Exercise Obsession: Healthy Regiment or Unhealthy Addiction?

I've been blessed to work with people in the Beachbody Community for nearly 10 years now. Hard to believe its been that long, but its like they say; time flies when you're having fun. :) When I found this company I was 32 years old, a stay at home mom of 4 (I have 6 kids now and am 42), I was pretty active both in lifestyle, but also in my personal fitness. I faithfully did crunches at night as we watched evening tv, I ran 3-4 times a week and played in two different adult soccer leagues on the weekends. However, I never lifted weights, and had no clue how to eat other than looking for packages that read "low fat". This was right on the cusp of the internet, full of education on matters such as this just a Google away, so information wasn't at our fingertips as it is now. And even with that active lifestyle, my metabolism was shot from having 4 babies in 5 years, and pretty much slowed to a halt, which translated into a 15 lb weight gain.When I first learned how to eat healthy with Beachbody, and while I was losing the weight, making exercise more of a consistent effort by following the lead of Tony Horton, my personal trainer on my vhs tapes ;) (pre dvd) I felt like I was a bit obsessed with finding more information. I felt like the blinders had been taken off and a whole new world was open to me, and I was hungry to learn as much as I could! About that time, the internet was exploding - still pre-facebook - but information was more and more readily available. But with all things, as I learned more, my "obsession" changed from learning something new, to the battle to create personal accountability by helping others and putting it out there as much as I could that this was how I was choosing to live. No as much 'obsessed' with my personal fitness, I'd learned the bulk of new information, it now was about applying it consistently and inviting others to do it too. FUN!The struggle tends to ebb and flow as it pertains to my enthusiasm level. I WANT to be healthy and feel fit. It feels good. But so does my bed in the early, cool, dark of morning when my alarm goes off. There is often an internal struggle to let myself off the hook, but I chose long ago to not allow my self in the moment to make a decision contrary to my self who made the commitment outside of temptation to excuse myself. Read that sentence again if you need to so you really get what I'm saying. (I read and re-read it many times to make sure I was adequately stating it) But after that workout, my day is off and running as I talk to people, answer their questions, and make personal connections with people. And though I am talking about exercise, I am NOT exercising or obsessing over exercise and my new routines anymore. Because exercise is meant to ENHANCE my life, not BECOME my life. I have a husband, a family, a community where I am active, and exercise just makes me better in all those roles.I think a big struggle with people, as I've seen plenty of times over the years, is a trading of one obsession for another, or even trading of a bad habit or addiction for the addiction of exercise. And while it may feel good at first, addiction by nature is not a good thing, and it can begin to feel like a trap, a cell; something you HAVE to do (and for many, its a certain length of time each day that it MUST be done or it somehow doesn't count). Only you can be honest enough with yourself to say whether or not fitness & healthy eating has become an addiction, but here are some things to look for:Do you not allow yourself to eat certain things if you haven't exercised?If you work out for less than an hour, do you not feel like it 'counts'?Does your food intake consist predominantly of egg whites and protein shakes?If you want to eat a certain food, do you make yourself work out extra to "earn" it?Do you feel guilt or shame if you miss a workout?If you go for a bike ride or a run or work out in the yard all day, do you still feel like you must do a dvd workout?There are many more, but these are a few that I've found to be shockingly common with the people I've worked with over the years. For many, they ended up falling back to old patterns and addictions because the exercise/healthy eating 'addiction' wasn't sustainable, or they got injured from over training, or both. If you notice any of these things in you, I recommend googling eating disorders and exercise addictions and if you fit the description, to get some help from a trained professional.Life is about BALANCE, but some people have a harder time finding it. The comforting news is, you're not alone. Let your coach know that you're getting help and stay with the group for accountability, but by all means get some help. You're worth it.In Relentless Pursuit of Excellence~TRACI