Lies. Why I REALLY exercised excessively.
People used to ask me,
“Why do you exercise so much?“
Here are some of the lies I used to tell:
I’m getting ready for a race.
It helps me reduce my stress.
I really love it.
I don’t workout that much…
The weather is so nice, I just have to.
It makes me feel great.
It’s my job.
This amount may be “a lot” for a regular person, but I’m highly conditioned, so I have to do more to get the same effect…
And on and on and on…
Identifying the lies you tell yourself is critical if you also want to identify the TRUTH about why you exercise excessively.
When I look over my list of lies, I’m filled with a cold nostalgic sense of shame, loneliness, and frustration.
Why did I feel a need to tell these lies? The initial and most simple answer?
I believed them.
The more complicated answer?
I needed them.
Huge amounts of effort went into the rationalization and construction of the belief system that sustained my exercise addiction. I needed to believe these lies in order to focus myself on doing what I believed needed to be done.
But what was I seeking? What was the result I wanted from all of this effort and work?
All I really wanted was to feel empowered, to be good at something, and to know for certain that people loved me and looked up to me.
It seemed like having a killer body and performing athletic feats was my ticket to get the things I wanted. I was skilled in the areas of sports and science. So, why not put my skills to use.
Alas, it was no use. Even once I had the fit body and the athletic performance, I still didn’t feel I had achieved the things I really wanted.
My target kept moving.
Discovering the truth about why you exercised excessively will empower you to do something about it.
The truth? Well, it was complicated. But here are a few of the major REAL reasons:
To earn food.
To burn calories or assuage the guilt I felt from eating.
To relieve anxiety.
To add structure to my day.
To make me feel good/right/better/safe.
To make me special or unique.
To have something that mattered in my life.
To keep me away from potentially intimate or vulnerable situations such as dinner parties, dates with friends, etc.
To provide boundaries and rules around my life.
The next question that naturally comes up is WHY?
Looking back, I theorize that I was both chemically and emotionally dependent on exercise.
Physiologically, I would experience high levels of anxiety, an electric sensation racing through my body, restlessness, and great amounts of muscle tightness if I didn’t workout. My body cried out for the endorphin and cortisol kick from each workout.
Also, I didn’t have the emotional intelligence or the support network of close relationships to rely on in order to manage my emotions.
So I used exercise.
I hadn’t learned healthy ways to set limits and establish boundaries in my life.
I hadn’t learned how to say “no” and instead I used exercise as a way to do so.
Lastly, I hadn’t solidified an internal sense of self-worth or value, a belief that I was good enough and OK just being me.
So, instead I looked to exercise and the creation of an ideal body as a way to feel worthwhile.
““We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves.” ― Malcolm X”. http://bit.ly/YUqo2r
Now I want to turn this post to you:
– Do you struggle with being honest with yourself or the people around you about the amount you exercise?
– What do you find most challenging?
Share this post and leave me a note in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
Also, if you’ve been through the detox phase of exercise reduction, I’d love to hear all about your experience. Share it with us and help others!