When we think of a negative addiction our minds tend to go straight to drugs, alcohol, sex and other substances that can be abused. Surely something as healthy as exercise can't be a negative addiction can it?
Throughout my time in the health and fitness industry as a Personal Trainer I have seen a lot of addiction transfer. Many people are in a negative cycle of addiction and are starting their journey from a poor health position as circumstance of their life decisions. Tough place to start from right!
They usually begin their journey by already being addicted to
- Comfort Food
- Social Media
What I have seen is that most people in this situation have an addictive personality and throw themselves into exercise to replace the current addiction. Not thinking about the 'why' or the 'how' before getting right into it.
This link will take you to an article showing how a habit loop is created and sticks, it's a great reference tool when figuring out what your current habits are - Keep the chocolate in the pantry for good
Just like anything that can give you a release of dopamine, exercise can become an addiction. It can become a really healthy addiction and an unhealthy addiction as well.
This is how you recognise where you're at
Healthy Exercise Habits
- Done most days and sometimes multiple times a day. This is done on a consistent basis
- It is enjoyed! And makes you feel proud and happy
- Is completed in a positive environment
- Is viewed and felt as a positive progression towards a bigger picture and long term result, not just the week to week or day to day
- Is partnered with the correct amount of nutrition to cater around the amount of exercise you are doing
- Is process focused as well as balanced out with an outcome focus. However, 'process' being the focus point
- You are progressing forwardly towards a moving target and celebrating your successes along the way
- You are proud of yourself because you have earned your keep and didn't take shortcuts
- Doesn't have feelings of guilt or punishment associated with it
Unhealthy Exercise Habits
- Is done on a sporadic basis dependant on mood, calories consumed and other circumstances. Sometimes for hours in a day.
- Is seen and felt as a punishment for you being 'bad', in whatever guilt fuelled feeling
- Is partnered with too little food as there is a feeling of fear of eating more
- Is completely outcome and results focused, the process is not given any thought and is never changed
- There is very little or no progression
- Is done too much and throughout pain, with a no pain no gain attitude
- Trying to manipulate your weight on the scales through training.
- Weighing yourself more than once per week
- Is used as a tool to escape reality rather than dealing with issues that need resolving
- Unable to see the physical changes to yourself as you have a cloud of negativity around the way in which you view yourself
This article was written so that you can recognise that exercise, just like anything, if abused can have a negative impact on life, HOWEVER if not abused and is enjoyed it can be the healthiest addiction in the world! It has all of the physical and emotional benefits to help you get fit, healthy and live your life in a proud and positive head space.
"We live today in a world in which nobody believes choices should have consequences. But may I tell you the great secret our culture seeks to deny?
You cannot escape the consequences of your choices. Time runs in only one direction." Stephen L Carter
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.