A Disorder that’s Culturally Encouraged

Posted on Posted in Medicine, Wellness

pexels-photoI’ve worked in the field of eating disorders for over 6 years, and in those short 6 years I’ve seen a rise in exercise addiction and exercise resistance in women and men with eating disorders. Almost every client who comes through our facility doors has an (unhealthy) relationship with exercise. My passion and specialty at this facility is to support this aspect of their recovery, as I was in their shoes not too long ago.

I struggled with compulsive over-exercise and disordered eating for nearly 10 years. My exercise behavior was supported and encouraged by most because they didn’t realize I had a problem (or that exercise could be a problem). To them I appeared healthy, strong and fit. Inside, I was suffering big time.

Our culture is becoming more and more obsessed with being fit, staying active, + losing weight. This seems to be motivated by a fear of becoming fat. We have become fat phobic, and deem the size of our bodies as fit or unfit. I see this especially on social media. Before and after pics. I was fat (bad) then, now I’m thin (good). We talk about our bodies in an odd way.

The other side of this seemingly positive movement is the rise in eating disorders, excessive exercise and body shaming.

I’ve become increasingly curious about how I can help people who struggle with something I have worked very hard to overcome because I have lived on both sides of the spectrum. I intend to put myself out there in a way that is supportive and use my story and experiences for the greater good of our society.

So I begin today, simply by writing about it and getting the conversation started.

Some questions to ponder…

How can we find a balance between nourishing our bodies, moving our bodies, and loving our bodies without finding it necessary to change how they look? What is a healthy amount of exercise? How do you know if you’re exercising too much or too little? Can you be healthy or fit at any size? Who decides if you’re healthy or not?

Questions or comments? Leave them below or email me tara.shultis@gmail.com.

In wellness,


  1. In my late teens, early twenties (I’m in my 30s now) I also suffered from disordered eating and bulimia though never to the point of hospitalization because it was supported by most of my circle of friends and family (I didn’t live at home at the time so it was “easier”. ) I think most of us who have gone through or are going through this just KNOW if our relationship to food/exercise/our body is healthy or not. We are also very good at avoiding reality and letting it slide downhill fairly quickly. But in my experience, someone who has an unhealthy relationship may not necessarily be able to pick out the moment it became a issue but often they will know if asked to reflect upon it, if they have a problem.

    A good example would be… my current situation. I know I have a problem, although I am not medically sick, I will eventually need to bring it up with my therapist if this continues. But I am happy for now pretending it does not exist… 🙁

    1. Thank you for sharing! Any amount of suffering is reason to reach out, and seek support. Our problems are reminders to dive deeper into our healing. Sending support and peace your way!

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