Food for Thought · Mental Health

Finding What Feels Good With Exercise

As yesterday marked the beginning of eating disorder awareness week, I’ve decided to write a few posts about recovery related topics. But, I must say, that all of these issues can affect people without an eating disorder as well. Our culture is very screwed up when it comes to body standards, food, and exercise.

Today I’m going to talk about something that I haven’t really touched on before: exercise. I’ve had a complicated relationship with it, to say the least and I feel like it’s time to talk about it. Maybe it will help someone or just let someone know that they are not alone when it comes to trying to find balance.

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Exercise. The word brings up a lot of things for me. For most of my childhood, I didn’t even really think about it. Sure, I went to dance classes and was just intuitively active, as most kids are.

But…Then puberty happened. Those fun, awkward, completely confusing years. All of the sudden, my body was changing and I wasn’t dancing anymore and it freaked me out.

So, being me, the ultimate planner, I decided to “do something about it.” This included starting to exercise.

At first, it wasn’t obsessive and I actually enjoyed it. I found some YouTube videos, did them, and moved on.

But, at some point, that changed. My whole mindset around exercise changed.

Instead of doing something because it felt good, I did what burned the most calories. If I wasn’t drenched in sweat afterwards and completely exhausted, it didn’t count. Suddenly, exercise was a punishment, for eating, for breaking one of the many ED rules I had.

It was soul-sucking, all consuming. Until I had exercised for that day, that was all I could think about. I pushed my body and my mind and contrary to popular belief, that is NOT a good or admirable thing.

Then I went to treatment, came back, and considered my relationship with exercise healed.

And while I have never exercised like I did before treatment, I am still working on my mindset around movement. I have to constantly question whether I am doing this thing (whether it’s yoga/Pilates/walking) because I want to or because I feel like I should because (insert disordered reason here).

I have learned that I simply (and just don’t want to) do some forms of exercise without falling back into the exercise trap. For example, running. Or for that matter, most forms of structured cardio.

If I say I’m doing a HIIT workout or a Jillian Michaels video for fun or because it feels good, you know I’m lying.

So, I just don’t do those things. And I am slowly accepting that that is totally okay. It doesn’t matter how many so-called “experts” say that XYZ is the best workout…If it doesn’t feel good and, most importantly, if you don’t enjoy it don’t do it!

I am beginning to find what works for me. And that might change as time goes on. Right now, this means yoga, some stretching, and walking (and random dance parties in my bedroom…)

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…Because it was sort of realavant and really colorful.

 

All of this to say: you do you. You are not the ceebrity fitness trainer on TV or your best friend. What works for them in terms of exercise might not be what feels good for you.

So…Find what feels good.

And if you get that reference, you are officially awesome😁

 

Good night (or good morning/afternoon/insert time here).

Until next time,

 

-Sarah

Tell me:

-What form of movement feels best to you right now?

 

 

Food for Thought

Nobody’s Life is Perfect (so stop thinking it is)

This topic has been on my mind a lot today for whatever reason so I thought, why not blog about it? So after an unexpected 8 hour shift at work and a billion other things left to do, it’s time to write about all my deep thoughts…Yeah not really but bear with me anyway:)

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It could just be me, but a lot of times I look at other people’s lives and instantly feel bad about my own. Especially as I approach the mature age of 18 (becoming an official adult and all that jazz) I feel even more pressured to have it all figured out. To do more, plan more, and just BE more.

And not only do people my age (and in general) seem to have life figured out but they also seem to always be happy.

Perhaps this is partly because when you are going through a difficult time yourself, anyone else’s happiness becomes even more apparent. But it’s also because, at least most of the time, people only show the outside world what they want to. This is especially  true on social media. People are going to post about good, exciting moments in their lives. And while that makes sense, it’s easy to see why we can come up with some false assumptions.

 

Here’s some truth that we all know but often don’t want to admit to ourselves: Nobody is perfect. Nobody’s life is perfect and they more than likely don’t have every aspect of it figured out. We go through so many seasons of happiness, sadness, stillness, craziness, and everything in-between.

So if you are worried that you don’t have certain things figured out (like me) or you’re feeling bad about feeling bad while EVERYONE ELSE is so happy…Take a step back. Things change, you figure stuff out, and remember: you don’t know everything about someone else’s life. Not your best friend or even your siblings. Much less some random person on Instagram or Facebook.

And really, life is hard enough without comparing your story to someone else’s.

 

Okay, enough deep thoughts for tonight. My bed is calling and so is my halfway finished mystery novel.

Look out for an updated about page in the next few days (fingers crossed). For now, SLEEP.

 

-Sarah

 

 

Food for Thought · Uncategorized

Letting Life Just Happen

To some degree, going with the flow is a good thing. Not flipping out about the little things that don’t go exactly your way is…a very valuable life skill. You asked for no mayonnaise on your cheeseburger and mayo appeared anyway? Go with the flow (this is coming from someone who works in the food service industry).

But letting life pass you by, not making purposeful decisions, or making no real decisions at all…not such a good thing. There is a time and a place for everything and it’s the same with the whole “go with the flow” mentality.

I have a confession to make: I have been letting life just happen to me. I have filled up my days with school, work, babysitting, with no real plan or purpose. I have no idea why I am doing what I am doing and all goals have been forgotten. And things that I don’t want to deal with (recovery, difficult relationships) I put off until tomorrow. And tomorrow comes and I tell myself, “Starting tomorrow…” Yeah, you can already see where that is going. I never deal with any of the things I need to face.

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I feel like so many people get stuck in this cycle. They go to work to pay the bills, they go to school to earn the diploma/degree (even if they aren’t really passionate about it), they go home, sleep, eat. They wake up and the cycle repeats. They are on autopilot, never really considering what they want out of life or what their purpose is. And problems? They exist but they are never dealt with.

And you know what? I don’t want that to happen. Working, going to school, and what have you are not bad things. But when we do them just to pay the bills or earn that degree that we feel we have to earn…those are not good reasons. We, as humans and individuals, have a greater purpose.

To find out that purpose, we need to stop going on autopilot and purposefully take time to sit down and evaluate our goals, beliefs, and day to day life.

If we don’t know what our goals and beliefs are, how can we know whether or not our actions are lining up with those? We can’t resolve problems (whether they be with relationships or self-care or a job) if we don’t realize they exist. So it makes sense that we would go on autopilot, that we would become stuck on go-with-the-flow mode. We start to think, “This is life. This is just is how things are.”

But guess what?

That’s not how things have to be. We can make a choice to make purposeful decisions. To not go with the flow. To actually live.

So here’s a remainder (for me as well as for you) to stop letting life just happen to you. Take time to figure out what you want and what you believe. By this I don’t only mean figuring out your long-term plans (although that’s great). I am also talking about making purposeful decisions and taking purposeful actions.

Make a commitment at the start of the day to positively impact someone’s day. And once you figure out what you want (even out of a single day) you will see what things in your life are conflicting with that goal. Maybe there’s a toxic relationship in your life that makes it extremely difficult to make a positive impact on anyone because it weighs you down so much. Once you realize what’s holding you back, you can take steps to either remove it from your life or make it a positive instead of a negative.

So whether it’s a daily commitment or a long time goal…be purposeful.

Don’t just go with the flow (except when you get the wrong order. Please don’t throw any hamburgers).

-Sarah

(If this post made no sense, I am sorry. I wrote it as I thought it and my thoughts are rarely (never) organized).