Dedication or Obsession?

For those that like to keep fit, exercise and eat right, there will come points in their life where one will say you are obsessed.

That used to bug me when I was younger because obsession is usually meant in a derogatory way and how can being healthy be considered a bad thing?  I considered myself as being dedicated instead of obsessed but is that true, is there a difference between the two or does it just depend on where you come from?

My usual reply to anyone that said that was that they were obsessed with ruining their health. After all if obsession for fitness was bad wouldn’t the opposite also be obsession? And which one would you prefer?



The dictionary defines obsession as follows:

ob·ses·sion  (b-sshn, b-)


1. Compulsive preoccupation with a fixed idea or an unwanted feeling or emotion, often accompanied by symptoms of anxiety.

2. A compulsive, often unreasonable idea or emotion.

 Whereas dedication is defined as:

ded·i·ca·tion  (dd-kshn)


1. The act of dedicating or the state of being dedicated.

2. A note prefixed to a literary, artistic, or musical composition dedicating it to someone in token of affection or esteem.

3.  Complete and wholehearted devotion, esp to a career, ideal, etc.

4. Selfless devotion: served the public with dedication and integrity.


Ok, so how do I interpret that?

 I think what it comes down to is when does dedication cross the line and becomes obsession and is that such a bad thing?

Anything becomes compulsive behavior when it starts to impact your family and work obligations.  There are some exceptions such as if the family is not into being healthy and you carve out time to train. One must never let the ‘bad’ habits of others even if it is family, interfere with your health.

Family members that give you a hard time for working out are not looking out for your own good.  Would they complain if you liked to drink soda and eat cheeseburgers for lunch every day. Probably not, so why should they interfere with your exercise routine?

However, if they support your habits and even participate yet you go beyond that where family time is severely impacted, one may be starting to cross the line.  You need to find a balance and with 24 hours in a day, there is plenty of time to find that balance although many people make up excuses to say otherwise.

But there are exceptions even to the above. For instance, you can have short bursts of compulsive behavior if you are training for an athletic event. Whether it be a race, triathlon, etc, you have to have tunnel vision in your training. Never miss a workout, become obsessed with the end goal and have it consume you 24/7. 

I personally don’t consider these short bursts of obsession a bad thing. In fact, it helps in every day life setting and reaching goals. It teaches friends and family that they can do the same. They can serve as motivation to others, especially if you are overcoming some form of handicap or have made drastic improvements to your health.

So as long as there is balance between work, family, friends and health, one must never be embarrassed or ashamed of habits that are beneficial to you.

 As time goes on and friends and family age, and you meet at social gatherings and events, and you see the noticeable difference in appearance, alertness, and youthfulness, you will affirm that the direction and path you chose was the correct one.

Be dedicated but not obsessed to be….Fit Forlife


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