‘My Addiction to Bodybuilding is Ruining My Life’ — Ask Dr. Harry Fisch
Ray, 20, has been pumping iron for the past two years. He says he’s been taking supplements, hormones, shakes, vitamins, and eating like a horse. But he’s become so muscle-bound that day-to-day activities are becoming difficult. Even just bending over strains his body. How can he quit his addiction to getting ripped?
Dr. Harry Fisch’s advice:
You’ve definitely overdone it. It’s like a pendulum and you really swung over to just one side.
It’s possible you have body dysmorphic disorder. That’s when there’s a disconnect between how you look and how you think you look. When you look in the mirror, even though you’ve bulked up tremendously, you’re still somehow seeing the skinny, scrawny little kid you used to be. The same thing happens with women and anorexia—they’re like skeletons yet they still think they’re fat.
So, first thing is, you should consider some therapy about this issue. You’re addiction is bodybuilding and your habit is going to the gym. You need to find something else besides lifting weights that you can do with your time. You can be physically active, while at the same time, lose some of the extra muscle mass. Try activities that build endurance and burn calories without causing you to bulk up such as jogging, swimming, or riding a bike.
What’s most important is that you realize you went overboard and now it’s time to make a change. Do not go to the gym. Stay away. Just go swimming or jogging, cook smaller meals, and start focusing on improving your mind and mental health instead of your muscles.
Dr. Harry Fisch is a board certified urologist at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Medical College of Cornell University.