I was leaving the gym after attending a workout class. As I was walking to my car, I noticed a woman walking into the gym with what appeared to be pajama pants and a few different bags.
She looked bogged down, not only physically, but mentally. I wondered what her story was. Was she going to the gym to relieve some of her stress?
Maybe she was going to take a nice swim to relax after a long day?
Or, maybe she had been home eating through her pantry and became so ashamed of herself that she dragged herself to the gym. Giving herself the punishment that she felt she deserved.
I really have no idea what this woman’s intentions were, but it brought back memories of the days when I would head to the gym feeling disgusted with myself. I would pray that the stairclimber would work magic and widdle my hips and thighs down to a perfect size 6.
Since I felt out of control with my eating, exercise seemed like the only way to lose weight. I used exercise as a way to redeem myself after a night of eating something forbidden.
I didn’t really enjoy exercise because I was looking at it as a form of punishment. Because of this I would force myself to exercise religiously and then rebel against my routine and avoid exercise for weeks on end.
After noticing the woman walking into the gym, I thought about what relief it was that I didn’t loathe exercise anymore. Then it hit me that I’m at the exact same weight, if not heavier, than I was when I would have those intense, punishing, gym sessions.
Plus, I had to laugh a little when I remembered the reason I had went to the gym was because I was looking for a little alone time and wanted to do some strength training. Who knew I would actually turn to the gym for my sanity?!
I view exercise as something I do for my body and my mental health. I love that sometimes the outcome is weight loss or a change in my body, but that’s no longer the goal.
If you are sick of using exercise to punish yourself, and/or would like a more consistent relationship with exercise, there are two things I recommend:
Pick an activity that you enjoy. Not sure what you enjoy? Check in with your body and see what type of movement sounds appealing. Sometimes it might be a brisk walk, other times it may be a Zumba class.
Stop looking to exercise for weight loss. Yes, it’s possible that exercise can do amazing things to your physical appearance and help you lose weight – but what you eat plays a huge part in this also.
Instead, look at exercise as a gift you are giving your body, without asking for anything in return. Just like any relationship, if you are constantly expecting it to do something for you, and it’s not, you will get frustrated and throw in the towel.
I promise you that if you start exercising consistently without expecting weight loss to follow, you will notice differences that cannot be measured by the scale. Consistent exercise will increase your self-esteem, create trust with your body, and provide you with more energy to get through your day.
*Start your journey towards peace with your body and food today with the FREE 5 day email program: Unleash Your Inner Skinny. Click here to get started!*