Exercise as a trigger

Part of the reason it’s so hard to have a normal relationship with food when you have a history of food restriction is that food is involved both in dieting and in not-dieting.  For me, at least, exercise feels the same way.  I haven’t been exercising that much since I started officially not-dieting-to-never-diet-again, and that’s because I am an extremely busy grad student with a part-time job and can just barely manage to find time to pay my bills, feed myself, and get some sleep.  However, when I do exercise, I sometimes find myself wondering if it will translate into any weightloss–not because I want it to, but just sort of because those are thoughts I associate with exercise, because those are thoughts I used to have when I exercised.  It’s kind of like when you are in a certain restaurant and you think about the last person you were there with.  I’m not sure how to disassociate exercise from these triggering thoughts.  If anyone stumbles upon this blog and reads it (I’m new!), then please share your thoughts.

I love certain types of exercise…the types that are less about routine-just-to-work-up-a-sweat: yoga, long walks, biking, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and sometimes swimming (I like how it feels, but I get bored).  These forms of exercise take up more time than the gotta-make-sure-you-exercise types, which is a contributing factor to why I haven’t managed to successfully integrate exercise into my busy grad school life.  I’m trying not to feel “guilty”, though, because, just like guilt isn’t any way to feel about food, it won’t help the situation with exercise.  I think “sad” is a more helpful way to look at it, so: it makes me sad that I don’t get to exercise very often, because when I do, I feel so good.  I love feeling connected to my body in that way.

Many of my classmates talk about feeling guilty for not exercising, but I’m trying to think about it like this:  school is my top priority at this point in my life, and I don’t want to regret not really pushing myself to get as much out of it as possible because I had an unshakeable exercise routine.  Not everyone would prioritize how I have (I tend to drop balls when I have more than one in the air at a time, so having a single focus works best for me), but I should not feel guilty for my own choices for my own life.  I have made similar choices when it comes to social activities, and I tend not to feel guilty about those, and exercise choices should be no different.

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