Do you feel that exercise is controlling your life?

Do you have the compulsion to exercise as a reaction to eating or experiencing guilty feelings? Perhaps you feel that you are exercising too often and for too long?

First Steps offers professional and supervised support for service users wanting to engage in healthy, non-compulsive exercise. We provide practical healthy exercise guidance, on a one-to-one basis, helping you to develop skills in a healthy and enjoyable way.

Potential Benefits for You:

  • Increased self-esteem and confidence
  • Improved quality of life and psychological well-being
  • Improved Bone Mineral Density
  • Less time spent exercising, providing more time to pursue other interests and to spend more time with family/friends
  • Reduced symptoms of depression
  • Reduced distorted feelings surrounding food and exercise
  • Improved fitness (both cardiovascular and muscular)

Recent studies have shown that the inclusion of guided physical activity and exercise sessions, which are both mindful and attentive, can help to challenge unhealthy exercise behaviours and help support an recovery from compulsive exercise.

If you are interested in accessing this service or for more information, please contact us on 01332 367571 or


“I have struggled with bulimia for a number of years but it wasn’t until 2010 I actually started to take control and seek additional support to help me recover. I have tried a number of different therapies tried working with different people to help me recover of which I have had some success. However there has been one area I never really looked at or was a concern and that was my exercise. It was normal for me the amount I was doing but looking back I was just using it to avoid dealing with situations.

When I first met Marc he was quite loud and very enthusiastic which was great although I found it difficult to have the same level of enthusiasm to start with and I was up for trying something new. I initially completed the LEAP program which provided me a safe environment to try different coping skills out. It was hard I cheated I restrict if I had a lighter day exercising and tried to find ways around things for the first few weeks. After a while I realised that I needed to actually stop this and challenge things, I hated myself for this but it did get easier and now I am able to challenge this even if sometimes I am not successful it’s about how I deal with the situation after and get back on track.

The gym sessions:
I agreed to try this and yes I was scared and it wasn’t till later I was like what have I done?! How can I do this, what can I wear I so used to covering myself up and hiding under a coat or jumper but now I going into a gym?! Which is strange as I do teach group exercise classes at a local gym?
The first session I was nervous had lots of different thoughts going through my head, what are we going to do? What do I wear? I like to be in control so actually letting someone else structure a session for me was hard and throughout the session I wanted less rest and just to push it more. Over the last few weeks I have managed to accept and trust that what I am being asked to do is fine it is enough in that session and you don’t need to spend loads time each session at the gym. I had different tasks to work on between sessions to help me challenge my thoughts and beliefs sometimes it’s worked others it’s not but I guess I slowly accepting that recovery isn’t perfect there will be good days and bad days but its how I deal with them. It’s still hard taking a day off from exercise but I am able to do this and challenge myself more around this area.

I now have a little more time to myself as I do have a day off and that’s a big step for me.
I would recommend this to people as it allows you to focus on different aspects and I personally found I been more open about things than if I not been doing a practical session.”

Service User, May 2015