thoughts on losing fitness.

**Just a reminder that this isn’t a full day of eats. As always, eat what you need, in sufficient amounts for your body, What I Ate Wednesday isn’t about comparison but sharing a common appreciation for good food. 

Over the summer, starting in July, I stopped running altogether. I had trained for a half marathon in the spring and then a trail half marathon in June. They both were great. My training schedules weren’t overwhelming, but I felt prepared. The race in the summer, I ran with a close friend (hey Beth), and we stuck together throughout the course, which made the race really memorable. 20171017_071835.jpgBut I knew my relationship with exercise, running especially, wasn’t where it should be, so I took a week and didn’t exercise at all. The following weeks, I began to incorporate moderate exercise back into my routine, but I had promised myself that I wouldn’t run regularly or train for any races.20171007_150825.jpgIt was one of those decisions that requires a short-term sacrifice for a long-term benefit. Running has always been important to me, but it became too important to me. Our identities are made of all kinds of different things, but in the metaphorical pie of life, exercise probably shouldn’t that big of a slice. 20171007_145949.jpgMy body is in a different, slightly more jiggly place, and some times that’s really difficult to accept. Losing fitness and gaining weight can kind of make me feel like I failed at something, especially when it seems like everyone and their mom is starting some new 30-day, fat blasting nonsense. Being able to run 10 miles or maintain a 8 minute mile pace is cool, but it doesn’t magically make me the picture of health, especially if my motivation is self-glorification or achieving a certain “look”. Also, being the picture of fitness isn’t actually important in the grand scheme of things. I think we often feel the need to be a lot “fitter” than is actually necessary to maintain health.

The weekly exercise recommendation for an adult is something like 150 minutes of moderate exercise (or about 30 minutes, 5 days a week) or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise (about 30 minutes, 3 days a week). Of course, everyone is at their own place, but it’s pretty common in the healthy living/fitness blogging circle for people to post weekly workouts that include vigorous exercise (think running, spin, CrossFit, HIIT) for 60+ minutes a day, six days a week.

I think it’s important to remember that that much exercise generally isn’t a necessity for good health. It’s also important to remember I’m not a doctor, but as some one who has struggled with overexercising in the past, it’s a good reminder. 20170930_174204.jpgLife is all about seasons. Just because I stopped running doesn’t mean that I’ll never be able to cross “run a marathon” off my bucket list or PR on my 5k time. It just means that those goals won’t be accomplished right now, which is okay.20171007_142621.jpgI think it was Robyn who shared the other day about food comparison, and she mentioned that when other people look at her, she doesn’t want them to see her superficially, i.e. whether or not she looks like Barbie, or feel like they need to compare their bodies or food choices to her body and food choices.

That resonated with me. That’s how I feel about exercise. Being known as ‘the runner’ doesn’t mean much. I would much rather be known for being a child of God, a good listener, someone who’s kind, (cough) professional banana bread baker (cough). It’s pretty freeing too, not having to strive after a certain body type, exercise schedule, diet. We can exercise when we have time, energy, and the right mindset. We can eat food that nourishes us without restricting or bingeing.

I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this too.

Linking up with Laura and Arman for What I Ate Wednesday


So tell me…

Have you ever had to step back from exercise, whether due to an injury, busy schedule, needed rest, mindset reset? 

Do you feel like it’s hard to embrace moderate movement in a culture that pushes extremes?

Tell me about your fitness journey/relationship with exercise. 

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21 thoughts on “thoughts on losing fitness.

  1. Love this post! So well said. I have someone in my life who can run for days and excursuses everyday, the picture of health right? No, this person is underweight and obsessed not healthy. So great of you to do the hardest thing by making a change!

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  2. I have had such ups and downs with exercise. For the first years of me running, I did not have a great relationship with it because I still restricted calories and I wanted to be skinny. This year I did also start training for a half marathon, but I still wasn’t in the right place mentally and physically. I was really kind of disappointed with that, but I really want to be so much more healthy in mind and body before I start training again. ❤ This was a huge encouragement towards that once again; I love how you address these topics Evangeline.

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    1. That must have been disappointing, but the fact that you are able to recognize where you are and where you want to be is something to celebrate. Insight and honesty like that can be a rarity, especially when it means making sacrifices or uncomfortable changes. Thanks for being so wonderfully you, Em ❤

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  3. There’s not really much for me to say… you’ve said it all.

