My Excuse? Exercise Bulimia, CBT and Realistic Resolutions

Over at Harsh Reality, Opinionated Man says:

I keep seeing these fitness blogs with their 2014 resolution posts. Many of them have the title “What is your excuse?”

Opinionated Man has some rather hilarious and perfectly valid “excuses” for not becoming a carb-obsessed, fatty hating gym rat.

I thought I’d address this resolution trend myself because I am aware that it started with mommy blogger “Fit Mom’s” abrasive challenge to women to stop being lazy. It was obnoxious. It stirred up a shit-storm of feminist furor which in turn incurred the wrath of muscle bound meat heads who think bagels are the work of Satan and anyone who can’t bench press a school bus is a newbie. Comment threads on top of comment threads full of haters.

Fit Mom irritated me, I admit. I am not jealous of her. I don’t want to spend five hours a day in the gym and have the entire world take note if I gain a half a pound. I also think the inner drill sergeant tactic is ridiculous from the standpoint of CBT, which actually has a body of evidence to support it. So yeah.

What’s MY Excuse?

Exercise Bulimia

Fit Mom is a self-admitted bulimic who believes she has conquered her eating disorder yet works out for five hours a day. I don’t know her and won’t pass judgment but I know for me, that much time spent working on my body would not be a healthy thing.

Exercise bulimia can be just as damaging to your body and mind as the purging kind. Obviously your body and the comparison of it (implicitly or explicitly) to other women is an obsession. I mean, go ahead, be a fitness instructor but you don’t have to taunt “fatties” (not my word, or hers, to be fair but one used frequently on comment threads regarding this publicity stunt) with your four recent offspring and perfect abs.  

Some of us have invested serious time and work caging the beast of our eating disorders and are trying to learn kinder, gentler ways to keep our bodies in shape. It was the confrontational stance of “What’s YOUR Excuse?” that irritated me. In fact it triggered me. I’m sure it did the same for others.

All I frickin want to do is work out, knock it down a size or two. I quit smoking 15 months ago (go me) and swore a blood oath to my spouse to disengage from my 20-year-old eating disorder. So I can’t starve myself and I can’t purge. To be clear, purging includes working out for six hours a day. Sorry Fit Mom, you could still be a bulimic. Just because you aren’t tossing your cookies doesn’t mean that the mechanism of the eating disorder isn’t active.

Having gone through CBT, every week is like a new year with resolutions and such. Sometimes my resolution is to do a half an hour of Rythym Fu on the WII TWICE this week and traipse through the ‘hood (which is a hilly rain forest) once. That is not going to give me six pack abs but it is an attainable goal.

Taping a picture of my face Photoshopped onto Fit Mom’s body and writing “What’s Your Excuse???” in bright red lipstick on my mirror or obsessing over a size or a number on a scale or a measuring tape is all crazy-making behavior and not likely to produce the desired result. I mean, like I said, Fit Mom does have great abs.

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7 thoughts on “My Excuse? Exercise Bulimia, CBT and Realistic Resolutions

  1. I agree, there are some blogs out there in Jan which I hate. It’s a very personal thing, and for me getting fitter (at this time of year) is about me, and where I am with recovery and integration back to work after a broken elbow. Not about new year, or resolutions or any of that.

    Not so sure on the ‘whats your excuse’ there are many for me not to do this. Not to go back to a gym and be that person again. The thoughts of losing weight (because I need to) are terrifying. because it took me from 2007 – 10 to finally get through therapy openly and honestly and to beat the ED which has plagued me for 16 years. Choosing to go back because I need to is very hard. I’ve tried to opt for a more personalised approach, I hope it works. And I need my doctors to be very aware as I try to get back to healthy and not ED.

    Like your blog, it’s honest and true. Keep at it. 🙂

    • Absolutely. I’m daunted by the task of dropping some pounds. Between quitting smoking, not starving/purging and being sick this past year, it’s brutal. I basically have to reinvent my relationship with food and exercise. It may take longer but it’s worth the wait.

      • I think that is a good reason why we need to blog, it helps others know even after the effects, it still has a ‘tug’ on you. I will keep fighting to be healthier even both sides of the story. You too, and if you want a rant. Head on over 🙂 I won’t mind.

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