How to Identify Obsession Masked as Motivation

On the outside, I looked super dedicated and motivated. I can’t tell you how many times I was praised for my motivation and willpower when it came to running and eating “healthy”. We live in a society entrenched in diet-culture where more is better and pushing yourself is valued over taking care of yourself.

I love running, but years ago I fell into a pattern of planning my week around getting 30 miles a week in. I let the commitment to getting those runs in override how I felt.

There was a time I ran with a pulled hamstring – I mean, I slowed down, but could have used a rest day or two – and many vacations that I went running, which can be fun, but some of those runs were driven by the fact I would have felt guilty if I didn’t, which is not a reason to run.

I thought I was motivated by how amazing exercise is. Which, don’t get me wrong, with the right amount, exercise is an amazing thing. But, if I had taken the time to be really honest with myself, I would have identified the following things as red flags I was teetering towards obsession:

My anxiety of not getting a run in⁠

There were so many times I was presented with a really fun invite – weekend at a friends’ lakehouse, girls getaway, music festivals – and the very first thought was how my workouts would be affected. Could I run there? Was there a gym? How many days would I really need to miss?

Even if I went, which I often did, those thoughts should never have been in the equation. I’m not a professional athlete, and I was already underweight. I worked out so regularly that the reward should have been taking breaks from my routine without a second thought or loss of fitness. Still, it was a major worry for me.

How ridiculously low my calories were for the miles I ran⁠

LISTEN UP! We need waaaay more calories than we’re told. I used to think that 2,000 was the way upper limit, even when training for a race. 2,000 should be a baseline with zero activity, and if you’re active, 2,500 is a very reasonable amount to eat each and every day.

Read This: What I Changed About my Diet to Fuel My Workouts and Fix My Period

I aimed for 1,800 thinking that was a healthy amount. I honestly do not know how I was able to hit my running goals. It should have been obvious with how many times I felt hungry but waited until it was “time to eat”. Still, I thought I was eating enough because my hair wasn’t falling out and my training runs felt great.

My missing period and infertility diagnoses

⁠Here’s the big one. I didn’t know I was missing a period because I was on the Pill. When I went off, I discovered I had zero uterine lining (i.e. what would be shed to create a period). Down the road of fertility treatments, as we approached IVF, I discovered Hypothalamic Amenorrhea when I got a second opinion.

Read This: My IVF Story

HA is cause by an energy deficit. Too much intense exercise is a big stress on your body, and restricting calories is another. This leads to a suppression of hormones, namely your reproductive system.

I made some major changes to have a successful pregnancy, and regain my cycle postpartum. First, I cut down, then cut running out, to gain a better relationship with it. Truly, I thought I couldn’t be happy running less, but I was so wrong. Now, my runs are stress free because my worth isn’t wrapped up in them.⁠

I gained so much more than a regular cycle. I found flexibility in my schedule, more time for my family and friends, and complete freedom around food. BAM!⁠ Look, we don’t have to give up on our fitness goals, we just need to rearrange our priorities.⁠

I offer free 30 minute Mindset Jump Start calls where you will leave with a few small goals to work on, and get clarity on your biggest worry right now!

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