Exercise. It’s a love-hate relationship. And for those of us who have come from the world of dieting and intense exercise plans, exercise could be more of a “hate” relationship. I can relate. In fact, years ago, I thought that any time my husband wanted to go on a walk or hike, that it was some conspiracy.
I’ve done a lot of different exercise programs over the years, mostly inside the comfort of my home, including: Denise Austin workouts, Beachbody workouts (Turbo Jam, Turbo Fire, P90X, Insanity, Slim in 6), running, walking, hiking, and I even bought one of those jump ropes that counted your jumps. I’ve done all of those and other random exercise programs throughout the years. I’ve enjoyed some and really NOT enjoyed some. I have gone through times of exercising consistently, to not wanting to exercise at all.
Over the years I have learned that I actually DO enjoy exercise, WHEN it’s something I enjoy. For many years, my go-to exercise has been riding my stationary bike. I often will have a good book to read while riding it. In the past year, I bought a treadmill, and it quickly became one of my favorite ways of exercising. I find that I personally don’t do as well following a exercise DVD program that tells me what I have to do each day, 1) because I get bored, and 2) it feels like I’m in captivity after awhile. Everyone has their favorites. And I want to encourage you to find your favorite way to exercise.
I do believe that exercise (movement) is important, but I don’t believe it’s necessary for weight loss. I like to look at exercise as more of a mental boost, but of course our body gets a lot of great benefits from it. One of the reasons I like to exercise is that I love the good-feeling endorphins that accompany it. In fact, when there are times I cannot exercise to my potential, I really miss feeling those endorphins.
Another reason I like to exercise is that it helps my body feel good. Currently, I’m pregnant with my second child, and exercise has helped alleviate some of the lower-back and hip pain I’ve experienced on and off this pregnancy. I’m not out training for a marathon (I can’t even imagine running right now), but I do walk outside or on my treadmill, and I do prenatal toning exercises. Now, my walking is very slow right now due to being pregnant, and sometimes I can’t even walk for 15 minutes without calling it quits, but it’s better than not moving at all. No matter what, I know I just need to do my best. And sometimes my best is just taking a rest day…pregnant or not. It’s important that I listen to my body. But most often, my body says, “I need to move!”
Exercise (movement) can be a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Maybe it’s just simply wearing a pedometer and challenging yourself to 10,000 steps a day–for fun and to move your body. Or maybe it is training for a half-marathon. Or anything in between. Maybe it’s walking with a friend around your neighborhood or at a track. I’m not here to define what your movement should look like. I’m not even here to say you “have” to exercise at all. There are no requirements or rules about exercise. I do want to share that I no longer look at going on a hike with my husband as a conspiracy, because now I thoroughly enjoy it because I like the way it makes my body feel and it’s a great way to spend time with my family. I have learned to love movement, and my body craves it! I believe God created our bodies to move!
Thin Within doesn’t have an exercise program you have to follow. You are free to make your own choices about exercise. There shouldn’t be any bondage involved. Movement does require some self-discipline at times. There are days that I don’t really “feel” like exercising, but I know that it will help my body and I will feel better by doing so. Yes, there are days I make myself exercise, but I never regret it. And because I’m doing exercises I enjoy, it’s more likely that I’m looking forward to hopping on the stationary bike, treadmill, or following a toning DVD. There are also days I feel like I have to make myself eat 0-5, when really, I just want to eat when I want to. That’s where that self-discipline comes in.
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Hebrews 12:11
I’ve given some thought into what naturally thin/normal eaters are like when it comes to exercise. I would consider my husband a naturally thin/normal eater. He’s also very active. I was asking him some questions about exercise and he said that he never dreads going on a hike (whereas I used to dread it). He really enjoys being active, but he said that if he had to go work out in a gym that he probably wouldn’t enjoy that. I can think of some other naturally thin/normal eaters who will suddenly realize that they haven’t had enough movement, so they will go on a long walk or do some kind of physical activity. They don’t look at exercise as some dreaded activity that they have to cross of their list; they purely look forward to movement and they enjoy it. I know that I cannot say I felt that way about exercise when my only focus and goal was to lose weight. So I’ve definitely learned a lot from the naturally thing/normal eaters around me who truly enjoy movement. I’ve learned to enjoy it too!
