Exercise Guilt

I talk a lot about how much I love to work out, and its the honest truth.  However, sometimes I worry myself that I love it just a little too much.  I’m an obsessive person with a very addictive personality and have struggled with eating disorders in the past.  I like to say that I work out for the pleasure and the physical rewards, and thats about 90% true.  The other 10%, the scary part, is the percentage of the time where I am exhausted and in pain and don’t want to work out- but I do it anyway because I’m overcome with guilt if I don’t.  I’ve had people in the past tell me that this borders on dysfunctional, that I’m one step away from being diagnosed with exercise bulimia.  That is a serious disease, and is very close to one I’ve battled myself.  I recognize the signs of this disease, and I certainly don’t see them in me at the moment.  I’m proud of how far I’m come and how healthy I am and how well I treat my body these days.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop guilt from rearing its ugly head.

I’ve been sick for almost a week now, and until today, it hadn’t affected my exercise at all. This morning I woke up coughing and wheezing and knew there was no change in me running.  I went to the gym and did a light 45 minute lift followed by some deep stretching and relaxing moves.  I felt okay; not great, but okay.  Several hours into work, my boss told me that I needed to go home and rest and go to the doctor.  I listened, and here I am sitting on my couch surrounded by tea, tissues, and oranges trying to nurse myself back to health.  So what pops into my head?  The thought, “I should go down to the gym and ride on the bike since I didn’t really work out this morning.”  What the f*** is wrong with me?!?  I’m sick….I did go to the gym, just went much easier on myself….and the best way to get better is to rest.  The rational 90% of me knows these things and tries to honor them.  The insane 10% of me that doesn’t think I worked out hard enough is trying to convince my sneezing, disgusting self to go to the gym and work out.  I know better than this, and I’m ignoring that part of me.  But it still makes me think that maybe I’m not as “recovered” as I’d like to think.  Then again, being able to recognize the insanity in those thoughts and ignoring the urge is a recovery in and of itself.

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