Much like relationships (romantic & otherwise), fitness & nutritious foods are SUPER important… but they don’t need to be your whole life. As a recovering codependent, I’ve seen a lot of parallels with past relationships & fitness. Are you losing yourself in your fitness endeavors? Are you in a codependent relationship with your meal plans/workouts?
Some signs of a codependent relationship:
-Giving up what you love to do so as not to upset your partner (think: not eating something because you’ll feel guilty and like you’re being “bad”)
-Having fears of abandonment or an obsessive need of approval (think: If I miss this workout or have a certain food/drink, I won’t have as good results. My progress will disappear. Explaining why you’re eating less nutritious foods to others rather than just digging in.)
-Low self-esteem: Feeling like you’re not good enough or comparing yourself to others. (Think: pushing yourself through tough workouts or restrictive diets because you feel you need to look a certain way, vs. working out in ways that feel good and nourishing your body because you enjoy it and the benefits. Or pushing yourself through workouts/diets because you’re comparing yourself to others on social media.)
-Obsession: Constantly thinking about your workouts, what you will eat next, should/shouldn’t you have this or that food/drink, if you have this treat then you need to restrict carbs later, etc.
These are some ways I’ve been overcoming codependency in relationships with people AND fitness:
-Practicing strengthening self-esteem & self-worth: write down all the things you like about yourself, your strengths, and your accomplishments. When you find yourself falling into comparison or needing approval, think about your list instead.
-Practicing boundaries: Write down what you’re available for and not available for. What do you value? And when making decisions, practice pausing and asking if you’re making decisions from ego (concerned with pleasing others) and then asking if it aligns with your boundaries/values. It’s ok to not respond right away, or to say, "Let me think about this and get back to you."
-Separating my value from my appearance & the opinions of others. It’s ok to have different opinions from others.. including your partner. It doesn’t make me (or them) less worthy of love. And someone not agreeing doesn’t change your gifts & strengths. Also, bodies & bodyweight fluctuate & hormones matter. So if I feel less energetic and do a lighter workout or NONE it’s normal and ok. Also taking time to figure out why I'm feeling that way. Is my period coming up? Have I been drinking water today? Have I been putting everyone else's needs first and need to do something fun for me?
-Unfollowing social media accounts that trigger “comparison-itis” or make me feel irritated, guilty, fearful, etc. And spending less time on social when I’m feeling codependent behaviors trying to come out.
-When I feel clingy or like I need attention, asking myself what it is I'm seeking; is it actually someone else's responsibility; and if not, how I can fulfill that need myself.