Exercising with only the goal to lose weight just leaves a bad taste in my mouth now. Maybe it’s because in the past I focused so much on trying to exercise for a certain amount of time instead of it being a more freeing activity, or maybe because I could earn more food points with activity points (Weight Watchers). I would much rather be free to choose whatever kind of movement my body needs, but also to have some sort of self-discipline. I like that I now crave movement, but it took a long time to get to that point. It took appreciating how my body feels with movement, and not looking at it as this dreaded means to weight loss. I also look at it as a way of me taking care of God’s temple:
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 1 Corinthians 6:19
In fact, honoring God with His temple (our body) is what we are talking about this week in the Thin Within Workbook study. And this reminds me of all the many years ago when I was not satisfied with how my body looked. Oh how I wish I could go back and tell myself the truth: that I looked fine! For so many years I didn’t like certain parts of my body because I had the wrong perception of what I thought my body should look like. That definitely wasn’t how God wanted me to be, but there I was, dishonoring His temple by wishing I had another body. Now, no matter what my body looks like, I can take every moment to honor this temple. And for me, that means eating 0-5 and taking care of how my body feels by exercising. I no longer bash certain body parts, but I’m learning to be thankful that God has wonderfully made me. Praise God!
How about you?
I truly believe that eating 0-5, even without exercise, will help one release weight. With that said, I also believe that exercise has so many awesome benefits, so why wouldn’t I want to? Do you genuinely enjoy exercising? If not, what are some activities that involve movement that you could enjoy? Do you only view exercise as a means of losing weight? What if you were to change your views of exercise as a way to feel good and to help your body? How can you honor God and take care of His temple?
Awesome post on exercise. In the past I have only thought of exercise as a weight loss tool. Lately I have been thinking of it as a way to strengthen my body and my bones. And to help me feel good like you mentioned.
I have liked doing the You Are Your Own Gym program which is a body weight workout. It can be tough and painful because my body isn’t, well, lightweight! But I feel so much stronger when I do it. And it’s something my husband likes to do. He makes a great workout buddy and encourages me when I don’t feel like exercising.
I am not a “natural” exerciser. I don’t really enjoy it. Truth be told I am about as athletic as a turtle. With that said I have felt led to exercise, yet another area that I am learning to submit my flesh. God showed me clearly that exercise was not for losing weight it was for temple maintenance. Since He has blessed me with a lovely home gym and several cardio machines; I have no excuse. My iTunes has a wonderful boppy pay-list of praise music which I use. It is amazing how quickly a 30 minute HIIT session goes by when I am focused on praising instead of the task at hand. I have learned to dedicate my exercise to God and use the time for praising.
great post on exercise. Christina’s insights on doing something you enjoy and for the purpose of health, both physically and emotionally, rather than to lose weight seem right on to me. I think the love-hate feeling toward exercise is related. I love it when I’m doing something I like – because it makes me feel good; I hate it when I’m doing it with the main purpose being to lose weight (even though I may verbally say it’s for health – got to be honest, in the back of my mind I’m thinking about loosing weight.) So, as Christina says, it’s a mind set, if we change our thinking – we may actually enjoy exercise – or maybe we should just call it being active. thanks for the reminder Christina!
I discovered running about 5years ago. I have lost a pound of weight but did drop a size. That said. I run because it it makes my body strong and healthy, it alters my satiation levels and that hour of extra effort makes my normal daily tasks a breeze.
I agree with you Clare. Exercise isn’t the means to lose weight as much as it brings us energy and tones our flabby muscles. And it helps my cholesterol and bone density. Lots of benefits!