The 14 Stages of Boutique Fitness Addiction

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Read on about one woman's journey and how to recognize symptoms of the surprisingly common disorder. I can trace the roots of my exercise addiction back to the first time I snuck off to my room to do jumping jacks, lunges, burpees — anything that would up my heart rate and help me take control of my body. It started after my parents sent me, at 13, to a residential facility after they found out I was skipping class to drink and smoke pot. Instead of confronting the self-esteem issues that had led me to substance abuse, I just found a new way of controlling my body: through exercise. The day I was released from the facility and let back into my high school, I joined a gym, started shedding weight, and embraced the identity of a fit girl. Outside the treatment center, fitness wasn't a negative thing — it was hailed as the paramount of perfection, attractiveness, and appeal.