Daily Archives: April 3, 2011

Addicted to Exercise?

Good afternoon! My attempts at doing homework today have been a large fail. After lunch, I drove my car to my favorite location to do work, Barnes and Noble, and managed to take fall asleep in my car for a half hour before waking up to the sound of someone’s car alarm going off next to me.

I have finally moved my bum into Barnes and Noble to do work, but I am writing this post instead because it is a topic that I need to talk about, especially after I am feeling today! This is my story of compulsive exercising and is on my mind right now. I am taking a “rest” from working out today and I am flooded with anxiety.

I like to think of myself as an athlete. What defines someone as an “athlete” depends on the opinion of the person you are asking. I consider myself one because I work very hard to stay in shape, usually have a specific fitness goal in mind, and participate in running races and triathlons to prove the physical ability I have worked so hard to attain.

There are days that training is exhausting. Tempo runs and interval work, difficult strength training day, and even those that are both mentally and physically tiring because your mind is simply not into the workout and need to recover. These are the days where listening to your body is vital, it asking you to take a break. Recovery and rest days are the major component to a successful, healthy performance.

During recovery, our bodies replenish energy stores and repair tissues that have been damaged during physical activity. This is how muscles are built up and toned, and how a person’s endurance is improved. Without sufficient time to repair, the body will continue to breakdown from intensive exercise and can lead you very susceptible to injuries. This seems pretty obvious; if you feel a twinge of pain in your knee and continue to run on it, the pain will get much worse and could leave you with an even worse injury.

It doesn’t matter if you are a professional athlete, a person who workouts out every so often, a casual runner with no specific goal in mind, everyone needs to rest once in awhile! Makes sense right? Well, I need to listen to my own preaching on this!

This morning I woke up around 9:15 after getting about 10 glorious hours of sleep. After that amount of time I should have felt refreshed and roaring to get my day started. Instead, my alarm went off and I felt as I often do, sleepy and my whole body is exhausted from the workout the day before. Despite this physical feeling, I did my usual routine of coffee and breakfast and was getting ready for a run. Knowing the importance of a rest day and fighting against my own thoughts, allowed me to realize how much I didn’t want to run. It would have been “junk” miles, a distance pounded out with no benefit physically or mentally. I texted my friend Danielle instead and we went for an “easy” walk, which turned out to be 5 miles up and down hills. This is what I consider a rest day.

Getting what I consider to be enough exercise is something I achieve most days of the week. In my crazy mind, doing some kind of physical work for at least 60 minutes is necessary and 80 minutes is even better. Sometimes I will do a combination of things to meet this time criteria, running, spinning, elliptical, plyometrics, strength training, fitness classes, etc. For example during cross-country season, I would do about 40-50 minutes on the elliptical in the morning, and then practice later that day.

I have felt that it is no longer a choice, but an obligation. What is the fear behind this? Gaining weight of course! Without this exhausting amount of hard-core exercise every day, I will balloon, and lose everything I have worked so hard to achieve! For example, during last summer, the peak of my disordered eating, it was easy to mask my long runs, and two-a-day workouts with the excuse that I was training for the upcoming cross-country season. Although partly true, I was trying to keep my weight down/lose some. Here is the irrational side of my brain taking over the part I know that is not true. I have become addicted to exercise and become very anxious, uncomfortable and upset if I do not complete the “necessary” amount of exercise per day, at least 60 minutes of strenuous activity.

I know I meet the criteria of a compulsive exerciser, someone who feels they need exercise to maintain a peace of mind.

Warning Signs of a Compulsive Exerciser (Source)

  • You force yourself to exercise even if you don’t feel well- Check.
  • You almost never exercise for fun- Check.
  • Every time you exercise, you go as fast or hard as you can- Check.
  • You experience severe stress and anxiety if you miss a workout- Check.
  • You miss family obligations because you have to exercise- Check.
  • You calculate how much to exercise based on how much you eat- Check.
  • You can’t relax because you think you’re not burning calories- Check.
  • You worry that you’ll gain weight if you skip exercising for one day- Check!

