An uber fit lady I met in Germany, let’s call her Rebecca, used to run twice a day and lift twice a day during the week. On the weekends it was three times a day. She would exercise through pain, blisters and an upset stomach. “All I thought about was working out and nothing else seemed to matter,” said Rebecca, who lost 38 pounds in three months in 2003. “I was tired and sore but that didn’t stop me. I wasn’t sleeping and eating well. I ate a piece of fruit in the morning and maybe a bagel for dinner. My immune system was off as well.”
What are the warning signs?
- Exercising a couple of times a day, two to five hours total.
- Counting calories in order to figure what exercise you need to do to burn them.
- Rearranging your day in order to fit in exercise.
- When your daily routine or cycle is disrupted by a constant need to exercise above all else and you will stop whatever it is you are doing, no matter how important, to exercise.
- You view food as the enemy.
- Exercise becomes your sole social activity.
Rebecca says she is more balanced these days. She’s in a steady relationship and her weight has been stable for 12 months. She has been prescribed medication for depression and anxiety. She exercises three to four times a week and has now incorporated pilates and yoga to build mental strength. “I feel much more in control and not like I’m running all of the time chasing whatever,” she said. “I did see a doctor and got some help, eventually listened to people who kept telling me the same thing but I was too hardheaded to listen. Any kind of addiction and obsession is bad and can really disrupt your quality of life.”
Are you or someone you know addicted to exercising? We are here to help. We can set you up on a more moderate workout plan and help you monitor the above signs of exercise addiction.
By Grace Selwitschka, Elite Sports Club-North Shore Certified Personal Trainer & Group Exercise Instructor