I’m not sure if exercise bulimia is a real word but it sure is a real “thing”. It’s not a very well known eating disorder, but it exists and can be very dangerous. Basically regular bulimia is where your purge after you eat. Instead of purging, with exercise bulimia, you “workout/burn off” the food you just ate.
Many people let food and exercise control their lives in a very unhealthy way. Letting a number on the scale tell you your worth is very obsessive and it creates many bad mental habits and an unhealthy relationship to food. Do you feel guilty when enjoying a meal wether it’s healthy or not? You might start to think like you’re a bad person because you ate some pizza and need to “punish” yourself with a brutal workout to burn off those calories and feel like you’re a good person again? Do you workout after you eat, so you can prevent weight gain? This is what I call exercise bulimia. And this is what I call having an unhealthy balance and relationship between food and exercise.
The dangers of exercise bulimia is that your body is not given enough rest for the amount of exercise that you’re doing. Basically you’re overexercising and causing your body more harm than good. This is taking exercise to a whole new level. I know a lot of people eat unhealthy and exercise a ton to stay skinny and they think it’s smart. There’s nothing smart about that when you end up with all kinds of symptoms such as amenorrhea, bone loss, fatigue, loss in appetite, hair loss and much more! Everything healthy can become unhealthy when fonr exessively!
This whole thing comes from the thought of if you don’t exercise more or same amount as you eat then you won’t be able to maintain your low body weight. I want to make something clear here; more food does not mean more weight! That whole calories in, calories out idea was true. Well it’s true on paper when you do the math, but it’s not true for our bodies. Our bodies are not a math problem. In fact there are so many people who eat less calories than they should/need and still can’t lose weight. That’s because not all calories are created equal. Instead of focusing your time and energy on counting calories, focus on being healthy by eating real whole foods. And use exercising as a celebration for what your body can do and not as a punishment for what you ate yesterday or today!
Remember eating broccoli all day won’t make you a better person than someone who eats pizza. You won’t go to jail if you enjoy large amounts of foods (healthy or not) and not exercise.
Here are some more symptoms of someone who suffers from exercise bulimia;
- You exercise even when injured
- You say no to social events so you can workout
- Feel guilty when something gets in he way of your workouts and can’t exercise
- Take very few rest days (maybe none?)
- You refuse to eat if you’re unable to exercise
If you struggle with exercise bulimia or other eating disorders feel free to contact me and work with me.
I am a certified holistic health coach and I help clients find a healthy balance between food and exercise and other health concerns they struggle to achieve on their own. If you want a free 50 minute consultation with me, hit reply and we’ll chat!