Re-Thinking Exercise

I was going to write a post, had it all planned out, then Tricia threw me a curve ball. In her post today she wrote

How often to you rededicate yourself to a healthy life?
What “gators” are you wrestling with right now?

I have ALWAYS looked at exercising as a WEIGHT LOSS tool. (it is, I get that).

The SummerShapeUp was started because

  • I wanted to lose weight.
  • I wanted to get to a certain number on the scale.
  • I want to get into the jeans I wore two years ago on my birthday.
  • I even dropped my calorie intake down to 1,500 calories and tracked on my iphone.

None of the reasons I had when I started the SummerShapeUp were because I wanted to feel good about exercise, or that it adds to my life, or that I ENJOYED it. It was all about getting ‘thin’…and fit…but mainly thin. (I know, I know, just being honest)

When thinking about Tricia’s post, I knew that my ‘gator’ is not wanting to exercise, because I feel like I HAVE to….to lose weight. That’s has been my sole motivator. Exercise and I have to re-work ourselves.

What if I went to the gym:

  • because it made me feel good
  • I WANTED to work out because I didn’t see it as a HAVE to, instead a LOVE to
  • I look hot in my ass pants
  • my arms are starting to show definition
  • it’s good for my heart, soul, mind

Much of the journey to balance in our lives with food/exercise/faith is finding the place where we just live with what we want. Some days it’s yoga, some days it’s HIIT, some days it’s a workout class, some days it’s under a blanket sleeping. Instead of thinking of exercise as a weight loss tool, I am on a mission to wrangle my ‘gator’ by re-working exercise as a means to find balance, increasing my mood and re-shaping my body.


Obsessing about losing weight has gotten me to where I am right now. 30lbs heavier than I want to be….for two years. Life is more than working out to lose weight, eating to count calories, and restricting yourself…this is what I am learning.

So, Tricia, thanks for writing your post. I am off to re-wire my brain on the treadmill, because I like the way my ass feels when it’s tight and the way my heart pounds when I push myself.

How do you view exercise? What motivates you to workout? Have you struggled with exercise?


23 thoughts on “Re-Thinking Exercise

  1. missyrayn says:

    I love exercise! For me it is a thing that I thought I wouldn’t be able to do when I injured my back so I missed it a ton. Now I crave it. I’m so annoyed that I’m sick and can’t get to the gym.

    I have struggled at times when I’m depressed or stressed. But when I get a workout in I fall in love all over again and I realize that it helps with both of those.

  2. Sarah says:

    You know, this is funny, because I have never looked at exercise as a weight loss tool. I believe that nutrition is most of the issue when it comes to weight loss, and most studies are confirming that….people who lose weight through exercise and diet, versus just diet, lose weight at about the same rate, and keep it off for about the same amount of time.

    Even when I was anorexic, I never saw exercise as a weight loss tool. How weird is that??? Anyway, I love exercise for how it makes me feel…for how it strengthens not only my muscles, but also my heart and bones. It expands my lungs, makes me feel good, and provides a (free) and healthy high.

    I think reminding yourself of all these things, as you are doing…but to also be at peace with the fact that exercise is NOT a weight loss tool (even if you want it to be) helps.

    • Mish says:

      I really appreciate, as always, your comments..but they make me think. I have ALWAYS seen exercise as a ‘MUST DO’ and PUNISHMENT for how I eat. When you’re on WW, for instance, you know that if you exercise you get to eat more and/or lower your ‘damage done’. Thus exercise for me has been percieved as a reward to eat more and/or a way to alleviate me eating normaly..ha ha ha. Yes, I am aware of the 80/20 rule, as they say. But I have it switched around in my head. Your comment has made me think about how I eat and how I use exercise. In my approach it should be more that exercise supports the continual happiness/physical wellbeing that I am striving for and food catapults the re-shaping and happniess of my body. If that makes sense. It’s a complex thing for me and you know for different reasons. But I do appreciate what you’ve said.

      • Sarah says:

        No worries 😉

        I think they’re finding that it’s even less than 20% now. Did you see this? ttp:// It’s just one in a long string of studies like this. Now that we have enough years of data, I think they’ll find it more and more.

        Sometimes I WISH working out were more important than what I eat! Of course, then I’d probably negate all my hard work with lots and lots of food. 🙂

  3. jen (@jeninRL) says:

    I go back and forth with the exercise….I love it, I hate it. Since starting kickboxing classes I have finally found workouts that I want to get out of the house for. I finally found that feeling, ya know that feeling you get after a kick ass workout and I like that feeling! That being said, I still struggle with getting out the door many, many days. I have gotten so tired of counting calories, points, ohmy!! I just can’t take it anymore.

