sure to adjust your movement to match seasons as well. This will resonate well with your body depending on what types of movement you enjoy. For example, if you live in a four season region, you may try swimming/water sports in the summer, hiking in the fall, cross country skiing in the winter, and yoga in the spring. If you live in a two season or one season region, adjust the activity to be outdoors during the cooler part of the day and indoors when it gets too hot or humid.

Master Your Breath

One of the most significant tools that support recovery is the power of the breath. There can be a great deal of stress, fear, and concern during recovery, but proper understanding of the breath can add valuable benefits to your health. Breathing supplies oxygen to the body, helps control the temperature of the body, and cleans the body by removing the carbon dioxide. Diaphragmatic breathing assists in helping the body return to its natural anatomical state. To do this, begin by lying on your back. Place your right hand on your heart and your left hand on your abdomen at or slightly below your navel. If it is activating for you to touch your abdomen, place a book on your abdomen. As you inhale through the nose, feel the abdominal wall rise (your left hand or the book). As you exhale through the mouth, let the abdominal wall soften, gently drawing the navel to the spine. You will see your left hand or the book move slowly toward your spine. Repeat this entire sequence three times and slowly work your way up to three minutes. 

You can play quiet music to help relax and regulate your breathing and the breathing should be practiced when you are not stressed. The physical body will then be familiar with how it works and it will be easier to call upon this breathing skill at the beginning of a stress-induced situation. Most importantly, be mindful of your breathing around triggering people or situations. Discuss your breathing with all of your health professionals and incorporate it into your sessions. 


When it comes to movement and recovery in BED, the most important thing to remember is to give yourself permission to explore the possibilities and feel the joy. Share the work you have done here with your health professionals and continue the conversation about a patient driven approach. When the information is learned and mastered from the inside out and supported and nurtured by your community, you will experience an increase in self esteem and self confidence that transcends Binge Eating Disorder. As your body gets stronger and more flexible, you will continue to adapt to a number of different activities. Embrace the movement! You are certain to enjoy a lifetime of activity as you continue in your healing process.

About the author:

Rochelle Rice, CSP, AS, MA is the president of In Fitness & In Health in New York City. A former professional jazz dancer, her passion stems from the inordinate amount of stress in our society placed on thinness rather than overall health and wellness. As a Health at Every Size® practitioner, she motivates people to bridge the gap between knowledge and action, information and implementation, and awareness and accomplishment when it comes to their health. Providing confidence, trust and hope, with a solid, proven technique, her message is one of unwavering faith in people’s unique ability to create a life of personal leadership – putting their health first. She has appeared on CBS The Early Show, ABC World News Tonight and Fox News. She is a member of BEDA, ASDAH, and IDEA and has been working passionately with the plus population since 1995. Her writing for this article is anecdotal, based on 20 years of working with the BED patient in her movement programs. For more information, visit


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