Read Holleigh Mason’s story on how she discovered her exercise addiction and see if any of the tell-tale signs ring a bell.
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This ‘once upon a time’ 128-kg girl never in her wildest dreams thought that she might ever fall foul to exercise addiction. But I did. And on the very day I was starting to ‘get real’ with myself about this possibility, I had a hairdressing appointment with Joe – an unbelievably well-built hot-blooded Italian hairdresser who pours lychee martinis and cuts hair with a razor. The universe talks to us in random ways. It just depends on whether we wish to listen and learn, right?
I settled in and our regular banter was in full flight. I asked how he was going at the gym, conveniently located only two floors above the salon. He told me he had stopped going. I was in shock. He said, “I had to Holleigh, I was addicted.”
I looked over at Leona his colleague for confirmation. She nodded sagely. We talked a little more on the subject and the cold reality started to uncomfortably wash over me – the more of his words that fell from his mouth, the more I recognised my own compulsive behaviours. As I wrestled with the possibility that I may have a problem, confirmation was delivered within moments!
Joe professionally straightened my hair for the first time that day – an arduous, expensive and long process. There are a couple of major rules to follow over the next 24 hours so that you don’t screw it up. One of the most crucial? Don’t get your hair wet, which includes sweat. Translation: Don’t exercise. “WHAT!? I HAD to get to my Zumba class that night, the last before my Christmas vacation.” I confessed my conflict and both Leona and Joe started berating me like parents lecturing a teenager about the dangers of drugs! They were adamant.
For the next few hours I felt trapped, physically uncomfortable, mentally trying to figure out how I could get around this – angry at myself for having the hair treatment. Then, I realised that there never would have been a ‘right time’ as I never went 24 hours these days without exercise. In fact, this was a Wednesday – my old off day. I felt sick.
All the way home I was fighting the urge to get to that class. “HOLLEIGH, seriously wake up! Your new straight hair will frizz permanently, and you will have to live with it like that for five months!”
So, what did I do? With minutes to spare, I did a U-turn and high tailed it to that class. The justification that was going on in my head all the way there is an entire Dr Phil episode in itself.