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Dear Cassey,

I’m recovering from an eating disorder, but my doctor says it’s safe for me to begin to work out again. How do I find power in something that used to tear me down? How do I shift my mindset from working out as a way to diminish myself, to working out as a way to find my own power and grow some freaking muscle mass?!

Sincerely,

Recovering My Power

Dear Recovering My Power,

I want you to know that I am so proud of you for shifting your mindset from eating for skinniness to eating for POWER. THIS is what will give you the happiness and freedom you deserve. I am very excited for your journey towards recovering your strength.

As someone who overcame an ED, I can totally sympathize with the feelings that you are going through right now.

Look, in all honesty – this is going to be a process. There will be times when your mind will revert back to your old habits – obsessively calorie counting, obsessively weighing yourself, obsessively exercising – all so that you can get smaller and smaller and smaller. But this time – this is how you’re going to make it different.

You need to let go of control.

I know. It’s scary. But trust your body. It’s going to be just fine!

In this first phase of recovery, I don’t want you to focus on the numbers at all. You need a period of mental recovery from the numbers in order to build that trust you need between you and your body.

  • Don’t count your calories. Delete those calorie counting apps on your phone.
  • Don’t weigh yourself. Put your scale away.
  • Stop doing workouts that you hate. Do workouts that bring you joy.

I want you to set your “WHY” and focus on that instead of the numbers. Why are you on this journey towards power and strength? Answer that honestly, because that answer will help you make the hard decisions and conquer the tough challenges that will arise along your journey to recovery. You need to make it about something NON-PHYSICAL. This is very important.

To help you understand the importance of “WHY”, think back to why you got obsessed with food and exercise in the first place. Your “WHY” was probably something along the lines of “to be skinny” or “to get abs” or “to look like [insert name of some “perfect girl”]. Your “WHY” was so strong that you fell into an ED that spun out of control.

Now…I don’t want you to spin out of control again…BUT I do want you to dig deep and find a “WHY” so strong that nothing will stand in your way to regaining your power! REALLY think about why you’re so passionate about your new goal.

Though I love that you want to now focus on gaining muscle, I want you to be very VERY careful. Just because building muscle sounds healthier than getting skinny, making your “WHY” all about something super physical can lead you back to the same disordered thinking about your body…except this time you’re replacing the goal of weight loss with the goal of muscle gain. I want you to go into this new journey of yours with a new mindset – one that is focused on your mental well being FIRST. Got it?

Good luck on your new adventure Recovering My Power! You’ve got this! I believe in you!

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, I’m taking questions via text at 510-692-4556. Currently this only works for US and Canada. If you’re outside of those countries, you can leave a question below.

The Conversation (35)

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  • Trying to find a Happy Balance says:

    Dear Cassey,

    This year, while trying to lose weight and become fitter, I lost my period. I have functional hypothalamic amenorrhoea. Now I’m eating more, exercising less and have regained a lot of the weight. But it’s been 7 months and still no period. My doctor went through my blood reports and everything is normal. She said it would okay for me to wait longer as my body should be able to restart the cycle on its own. But I am afraid of regaining even more weight and going back to where I started (I was slightly overweight and unhappy with my fitness levels). Right now, my mental health is sufferring as I don’t know if I’m on the right path. My doc said it’s perfectly okay for me exercise and advised me to “do whatever feels right”. Truth is, I don’t really know what feels right anymore. I’ve been eating clean, healthy food (about 1500-1700 calories per day) but eating too much makes me bloated and feel terrible. I’ve stopped doing all the exercises I like in fear that they might be “stressing” my body too much. I am wondering if this has ever happened to you or if you have any advice on what I should do?

  • Holiday says:

    Cassie, I am looking for new workout shoes and am curious what some of your favorites are. Thanks!

  • CupcakesandStrawberries says:

    Dear Cassey, I am 22 year old and I have started practicing your workout videos regularly.I want to flatten those lower abs but I am unable to stretch my legs straight enough so am not sure if the workouts are effective enough due to the lack of flexibility.I want you to suggest some flexibility videos before I could do before starting the abs workout.Love you and you are such an inspiration. Stay safe and thanks for helping so many of us to love ourselves

    • Ariana says:

      Hey, I’m not Cassie, but I experienced something sort of similar to this recently. I felt like one of Cassie’s weekly workouts I was doing wasn’t hitting the right muscle because I wasn’t flexible enough. I was stressing too much about finding a stretch to help, so all I did was keep doing that workout. Week after week, I just did the exercise. It probably wasn’t actually helping me get stronger back then but doing that same move every week basically helped me get flexible enough to do it properly. I can do it now, and have gotten so much more flexible. Sorry this isn’t a video like you asked, and it might not work but I just thought I could let you know what worked for me. Stay well, and I wish you the best!

