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Fitness- Changing My Attitude and Approach

Posted May 03 2012 4:57pm

What a fantastic discussion we all had going on Wednesday on the topic of “just eating.” I truly enjoyed reading each and every one of your comments and thoughts on this particular matter, something I simply forget how to do. Several people made good points on pointing out that rarely there is anyone that can truly “just eat” without a second thought. I believe it’s illogical to think that I will ever get back to a place where I am completely care-free, but improvement is in the cards at least.

Taking it down a notch, from the category of obsessiveness, would be pretty awesome. Progression and taking the small steps to get better, that is what I need to do right now, and also to keep giving myself a genuine kick in the patooty to get better too. Because while I do understand this process takes time, “slow and steady wins the race” and all of that, I know myself and how I am feeling right now and I am simply not making as much as effort as I should. More on this later though… :)

Anyway I really am thankful for your input on Wednesday’s post, as usual YOU ALL gave me a lot to think about and come away with.

I started out writing this post as a “Friday Favorites” kind of situation but then my word-vomit got the best of me... it happens quite often. This post is about my recent issues with not being able to workout, and the struggles I have been dealing with, but also some reality checks that are finally getting through my thick skull. !

A few weeks ago, I emailed the Fitfluential team about possibly joining their Ambassador program and just heard the other day that I was accepted!

Wahooo to say the very least :)

** For the record, Fitfluential is not paying me or telling me to write such a post, it is from my own accord and my acceptance into this program has spurred some major self-reflection time

This is a program that has been around for quite some time now and I know tons of you are familiar with it and are ambassadors yourselves! I am both excited and honored to be part of this community now and can’t wait to see what new opportunities, ideas, and whatever else come from such an organization.

So yes, Fitfluential has been around for a while now, yet I just decided to apply just a few short weeks ago. When I first heard about the program, I didn’t really have any interest in joining, as I knew very little about it and simply didn’t feel like going through the application process (lame I know). I understood the concept of Fitfluential and saw it everywhere across the blog world, Facebook and Twitter especially, but it was not something I turned my attention to.

In the past few months, I have been really struggling with my body and exercising. The fatigue is just not.going.away…. I have an incessant tightness in my legs… I do go for runs still, but they feel pretty crappy and are much shorter than ever before. I am in fact going to the doctor at the end of May to have this at least acknowledged and investigate more because I have to find some sort of solution or explanation before I really lose it. Sorry a bit dramatic… but yeah.

Alright so my workouts have been less than stellar recently, and I have continued to take it easy, and yet I decided to apply to a program that is all about fitness, working out, running, staying in shape and all of that. But there is much more to it! From their website:

  • FitFluential is a growing family of fitness fanatics spreading a positive healthy message year-round.
  • FitFluential is the perfect combination of fitness and influence.
  • Fitfluential is all about balance.
  • Fitness is all about fitting in to your LIFE.
  • At FitFluential, we are passionate about fitness.

When I read these bullet points, it got my thoughts churning on my own personal experience with “fitness” and how much my views have changed in the recent months since I have had to tone it down sooo much.

Although I was never the kind of person who would be at the gym for 6 hours a day to burn calories, I was there (or running) at least once per day, seven days a week in order to keep my body weight down and to justify what I was eating. During the worst times, running and working out were not only used as a means to lose weight, but also in order to eat. I simply could not start the day without some kind of activity, because if I didn’t, I could not really eat food…. whatever I consumed previous to a workout would automatically be instant weight gain.

Yikes.

On the very rare times that I could not manage to burn calories in some way early in the morning, I would snack on carrots and other raw vegetables in order to keep from fainting. Plus I would be one anxious bitchtastic person, as I could not handle the stress I was feeling from not working out. I would lie, make excuses, plan my classes in a certain way, all in order to have my morning exercise routine.

Even if I knew I could always go to the gym/run later and then “burn calories” then, the morning HAD TO be the time to do it. I “had to” get my workout in, get it over with so I could refuel with proper food… which meant a sh*t ton of fruit and perhaps a bite or two of cottage cheese (1 or 2 grams of protein ought to do it!) NO FAT, never ever any fat. I also felt very strongly that I couldn’t do any real tasks like homework, work, errands, etc, until calories had been burned.

Again, yikes.

Thank goodness I have improved since then… in more ways and much farther than I ever imagined. I could handle. One rest day a week became acceptable, I didn’t have to go “balls to the walls” every.single.workout, 90 minutes was no longer the required time I had to be burning calories, 45 was okay too. But it was made clear to me just last month how much I was still relying on workouts and the idea of “burning calories” in order to continue justifying what I was eating.

