One of the reasons I adore blogging so much is because there are so many like-minded people out there who allow me to reflect on both myself and the world around me. Being surrounded by so many incredible people has really given me the opportunity to grow in so many ways, and I truly appreciate all of you!
Last week, after posting about my foot injury, Lauren posted this comment:
While the entire comment is meaningful, it was one small statement within it that had me thinking for days about my relationship with exercise.
“I got comfortable with not being super active all the time”
I can’t tell you how much this resonates with me, as I have always struggled with finding a balance with my exercise routine.
[sprained ankle in Aotearoa, circa 2006]
I’ve always been an all or nothing type of person… if I’m doing something, there’s no half-assing it – I put heart and dedication into it. One of the most difficult parts of my [long] weight loss journey is the fine line between “healthy” and “unhealthy” weight loss methods [although I wish I were one of those people who could just eat intuitively – eating what sounds good when the urge arises – I know that, for me, if I’m not eating 100% clean, I’ll eat 100% dirty].
When it comes to exercise, the first seventeen years or so were nothing. Then I put the pedal to the metal and was in the gym five days a week for 30 minutes at a time. Once I got to college, I dedicated myself to five/six days a week at the gym for an hour minimum [most days I’d do 30 min cardio + 45 min weights + 15 min abs].
Since moving home, I’ve gotten into the habit of:
Mon: Teach TurboKick [60 min] + Weights [LiveFit – 45 min]
Tues: Weights [45 min] + Swim/Yoga/Run [45-60 min]
Wed: Teach TurboKick [60 min]
Thur: Weights [45 min] + Swim/Yoga/Run [45-60 min]
Fri: Teach TurboKick [60 min] + Weights [ 45 min]
Sun: Long Run/Hike [60-120 minutes]
My schedule now feels balanced to me. I spend time both outdoors and indoors, I get to inspire others by teaching, and weight training makes me feel strong. Both my body and spirit have come to love exercise, and it has become both my alone-time and moving meditation. I don’t feel overly obsessed with keeping to my schedule [if I miss a training run or weights session it’s not the end of the world]. I feel like this is me taking care of myself in the best, healthiest way possible; I’m energetic, strong, and athletic!
And yet, when I take a step back, I start to realize that the relationship I hold with exercise may not be the healthiest. Yes, I want to live an active and healthy lifestyle, but there’s a fine line between staying active and obsessing over the calories I’ve burned and having distorted feelings about the way I look if I miss a day or two [I swear my bulge is bigger today than it was yesterday]. Rather than eating – say, when I’m hungry? – I calorie-count to make sure I’m getting the equation right for my goals [what? Jillian Michaels told me to].
And that’s where this whole thing baffles me.
Over the years, I’ve tried all sorts of methods and I’ve found what works for my body – mixing up my workouts, eating high-protein, taking out dairy, gluten + sugar, measuring what I eat – but I have yet to find what works for my spirit. Yes, I’ve found an incredible link between my creativity [writing, cooking, jewelry-making] and my self-esteem, but I’m now specifically interested in how to just be okay with my physical body and not feel the need to push myself so hard [after all, it is 90% nutrition anyway!].
How does one know what amount of exercise is honoring for the body and spirit, and what is too much – driven by ego and a distorted self-image? I ran eight miles on a foot that told me to stop after the first, and I’m paying for it now. Because as my body told me lay off, my mind kept saying you’ll be fine – the pain will cease and the rewards will be greater than the costs.
I’ve always been interested in the emotional aspects of weight loss and healthy living, and I think it’s high time I open up the lines of discussion. Obviously I have no real answers, but I think there’s a lot to be learned through shared experiences and speaking one’s truth.
So, here I am. Nine plus years into my weight loss journey, wondering where to draw the line between pushing myself to be the best I can be, and pushing myself because I’m trying to change some aspect about myself that is innate. How do I accept myself as I am and continue to push myself to grow?
My healing process started long ago, but there is only so much one can do alone and I still have so much to learn.
How do you feel about your relationship with exercise?
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