Exercise Addiction | The Dark Side Of Bridal Fitness

I used to be an exercise addict.

Each day I would spend hours in the gym, pushing past exhaustion before going home to crash — usually head first into a nightly cereal-binge. 

From the outside I looked like I had it going on, I was fit and lean after all, but on the inside nothing could be further from the truth. My exercise addiction nearly ruined my body and my relationships.

Are you following the same path? 

Today we talk about the dark side of bridal fitness.

And how to come back to the light

As a bride you have excellent motivation to get in shape, but there is a huge difference between “good” fit and “too” fit. Are you crossing the line to exercise addiction?

Exercise Addiction

You may have an exercise addiction if you can answer yes to any of the following:

  1. You cancel social plans to go to the gym
  2. You only meet friends for active dates, like hiking or fitness class
  3. You talk incessantly about your workouts, fitness goals and progress
  4. You rarely change out of gym clothes so you can squeeze in a mini-workout when the mood strikes
  5. You exercise even when sick or injured
  6. You’re unable to relax/sleep at night if you haven’t worked out during the day
  7. You think that going for a walk doesn’t count as exercise 
  8. Your self worth is intricately tied to your fitness level

Why You Need To Release Your Exercise Addiction (and how to do it)

The hard part of having a “healthy” addiction is that it’s easy to justify. Exercise is an essential part of life, right?

But as with most things, moderation is key — even too much water can kill you.

If your bridal fitness routine has taken an obsessive turn then we need to have a chat. Here are five reasons why you need to stop obsessing about exercise today!

Your Fertility Is At Stake

Yep, I’m launching straight in with the big guns! Too much exercise, particularly high-intensity or long-duration exercise, can wreak havoc on hormonal balance.

When we exercise the body thinks it’s under attack, which it kind of is, so it secretes the stress hormone cortisol as a protection mechanism. Too much cortisol in the body lowers the hormone progesterone, which plays an important role in menstruation, libido and fertility.

Over time an imbalance in hormones can cause erratic ovulation, prevent menstruation and increase the risk of infertility.

What to do instead:

  • Exercise smarter, not harder.
  • Pay attention to what forms of exercise make your body feel rejuvenated rather than depleted.
  • Limit all high-intensity exercise to 20 – 30 minutes in duration.
  • Reserve longer sessions for gentle exercise such as walking, Pilates and yoga.

It Makes Wedding Planning More Stressful

Exercise produces the feel good hormone serotonin, which has an an uplifting effect on your entire body. Moderate amounts of daily exercise is essential for good health.

But as I said it also releases stress-hormone cortisol. Too much exercise and prolonged exposure to chronic stress weakens your immune system, alters your moods and makes it hard to sleep. In case wedding planning wasn’t doing that already …

What to do instead:

  • Find other avenues of mood enhancers so you aren’t always relying on a workout for that feel-good fix.
  • Get 10 minutes of sunshine every morning.
  • Start a meditation practice.
  • Try simple deep breathing.

It Affects Your Relationship

You want to remember your engagement as a time of fun experiences and easy-going love, not that year when you spent more time with your trainer than your fiancé.

Here’s how an exercise addiction can cause tension in your relationship:

  1. You become frustrated that your partner isn’t taking their fitness as seriously as you, which leads to nasty comments, judgements and hurt feelings
  2. You’re always tired from over-exercising and become short and snappy with your fiancé and family
  3. Your partner will think that you are prioritizing your physique over your relationship, even though that’s not your intention

What to do instead:

  • Find balance and re-shift your priorities. Being able to do 50 pushups will have little bearing on the quality of your relationship.
  • Make an engagement vision board and start creating memories that will last a lot longer than that 3 minute plank.

No One Wants To Be An Injured Bride

This one is a no-brainer. The physical impact of exercise affects and ages your body. Again, in moderation this impact is beneficial as it improves circulation and strengthens bones, but excess exercise is a direct road to injury.

We all want to see you walking down the aisle without a set of crutches, thank you very much!

What to do instead:

  • Visualize what fit, radiant and healthy means for you.
  • Use exercise to achieve a level of fitness that complements this vision and your lifestyle, and focus on sustainable forms of exercise that you will want to maintain for life after “I Do”.

It’s A Slippery Slope To Other Body Disorders

Using extreme exercise to alter your body shape is not only physically unhealthy, it’s not good for your sense of self.  Obsessively training for a certain physique is one step on the path to anxiety, depression and eating disorders.

Remember that you are already a Bombshell Bride! Fitness should help you feel like the healthiest and happiest version of your beautiful self, it shouldn’t detract from your engagement or how you will feel on your special day.

Through mindbodybride I strive to promote positive body image, self love and sustainable health and fitness for women as they start the next chapter of their lives. You can help to spread that message by loving who you are, and how you look, today.

This week I encourage you to reap the benefits of exercise without going overboard. Set aside 20 – 30 minutes everyday to move your body in a way that enhances, inspires and replenishes.

Now I’d Love To Hear From You

Are you suffering from exercise addiction in the lead up to your wedding day? What’s one step that you can take today to step back from the edge and create a balanced and healthy relationship with fitness?

With love and understanding,

Jennifer Dene

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