    I rambled but I am with ya!

    xox, jen

    • Mish says:

      so tired of counting anything. it’s weird cause today is probably one of the few days in my life, recently, where I have made an damn effort to not pseudo-diet and/or count calories. I wasn’t hungry at the 10am morning I had fruit. Then at lunch I just want to my normal ‘stand and munch which lunch is getting ready’. I ate my food and was stuffed. I hadn’t felt that way in a long time. Then I saw the cereal and had a small bowl. The thing is, is that de-reg food is hard, because w/ the reg you ‘know what is ok and isn’t ok’ but in that you get sick and tired of it. So the de-reg is where I think people freak out cause they start hearing their bodies, but go for the cereal-in this instance-out of engrained patterns and whims. I am rambling, but I think you get it. I am excited for this no counting phase of my life. I am not scared of it anymore, just aware.

      On a second note..I love work outs that work me.

      • jen (@jeninRL) says:

        OMG, ramble away because what you wrote is exactly how!! I’m feeling about listening to my body in regards to eating. You nailed it, though. I am not exactly scared but very cautious…ok, I may be a bit scared still. But I will keep going.

        TOTALLY LOVE LOVE LOVE workouts that work me!

        here is to us keep on keeping on!

        much love my friend!

  4. Kendall @ Whisk Her Away says:

    I love the honesty here. It made me think….

    I cannot remember a time in the past year (besides traveling) that I have not gone to the gym at least three times a week. It’s usually five…sometimes more.

    I used to think that I had to get 45 minutes of cardio, followed by some sort of strength-training – sounds good, right? But so boring.

    I’ve recently started changing it up….only 30 minutes on the elliptical…more strength training…I am loving just deciding what I want to do the day-of. If I leave the gym feeling accomplished, I know I’ve done something right!

    • Mish says:

      I can’t wait to just be with exercise, like with food. Finding that balance is what I long for and not being weighted down by perfection. Just being.

  5. Ashley says:


    Check out “Women, Food and God”
    Being in the midst of bar study, I haven’t been able to finish reading it, but what I’ve read so far, her insights are good. I think you might like it. 🙂

    As for the question on exercise- mostly it’s a have to, but right now I am craving it because I don’t have enough time to be exercising as much as I need for my stress relief, but a few more weeks and I won’t have the bar exam as an excuse.

    PS- who won the happy giveaway?

    • Mish says:

      I just watched a youtube with Geneen Roth and Anne Lamott (have you read her stuff? I am reading Plan B..LOVE IT) and I just want to sit and read through them. I am going to read them this week…so excited.

  6. Lara (Thinspired) says:

    Admittedly, I workout for reasons other than just general health. If the concept of burning calories didn’t exist, I would very rarely exercise. I just wasn’t born loving it like some were. Slowly I have started to like certain types of exercise, but even then, I don’t know if it’s the actual exercise or the knowledge that it’s helping me look better.

    Thanks for getting the wheels turning, as always 😉

    • Mish says:

      I totally get it. I do. But I would challenge you..would you actually not exercise…? I don’t think so. I think that I have lived in fear that if I don’t MAKE myself exercise then I’ll get ‘fat’. That is my fuel. It’s fuel by fear and used as a punishment. It’s not, for me, about wanting to. I put it off and despise it. But, I have to ask myself…why would I despise something that is SO good for me BEYOND losing weight? My answer: because I have never looked at it like that.

  7. Jo says:

    I love working out soooo much. I have no problem finding motivation. It is the one hour of every day that I am completely alone with no-one demanding anything from me, and it’s just for me and makes me feel great. It also means I can indulge my love of (good quality) food and still get to my weight goal. Exercise rocks!

    • Mish says:

      I love the idea of it being ME time. As you can probably gather, I have struggled with finding the place to celebrate and nourish me in the past. But I am getting to the point where I love/crave it. Thank you for writing that.

  8. Rachelle says:

    Good one! Exercise is easy for me. Always has been. Eating too much is my issue well over doing it too often I guess. I’ve been actively working out for over 7 yrs. I’ve managed to keep 60 pds off – I also use to b a pothead :(. Still 20 pds from goal. Still I recognize my achievments
    u rock miss lady

  9. Miz says:

    Im a mix.
    I LOVE THE WEIGHTS and I do the cardio for my daughter and my husband.

    I LOVE THE WEIGHTS because it is all about me, getting stronger and being FREAKIN selfish and self focused.
    no multitasking.
    all being present and living IN my body.

  10. Helen says:

    Exercise is the ONE aspect of healthy living that I have absolutely no issue with 99% of the time. Can’t imagine a life without it.

  11. Ellie Di says:

    Wow! Look at those muscles! I bet you could lift me with no problem. That’s an amazing benefit of the gym, isn’t it? I think you’re definitely on the right track with this kind of shift in perspective. Keep it up! ❤

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