According to Oxford Dictionary the definition of the word obsession is as follows:
- The state of being obsessed with someone or something.‘she cared for him with a devotion bordering on obsession’
1.1 (count noun) An idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind.
‘he was in the grip of an obsession he was powerless to resist’
Do you feel you have any obsessions?
Cleaning? Your beauty regime? Collecting photos of Chris Hemsworth?
Obsessions are apparent in practically every single person (I would argue all) but some obsessions can completely take over our lives and control not only what we do but how we feel. Obviously when it comes to obsessions its not as easy as “just stop obsessing” but when does something cross the line from routine or even passion and become just too much?
Now I myself am not a very obsessive character (compared to most). Sure there are some things I prefer a certain way and I can get stressed if things don’t go to plan, I also always tap my can of pop before opening it (I was told once it stops it from fizzing out if the can has been shook and I have done it religiously ever since…); but overall I wouldn’t say I have an obsessive nature. Truth be told I just can’t be bothered to be obsessed; its too much effort. When my friends back in school were plastering their walls with Twilight fan posters or googling their favourite celebrities for hours when they got home; I just didn’t see the point. I’ve never been too fussed about staying up to date with the latest fashion trends and I’d have no clue which music artists were ‘cool’; if I liked something I liked it, if I didn’t I didn’t (and I get these ‘obsessions’ aren’t intense but I’m just highlighting how un-obsessive I am).
You might now be thinking “well if you don’t have an obsessive nature, what on earth are you writing a blog about obsession for?!”
Well. Recently I have qualified as a personal trainer and I believe, not only am I witnessing a variety of different health and fitness related obsessions first hand now, but I feel for the first time I could actually risk entering an obsession and I want to fan it out before the flames get too high.
Firstly, the industry of health and fitness really doesn’t help curb the development of obsessions. Unfortunately at the moment, the health and fitness industry directly links itself to the beauty industry; when in actual fact health and fitness is nothing to do with fitting the stereotype of beautiful, sexy or FIT. Yes even when someone describes another person as fit it doesn’t necessarily mean they have great fitness levels… which is probably why the lines are pretty blurred (and why the English language is so hard to learn!)
Being fit and being healthy isn’t looking a certain way; instead it’s feeling a certain way whilst maintaining a certain level of fitness (which can be assessed through your strength, stamina, speed, suppleness and body composition). However, due to a huge part of the industry focusing on looks, the majority of people obsessed with fitness are actually obsessed with the aesthetics of the body instead.
But is it ever healthy to be obsessed?
What about if the obsession is to be fit and healthy?
Being healthy is best described by using the following three words; Variety, Balance and Moderation. I think you’ll agree these three words don’t also lend themselves to describe obsession.
If I’m being honest; starting out as a PT I do not feel confident in my own aesthetics right now. I had a year of ups and downs and, what I’ve been referring to as, my ‘quarter life crisis’. It included lots of emotional eating, binge drinking and a lack of self motivation. As an effect of this combination I lost a lot of the progress I had made, putting on weight and loosing strength…. and due to this I nearly postponed becoming a PT until I had ‘reversed the effects’. But then I realised… the kind of PT I want to be isn’t one that is focused on the aesthetics but on the actual health, fitness and overall happiness of my clients. I want to help people love themselves and celebrate their bodies, I want to share my non linier journey in order to help others find what works for them. So I took the plunge.
And here I am.
However, I still feel I am at risk of succumbing to the obsession of the gym whilst I aim to become what a PT ‘should‘ look like. (Which I know is ridiculous, especially after what I have just said). But…Some people train consistently twice a day, if not more, so surely as a personal trainer I should be training to that extent too? Some people restrict their calorie intake to tiny amounts in order to keep their abs on show, so should I be too? And no-one will trust me to help them reach their goals if I am still on my own journey, right?
The answer is NO! As in… no I shouldn’t be over training just to match others, no I shouldn’t starve my body to look a certain way and no that’s not right, people will trust me as we are all constantly on a journey and the fact I don’t come across as “perfect” makes me more relatable and able to understand what my clients are going through.
I truly believe no obsession is healthy. Even when the obsession is to be ‘fit and healthy’; because when it comes to obsession you aren’t in control; and it isn’t healthy allowing anything, other than yourself, to be in control of your own life.
Balance. Variety. Moderation.
So the next time you’re punishing yourself for not getting to the gym or for eating that piece of cake that isn’t on your diet plan. The next time you miss another social gathering because you need to get your second gym session in of the day. Or the next time you ignore the noises in your stomach because you cant afford anymore calories today. Just ask yourself … When is it too far? How much is too much? Am I letting this control my life?
Balance. Variety. Moderation.
And anyway… As long as you are undoubtedly happy does it matter if you don’t have washboard abs? Because I promise you now, having washboard abs doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be happy…
Happiness isn’t aesthetic. And neither is Health or Fitness.
#bettyoucan #bettican #bettwecan