I was taking more of a chance with fear foods because I knew the exercise piece was playing the key role in my mind of compensating my consumption. Once I decided to take my break, I immediately slashed my calorie intake by about 500 because I could not handle the anxiety I felt about gaining weight, which I  assumed would be inevitable as soon as I stopped working out as much as I had before.

Guess what happened? I lost weight, something I talked about just last week . The disorder part of my brain was shouting out a HOOZAHHH at this, because the inescapable message that has been ingrained in my mind was coming true… thin, less weight, less fat= Happiness! Success! Beauty! Being adored! If you just lose weight everything will be AWESOME.

EHHHH NOPE, anyone with this disorder knows what a blatant lie that is, no matter how good it feels and how easily it is to believe, losing weight is part of the path to destruction.

*I swear I am going somewhere with this, bear with me! :)

The reality of this has been settling in and thinking about the future has been scaring me a bit…. that I am in fact not physically invincible and that the lack of period is a serious problem if I ever want to start a family one day. That my fatigue is telling me something that I need to explore. That my calorie intake was too low, and losing weight is honestly just not okay. That every aspect of my life is about my weight and what I look like… but I must have more to offer than this…

Although I am not at the calorie consumption I was taking in during intense exercise days, I am getting closer and the weight is already coming back on. I mean could this be more clear that I am trying to maintain a body that is simply not natural for me? I’m finally getting it.

The super intense workouts are a thing of the past (for now) and while they will eventually be back, I just cannot physically handle them right now. But during this time of ease, I have been learning a lot about myself, connecting some important dots, and reestablishing my views and attitude towards working out, staying fit, and what exercising really means.

And now I go back to the message of Fitfluential and two of the points that really strike a chord with me…

  • Fitfluential is all about balance.
  • Fitness is all about fitting in to your LIFE.

Balance is something I continuously strive for… this obscure, yet intriguing idea that I just cannot seem to get my head around. The message behind balance is a simple one and the results of actually maintaining a “balance” in your life are quite promising and positive! But of course I am far from fully comprehending balance, something that is continuously made clear to me each day I obsess about all of this.

The second highlighted point above… “fitness is all about fitting in to your LIFE.”

As I described above, fitness equaled my life… quite literally as a matter of fact, as I felt very strongly that I was not supposed to eat until I had burn x amount of calories. The entire day was based on my workout from the morning- food consumption, how much more walking or movement I needed to do, what the next day’s workout would be, and so on.

These last few months have taught me that fitness does not have to be the equivalent to living, rather it plays a role, a small part of my day and life really, rather than being the star, the end all and be all. For some that particular Fitfluential message could be about getting more fitness into your life because it is truly HEALTHY. For me though, it’s gaining an understanding that there is so much more life than working out.

I realize as I read my own words back to myself, that this is all pretty obvious… it’s another obsession I have to let go. The thing is though, I am doing it, I am realizing that I can workout in moderation and eat normally and not gain crazy amounts of weight. Fitness is a part of my life, but it is not everything and I am internalizing THAT healthy message much more deeply these days.

What really spurred these thoughts today, besides being accepted as an Ambassador, is today I worked out at 12:30 pm after having breakfast, snack and lunch, and everything was a-okay. I did not start my day with activity, in fact I sat on my butt from about 7 am until 12 when I went down to get lunch and then walked to the gym. I ate food, digested it, did other stuff, and then worked out… and didn’t blow up.

Now this is not the first time I have worked out later, but it’s just now that I am able to reflect on my progress. I have nothing to do right now and all day to do it… so why do I need to keep waking up at the ass-crack of dawn? Oh right, not necessary for the next few days. Gosh, how freeing it is to know I can have a normal day, get my fitness on, and then move on… again, a part of my day, my life, rather than it meaning everything.

I am able to join the Fitfluential team even without sweat inducing, heart attack workouts, because I do still workout, fitness is still a PART of my life, I am working to find that balance, I try and promote a healthy lifestyle, I love to talk about it and help people find their “fit” in anyway I can, and I can do this because I have healed. A work in progress yes… but progression nonetheless, towards peace with myself and valuing whatever it is I truly have to offer.

Sorry about another wordy post… was not expecting to do this today at all! Oh well.

-How much does working out, staying fit, “burning calories,” play a role in your life? Is it more of a part of your life, or does it mean everything? Is the latter something that is negative or positive?

-What has your fitness journey been like? Have you gone through different periods of doing it vs. not, or some other kind of transition or change?

-What types of fitness/activities are your currently enjoying? Yoga, pilates and upper body strength training are still growing on my list of interests!

-Share your workout today or your most recent one! No matter what it was, it all counts :)

Almost Friday folks :) I will be back tomorrow with a less intense/wordy post for you.

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