(Closed) Fitness Obsession?

posted 8 years ago in Fitness
Post # 3
Member
2392 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I don’t think I’m quite to that point, but I do think that my almost-compulsive need to exercise is an occasional strain on our relationship.  I do work out every day (barring severe illness, sudden emergencies, days spent entirely in transit, etc) and it drives my fiance a little nuts sometimes when he wants to hang out wtih me or do something and I’m ditching him for the gym.  It used to be worse – compulsive to the point where finding out his grandfather was in the hospital was driving me nuts because I missed my run.  I’ve worked on my compulsiveness, and he realizes that it takes up a reasonable amount of time and is important for me, but I could easily see how it could cause more severe strain.

There was an article in the Wall Street Journal recently about triathletes, ultra-marathoners, and other serious exercisers and the families they left behind to train.  I think sometimes we venerate exercise to the point where people don’t feel like they’re being selfish if they’re spending three hours a day training even if that is time away from their family.

Post # 4
Member
3521 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

I think there’s a basic obsession with the “perfect” body, especially in the US–if you’re female and have a little extra meat on your bones, curves and soft flesh instead of defined muscles, etc. there tends to be a bit of discrimination and some people don’t think you’re as attractive as that girl with the four-pack and no fat on her hips and butt. I’ve never met anyone so obsessed with working out that it’s messed up relationships, though.

Post # 6
Member
2392 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@seattlemeg:  It’s 1-2 weeks old, on wsj.com.  PM me if you can’t find it… I may be able to email it to you if you have no luck tracking it down.

Getting from compulsive to habitual exercise was definitely a huge challenge and I won’t say I’m 100% there, but I’m much, much better than I was.  There were also some eating issues tied up in that, so it really took a huge change in my overall approach to my body, health, and body image in general to get off that path.  I pretty much had to shut down all thoughts of exercise or food as a moral issue – anyone who refers to skipping a workout or eating dessert as “bad” in my presence gets a glare and a reminder that it’s not like they’re robbing old people or kicking the homeless.  I’ve also had to tune out the messages about what we “should” and “shouldn’t” do and focus on listening to my body and letting myself be healthy whether that means running intervals or going back to sleep.

I think what’s really, really hard to deal with about compulsive exercise is the fact that regular exercise is great for you – so great that there’s all these “exercise more, do it harder, every single day” messages out there so even if it’s to the point of addiction and interference in your life, it’s still being encouraged.

Having a fiance who reminds me not to get obsessive is helpful, though I’m a little jealous.  I keep trying to get my guy to hit the gym with me because I love the gym and running and love spending time with him, but between time constraints and ankle pain, it rarely happens.

As far as body image, I think that the standards are shifting and vary a lot by subculture, region, etc.  I am a lot healthier living in Northern California than I was in New York, because in New York disordered behavior was so normal.  The standard of what women should look like was so extreme.  I think people will give you crap no matter what your size, which totally sucks.  While there’s this weird idea a lot of people have that it’s okay to criticize someone’s body if they’re skinny (um, it’s not), I still think the discrimination is way, way worse for heavier people. 

Post # 8
Member
288 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I  can see how it can become addicting. I am a very active person. I have ran marathons, and for the last 2.5 years have been playing roller derby.  I can’t imagine not being able to go to the gym or skate some laps at the rink. Growing up my Dad always said working out is not something you do on occasion, it’s a lifestyle. For a while I was working out twice a day. I would go to the gym here at work, run 5 miles and then go to the 24 hour fitness on my way home after work and workout. You become like an adrenaline junky. It’s all the endorphines that get you feeling good. Someone once said to me “workingout doesn’t take away form your time, it adds to it. When you get home you don’t want to sit and watch TV, you want to clean and do your household chores. You have the energy to do it all!” It is so true, at least for me. I feel so much better after a good workout. If I don’t work out for 2 days in a row, i start to feel anxious, like something is wrong. I know it’s weird, but I get this nervous energy about me, all I need to do is go work it out and I feel much better. My workouts are retty intense. If I don’t feel the burn, then I’m not working out. I have a friend who makes fun of me. If I ever invite someone to go work out with me she call it my initiation for my frineds. If they can hang, then we can hang. It a twisted way, she’s right. That’s why I love roller derby so much, it’s an aggresive, full contact sport and it gets my adrenaline and endorphines going. On a good week I  practice 6 hours a week and I go to they gym at least another 4-8 hours a week outside of practice.