    “Yes” to both your questions. “Yes” to me agreeing with everything you’ve said, for understanding the struggle, for continuing to live in the daily compromising/choosing/questioning that the clash of society’s new “standards” and what is “healthy” brings. To accepting the current season. To trusting it is not a jail cell. To believing in my deepest gut that I am not meant to be someone known for her fitness, but for something much more. And being okay with that new “me.”

    I’m so there with you, in every step.

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    1. It’s a little less scary when we face it together. Being okay with the new “me” has been one of hardest parts. “Trusting it’s not a jail cell” <- yes to that. This season of life is proving to be a reminder that my trusting muscle is one that actually could use a little more exercise.

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  4. Hi Vangie…loved your blog, always real and refreshing too. As Ive aged, I realized how important the beauty inside is. As you mentioned, its more about kindness to others and being a child of God. Im learning each day, that He is the only truth and can be trusted fully to help me in each chapter of life! I love you & pray for you.Aunt E.💞👏

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  5. Absolutely adore this post! I’m definitely going through some changes with my workout routine right now, trying to figure out what is working, because I realized I was running myself into the ground with honestly little benefit from that. Now, I’m making a conscious effort to slow down, to take more rest days, to add in some yoga in lieu of hiit, and yes, it’s uncomfortable at times, but mostly, it’s glorious. Thanks for the reminder, girl! 🙂

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    1. You rock. Listening your body and then acting on what you hear, even if it means being uncomfortable, is such a super skill to have. And restful days are so necessary when you’re dealing mentally taxing classes and crazy college schedules.

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  6. Great post! I think this really exemplifies being in tune with your body and respecting it. I love running, too, and I’ve taken time off and various times throughout the seasons, like you said. Running will always be there, but your body and health comes first and foremost ❤

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  7. As always, you’ve so eloquently and gracefully described such a difficult issue. I love what you said about seasons–life changes and our schedule changes and our goals change and sometimes our bodies change. It’s hard to accept it all, much less embrace it. But it sounds like you’ve been making peace with yourself and this new time of life, which is beautiful. Also “I think we often feel the need to be a lot “fitter” than is actually necessary to maintain health”–this is so true. It helps me to think about what I need to be “fit” for. Fit to do what? Fitness is about physical health, and that’s only one slice in the pie, like you said. And it’s hard to truly be physically healthy if our pursuit of fitness is mentally, emotionally taxing.
    At this time in my life, I’ve also been exercising less. With a school year (vs summer) schedule, trying to fit in as much as I had been doing was adding more stress to my life. For the most part it’s been good, but there are always those thoughts that creep in and tell me that I need to spend an hour a day in a boutique fitness venue to be my best self. Thank you for this reminder that that’s not the case.

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    1. I’m going to tuck away the “fit to do what?” question. Being honest about my motivation for exercise can be helpful in discerning whether or not the type/amount of exercise is actually beneficial mentally.

      Those niggling thoughts are such a bother. Glad they’re becoming less and less pronounced ❤

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  8. Having to take a forced step back with my torn ACLs was really really hard for me. It’s funny though – now that I’m back to lifting, I’m stringer than I was before (except for legs… still recovering!). I think my body was craving a rest and rebuild!

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  9. this post >> omg YES. “Also, being the picture of fitness isn’t actually important in the grand scheme of things.” AMEN. This is so so so important and I can really relate to that statement. That is something I had to let go of, and in doing so I gained so much more in my life. Exercise isn’t everything!!

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  10. Late comment again but this post was such a wonderful reminder I still wanted to. It’s actually funny for me to have a difficult relationship with exercise/movement when for the largest part of my childhood that relationship didn’t exist at all. Or barely but “forced” by parents who wanted the best for their shy bookworm of a child.
    And then, throughout the years and a story too long to lay out here, I ended up overexercising and eventually getting injured. Several times. It’s part of why I haven’t run in a long time though I miss it. But I know that for this to truly be the joy it was back then again, I need to get to a better place again.
    A definite yes to what you said regarding social media offering a false picture of reality/how much exercise is actually ‘normal’. Pretty much none of my family members and – as far as I know – most of my friends don’t have any set workout schedules. No gym memberships, no stressing about any of this. They just stay active through everyday activities like biking to work, walking or the occasional run or skiing holidays once a year. Social media can be a blessing, yes, but in certain aspects it’s a true bane.

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