Woman’s fitness tracker obsession leads to two hospitalisations

A woman who was obsessed with tracking her exercise and calories would cancel plans to work out – and felt “guilty” if she didn’t move.

Dani Fernandez, 25, had always been sporty growing up but began to develop an unhealthy obsession with exercise and calorie counting as a teenager.

The American content creator developed an eating disorder and spent two years walking as many steps as she could each day and hitting the gym at any moment she could. She tracked it all on her fitness watch.

She would cancel plans or not go on holidays in favour of keeping up with her workouts.

After being hospitalised twice for Bradycardia – a slower than normal heart rate – Ms Fernandez checked herself into a clinic for six months and is now fully recovered.

Now she spends her time reading and doesn’t feel “guilty” about not constantly moving.

Ms Fernandez said her entire identity was based around working out.

“I was obsessed with it. It’s all you can think about,” she told SWNS. “I’d cancel plans with friends. Like road trips or going to the cinema. You isolate yourself.”

She said she felt as though she needed to “deserve” food by burning as many calories as she could – to the point where she would feel guilty about sitting and reading.

Ms Fernandez used to be a football player and trained every day but was told she could no longer play when her weight dropped aged 15.

She said: “I started developing an eating disorder. I looked very fragile.”

Ms Fernandez swapped her training sessions for daily gym workouts and began to restrict herself even more as she was no longer playing soccer.

“I’d make myself go the gym even if I was tired,” she revealed.

“I felt I had to deserve food by burning as many calories as I could. I started to move as much as I could and restrict things as much as I could. The day became scheduled.

“I’d walk for 30 minutes a day but if the next day I walked for 45 minutes I’d have to keep that up. It kept increasing.”

Ms Fernandez would also track her calories and exercise on a fitness watch and app, wanting a complete sense of control.

She started to realise she was unhealthy and wanted to put on weight but struggled to get out of her obsession.

She said: “I wanted to change. I was miserable. My heart started struggling. I had chest pains.

“I thought if I don’t gain weight and recover and heal you’re going to die.”

After being hospitalised for heart problems, Ms Fernandez researched where she could get help.

She found a clinic in New York offering treatment for free in exchange for research.

Ms Fernandez checked into the clinic in November 2017. Her exercise was limited and she had therapy everyday to “retrain” her brain.

She spent six months in the clinic before she was able to come home and now has a different relationship with food and exercise.

She makes sure she has three meals a day and has hobbies instead of obsessing over working out.

Ms Fernandez said: “They saved my life. I feel in a better place. Now I want to move to feel better rather than to lose calories. I don’t body check. I don’t fixate.

“I feel free.”

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