**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. But 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.It 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. My 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. Life 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.I 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.
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.