Back to this morning, I took a 5-mile walk with my friend and was earlier contemplating going to the gym because I didn’t think a walk was enough. It is and it was a fabulous walk with my friend! But I can honestly say I cannot remember the last time I have not exercised, but it’s been YEARS.

Realizing how compulsive/messed up this is, I have forced myself to do no more activity the rest of the day. However, now the thoughts that I don’t need to eat as much food are creeping in. I mean why not just restrict a bit, then I will feel better, some of the suffocating exhausting will lessen. I mean obviously if I eat the same way as other days, I will gain weight. NO, this is not true! I must fight this, as backing off once in a while is NECESSARY. I need to scream this to myself to get it through my sometimes-thick head!

So how can I recover from this? It is a process, and “practicing what I preach” is certainly necessary. If I want to be the best athlete I can be, I need to rest, but can this be done with the suffocating anxiety that comes along with it?

One thing during the walk that did brighten my day was the first flowers I have seen of the season! Warm weather is on it’s way 🙂

I would love to hear suggestions, hints, and help from anyone on this subject! Can people relate, or perhaps once were able to?

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Filed under Confession, Disorded Thoughts, Disordered Eating, Exercise, Friends, Recovery, Serious Stuff, Uncategorized, Weight

Dinner With Dad

Hello my friends, I am loving this sunny weather today, despite it being Sunday….

Last night I had a dinner date with my dad in Northampton 😀 My dad Jim, only lives about 50 minutes from my school, so meeting up with him is fairly easy as neither of us have to travel too far. I had not seen him in awhile so I was very excited about my Saturday night plans, as opposed to my usual ones that involve staying in!

After driving around for literally 20 minutes trying to find a parking spot, I finally SNAGGED one and met up with my dad right at 7:00. We were dining at my favorite restaurant in Northampton, Osaka! Japanese food is among my favorites when I go out to eat so I was psyched we decided on there.

Osaka specializes in creating amazing sushi rolls and they also have hibachi for party and group gatherings. I have tested a number of sushi restaurants in the area, and this is by far my favorite one with the food always tasting so fresh!

We started the meal with miso soup and edamame

 

Daddy!

Then it was time for the main part of the meal, Sushi of course!

I am all about the raw stuff when it comes to sushi, so I ordered a combination plate of various kinds of sushi and sashimi and it also came with a california roll. This was so so delicious, fresh, and simply great! All of the flavors were very distinct for each type of fish, I think the salmon was my favorite!

My dad ordered the Volcano Roll, “tuna, white tuna, salmon, yellowtail and king crab with chef’s special sauce on the side.” I didn’t try any of his but he said it was fabulous as well. Overall it was a great time, this restaurant never disappoints me!

After we walked around Northampton for awhile, checking out some of the shops that were still open and continuing to catch up. At one point we stopped in a cute shop so my dad could pick out a particular night gown she liked from this place. It was quite fun trying to choose one, especially when my dad was holding up four different “girly” nightgowns at once trying to decide 😀

Looks like the right fit right? :p

I had such a nice evening with my dad, catching up and simply enjoying each others company. At the end of the night we both wondered why we don’t do this more often, and there is no reason why! So I am looking forward to more dinner dates with my dad quite soon. I love him so much and am thankful to have such a close relationship with him!

Confession: I got back to my room around 9:30 and thought about going out for maybe .5 seconds and realized how much I didn’t want to. I was having similar feelings like last week 😦 For one thing, I was tired from the lack of sleep I had gotten the night before, and I just was not up for it. Also though, eating has to play a role in my decision to not go out. I was pretty full from dinner and the idea of changing into an outfit that would show off (in my mind) my “bloated” stomach was something I was not in the mood for. And so these issues strike again, I am so looking forward to them GOING AWAY!

Sorry to end on that negative note, I had to confess to it though!

Well it is Sunday after all, so I must complete some homework. I am also working on a very important post for later today. I hope everyone has a productive/relaxing/whatever ya need to do- day!

See ya’ll later 🙂

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Filed under Confession, Family, Favorite Foods, Restaurant Review