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Exercise addiction: Why I decided to tell my story

Vanessa author picFit NOT Healthy is my story about becoming addicted to exercise and my strong desire to remain lean. It is my story about overtraining, depriving my body of calories and punishing my body until it could take no more. The result – four years of unexplained, horrible symptoms. With a degree in Physiotherapy and a Post graduate certificate in Nutrition, I clearly knew what I was doing was not healthy yet I was so caught up in it all that I failed to see exactly how detrimental my addiction was to my health. I refused to listen to anyone around me – my parents, my partner, doctors, health care professionals – when they told me to slow down and to start looking after myself. What did they know? They weren’t marathon runners.  If someone who had once been in my position and who understood what was going on in my mind, had shared their experience of overtraining with me and had warned me of the likely consequences, perhaps I would have listened.  And I may have avoided years of distress and devastation for myself and my family.Fit Not Healthy

Exercise addiction is common in our society. There are a lot of women and men out there who are in a similar situation to what I was, torturing their body with intense exercise and depriving it of essential nutrients as they strive for the perfect physique and to be the best they can.  I want to tell my story to warn others of the potential consequences of over-training and calorie deprivation and to reiterate how important our health is; much more important than how you look or how fast you run.

I really enjoyed writing this book and in a way it was a closure to my ‘crazy’ years. As I read my book now, I am amazed that the story is about me. I can’t believe I spent so long torturing my body. While searching for photos to include in my book, I came across many shocking photos of myself, looking very lean, but not at all healthy. At the time, I couldn’t see this. These days I run to keep fit, I don’t punish my body and I fuel it correctly. I have a balance in life. And I am so much happier.

VANESSA ALFORD is the author of Fit not Healthy, available now in paperback and ebook.