What do I live for if not to be the poster girl for What Not To Do? In March, I was Fitness Magazine’s freakshow of the month in an article by Jessica Girdwain titled “Confessions of a Cardioholic.” You’d think after being on ABC’s 20/20, Fox’s Morning Show with Mike & Juliette and in publications to numerous to count talking about my various permutations of eating disorders that I’d be used to the public scrutiny. I’m not.
(Tangent: A friend new to the area told my husband that he had heard I was some sort of local celebrity causing me to exclaim, “People do know the difference between notoriety and celebrity, right??”)
The reason that I keep doing these interviews – despite being horribly misquoted on at least two occasions (my fave was the writer who entirely fabricated an interview with me from start to finish, saying that I “always hugged the back wall of fitness classes or used the last elliptical because [I] was too afraid of people staring at [my] huge butt.” First, I am always annoyingly front and center in any fitness activity and second, for all my insecurities, my butt really isn’t one of them. It’s cute and perky and despite being minorly dimpled I love it. Truly, I have enough crazy for 10 articles, you don’t need to go making stuff up!) – is because I am hoping to help other women not make the same mistakes I did. Or, if they already have, know they aren’t alone. Lots of other people have done just that for me and it has made a huge difference in my life! It’s not a desperate bid for attention (and, for the record, I have never ever been paid to do an interview so it’s not a money thing) – I just want to keep the good mojo going.
And I do think I’m helping some people. At least, after every media appearance, I always – without fail – get quite a few e-mails/phone calls/comments telling me how I helped them or a family member. I’m still getting e-mails from that 20/20 segment and it’s been two years since I filmed it! No joke: Someone even wrote their graduate dissertation on it. (To all of you who have taken the time to write or otherwise contact me, I want to thank you with all my heart – you have no idea how much it means to me.)
But I still feel weird when I actually see the interviews on screen (confession: I watched my 20/20 interview exactly once and still cringe any time someone mentions it) or on paper. They always parse it so that all my lovable nuttiness gets smooshed together in one big block of crazy. I swear I’m not that insane in real life. Or maybe I’m deluded? Anyhow, with no further ado, I present to you the scanned version of my Fitness mag interview (click pictures to enlarge):
Now that you’ve read it, you will inevitably ask – people usually do – “But you’re better now, right?” I am. I’m better than I used to be. But I’m not cured. I think I’ll always trend towards the disordered side of things; I’m compulsive and perfectionistic by nature. That doesn’t mean I won’t stop working on it but don’t expect me to be perfect either. Exercise addiction is as insidious a disorder as any eating disorder. If you, or someone you know, (yeah, I just broke out the after-school special trope!), suffers from exercise addiction or exercise bulimia or compulsive over-exercise or cardioholism or whatever you want to call it, here are some additional resources:
The cost of excessive cardio
How to recognize exercise addiction
Bad things happen when you exercise too much
How over exercising made me gain weight and fat
Confessions of a compulsive over exerciser
Building in rests to your workout
Confessions of a pregnant compulsive exerciser, Part I
Compulsive over-exercise in pregnancy, Part II
Heather Eats Almond Butter recently blogged about breaking her addiction to cardio
Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple is a former elite triathlete who had a cardio addiction epiphany and now educates the masses about the physical toll of too much exercise.
Quix at Adjusted Reality recently wrote about how running a lot led to weight gain and overall frustration.
NY magazine has an article about the effects of prolonged exercise.
What about you – have you ever been addicted to exercise in an unhealthy way? How did you conquer it? What’s your view on cardio: cardio queen, everything in moderation or hate it?