Exercising regularly is good for your health, but pushing yourself too far can have very real consequences.
Fitness blogger Erin of Queen City Sweat is all too familiar with the dangers of becoming addicted to exercise, which is why she shared a message on Instagram about the importance of staying balanced and not falling into an unhealthy trap.
“I was not eating close to what I should've been eating and ended up with a severe case of anemia causing a lack of energy to the point where I could barely get out of bed. Yet, I still forced myself to go to the gym although I felt like a zombie,” she wrote in her post Wednesday.
Erin's addictive behavior is a real concern. Researchers from Nottingham Trent University defined addicted exercisers as those who "view exercise as the central part of their lives, and experience disturbing deprivation sensations when they are unable to exercise."
She explains in her post how the constant stream of fit people on Instagram can lead to lower body confidence, so it’s important to focus on your overall health rather than obsessing over weight.
“It becomes so easy to start comparing yourself to others on here, which led me to developing a mindset of - 'how skinny can I get?' rather than 'how healthy can I be?' A number on a scale does not and should not dictate happiness,” the blogger wrote.
She also shared some of the dangerous habits she’d taken up when she was obsessing over her body, and what she’s doing differently now.
“I finally understand the term balance - my old idea of balance was cutting cals during the week, binging on the weekends, and then forcing myself to run miles on miles to make up for it. What is balance for me now? Listening to the cues my body gives me, eating intuitively (no more macros or calorie counting), nourishing my body with whole foods, taking rest days when my body needs them, and most importantly: prioritizing time with people I love,” she wrote.
Her advice to keep yourself from going down a similarly unhealthy path?
“… don't fall into the Instagram trap. Not everything on here is picture perfect. Stop comparing yourself to others and start loving the body you have been given,” Erin wrote.