This is how you can avoid sports addiction

WHow it began, she doesn’t remember exactly. Just how it was when it was there. This feeling of not being able to stop, of being allowed to keep going, a ten-kilometer run in the morning, in the evening to the gym for crossfit or strength training – despite all warnings from your own body. “When I look back today, it was pure torture, pure discipline. It was just about pulling this off – no matter how painful it was, no matter how stressful, no matter how tired I was. It was a to-do on a list that at some point I stopped questioning. Pure stress, ”says Yavi Hameister.

She kept training. Took pain medication when the periosteum in the shin became infected. At first she was happy when she missed her period because a lot of stress disappeared with it, but it was actually the beginning of a hormonal imbalance. “I was addicted to sport – but at the time I thought that it would be good for me, that it would do me good.”

In reality, she tortured herself. “I’ve always been dissatisfied with my body,” says Yavi Hameister. There was the size, 1.50 meters. “The small, blonde woman! I was always afraid of not being seen, ”she says. And there was what others said, what they themselves hoped to represent. “There was a lot of pressure from my father, he was happy to allow himself one or two sayings. Overall, my family has always been very concerned about their appearance. “

Sport became a means to their ends. As a girl she did kung fu, it was fun, but she kept looking for the extreme. Hit her so hard and so long that her hands burst open and bleeding, so that her parents would later take her in their arms, comfort her. Later, at school and at university, she kept comparing herself to others. “I knew I would never be that slender, graceful woman like other girls. And then I said to myself: If I can’t be thin, then at least I want to be muscular. Then I want to have the body that I can create within my framework. ”Perhaps that was the beginning.

“It’s an Addiction”

Sports psychologist Heiko Ziemainz from the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg has been researching the topic of sports addiction for more than ten years. He published a study on this as early as 2013. According to this, 4.5 percent of endurance athletes in Germany are at risk of sports addiction, and one percent of them actually become addicted. More recent data suggest that the number of sick people remains at this level – despite supposed addiction boosters such as the social media platform Instagram.

“It is an addiction that is one of the behavioral addictions, similar to gambling addiction,” says Ziemainz. Often those who suffer from sports addiction are just as in need of therapy as other addicts. The way we look at it has changed. At the beginning of the 1970s, many saw something positive in sports addiction. “The attitude was: If we make people addicted to doing sports, then we wouldn’t have all the diseases of civilization such as obesity or diabetes,” says Ziemainz. A mistake.


“How my body looks has nothing to do with how it looks inside of me,” says Yavi Hameister.
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Build: Marcus Simaitis

The addiction to sport is often only what comes out. In essence, it’s about something else. “For me, sport was a means of getting noticed,” says Yavi Hameister. “He helped me fill in the gaps in me that I now had. Mental gaps. Lack of love in childhood, too little time, too little attention. I got a lot of it through sport. ”At any price.

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