When fitness becomes an obsession

I have always enjoyed fitness, even at a young age. When I was a kid you could either find me outside climbing trees, helping on my grandpa’s farm, or just running around. I was never one to want to stay inside. That eventually carried into my teenage years with sports. I participated in track & field, swimming, cross-country, and power lifting, but my favorite was track & field. There were times when I probably should have not participated but my competitive nature would always take over. I ended up getting bad stress fractures in both of my shins during my junior year of high school, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from running. I remember breaking down and crying to my coach during multiple practices because my legs hurt so bad that I could barely walk. Did that stop me during race days? Unfortunately no. I would load up on an unhealthy amount of anti-inflammatories and run like I wasn’t injured.

Now in hindsight, do I think my controlling, competitive, and perfectionist nature resonated in my love for fitness, ah, YUP! If you would have asked me that question a couple of years ago, I would have, with all the confidence in the world, said no. I was in complete denial as to how my eating disorder tendencies shifted over to my love of fitness. I had gone through quite some hardships during my early 20’s which completely turned me off of any form of physical activity. I had gained weight during that time and lost any and all motivation to try and get healthy. I had tried countless times before to start running again but every time I tried I would fail. I failed because I wasn’t performing how I knew I could. I had completely lost touch in what hard work and dedication truly was. Deep down I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but my need to be perfect at everything on the first try kept sending me backwards.

After years of this, I finally got the courage to start crossfit. I had tried two different gyms before I found one that seemed to resonate with me. I was drawn in the moment I stepped foot in that door. Crossfit literally fed my need and desire for competition. I was hooked from the get go, and that’s all it took for the obsession to take over. Now I started out like someone who was doing it to get back into shape by going 3-4 times a week, but that quickly escalated as I found that I was good at it. I eventually ended up doing crossfit 6-7 days a week and working out twice a day. My disordered thoughts went from my end goal originally being to lose weight and did a complete 180 degrees towards gaining as much muscle as I possibly could. And I did just that. All my thoughts went towards crossfit. What I ate in a day went towards crossfit. How much sleep I got went towards crossfit. The only things I shopped for went towards crossfit. My social life went towards crossfit. And my relationship with my husband went towards crossfit. Every morning I woke up from dreaming about what my workout(s) would be for that day. I would go to the 6am group session every Monday-Friday and do the main workout at home on Saturday and/or Sunday. Everything I ate in the day went to building muscle, upon muscle, upon muscle. While at work I was thinking about what workout I was going to do later that night. Once I got home I would workout and then make sure I got to bed in time to make certain I got enough sleep for crossfit the next day. While I am writing this, I sound like a crazy person! My husband definitely saw what control this obsession over fitness had consumed me with, but I did not listen. I kept telling myself I was fine. I was eating, so in my mind my eating disorder was nowhere in sight. Little did I realize, that evil being had taken over once again. It literally sucks your soul dry. It is like a parasite living inside of you and it’s only goal in life is survival, even if that means the parasite kills the host in the end.

Well, in January 2016, my crossfit days came to a screeching halt. I had injured my back two other times before during crossfit but I was able to bounce back within a couple of days. This time was different. This time I did not bounce back within a couple of days, a couple of weeks, months, or even a year. It has now been 2 years and I am still recovering from the damage I caused. The only real form of exercise that I can do right now is walking. I have always believed things happen for a reason and I wholeheartedly believe that my back injury ‘needed’ to happen. I would have just kept trying to find this perfect body that I would have never loved. Who knows what it would have taken to get me to stop if it wasn’t for my back injury 2 years ago. Now, did I realize this little blessing in disguise right away. Definitely not. It took almost that first full year after my injury to make that connection. It was a year of emotional ups and downs (mostly downs) and me trying to continue to workout through the pain. It was high school track & field all over again. In the end, I finally listened to my body and just stopped. I cut out the world of fitness cold turkey, and I do not regret it one bit.

I am writing about this topic because I read so many stories on social media about girls getting sucked into the fitness realm. They easily start at just trying to look better in a bikini which quickly escalates to bikini competitions and carries over in becoming a fitness model. The unhealthy relationship with food and exercise takes over, and more times than not, ends up with their body shutting down. Now I am not saying that working out is horrible and you should never do it again. That is far from the truth. Incorporating some form of exercise in your daily life is just one way in leading a healthier lifestyle. The important part of fitness is going to be what the true motivators are behind why you do it. Now for some, it might mean going for a morning walk. For others, it might mean training for a marathon. Both forms of fitness are perfect for the unique individual in those scenarios. But, if you are finding that the idea of fitness consumes your every waking and sleeping moment, then you probably should take a second look as to what your true motivations are. To be honest with you guys, I am still trying to find that healthy balance. Every day that goes by I know I am coming closer and closer to living a balanced lifestyle. I love on the weekends, when the weather is actual nice, to go out early in the morning and just walk on the trail. There is almost never anyone else there and it is just me and nature. That’s what I love. 

I would love to hear your stories on fitness and what you have found that works best for you! Please comment below or email me directly at katie@joyfulbeets.com

4 thoughts on “When fitness becomes an obsession

  1. Nicole Hanson says:

    Thanks for sharing your story Katie 🙂 Inspires me to do some journaling of my own and work out a few things I’ve been putting off sorting through. Time to clean out the emotional closet I guess 🙂

    Like

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