Hi friends! I am back with another post that reflects NEDAwareness week!
This topic has been floating around in my head for months and I hope that I am able to articulate it well. Please see that I am not here to judge anyone as this is something that used to haunt me many years ago. I have learned a LOT over the years about what works for me, and what a healthy approach to exercise is. Some days, I feel like I am learning those lessons over and over again.
One area of eating disorder awareness that I never really heard about till recently is over exercising. That is right! You can exercise too much! And it is not good for your health!
In the health and fitness field I often see this type of exercise praised. Praise for running so many miles, or running them fast, working out for multiple hours, double or triple classes, teaching and extensive amount of classes, overuse of weights which leads to poor form, working out through sickness and/or injury.
“Chronic extreme endurance efforts, like marathons, ultra-marathons, and long-distance triathlons, can cause cardiovascular damage over time,” says researcher James H. O’Keefe, MD, director of preventive cardiology at the Mid America Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Health System, Kansas City. (Source)
Don’t get me wrong, not every person who works out intensely or is a long distance runner has an eating disorder or exercise addiction, but I do know that more than you would think actually do.
I was once praised for my own efforts. (“Wow, you workout so much!” “I am so imspired by your workouts.” “I wish I had that discipline!”) At the time I could not see it as anything bad. It was another part of my disorder that I felt would help me, but in reality it ended up hurting me. I don’t want to go into a lot of details about it, but the combination of lack of fuel and x amount of hours at the gym left me feeling defeated, sick, injured and it almost killed me. And people continued to praise me.
I am thankful that I have come to a place of peace and freedom with my workouts. I love that I can workout several times a week, doing a variety of workouts, enjoy my rest days, refuel my body appropriately, and if I miss a workout, I don’t feel constant anxiety like I once did. It has been a LONG process, and I am proud of the work I have done to come to this place!
Knowing what I know, and the experiences I have had, there are some things on social medial that make me cringe. Again, these are not ALL bad, but I can see how they can lead to something dangerous. They are certain hashtags. The hashtags themselves are not dangerous, but what they can represent! #NeverMissaMonday #NoExcuses #BeatYesterday #FitnessAddict#gymjunkie #beachbody #proovethemwrong
It is not unhealthy to be committed to fitness, but please remember that you are worth having a healthy relationship with your body and to love what it does for you.
If you feel you may be struggling with this, please reach out! I am always here to talk!
You are LOVED and WORTHY of freedom in health!
May you be filled with joy and health!