  • Earth Venus says:

    Dear Cassey,
    I’ve tried to get the motivation to work out and eat healthy and it works at first but i end up losing the motivation to keep going. When I tried to get the motivation I was starting to be motivated to keep going but slowly I started to stop working out and eating healthy. I wanted to know if you had any tips to keeping the motivation fire burning! thank you!!

    Sincerely,
    Earth Venus

    • Lisa says:

      Hey!

      Not cassie 😊

      A lot of women don’t realise that the week before their period their heart rate elevates, they crave loads of food and have loss in co ordination. This makes diet + exercise a nightmare. I guarantee you’re losing motivation once a month around that time. For me, this lasts around 4 days and I take a break from it all and eat crisps aha

  • Steffie says:

    Dear Cassey,
    My name is Steffie, and I am a 12 year old girl. I look skinny on the outside, but I have a lot of bloating. I really want your tips on how to reduce bloating, and what foods to avoid that causes bloating. I have watched YouTube videos about it, but nothing works!!! I really need your help Cassey.
    From Steffie

  • sharontototo says:

    Wow, I really appreciate that you’ve broken down recovery from an ED into attainable steps. Just thinking about how to get out of the negative cycle is overwhelming and this makes it a lot easier to process!

    Thank you!

  • PH says:

    Dear Cassey.
    In last 18 months I’ve lost more than 25kg because of akle injury. That injury made me think about food and portions and after my recovery I’ve started with daily worokuts. I am trying to eat healthy food and think about my body-needs. And I really enjoyng it and I love the energy that this food brings me. But there are days when I have some cravings for pizza or burger as a lunch or a small treat like something sweet or chips f.e. And I have no problem with eating this “unhealthy” food in a small amount. But after that I have that feeling that I need to exercise more or be more strict with food next because of that extra or bad caories because I have that worry that I can gain all that lost weight back. Do you have some advice please how to send this feeling away and enjoy these little tasty snacks?
    Thank you very much for you advices and your amazing videos.

  • Diet Disguise says:

    Dear Cassey,

    I have been eating 1200-1500 calories a day with 30c/40p/30f macros for the past few months and have been losing weight. Recently, I started becoming interested in learning about the food industry and having more plant-based meals. I have not had much problems meeting my calories as well as macro and micro nutrient targets, and I have been enjoying trying out different plant-based ingredients/recipes at home and in eateries. However, I read some studies and memoirs suggesting that veganism/vegetarianism can sometimes be a way for people with eating disorders to exert control over their food – in other words, it can be an eating disorder in disguise. While I don’t have an eating disorder per se as my BMI is healthy (though I am borderline underweight), I do think I have disordered eating as I don’t have a good mental relationship with food – I impose food rules (strict calorie counting and avoiding carbs) and experience guilt (when I break my rules or gain weight). Do you think veganism/vegetarianism is a form of implementing food rules (cutting out meat and dairy) and is it risky for me to pursue it?

  • KristianaG says:

    Hey Cassey! So my therapist today told me that one of my antidepressants can actually make me gain weight. I’ve been taking them since August and hopefully I’ll be done with them soon. I’ve been working out a lot, doing your calendar workouts, PIIT, going to fitness, and doing an Intemitten fasting. I haven’t gained a lot of weight, I think, because of that, but I want to lose weight, I want to lose 2 to 3kg and it’s just not working. I know it sounds silly, but I actually haven’t felt this comfortuble in my body in a very long time, and I don’t really want to gain anymore weight. So any advice? I know there are a lot of people who actually take different medications which make them gaing weight. Hopefully, you’ll give us some advice!thank you!

  • Hey. I’m an Obese I girl from India. I have been overweight almost all my life. A couple of years ago, because of travelling to a different place and the lifestyle change, I had lost about 20 kg of weight naturally. However, when I moved back to the city, because of the lifestyle here, I gained all of it back and some more.

    I have been just putting it on ever since no matter how much I try to workout and eat healthy. I am always tired and exhausted and never feel like I have the energy to work out.

    Can you give me some suggestions to feel more energetic, and some ways I can cross my setpoint weight.
    Or any suggestions at all to help with my situations.

    Thanks Cassey! Have been following your videos since u posted ur first one!!!

  • Nour says:

    How can I increase my appetite?

  • Kayt says:

    Hi Cassey, I know you have a lot of experience in this space but I just wondered if you are qualified to be giving advice around eating disorders? I feel this information should be coming from registered dietitians, nutritionists or psychologists who work in eating disorder recovery.

