"Are you an 'exercise-aholic' ?" Do you just have a healthy love for exercise or has it crossed the line to an exercise addiction? I realize my core audience so I know I may be stepping on a few toes, but it's a question that all us exercise geeks have to ask ourselves at one point or another. I'll admit, there were times during my weight loss journey where in trying to break a weight loss plateau my life revolved around exercise. I would wake up to exercise early in the morning and hurry home after work to get another session in. And of course I wasn't about to take the weekend off! We're talking 7 days a week, baby! It was crazy! I'm a firm believer in making time for exercise in your schedule no matter how busy that schedule may be, but there was a point where I was basically living to exercise and not actually living! I had to take a step back and re-evaluate my situation. There comes a point where no matter what results you may be seeing from excessive exercise, it's just not worth it! And you know what the funny part of this story is? All that extra exercising I was doing never really helped break my plateau! I'm sure it revved my metabolism a little but I actually think I was doing more harm to my body than helping. My plateau eventually broke, when it wanted to, like they always do (for all those going through a plateau now, have faith in knowing it WILL brake eventually, you really can't rush it, sometimes your body just does what it wants to do, when it wants to do it).
- If you find yourself missing work, skipping out early, using your lunch break to run to the gym, missing out on family activities just to run to the gym (or your living room for my fitness dvd fans out there) and exercise you might be a little obsessed.
- Another sure sign of exercise obsession is if you start feeling a lot of guilt because you missed a workout. Face it, stuff happens; life happens, and there is nothing wrong with missing a day.
- If you start to find yourself on the borderline of having financial problems just because you could not do without that special piece of exercise equipment, new designer workout clothes, or the latest new fitness dvd, it is definitely time to rethink your priorities.
Still unsure whether you're addicted to exercise or not? I found a very helpful quiz in a book called Appearance Obsession: Learning to Love the Way You Look by Joni E. Johnston, Psy. D., check it out!
Answer True or False to the following questions.
- The way my body looks to me depends on whether I have exercised that day or not.
- I often exercise when I have an injury or don’t feel well.
- For one year or longer, I have exercised five or more times a week for one hour or more.
- I feel depressed and/or irritable if I miss exercising for three days or more.
- I find myself continually adding newer and stricter goals to my exercise routine.
- I will dramatically alter my schedule in order to work out.
- I feel anxious if I miss even one workout.
- At times I have used exercise to avoid dealing with work or relationship problems.
- I often feel like I hate my exercise routine, but feel unable to stop it.
- I exercise primarily for weight control and muscle tone.
- I keep detailed records or logs of my workout sessions.
- It would be very difficult for me to change my exercise. (For example, if you are a runner, you would be unwilling to switch or alternate with aerobic dance or bicycling.)
- I frequently find myself thinking about exercising in between workouts.
- While I am exercising, I often find myself daydreaming about the possibility of a “new, improved” physique.
0-3: You are normally in control of your exercise schedule. Like many of us, you may at times have mixed feelings about your exercise schedule – sometimes enjoying it, sometimes not. It may be helpful to assess your exercise motivation to see how “looking good” fits in. However, your answers suggest that you are not presently at risk for overexercising.
4-6: You are in the borderline range of overexercise. It will be important to assess your exercise behavior to see how it may be affecting other areas of your life. Even if it is not, your pattern of responses suggests that you are not getting a lot of enjoyment out of your current exercise pattern.
7 or more: You are likely to depend on exercise for a sense of self-worth. This dependency may cause problems in other areas of your life, or you may be feeling like exercise is controlling you rather than the other way around.