I was an athlete my entire life, and I still am. Playing soccer, softball, coaching, being a PE teacher, being an avid CrossFitter that talks about it all the time, I know my stuff when it comes to exercise. I enjoy exercise. I even have my M.A. in Exercise Science.
That said, even with my education, passion and experience, I have used exercise as a crutch and caveat.
We know its benefits. We know it’s good for us. We know it improves our health, mood, confidence, physical appearance, the list goes on.
But do we actually enjoy exercise?
Back in the day, I would rather stick a fork in my eye than hit the gym. I would come up with every excuse in the book to not exercise – let’s just say my sock drawer got a whole lot of organizing. Or, on the flip side, I was exercising 3x a day. I would run to the gym in the morning, workout, run home. And then take a group fitness class later. Totally normal.
What kept me on the complete opposite ends of the spectrum? My ‘why’ was WAY off. It was all based on what I was eating.
When I wasn’t exercising, it was because I was ‘off’ my diet.
Off my diet meant I was binge eating, overeating every little thing I haven’t allowed myself to have, and laying in bed disgusted with myself for eating a whole box of Apple Jacks instead of going for a measly walk. Why would I waste my time with a walk? I was just going to hit 3 drive- thrus later anyway. I was starting on Monday – so had to get all the food in!
Exercise meant burning calories meant losing weight. I wasn’t on a diet, so I wasn’t trying to lose weight. They always went hand in hand.
If I was on a diet? You would have seen me in the gym everyday. I was losing weight, so I obv had to exercise as much as possible to match my angelic eating.
But wait, there’s more.
Another reason I was in the gym multiple times a day? When I was dieting, but I was ‘bad.’ (Cringe). I was punishing myself for going off my diet, for losing my willpower, for having no self-control, for being an absolute disgust, and now I needed to pay the price. Run 3 miles, don’t eat after. Have one tablespoon of peanut butter before my Les Mills Body Combat class. Don’t drink any water after so the scale will be lighter tomorrow. What. The. Actual. F.
How did I get out of this rut and start to enjoy exercise?
I stopped dieting.
I started enjoying exercise more. I began playing soccer. I got started back with CrossFit. If you know me, nothing jacks me up more than power cleans and snatches. I was filling the void in my life that was competitive sports. Read how I filled that void of competitive sports in this blog post.
I stopped punishing myself based on what I ate the day before. Exercise became something that I enjoyed with zero strings attached.
I realized what exercise did for me that had nothing to do with my weight.
It put me in a better mood.
It made me a better mom & a better wife.
It made me stronger visibly.
It made me stronger mentally.
It made me appreciate mornings more, and I weirdly became a morning person.
It made me love going to bed by 8:30PM.
It gives me so much energy. My husband always jokes when I work out in the morning, ‘I don’t have the energy to match workout Kelly’ when he wakes up.
It makes me appreciate the ability to be able to move my body.
… and so much more.
Read those. Read those again. None of them have to do with my weight and the number on a scale. None of those have to do with what food I am putting in my body.
If you are exercising to punish yourself based on your food choices, you are trapped in the diet cycle.
The goal here is to reframe your thoughts associated with exercise. When you are able to do that, the clouds will open up. It will no longer matter if you devoured pizza last night or had eggs and sweet potato hash for breakfast, you will want to move your body.
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