    • Annvic5 says:

      Katy,
      I think as a person who went through ED Cassey is a perfect person.each journey is different as you are not the same.I’m fighting ED for last 20 years with time being better and time when it’s really bad.Belive me I went for help and they didn’t do anything only blad test. It is to embarrassing for me to come back and talk about it especially when I’m 40 with two kids.i think we all should do whatever is good for us and seek help where we feel is right.Best wishes xx

    • risaa says:

      While this is definitely a valid concern, I think it’s important to recognize that the asker is already seeing a doctor and that the doctor cleared them to start working out again; what the asker is seeking is advice from someone who has been there and gotten over it—something a doctor might not be able to give, much in the same way AA is helpful. Hope this perspective eases your worries!

  • Kary says:

    Dear Cassey

    My question is, how do you deal with critisism being a young entrepreneur?

    I want to make an art school with offerings like dance, and music, and even pop pilates since i am already an instructor. I already am finishing my BA, have an admin certification and feel ready and have the passion for it. Yet people insist that i need to at least finish a master’s to do it.

    It’s not something that i want, and i honestly dont think i’ll do it because i want to follow my passion, but its so difficult not to mind sometimes what people say.

    Thankfully my family supports me, but my university advisors keep insisting that i am not organized or ready to take that step. I get that they have the best interest in me, but it’s getting annoying.

    I don’t know if you had a similar experience, since you created your buisness still being young. If you did, how did you dealed with it?

  • Charlotte says:

    The only question I have is if eating 1200 is considered under-eating. Some websites say it’s starving myself, some say it’s the diet I need to lose weight. I always feel full, but I don’t know if it’s enough fuel for my body.

    • Freya says:

      I was eating 1200 or under a couple years ago, and I was never hungry, I thought “if I’m not hungry, how can I be starving myself?” But I ‘ve since been through doctors and therapy and it became very very clear that 1200 is NOT enough. I’m not a doctor, and I know body types and experiences differ, but from what I know and experienced 1200 calories isn’t good for your body. It’s probably a good idea to consult a nutritionist and/or doctor. Good luck, look after yourself <3

  • Lynn says:

    There are so many of us suffering from EDs other here and who constantly yo-yo. I have to say it is something I am constantly ashamed of. I am sure many of you here are the same. Your life looks pretty amazing to others, but it is actually a rollercoaster of being top of the world but then also holed up in your room because you hate your body so much. I can’t talk to anyone about it. I don’t want sympathy and pity, but j just want it to stop. I workout, I eat, I party and work ‘normally’. But I can still not quite shake the ED, it comes in cycles (I am bullemic). It is really painful to have such a private illness. Thanks for this blog post Cassey, I will try to think of it the next time I am feeling really down.

    • Shawna says:

      The yo-yoing gets really intense sometimes. These tips are fabulous! Thank you 🙏

  • Pahanma Perera says:

    Dear Cassey, The question I have is the complete opposite of this post. Currently I’m under weight and I have been underweight for I guess my whole life. I don’t know to gain weight at all, it is a huge problem and feel that sooner or later it will cause me some serious illness. Can you please help me gain weight or tell me some exercises or diets I should follow in order to gain weight?

    • Apolline LT says:

      Hi,
      While I hope Cassey answers you, you should talk to a doctor or a dietician if you’re worried about it. Talk to someone who’s got a good reputation in the field, if you fear being misled or not taken seriously. But talk to a medical professional, it can really help.

  • Andrea says:

    Hi Cassey, I don’t like myself and I really dont want to change that. Do you have idea why I don’t want to change that and how I can start liking myself?

  • at the end of the day, we all live in a vein society. We want to look and feel better, and there’s nothing wrong with that! I think when you’re able to find the joy in the process of developing your dream body, then you’re on the right track. So if you want to achieve your dream body through hate, obligation, fear, and guilt, you’re going to feel miserable and fall back into old routines. However, if you pursue it from a place of Joy, excitement, love, forgiveness, and excitement, you are on the right path!

    Have fun with exercise!:D

  • Star dust says:

    I’m 15 and I am currently struggling with a binge eating disorder. Honestly, it started in 8th grade when I dieted, I forced myself not to eat to the point where my legs and my head was all fuzzy but, that didn’t stop me. It’s been about a year, and I can’t seem to enjoy food or the activities I like. Every time when I go to school I can talk to my friends like I used to, I’m scared they will think I gained weight. It’s silly, and I have watched a lot of recovery videos, but I just don’t know what to do first. I want to get better but I can’t find a will!

