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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Why do exercise and eating control my life?

    Why do I have to plan my day around exercise and having control of food? I am sick of it but I am too frightened to loose the control. I really want to get well, however the anxiety I feel when I try to fight the addiction to exercise in order to eat is crippling.
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1



    Great Question.  I have no answers.  I wish I did.  So I'm waiting for others to answer, too.  It has been suggested that “you may not be ready to loose weight, yet”.  I'll look forward to answers, but  don't try too hard or ‘beat yourself over the head’ as they don't work either!.  Keep plugging on.

  • Pam Robinson

    Personal Trainer

    Personal Trainer Figure Competitor View Profile

    Good Question.  Perhaps you are an ‘extremist’.  Which is not necessarily a bad thing.

    I have to say that because I am too.  lol

    Instead of beating yourself up over it.. work with it!!

    I am a recovered anorexic and I guess I will always think about food.  I am now a food addict… but I choose the good stuff.  Being an extremist makes it easy for me to be able to get up on stage - Figure Competitor.

    So instead of worrying about it.   Learn more about the science side of it and then you will actually end up enjoying it.

    That's what worked for me and I help other ladies with the same issues too.

  • 1


    Marla Bozic

    HealthShare Member

    With the emphasis our society places on how we look, with models weighing 25% less than the average person, it's no wonder that so many people are constantly ‘fighting’ with their weight.

    Constantly stressing over food only results in the body producing cortisol which only causes us to gain weight. So learning how to incorporate a balanced whole foods approach to eating will get you feeling well, at a healthy weight and no longer obsessing over diet and exercise.

    Also, look at all the areas in your life to see how you are nourishing yourself. Sometimes when we aren't feeling nourished in the areas of career, relationships, exercise and spirituality, we look to food to make up for it.

    I was the same when I was in my 20's, always obsessing about what to eat, when to eat… was very stressful for me. Until I spent the time to learn which foods make me feel good and figured out how to get them in my diet every day. I thought I was being healthy, but I wasn't. It's amazing what some tailored education, support and inspiration can do in this area. It doesn't always need to be this way:).

    Good luck.

  • Rebecca Charlotte Reynolds, PhD (Dr Bec) Personable and ethical registered nutritionist (RNutr) and lecturer at UNSW Australia in lifestyle and health. Regular consultant to the … View Profile

    Hi there,

    So many of us understand food and exercise taking up too much of our thoughts each day.  What a waste of time, huh?  But such an easy habit to slip into.

    There are so many things you can do to try to slowly get your thoughts and actions that focus on food and exercise down.  And so many people out there to help you.  Small step by small step.  As a first step, it may be good for you to talk to a psychologist, nutritionist or dietitian about why you have fallen into these habits - which of course takes an initial full acknowledgement that there's something wrong.  With them you can come up with plans to change your behaviours.

    Let me know if you want to chat more.

    Remember you're not alone and we humans can always change our neuroscience/behaviours… With this potential for change there is hope!
    Dr Bec
    Dr Bec

  • 1


    Emma Webster

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    I am a warm, supportive and compassionate therapist, committed to assisting my clients to connect to their inner wisdom and strength, to develop mindful awareness … View Profile

    I often speak to clients who feel that exercise or eating are controlling their life. Why and how this develops differs from individual to individual. Often people develop a sense of self that is very tied up in the way they look, and they attach a great deal of importance to being slim. This can be a result of messages received from significant early experiences, family or peers, the media etc. Therefore if someone doesn't feel “good enough” with their present body, the answer might be to try and control or change their body. This might be done through exercise, dieting, developing food rules or avoiding forbidden foods.

    Although these strategies might help you to feel good in the short term, they provide a false sense of control and over long periods of time, you can start to feel out of control. The more you try to control, the more preoccupied you become. For example if I said to you, for the next minute you can think about anything, except for a white polar bear…what happens? You can't stop thinking about a white polar bear. Why? Because in order to not think about a white polar bear, you have to think about a polar bear! The same is with exercise and eating. The more things we can't eat, the more rules we have about exercise, the more control we try to have, the more obsessive our thinking becomes. Exercise or eating may also be used to cope with life stressors or difficult feelings, and this makes sense if that is what you are preoccupied by.

    If eventually you bust or break your rules, or can't exercise for whatever reason, or like you said..try to stop using exercise to cope, it can be overwhelming and followed by feelings of guilt, anxiety, powerlessness or self-judgement. This then can make you want to gain more control…and the cycle continues.

    As mentioned in the comments above, there are different strategies that be learnt to effectively start to break this cycle and regain real “control” over your life. A clinical psychologist or health professional may help you to be able to do this. Some exercises might include examining the costs to your life if you continue to be controlled by exercise and eating; exploration of your values and what would make life vital and meaningful for you in different areas of your life; developing mindful eating or exercise skills to start trusting your body, listen to your intuition and let go of rules; and learning to problem solve.

    These are just a couple of suggestions. It's a process but something you can learn to change to have a more flexible, compassionate, and value-based life! We would be happy to discuss this with you further.   

  • I am a Melbourne Relationship Counsellor and Family Lawyer who is skilful in helping people get out of the pain of relationship distress and create … View Profile

    You may be interested to know about a new technique to help people with a range of issues called Radical Exposure Tapping. If you want to know more about it you can google it! I would be happy to take you through this method to see if it works for you. In many cases it produces amazing results in a very short time. It is often remarkably effective to help people get out of painfully stuck situations and to change beliefs and it also works on memory! When we change our underlying beliefs then we can more easily change our behaviour! Good luck.

  • Anonymous

    Think of all the positive things that eating healthy is having on your body in every area. Deffinately Cut out Sugar. That is what is responsible for most Illnesses in the Western Culture. Try going Sugar Free. The results will amaze you. 

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