Post # 9
Member
3521 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

@seattlemeg: I remember the “you’ll break!” comments, and sort of miss them, rofl. Maybe it’s just something I’ve been more sensitive to because I’ve filled out since I was 19–hips, chest, butt, etc. I’ve had a few people tell me I need to work out and lose the weight I’ve put on or Darling Husband will no longer be attracted to me because he proposed to a skinny girl. Ugh. I’m not overweight by any means, though, so even women who fall into the “average-or-a-little-smaller-than-average” category get some mean comments at times. I’m just tired of being told I’m not sexy if I don’t have a perfectly flat stomach.

Post # 10
Member
2820 posts
Sugar bee

I enjoy exercizing and do it everyday and when I’m really fit my body gets antsy if I don’t exercise.  My husband is the same way but I don’t think either of us is obsessive.

My relationship before my husband was a bit strained possibly because of it but he had an obsessive desire to watch sports on TV, I spent way less hours exercising and playing sports then he did watching sports on TV and his argument that it was easier for us to spend time together watching TV than it would be to go and work out together just rang hollow to me.  It’s different strokes for different folks, if you’re not hurting yourself and you enjoy it than more power to you.

Post # 11
Member
2392 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@tinarenee77:  Ack… it scares me to even hear people talk about working out twice a day because there’s still that little “you’re not doing enough” voice but at the same time I know I’m already pushing my body to the edge in terms of giving it recovery time.  I DEFINITELY feel you on the not feeling like you’re working out if you’re not going hard enough.  I still get the twitchy feeling if I skip a couple days in a row, but the turning point for me when I realized this was NOT a good thing was when we got a call that my fiance’s grandfather was in the hospital as I was about to go to the gym.

This was serious business, they’re very close (fortunately his grandpa recovered) and here I was worrying about missing a run.

I am totally jealous of the roller derby.  I really want to try roller derby or rugby but my fiance is against it because he thinks I’ll get myself seriously injured.  Psshw, I play full contact coed frisbee (ok, I play regular ultimate frisbee and am a klutz who runs into dudes a lot).

@seattlemeg:  Thanks.  I’m proud of the steps I’ve made, but know that just like exercise is a lifelong thing, so is keeping the desire to exercise too much in check.  When I first started running, I did it every day to make sure I didn’t fall off the wagon… after 9 days in a row, I couldn’t even walk.  So, YES, definitely running every day does not equal taking care of your body.  Totally with you there.

Ugh east coast image stuff.  I resisted spending money on fashion and clothes but still felt really vain and consumed with trying to get my body to look a certain way.  Maybe part of it was being 24 and single vs 28 and engaed, but part of me is scared of moving back (which we might in a couple years) because there is something about the competitiveness and the beauty standards that was really destructive.

Post # 12
Member
3 posts
Wannabee

I know it’s weird but I can’t help it!

Post # 13
Member
3 posts
Wannabee

it truely is something.

Post # 14
Member
1890 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

I immediately thought of that article (“A workout ate my marriage”) when I read the original post, and I’m glad someone mentioned it.  I think exercise addiction, like any addiction, is defined by how it affects your life.  If you are able to live a normal life, balancing your exercise regime with work and personal relationships, then I’d say you are not an exercise addict.  However, when your desire to work out all the time outweighs other important things in your life and starts to negatively impact your relationships, your body, your mind, or your job, then it’s an addiction.

One good thing I took from the CNN article is that if both partners are really into working out, it does not have a bad impact on the marriage–in fact, it can be a good thing since you’re motivating eachother.  Fiance and I have both been dieting and exercising (though definitely not excessively) for the wedding, and I feel like it’s motivational that we are both striving for the same goals.

Post # 15
Member
288 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

Working out with your partner is key, not everyday, but often. My Fiance and I go to a bootcamp class twice a week. it’s part of our routine together. I love that we can work out together and enjoy the time together. We’re both very active so excercise is an imprtant part of our relationship. We are currently training for a half marathon.

Post # 16
Member
4682 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

When I was in high school, I was obsessed with being skinny, specifically weighing 110 or less. I counted calories and deprived myself. College was a different environment, and I started eating. I gained about 20 my freshman year and a few more later, but fortunately they went to my boobs and hips. Getting used to and appreciating my curves was difficult, but I did adjust.

I managed to stay around 135 after graduating, though even that weight is hard for me to maintain (I love to eat). Unfortunately, I had an injury this weekend, and in the stress of it and other stuff, I’ve gained still more. 

 

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