  • S. says:

    Hi Cassey,
    I just turned 18 and am finishing school. I feel like everything in my life is changing at the moment, it feels very overwhelming and stressful…
    This has caused my eating disorder to get a lot worse. I binge really large amounts of food everyday and I am starting to get scared, I just feel like I have bo control over what I eat or how much I eat.
    What can I do to stop binging?
    Love,
    S

  • Cheryl says:

    I overcame mine through auto-suggestion. I have been saying, “i love myself” repeatedly and that “I am responsible.” Made so much impact on my struggle to eat healthy and love myself more.

  • Melissa says:

    Something that has helped me is making my goals about what I can DO versus how I look or what I weigh. The first time I could get all the way through a teaser sequence in Pilates class I just about exploded with self pride! I had to also learn to embrace the journey. This is about me and my body, it doesn’t matter what anyone else’s journey looks like. This is MY journey. This is MY body. I celebrate with others freely when they accomplish something because their success is not a reflection on my journey. I practice gratitude for being able to move my body. I am here, I am alive, I am mobile. I am grateful. I am grateful. I am grateful. Gratitude changed everything for me.
    I wish you love and peace and confidence. ❤️🙏 You are a warrior.

  • X says:

    Dear Cassey,

    First of all u rlyyy motivate lotsss of usss and thank u for that♥️ Soooo i wanna ask u about food. My family is a rly unhealthy eaters. My mom cooks food that is very unhealthy and she always buys junkfood which makes me gain weight. How can i lose weight with all the junkfood and the unhealthy food around me? Oh ya and i have a gym membership but i dont go anymore cuz i get too lazy after eating the food my mom makes. And i have thought anout eating smth else that my fam but it didnt work. Cuz i love the food that my mom cooks but its sooo unhealthy. Or maybe it didnt work cuz i dont have good recipes? Idk… help plz.

    Kind regards
    X

  • Cara Kennedy says:

    Great post again Cassey! I’ve fortunately never had an ED, but the most powerful and constructive WHY that I’ve personally found for working out has been “to be happy” – while at the start of my fitness journey working out was something I dreaded, once I started exercising consistently I noticed how happy it actually makes me! When I’ve had a bad day, a workout can turn it around, and it also seems that working out can prevent some bad days in the first place by putting you in such a good mood to begin with! I use a fitness journal and note how I feel after working out – anyone recovering from an ED might not want to record anything else, but maybe noticing the effect on their mood will help! Good luck to everyone on their fitness journeys, I hope my comment helps you! (And while I’m here, thank you so much Cassey for everything you do. I’ve honestly thought so many times of writing you a letter, your YouTube channel has changed my life, no exaggeration at all. I was never fit my entire life, but then last summer I found your Summer Sculpt programme and it was a game changer. I was going through a breakup at the time and your videos helped keep me sane, develop a strong mindset, and build my confidence. It’s been nearly a year now but in that time you nearly wouldn’t recognize me because there’s been such a difference (and I don’t just mean physically) – I LOVE fitness now, and I’m so much healthier and happier. I watch your videos all the time and I’m a really huge fan. Keep up the amazing work, you’re making the world a better place!!)

  • Sharon says:

    This is a great message, and super important! When I catch myself having falling back into old habits, I step away from the scale, stop counting calories, etc, and just ask myself, “What sounds good right now?” And do whatever that is–a bike ride, some video games, a good book, or even just going into the kitchen and baking some pastry I’ve been wanting to veganize for a while (not that this has anything to do with veganism; it’s just a hobby of mine). The more I do things that I enjoy, the more things kind of just fall into place without me having to control everything. It has really helped repair my relationship with both food and my body. :)

  • Mandi says:

    I’m so glad you made this post because I’ve always struggled with this. From binge eating to starving myself to working out until I almost passed out or threw up. I’m trying to shift my mindset for the better and I have no idea what to do or where to start. I’ve only ever known the extremes, eating everything or nothing at all, I don’t even know what balance looks like. But this post is really helping me to understand where my mindset is going wrong ♥️

    • H. Banana says:

      I am also a bit of a (recovering) pendulum, having spent way too many years swinging from one side of self-destruction to the other. For me, food was just one of the indicators that I needed to put in some real work when it came to my self-worth. I hope you are able to get into a space of self-love (in spite of wider culture!) where showing your body care and respect becomes the norm, and that it helps you feel peaceful and happy! So many of us are out here right alongside you!

  • Katie Luciana says:

    I have been vegan for 6 years and my body is craving meat and eggs. I feel bad if I change my diet and I’m terrified I will put on allot of weight. It’s really hard not to think about putting on weight and being judged by people. But I love it when you post things like this because it’s so important to hear so thank you.

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