Because I DON’T Have to!

I’m back!!! At least for a little while, Christmas break is going to be jammed packed of fun and life-learning experiences. And they already began. But all of those deserve their own separate attention. But I will leave you hanging with some intriguing details… Macados, twiin Christmases, Waffles, Exams, Rudolph, Fun > Studying, Snowball Camp, Atlanta, GRE, Research, Toll-Receptor 4?, The Hobbit, Les Mis… the list goes on and on!  But how fortunate that today is Tuesday and I have time for a #FreEDom post from the lovely Sloan’s campaign. It’s not going to be a long one, but a simple revelation and challenge to myself for this upcoming break and new year. I have some other thoughts on perfection for a future post but I am waiting for something. Geeze I am not being very revealing am I? Sorry, you will understand when the time comes. For now let’s find #freEDom!

Strength in Freedom

I have recounted time and time again my addiction to exercise. Over the course of the past two years I did it too often, became obsessed and sacrificed a lot of life because I was working out for a good 3 hours in the mornings on that stupid elliptical. Add in the 5-6 hours I spent preparing and eating meals and most of my day was consumed by exercise and food thoughts and it can safely and accurately be stated that the rest of the day was consumed by nonstop studying. No fun, friends, or relaxation in the mix. My therapist challenged me to stop the addiction in its tracks before my ED had the chance to come back. And to look for areas of fun in life to replace the loss I was bound to find when giving up the exercise. I fought this, and I fought this hard. But in the time since Thanksgiving and my first freEdom post something has changed within me, something is not the same…

I don’t have time to exercise every day. At least not formally strap on sneakers and workout clothing, get to the gym, and work up a sweat. School is so much more important to me. And I do a lot outside of the classroom. I study hard. We are talking massive amounts of flashcards to the point where I memorize my notes and then take that memorization and put it into application. Because it is not enough to memorize this information, I have to understand it. OK sorry for the rant but I love school and I could talk about studying all day.

Source: via Laura on Pinterest

Exercise is not my passion. My passion as stated above is school. More specifically as I have discovered this year, metabolism. I could talk about enzymes and their substrates and their regulation all day long. You would be bored, but I would be on cloud nine. We all have different passions in life, but I think with the obesity epidemic and the new popularity of healthy living communities a lot of people believe that if they don’t love to wake up and exercise every day there is something wrong and that they are not living a healthy life. That just isn’t the case.

So here it is the point of this longer than expected post. I love exercise. And recently realized I don’t mind running. Short distances mind you and at a slow little turtle pace. But I don’t want to do it every day. But I sure feel like I have to. Take today, I am not really sure I want to go to the gym for that sweat session everyone says is necessary. I know I will enjoy it, but my question to myself has to be what are my motives? Burning calories, reducing stress, smiling, feeling guilt without it? Yesterday I wanted to run not for the calories or the feeling of guilt, but because I hadn’t in a few days and missed it. Healthy mindset that I am very proud of. I want that mindset every day of my life so here is my challenge to myself: Practice being OK with not wanting to work out and only work out when I am doing it for the right reasons. If I find myself lacing up those sneakers because I feel the need to burn calories in order to eat what I want or feel good about my body I am doing it for the wrong reasons and wasting valuable time that could be spent studying, reading articles, hanging out with friends, or just relaxing.


So that is the challenge. Will it be immediate? Nope. Just like with breaking the exercise addiction it will take some time and effort on my part. It will take me forcing myself to listen and respond to the reasons I am heading to the gym. Especially when there will be times over break when I have all of the time in the world and could spend it all working out, planning meals, eating meals, and then planning my next workout based on those meals. I am up for it. And I know I will have the support from my family and friends as I really work towards this mental health I never got back in my recovery.


14 thoughts on “Because I DON’T Have to!

  1. Shannon, this is WONDERFUL!!! ahhhh truly I’m so proud of you!! I have really been trying to do the same, especially where running is concerned. If I’m not going out for the right reasons, I do everything I can to either not go at all, shorten my run, or do yoga instead since I know that’ll stretch me out and calm my mind. I am so excited to see how you do with this, and I’m always here if you need/want to vent or chat 🙂 Awesome, awesome post love!!

    • THANKS GIRL! I am getting excited for it because hopefully I will find a place where I really enjoy exercise, I am not sure that is the case at the moment. I really want to try yoga again. I did it once and never tried again…

  2. I think we’re in a very similar place in life. I’m the same way. I’m addicted to working out. I do love running. I do love being active. But I don’t love the restraint I feel with it sometimes. Last night, I couldn’t run. Couldn’t zumba. Couldn’t go to yoga. But I was determined to find a way to work out. I ended up doing the elliptical for an hour which killed my knees but I HAD to get that workout in. I had eaten too much for breakfast, in my opinion. It’s a problem I continue to have. I’ve gotten better about it though and I’m confident you will too. Together we’ll get over the addiction and do it for the right reason: because we love it.

    • Working out should never be based on the food you took in unless you are choosing to not workout because you did not eat enough. I hope we can both find a healthy place with eating and exercise. I really do want them to become two almost entirely separate things

  3. I’ve told you time and time again that you do seem WAAY more relaxed this year, especially post break, than last year. You now seem happy to run or bike compared to last year’s grumpy face. I’m so happy for ya girl 😀 I know I might not be the best example of exercise in moderation but gurl i’ve got your back if you ever need a pal to talk to or express your worries and fears.


  4. Geez. Busy woman. I’m really happy for you and you seem so relaxed when we met. It is so nice to not feel pressured to have to work out and running a nice relaxed pace. I love running that no matter how fast or slow, walking or sprinting you are going…you are still running.

    • haha I know! I have so much planned for this break already! Thanks for the sweet compliment, I don’t always feel relaxed but I am getting to be in a better place with it all! You have an excellent mindset on the whole thing! Another thing to add to your awesomness!

  5. Oh Shannon! Thanks for linking up! This is truly a wonderful post. I did one similar on week 2. Its so hard to be able to find a balance with exercise, especially running. I’ve discovered that for now, cardio is just not in the cards for me. Neither is weight lifting, HIIT, or basically anything except yoga. It is the one thing that even if I start out on my mat wanting to “burn cals” I can shift my mindset and get a real, heartfelt benefit from. YOu have to find what truly works for you, and TAKE REST DAYS. I can’t say it enough. The best remedy for exercise addiction is stopping it for a period of time, and working through all the shit that comes up when you do. Evntually you learn that you actually WILL live without it, that the guilt won’t kill you, and that you can find ways to safely and healthily add it back in. You are totally on the right track, and I’m so proud of you!
    Keep your head up, darlin 🙂

    • You are so right. It amazes me every week how much growth is still possible for me. The 2nd I got the ok to exercise again in recovery I did. I think that is where it all stems. You are so right in that I think stopping and dealing with all that comes with it is what can make a huge difference and change the way of thinking. A friend was telling me the same thing happened for him when he had to stop due to an injury. He never thought an injury would be the best thing to happen to him

  6. You’re gonna make it, you are strong and determined 🙂 It will certainly be a challenge but hopefully you’ll reach a point where exercise becomes something you look forward to doing instead of an obligation. I found that as soon as running turns into a task (i.e. something I have to do such as when I’m training for a race), I become much more miserable and end up ‘breaking up’ with it for a few weeks post-race. It’s all about balance and you will certainly find yours!

    • you are so right! It is people like you Irina that make me see that it is ok to take breaks and that it is actually healthier and happier. I am going to have to force myself to take those breaks and break ups but I know that it will be worth it in the long run. life will be so much more exciting and flexible!

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