Here's Why You Want To Get In Shape After A Breakup

If you're reading this article, you've likely experienced the phenomenon of suffering a bad breakup, then vowing to get into great shape. Also dubbed the "revenge body," the post-breakup makeover is a staple of many romantic comedies, but it's seeped into real life as well. And there's a psychological reason for it, but you may want to be cautious when considering making a major change.

The good news is that starting a regular exercise routine after experiencing a breakup is a positive way to move on. Exercise will make you feel better, physically and mentally, thanks to the hormones that activate as you run, lift, pedal, or stretch (via Psychology Today). 

Channeling exercise in a healthy way can be great. "It gives you something to do. Get out of the house, go to the gym, don't isolate," Amy Flowers, a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in body image, told Vice. "Newly abundant time and energy also means that a breakup is a good time to decide who you are and what you want."

How can wanting to get in shape after a breakup be bad?

However, while exercise is good, obsessing about getting to a certain body shape or weight is not — especially if it's being prompted by wanting to get back at your ex, or is in response to something your ex once said about your body. Skip the crash diets and extreme changes to your fitness routine

If you're trying to make changes to show your ex that he or she was wrong about you, or to get revenge, that's where the negative thoughts and feelings start to show up. "We cannot heal and grow to our full potential if we are doing things for the benefit of needing to prove our worth to others," eating psychology coach Erin Campbell explained in the Huffington Post. She also notes that shifting your focus entirely to getting in shape may allow you to avoid feeling your emotions, like grief, that are essential to actually moving on from a breakup. 

Rather than seeking revenge through a workout regimen, try to shift your focus to a more positive reason you want to get in shape. Find activities that you enjoy doing, perhaps ones that during the course of your relationship, you couldn't pursue, like hiking or camping, or invite a friend to start going on daily walks with you to find a good balance between getting healthier and becoming happier (via Psychology Today). Besides, living well is ultimately the best revenge!