Taking a Break from Exercise

What is your initial reaction to that phrase?  Taking a break from exercise.  Is it relief, anxiety, joy, neutrality? A couple years ago, my reaction would have been anxiety, fear, guilt.  Now, my reaction is understanding and neutrality (with a little bit of anxiety if I am being honest).  How did I get there??  Let me tell ya!  It is something that YOU can have to!  Freedom through movement and exercise is for EVERYONE! :)

{I want to make you aware that I will filter numbers, more specific examples etc. out for triggering reasons, but no matter what I do/did, your body needs something unique to your own body--not mine! :) }

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Now~I did a lot of traveling shortly after school got out which was really exciting!  My eating disorder tried to make me worried because of the uncertainty and lack of control I would have.  A couple years ago, I would have been more focused on the food and movement than I would have been focused on the memories.  I would have been fretting about certain foods and what they would "do to me".  I would be seeking to plan ways that I could fit in a workout.  But not this time! :)  This time, I focused on the memories, on the people...and it was SO much more enjoyable!!

Don't get me wrong, there was a lot of delicious food...but it was different.  I was enjoying the conversations, beauty, and the food, listening to my cravings, and eating with compassion RATHER THAN restricting, worrying, and limiting myself to only certain "safe" foods.

Memories > Control over food and movement

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Are you struggling with thoughts of pressure over exercise?  Like you just absolutely HAVE TO workout or something awful will happen?  I've been there.

Let me tell you with so much (and I mean SO MUCH) love that it does not mean anything in the end.  You may feel like that run or workout will make everything okay, that it will relieve your anxiety, that you will feel "okay" and like you can "sleep better" or that your "anxiety is better".  But it won't.  It just can't.

Look deeper inside of yourself (begin to journal or see a therapist maybe) and you will find that the desire to compulsively exercise is coming from something much deeper.

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I thought that once I reached "that point" of optimum fitness or whatever (I don't even know honestly) that I would be happy, satisfied.  That every day was not satisfied until or unless I worked out.  TRUTH BOMB:  That is a lie.  Those thoughts are not looking out for your health at all.  They are actually destroying your health.  They destroyed mine.  (like I also explained in my post here).

When I made the choice to commit to recovery from anorexia (and for you, maybe you don't have anorexia but you are struggling with compulsive exercise or something else), I agreed to stop exercise completely for an extended period of time.  No long walks--nothing.  It was not easy, but it was so worth it.  Please hear me in that.  I can't lie to you and tell you it was not a problem to give up because it was hard.  BUT, that trial was so freeing.

Every day that I wanted to run, that I felt I needed to or that it was all I could do to cope with my anxiety, I would choose other positive coping skills like talking with loved ones, painting, coloring, watching Netflix, journaling etc.  Soon, the extreme urge to workout became less and less strong.

67BD4AF0-7599-4348-A198-847B15075599.JPGBecause of that choice to stop exercise until my motives were positive, I actually enjoy my days now.  I don't feel the pressure to workout every day.  I move my body in a way that feels good when I feel like it.  (also, I am still learning and am not perfect every time at this!)  For me now, that normally looks like going to a nice yoga class or a walk with friends.  That's me.  You do you.

 

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My days used to be judged by my workout, but now my days are enjoyed in the present.  I don't "workout" every day and I am so happy about that!  I am no longer chained to that pressure.

Darling, please listen to me.  It is SO worth it to give up the addiction of exercise.  Life is so much more joy-filled and fun.

 

7F7F5A97-1354-47A7-8B46-176203FE6F0C.JPGDuring my trips these past weeks, my mindset has been to enjoy each moment in the present, listen to my body, and make memories.  It turns out, you don't regret the exercises you don't take or the worrying you chose not to engage in, but you DO regret the times when you didn't let yourself just be and enjoy.  So do more of that.

Less control and more memories.

Maybe for you, that means less movement and more thoughts.

15089839-750D-4EA6-80F3-0C85C531613F.JPGDo you want to live a life free of the pressure to exercise?  Please see this hotline for advice, here for additional advice from Kylie Mitchell, here for exercise break tips, here for exercise anxiety).

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When my days were dependent on my exercise, my days were empty.  We can't expect a certain amount of sweat to fill us up.   Would you expect a dear friend or loved one to workout every single day because you felt they needed to?  No.  So why expect that of yourself?  Have compassion for yourself.  You are worthy of love and you are loved by Jesus with an everlasting love.  You don't have to prove anything.  Take a deep breath.  In...out....Would you expect a dear friend or loved one to workout every single day because you felt they needed to_.pngFor those of you who are not struggling with compulsive exercising but are trying to figure out how to navigate exercise, hear me on this.  I know our society can make exercise seem like a necessity, but that just is not the truth.  Please believe me when I say that your body WILL heal from a break and rest.  As a former compulsive exerciser, I have realized that when I do not exercise for an extended period of time, I actually feel stronger and I have a greater appreciation for the time that I move my body.  Our bodies appreciate the break.  Unlike what society may tell us, they can't go forever.  Just like your brain needs a break from studying, your body NEEDS a break from exercise.  

Please believe me when I say that your body WILL heal from a break and rest..pngIf you are struggling with this or an eating disorder, reach out to a loved one and see here for some resources on where to find help. :)

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