Sunday, 27 November 2016

Breaking The Exercise Addiction

Hi there folks and yes, I am back!!

Back from my glorious week away in the hot sunshine, beautiful crystal clear beaches, sea turtles, fish, snorkeling, sand boarding, hiking, hanging out with some of the coolest people- honestly, if you haven't been on a Scripture Union Camp- I whole-heartedly recommend you do! It was honestly one of the best weeks of my life and a perfect way to spend my end-of-year-12-and-WACE-exams Leavers Week!

And whilst I could write an incredibly long and detailed post about all the amazing things I did on camp... well I've already done that re-telling my trip to my friends and family back home so instead you will get something a little more relevant to the blog and a little more eye-opening and extremely important and relevant for me!

This here is a post about exercise addiction- the way it can sneak on into your life without you realising and then all of a sudden you realise you need certain regimented exercise in your day-to-day life in order to be 'healthy'. And yet, this is actually incredibly unhealthy and unhelpful to a happy and prosperous way of living.

Yes, I will be the first to admit I was falling into that trap and how did I know this? It was probably when I started to feel queezy about not being able to do my minimum hour-long workout sessions in the morning on camp, or when I wrote out a bunch of body weight and HIIT workouts to bring along with me so I would always have something on stand by. That was probably the moment I realised the addiction/ obsession was real.

You see, lots of people who don't work out on the regular can't understand this exercise addiciton phenomenom because to them, exercise hurts, it makes you work hard, it takes effort, determination and a heck-of-a-lot of mental strength. But those who exercise on the regular and continually push and work and have ultimately cleared that hard bump in the hill of starting off and the pain of exercise, have probably started to experience the beloved 'gains', the improvements and increasing fitness levels, the tone in their arms and legs, the strength of their growing muscles. Push-ups become easier, burpees; a walk in the park, a sit-up no longer counts as an ab exercise, workouts become longer and harder.

I was definitely feeling this and thus was worried about taking a week off from all the progress I had made. I didn't want to lose tone, or decrease my growing muscles, or lose the physique that came with my workouts and now looking back at those words, it pains me at how superficial and outward focused my brain was. I'm constantly harping on about how we should move our bodies in the way that makes us happy, not skinny etc. And yet, my main concerns was how my outward body would look from not doing my morning workouts!

In the past, camps have sparked anxiety in me about what the food will be like and if I can break my 'food rules' and just eat whatever is put in front of me. Thankfully I've gotten over that road bump after numerous years of struggling because I've come to terms with food as fuel and a way to spend time and memories with others. Plus (and I'll go into this in more detail a bit later on) this camp made me HANGRY at every. single. meal and thus a big plate of cheesy lasagne was almost too good to be true when I sat down for dinner one of the nights.
 I ate white bread, buns, rice, pasta. I ate cheese and milk and way too many beans (pretty much my main protein source on the camp) I ate a heck of a lot more sugar than my bodies used to (berry yoghurt, cereal, weet-bix and fruit for brekky etc.) and what happened? Nothing. I was fit, fed and happy and in all honesty liking the change up and memories I associated with foods I hadn't eaten in years!
So yes, my worries about not getting enough exercise in were quickly squashed after our first day at the beautiful Ningaloo Reef. My first day included a 4:30am wake-up to be ready to go surfing by 5:00am whereby I tried (and failed) to surf and then just body boarded for the rest of the time, followed by breakfast at 7:30am, my morning activity that I chose to be snorkeling, back for lunch at 12:30pm, out again to do sandboarding (literally sliding down dunes on a wooden board!), hanging out until dinner at 6:30pm, and then night games/ activities which that night involved a sport night (lots of different sports where we rotated every 10 mins.
So whilst I wasn't doing my planned 1-2 hour session in the morning, I was probably doing a heck of a lot more exercise than I would of at home anyway; only difference? I was doing it unknowingly and having the time of my life! The roaring hunger was indication enough of the increasing fuel my body required to power through these huge glorious days of fun in the sun (it's always so funny sitting down at a group with my plate of food, the girls nibbling at their small portions and the boys sizing up their plates with mine- GIRL GOTTA EAT YA KNOW!?!)

My favourite activity of them all was the Gorge walk- a 3km hike through the gorges (some steep climbs thrown in there too) and it was like I was running, with how high my heart rate got and the burn in my legs from climbing all those rocks. I ended up doing that 4 times. And because I'm not the best swimmer, all the swimming activities left me utterly exhausted and my arms so dead- but again, so so worth it when you saw a turtle or a little fish or the beautiful coral right there underneath you!

And do you know what the craziest thing that happened at the end of my week away? I probably got more fit. More toned. More muscly.

And I had the time of my life.

This baffled me at first (my disordered, exercise-crazed side of my brain that it) and then logic hit me right in the face with a 'See? Exercise does not need to be planned out to a T to see results. You've been lifting weights and working your butt off and yet the one week you take off and just enjoy yourself being active with other people and spending time doing incredible activities in the sun, you see the most progress yet! Be kind to your body, love your body and your body will love you back!!'

I am so thankful this week forced me to simply go with the flow and make some of the best memories of my life and now I can bring all this new-found knowledge back into my life and start living a happy, fun-filled life once again whereby my brain is not consumed by the prospect of working out etc.

Life is meant to be lived, so why not live it to the max- and enjoy every second!

Your turn:
Do you/ have you ever struggled with an exercise addiction?
 How did you come out of it?
Favourite way to move your body?

I hope this post helped anyone struggling like I was and has given a little inspirsation about getting out there and doing the the things you love again. Happy to be back, but missing it already, although I'm so keen to have unlimited time to experiment in the kitchen once again and bring you guys some awesome recipes!

Have yourself a wonderful day, look after yourself and others and as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS!! Bye for now friendly friends!! :D :D


  1. Hey Steph. So glad you caught yourself before you wrecked yourself. I've been there and could see you going in that direction. Our bodies were meant to be moved but we don't have to push them so hard. It's such a slippery slope. I'm proud of you for not only seeing it in you but also sdmitting it openly! Thanks for your honesty! Lots of love

    1. Heather,
      Yes I am so glad I caught myself too! Thank you for your kind words- so thankful you can relate and I hope I've helped others going through the same thing :)
      Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful day!!
      Steph 2 Chef :D

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