Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Unspoken Competition

I realized today I am in a constant competition. An exercise competition. I never signed up for it. The people I am competing with don’t even realize they are participating. And it does nothing other than make me crazy. It’s all dictated by ED. He is the ref, he writes the rules, and he never ever let’s me win. Let me explain.

This Mon is memorial day which means there won’t be any night time classes at the gym. So, once again, a wrench is thrown in my “perfect” Mon/Wed/Fri workout schedule for spin. At first, I realized I would just have to either go to Tues AM cycle or go (yet again) to an unknown instructor Tues night (this option seemed a lot better time wise). That was the plan…until Wed came.

At my Wed spin class I found out the Fri instructor was teaching a 9:15 am class at a different gym. She is a really hard instructor and ED knew this. ED decided I would be waking up extra early to drive to this gym and go to cycle. I thought maybe the person who told me was wrong (and hoped they were) and she wasn’t teaching. But I confirmed with her on Fri…she was teaching. So this brought the normal anxiety ED brings. I HAD to go to her class instead of the Tues ones no matter what because it would be intense.

This is when that lovely anxiety came in. I am starting to realize a lot of time this anxiety is because I am torn between what I want and what ED is dictating. And with exercise it’s intensified because I hate to admit I don’t want to go exercise. It makes me feel like a failure. It makes me feel like I am losing the “control” anorexia brings because I am not hard and stuck on working out. I know, it should be a good thing I am not a slave to exercise and it is, but it is scary to change.

I honestly didn’t want to wake up super early and I hate the gym she is teaching at mainly because the bikes have these weird monitors on them. Monitors with cals burned, miles gone, rpm, intensity, etc. AKA ED’s dream. Numbers, numbers everywhere. The perfect way for him to measure and judge my performance in the class which then he will use to judge my worth as a human being and my desire for food. Sounds great…right.

So where does the competition come in? Well, I ended up going to Fri spin (long story, probably explain in another post) and at spin I met a lovely girl. We chatted and laughed and honestly I felt a bond. It was great. I felt like I had a new spin buddy. Workout partner. A friend. I’s silly, but it felt nice to have someone I could plan on seeing at spin classes.

Then the instructor announced about her Mon AM class at the other gym. That’s when my new friend said she was definitely going. I felt a lump well up in my throat. I told her I wanted to too, but it was just so early and getting to that gym with traffic, I would have to get up super early. She said it was the same for her, but she loved this instructor and always does spin Mon, Tues, and Fri. She also talked about how she does Bodyworks on Wed, Sat, Sun. My heart sunk…because I knew the competition was beginning.

ED piped in immediately about how much she gets to work out and how I only go 4 days a week. How she can go to as much spin as she wants…heck she could go on mon AND Tues, but I had to select one so I could go Wed and Fri as well and not go over my 3 days of spin I agreed to earlier this week. Obviously I wasn’t as dedicated as her to exercise.

And ED didn’t stop there. Now I HAD to go Monday. My new friend offered to sign me in if she got there before me so I didn’t have to leave as early. And how could I use waking up early as an excuse not to exercise. I would rather sleep than exercise while my new friend would be spinning her way to thinness. This could not happen. Not in ED’s book. It would be ultimate defeat.

Not only that, but come Tues when I went to the other instructor who I’ve never taken’s class in order to replace spin on Mon, my new friend would see me. What would she think about me? ED knew. She would think I was lazy, pathetic, and undedicated because I had let sleep get in the way of spin.

And so, since Fri, I have been in a panic. And I thought I had a way out today. At work, a co-worker offered his shift on Mon to me. PERFECT! I could tell her I couldn’t go to spin because of work and it would be true. And then ED couldn’t berate me because I had an obligation. Yes, I would still have anxiety about the Tues night instructor, but if my new friend who apparently kicks ass at working out went to her she couldn’t be easy.

Problem solved, until I remember me and my stepmom were spending time together on Mon. Now I couldn’t take the shift. And it was back to the panic.

I wish I had a solution, but I am still going back and forth. I mean, I know the “right” thing to do is probably to take Mon off since I don’t really want to go to that early morning class and instead go to the new instructor on Tues night (plus this would help me know whether Tues nights are an option in case something like this happens another week and I can’t go Mon night)…but I just can’t solidify that yet. It’s like I am waiting for someone or something to make it so I HAVE to go Tues. Otherwise…it will be me choosing to go Tues, choosing to say no to exercise…and that is hard for me to bear.

I guess I still have a lot of worth wrapped up in exercise and it’s hard for me to choose not to go to what I know will be an intense exercise class because it makes me wonder what that means about me. What does it mean that I don’t want to wake up early to exercise and would prefer to go at night? Does that mean I am lazy. What does it mean that I don’t want to go to gym with monitors on the bikes? That I am scared to push myself and see how slow/pathetic I am? What does it mean that I won’t sneak in an extra day of exercise this week? That I am losing my willpower? This is the lovely competition and what it brings me too.

I always have to be working out the hardest, the most, and any time I know someone else is. All because I am scared what people will think if I am not working out. I am scared what I will think. I am scared who I will become if exercise isn’t my priority. I am scared to be free.

I will let you all know what I decide. It’s just hard. I feel if I choose Mon, I will be miserable all class. If I choose Tues, then Mon I will be freaking out about not going. And then if Tues night is really easy, I will be beating myself up for not going Mon. But if I dread Mon class, I won’t go that hard anyway. Plus, my parents are coming home Tues and will most likely go to gym. So if I don’t go to cycle, I lose the competition again.

I just want to be free and yet it’s terrifying. I don’t want every single exercise and food decision to be such a chore. And ED is blaming recovery for all of it, because if I didn’t have my 4 days exercise per week with 3 being spin I could go Mon and Tues. But if I am honest (which is hard) I still wouldn’t want to go Mon. To wake up early and drive to that gym after working all weekend. It’s so hard for me to admit…but I really just don’t want to sacrifice to go to spin Mon. And yet…I am still letting it be an option. Still letting misery be an option. Instead of committing to what gives me peace. To Tues night spin. All because of some unspoken exercise competition. A competition…I will never win. 

letting go of ED


  1. Thank you for sharing! It is so brave of you to explain all of your struggles so honestly. I hope you make a decision you can be proud of!