Up to this point, my journal entries have mostly dealt with the food addiction side of what I call my “double-sided addiction”.  Along with overeating, I find myself equally addicted to to avoiding physical exercise at all costs.

Food addiction combined with exercise avoidance combines to make for a very UNhealthy lifestyle! Ya’ think!?! 🙂 For me, these two addictions really “feed” into each other (pun intended): the more I overeat, the less I want to exercise…the less I exercise, the less I care about my physical appearance and overall well-being — hence I can easily get to the point where I don’t really care about what (or how much) I’m (over)eating.

Because of my double-sided addiction, I really needed a program like Weight Watchers that addresses BOTH what (and how much) I’m eating and how (and how often/much) I’m moving my body.

Kudos not only to Weight Watchers, but also to Richard Simmons! He is now championing the cause of promoting physical exercise in the schools — along with continuing to promote healthy eating habits starting at an early age! (To this day, Richard’s “Sweatin’ To The Oldies” videos provide me with an enjoyable method to engage in physical exercise.)

Speaking of starting/stopping addiction “at an early age”…At the same time that I was learning to medicate my emotions with excess food, I was developing a fear and loathing of gym class. I detested just about every gym teacher I ever had throughout grade, junior high and high school!

Gym class particpaption also greatly increased my feelings of shame. Being the fattest kid in my class, I could pretty much count on being picked LAST when classmates were instructed to select team members for a particular sport. Nothing like feeling UNwanted and UNwelcome!

As if the pain of being chosen last wasn’t enough to deal with while I was growing up, all I have to do is tune in to The Biggest Loser or some other competition-driven weight loss TV show, to see adults engaging in the same sort of shaming behavior! Nothing against competition per se, but being chosen last for a team ALWAYS hurts. Always.

I share about the emotional pain that gym class caused me NOT to blame it on my pattern of exercise avoidance, but simply to point out that this addiction (like my food addiction) has been with me most of my life. I’m NOT currently enrolled in school, so my abhorance of gym class from school days has NOTHING whatsoever to do with “why” exercise avoidance is one of my “addiction issues” as an adult.

Perfect Abs — So What?!?When it comes to overeating and underexercising, I find that perfectionistic thinking can fuel me to act out with both of these behaviors (Exercise-related perfectionistic thoughts: “If I can’t exercise at the level of an Olympic athelete, why bother?” “If I’m always going to have ‘big hairy fat man’s titties’ instead of a ‘six pack’ to show the world, why care?” — Food-related perfectionistic thoughts: “If I can’t lose at least five-or-more pounds per week, why follow this food plan?” “I only lost two pounds last week?…Where’s the nearest all-you-can-binge buffet?”).

I’m glad that a Weight Watchers’ leader shared the following quote that helps challenge my perfectionistic thinking: “Perfection(ism) leaves no room for growth.” Hopefully even in my most twisted thinking I can realize that I have plenty of room for growth and that my best efforts really are “good enough”.

Now there’s an insight into perfectionisting thinking and behavior: I grew up believing that NOTHING I ever did was “good enough”. So no wonder my best eating behavior and exercise effort usually don’t feel “good enough”. And when another (perfectionistic) addict comes along to question/show disrespect for my “best” effort? The “addict-to-addict shaming, blaming and undermining game” only undermines my best effort (“If my ‘best’ isn’t as good as his best, then why try?”.

One of the tools I use to help challenge my perfectionistic thinking is a quote from a leader in the co-dependency movement: “I’m a human being, NOT a human doing.” The Saturday Night Live character Stuart Smalley had a cute (but sometimes irritating) affirmation to challenge his perfectionism: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and dog-gone-it, people like me!”

The real issue (always) is: Do I like me? Do I like me enough to respect my best effort? Do I like it enough to have something less than a “six pack” and a body fat percentage greater than most professional atheletes?

Today I don’t follow a “diet” — I follow a “food plan”.

Today I don’t do “exercise” — I do “physical movement”.

“Physical movement” is to “exercise” as “food plan” is to “diet” — e.g., a new name for a behavior that used to cause me a senseless amount of pain. These new behaviors don’t just have a new name, they also comes with a healthier set of rules and boundaries — which less to LESS senseless pain that I used to experience with the old behaviors.

Today, as I follow my food plan, I give myself permission to do a reasonable amount of physical movement each day.

Today I choose to check with professionals to make sure that my perfectionism is NOT driving me to do “too much” exercise for my own good. Pushing myself too hard (with food or exercise) only leads me to experience burn-out and (ultimately) fuels excuses to return to my old addictive behavior(s).

Today walking, lifting two pound weights, working out with Richard Simmons’ videos and doing exercises prescribed for me (in amounts/within limitations prescribed for me) by physical therapists provides me with a moderate, safe and sane approach to physical movement.

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