How my relationship with exercise has changed for the better
Something that I don’t think is talked about enough is having a healthy relationship with exercise. One that is not obsessive with an all or nothing mentality. I know that there are going to be people reading this who have a perfectly fine relationship with exercise, and that is wonderful! But for those of you who struggle with exercise, know that I have been there.
Now? I move intuitively. I workout in ways that bring me joy and that make me feel strong. I don’t measure my self worth by how hard I worked out. But let me tell you, it has been quite the journey to get to this point.
my past with exercise
Around the same time that I attempted to gain control of my life by restricting food, I started to obsess over working out. My self worth was measured by how hard I pushed myself in the gym and how clean I ate. It was not a fun place to live. Yet, I remained there for years.
I was the smallest I had ever been, I had no period, my acne was horrible, and I felt anxious all the time. I would pull up my shirt each morning to check for abs. I would workout even when I was totally exhausted. Speaking of exhausted, I was tired all.the.time. This was my rock bottom.
healing from exercise obsession
Once I started to take my healing serious, I decided to stop working out. Yep, I went straight from working out obsessively every day to straight up not working out at all. The only type of movement I did during this time was walks with my dog and some gentle yoga. I had to learn that my body was still loved and worthy without exercise.
I discovered how to listen to my body again. I did yoga when she wanted to move. I would rest when she needed rest.
creating a better relationship with exercise
After almost a full year of no workouts, I felt that it was time to start exercising again. I wanted to discover the types of movement that best served my body and my mind!
I tried different exercise classes and workouts to see what I liked. Barre3 came into my life at this time and I totally fell in love with it. I also learned that really enjoyed gym circuits because they pushed my strength. These workouts brought me joy and I felt good in my body doing them.
Moral of the story: Intuitive movement is a game changer.
my current exercise routine
I now workout 3-4x a week doing workouts that I enjoy. I feel stronger and more energized than I ever have! My workouts make me happy and give me an appreciation for my body. Such a big difference from my past of viewing exercise as a way to punish my body.
I often see people wanting a quick fix. They want a strict workout routine to “whip into shape” in a month. In my experience, this doesn’t work long term. If you want to live well for the rest of your life, you must give yourself grace. Push yourself when you need it but also rest when you are tired. Our bodies are so much smarter than we give them credit for. Listen to it.
your questions on exercise
I asked on Instagram stories if you had any questions on exercise and you guys sent in some great ones! Here they are:
- Any tips on how to not restrict even when you don’t exercise?
If you are struggling with restricting on the days you don’t workout, remind yourself that your body NEEDS fuel. You need it for energy, for hormones, to think clearly, and so much more. On the days that you don’t workout, try to eat the same amount of food that you would eat on the days you do workout. Notice how you feel. Do you feel energized or lethargic? Journal it out, reflect, and adjust if needed.
- Do you recommend working out for those who are in recovery?
This very much depends on where you are in recovery and how your overall relationship with exercise impacts you. For me, I had to stop working out in order to heal. I needed to learn that I am still enough even when I don’t exercise.
- How do you know if your body is *really* tired or if you’re just feeling low motivation?
Ask yourself “will I feel more energized after my workout or more drained?”. If you are extremely tired already, it might not serve you to workout. If you are simply lacking motivation and could use the endorphins, then go ahead and get your sweat on!
- What time of day do you work out and do you eat beforehand?
I like to either workout in the morning before breakfast or in the late afternoon before dinner. Through trial and error, I have found that I do best without a belly full of food. If I am doing a morning workout, I like to have a matcha latte or coffee with some collagen protein beforehand.
- How do you transition from strenuous to slower movement to heal hormones/mindset?
One day at a time! If you know that your body needs a break from intense workouts and you are used to doing those 4x a week, replace one of those days with a pilates or yoga class. Keep replacing one intense workout with a slower exercise each week. Remember that any movement is good movement.
- What do you do when you don’t feel like working out at all?
I don’t. If I REALLY don’t want to, I simply don’t do it. There is a big difference in being lazy and giving your body the rest it needs. Tune in and ask your body what will serve it best.
Tell me, do you struggle with exercise obsession? Has your relationship with exercise changed over the years?