Exercise. It’s what keeps people “healthy” right? Usually, yes it does. But what about if it’s all you think about? What if you can’t go a day without it? Do you start feeling anxious and scared? Do you not allow yourself chocolate or pizza on those days?
If you could say yes to any of those, you may be in the same exact position I was just a couple months ago.
Rewind to the first few months of weight gain (a year and a half ago), I completely cut out exercise, including long walks so I could focus on what needed to be done. Then once my weight was progressing higher and my vitals were appearing more stable, I introduced walks and lifting a few times a week. Fast forward to a couple months ago when I finally reached a healthy weight. Something changed in my brain. Of course I had made tremendous mental and physical progress but as soon as I realized my body wasn’t starving and depleted, I developed a strange relationship with exercise.
Food was still be eaten like I was used to, but the exercise increased. I almost felt like I HAD to go workout 5-6 days a week. I wanted to gain muscle and start “changing” my new, recovered body into something I tend to see in the media. I started tracking macros and following fitness accounts to find out all I could about fitness just of the idea of having “aesthetics”. Yes, I am admitting to this because I want to be as transparent as I can with you all.
Tracking macros was both a good and bad experience for me. Since I am going to be majoring in dietetics, I wanted to learn more about food/portion sizes/etc. However, I can see where the obsessions can begin. I am already a perfectionist as it is and knowing every single macro was too much for me. I DO NOT recommend this for anyone recovering from an eating disorder. You know why? You won’t listen to your body fully. Plugging it in and seeing numbers is just as bad as weighing yourself every single hour. You freak out if the numbers aren’t what they are “supposed” to be and it will lead to unnecessary anxiety. Food was not meant to be seen as a certain number. Seriously, you do not need to count macros or follow a certain diet to be healthy and fit. Trust me you don’t! I stopped within the second month of using it and I feel SO MUCH MORE FREE. I haven’t lost any muscle and I don’t force myself to workout when I don’t feel like it.
Now you may be reading this and not agree with me. So be it. I know for a fact not everyone in this world likes me. You are totally entitled to your own opinion and if tracking macros makes you happy, go for it. But ask yourself this. Do you really want to continue that the rest of your life? Are you going to be 70 years old and still be tracking? I know I wont. I’ll be that cool old lady that makes awesome chocolate chip cookies and eats the damn batter with my grand kids.
How did I overcome exercise?
I learned that the human body is fragile and very smart. It doesn’t know the difference between today and tomorrow. If I don’t get off my butt for one day, that means absolutely nothing in terms of how much I am allowed to eat. I learned that I don’t need to do obsessive cardio to have a body I love. I really love taking walks outside. I learned that if I don’t go on a walk today, I always have tomorrow. If I don’t lift weights in the morning, I can still have a nice big breakfast if I want or a big bowl of ice cream at night. I learned that all food is important, whether it’s a protein, carb, or fat. They all play an important role one way or another. I learned that my body likes the same amount (or more) food on rest days than active days. I know that intuitive eating means eating even if I am not hungry but if something sounds good.
Our bodies still need fuel even if we do nothing all day. It is a huge waste of time getting all worked up about having dessert at a get together or trying to plan all your food out. If you force yourself to run even though you know you hate it, why are you doing it? Stop for a second and reevaluate if that’s the way you want to live your life. I promise you won’t die if you stop. Life is about discovery and figuring out where you belong and what your true passions are. It’s refreshing to know that you can choose to live it any way you want to.
Me? I choose to do things that make me feel free and happy. I never would have thought I would have learned so much about myself in the ways I have.
So tell me, what is something you truly love to do?
Are you an intuitive eater?