There is no doubt that there are plenty of great health benefits to exercising and moving your body on a regular basis. Being committed to a fitness routine is often seen as a virtue, and those of us who work out regularly are consistently praised for our discipline and work ethic. If something is good, then more must be better, right? Not necessarily the case. Exercise can be a slippery slope, especially for those who struggle with body image–and let’s be honest–so many of us do. So how can you tell if your “healthy” addiction to exercise may be spiraling out of control? Here are a few red flags to watch out for.
1.You feel the need to adhere to a specific routine day after day, and feel that your workout “doesn’t count” if you didn’t exercise for a certain amount of time, burn a set amount of calories, or complete specific exercises.
2. You never ever take a day off, and if you are forced to, you feel extremely guilty, anxious, or irritable.
3. You feel the need to turn your workouts and food intake into a math equation. i.e.-Needing to work out so that you can “earn” more calories to eat later.
4.You pull two or three a day workouts. Especially ones that don’t make logical sense. It’s one thing to take a yoga class to cool down and stretch after running or lifting weights, or to ride your bike to a dance class on a nice day. If you’re an athlete you may be doing some cross-training to compliment your sport, and that’s ok too. But if you are taking double dips of the same type fitness class, or doing a second workout even though you are spent from the first one, it might be worth re-examining your motives for doing so.
5.You severely sacrifice sleep to get your workout in. I’m talking about setting your alarm to get up after 5 hours of sleep to get to your 6am spin class.
6. You find yourself lying about your workout schedule because deep down you know your habits are a little extreme. Your family and friends would be concerned if they knew what you were actually doing.
7. Your workout schedule is causing you to miss out on your life. You miss out on holidays & social events because the thought of skipping out on the gym gives you way to much anxiety.
9. You exercise no matter how sick or injured you might be. #noexcuses
10. You do exercises you absolutely hate (not love-hate) because you think they are the only effective ones. You fear what might happen if you didn’t do them.
11. You have to do more and more to maintain your current shape and size, or you actually find yourself gaining weight in spite of your consistent compliance with your workout routine.
12. Instead of making you feel strong and energized, your current fitness routine leaves you feeling fatigued and drained. You may find yourself getting sick more often too.
Did you see a bit of yourself in any of these descriptions?
It’s pretty normal if you did (unfortunately). The truth is, a lot of us do at least some of these things some of the time. I used to do all of the above, and still find myself slipping into my old ways if I’m not mindful. Loosening the reins on exercise addiction can be quite a process. Especially when you genuinely enjoy being active. Being dedicated to working out is seen as a desirable trait in our culture. It CAN be healthy to get your sweat on regularly. The important thing to recognize is when you have crossed the line into an unhealthy relationship with exercise. That can be really messy, and only you can decipher that for yourself. It’s a little different for all of us, but I encourage you start to notice how often these tendencies start to show up in your life. Then you can decide if you’d like to start to unpack these habits–either on your own or with a professional. Regardless of what you choose, the first step to finding a healthier mindset around fitness is acknowledging those harmful thoughts and actions when they occur.
Do you secretly struggle with body image even though everyone knows you as being the “fit” or “healthy” one? Did you ever wonder why you are doing everything “right” in terms of your health and fitness but just not seeing the results you want? I’ve got a list of 10 good reasons that you may not have considered. Want it?