While most people are concerned that they’re not getting sufficient exercise, some are getting way too much. Although regular exercise is great and all, more isn’t always better. In certain cases, it could even be just as harmful as any eating disorder such as bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa.
Compulsive exercise is essentially a tool that some individuals utilize for purging calories, much like how a bulimic overeats and then purges. This is known as exercise bulimia.
What Exactly Is Exercise Bulimia?
Compulsive exercise or exercise bulimia isn’t easy to diagnose because almost everyone loves to go on and on about how good they feel after working out. If you feel great, that’s all that matters, right? Well, not if you’re overexerting yourself.
If you’re over-exercising to purge or offset your binging or regular eating, you probably have exercise bulimia. While it’s difficult to know exactly if you’re over-exercising, especially if you’re in denial over your condition, you have to really listen to your body. It’s only that you’ll pick up the red flags indicating that you’ve taken your workouts to a whole new dangerous level.
Are You Guilty of Exercising Too Much on a Regular Basis?
If you find that your schedule mainly revolves around exercising, and that you’re constantly trying to fit in a workout even if you’re pressed for time, you may have exercise bulimia. Other warning signs include the following.
- Exercising even if you’re sick or injured
- Feeling extreme guilt when not exercising
- Exercising for hours on end every single day
- Feeling very depressed or anxious when you can’t exercise
- Not taking recovery or rest days
- Missing important appointments, parties, work, and other events because of the need to exercise
It’s All About a Perceived Sense of Control
Exercise bulimia is all about having control, much like how those suffering from eating disorders utilize food to try and control their life. However, this could quickly morph into a never-ending exercise extravaganza if you’re not careful. You’ll never feel content with how your body looks, regardless of how much you work out.
You have to address the root cause of your eating disorder. Also, take note that your genes also determine your body type and shape, and working out excessively won’t ever change that. You can only do so much to transform your body before you hit a plateau and your genes take over.
The Dangers of Exercise Bulimia
Not getting enough exercise is just as bad as working out too much. This could also result in many different health problems.
- Injuries like sprains, strains, and fractures
- Chronic fatigue
- Excessively low body fat that in women, which could cause serious health issues such as amenorrhea or skipped periods, or worse, reproductive health problems and bone loss
- Heart problems
Exercise bulimia is an extremely serious psychological condition, but a successful recovery is very possible with help from a therapist and a treatment strategy similar to a treatment plan for bulimia nervosa. This does not have to take over your life. Take back control of your life through proper treatment and a healthy eating and exercise plan.