this whole not exercising intensely as a way to heal my body sounded like a great idea, in theory. and it may be great for the bod, but it’s brutal on my brain. like driving me crazy. to say i had a (few) mental breakdown(s) this past week is an understatement. the entire purpose behind this little 6-week experiment is to heal my body. and i think it’s working. i’ve felt less pain this week than i have in a long time. fabulous. mission accomplished, kinda.
see the truth is, i’m not sure how to operate without over-exercising. (i feel like i’m in a support group right now: “hi, my name is angela and i exercise too much.”) and until erica, and a few others, pointed this out, i didn’t realize how much it almost defines me. it’s not only about maintaining my weight and looking/feeling good, it’s how i manage stress…it’s my go-to when i need a momentary escape. whether i like to admit it or not, my workouts are what keep me from spiraling into a stressed out abyss. so you take that away? no bueno.
an example: unable to go “all-out” and run on the treadmill in my orangetheory class tuesday morning was mentally torturous. i opted instead to do the elliptical, knowing full well that it would be impossible to be on the treadmill walking on an incline while someone beside me was doing sprints. smart choice, physically. mentally? not so much.
the following ranting text to erica ensued:
“i’m freaking out - i swear i’m gaining weight! my body is all funky don’t know what to do – i’m used to working out more!!! guess i need to cut my food intake like crazy…i’m used to burning like 500 calories per workout, so if i don’t cut back on my food i’m afraid i’m going to put on some poundage!”
to which her sweet response was: “seriously just be nice to yourself ;-)”
[disclaimer: the scale hadn't budged a pound.]
so why share this with you? because i know that someone, somewhere struggles with the same exact thoughts i do. we are somewhat defined by how often and intense our workouts are…we are controlled by this deep-seeded fear that if we don’t workout enough we aren’t worth enough…and an intense aversion to the scale going the wrong way. but as erica ever-so-sweetly reminded me: “our goal is to get you better, not weight loss.”
so i’ll admit, i’m not loving this process at all. but i’m choosing to see this experience as a blessing: it’s giving me perspective and empathy for people who are limited on what they can do physically. it’s also teaching me to think of my health in a new and different way. and along the way, i’m learning to give myself grace.