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THINGS and SITUATIONS: How to Have Healthy Relationships

This has been a difficult post to write, since most of my post are spastic and spur-of-the-moment, but this topic is very important to me.

What is your relationship with exercise? With food? With alcohol? With TV? With shopping? I doubt most people have willingly reflected on these questions.

What do you mean “what is my relationship”? I mean what are your emotional associations and habits that go with this activity or thing?

For example, I will share about my relationship with exercise. Exercise has never been a constant in my life until recently. I ran cross country and played softball in high school, but just barely tolerated the vigorous running schedule and the sprinting drills. I got to college and I did not work out. Ever. Luckily I have a fast metabolism and danced (a LOT) every time I went out. The rest of college pretty much went the same way. I felt a lot of pressure to be fit, but I could never commit to a lifestyle change or even a steady schedule. This was due to my relationship with exercise.

My relationship before August: I felt a lot of guilt whenever I thought I should be more fit or exercising. I though it was something that people forced themselves to do. I thought it would be a huge adjustment to make my life more active. Every time I went I thought I was not doing enough, or that people in the gym who were regulars were judging me. Therefore I had a terrible abusive relationship with exercise.

My progression towards a healthy relationship with exercise started when IĀ  moved to Washington in August and was surrounded by my housemates who were all active people. We would go to the gym together, and there was no pressure from them. I also did not know anyone in my gym (it is really important for me to remain anonymous in that place because it’s a vulnerable place for me), so did not feel judged. Hell, for all they knew I was already a marathon runner :P. I adopted a new attitude. Simply showing up at the gym for me was enough. The act of going to the gym was where I derived my satisfaction, not based on how much I accomplished. BUT surprisingly, whenever I would go to they gym I really would try hard and accomplish more than I expected. This is because the only expectations I had was that I would go there and do something. I did not expect to run 20 miles a week or go to the gym everyday.

My relationship now: Tada! My relationship has evolved. I have accepted that being active is something my body needs (just like your dog needs to be taken on walks…my legs need to be taken to run/bike!). I hold myself to low standards, and my only expectation is that my life continues to be an active one. I love going to the gym….it’s a place where my mind has no place and my body takes over (which is a very welcome relief). I feel like I belong there.

Now that I have moved the relationship to a positive one; Where do I think my relationship can take me next? I think that the longer my life is an active one, the more I can elevate my standards. I can start to train for a half-marathon and be confident I will not let myself down. Even if I miss a day of training, I will be kind to myself, and be more ready to get back at it the next day.

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  1. šŸ™‚ Timely topic for me, too. I used to be a gym bunny. I would go 6 days a week, work out, have the protein shake afterwards, etc. I was down to a size 4 and looked great.

    But I felt like hell because I wasn’t taking care of my BP.

    I finally cleaned up my act and got on the right meds, but then lost all interest in doing anything physical (which usually happens when you’re stoned out of your mind on meds). TV became my only friend. Now, I am tipping the scales as just about obese.

    The last 2 weeks I think I am finally back on the right cocktail so walking a few miles a day is a good start. When I move next month I’m joining the local gym. I’ve cut out a lot of alcohol and refuse to shop for clothes in a larger size than what I am right now. Let’s just hope the trend continues.

    What you’re doing is outstanding! I wish you all the luck with training. And, yes, be kind to yourself. If you miss a day it isn’t the end of the world. (Just don’t miss two. šŸ™‚ Kidding!)

  2. I think it brings up a very important point. I will spend and eat, and for a while I’ll feel great. Then the enjoyment halts and I get depressed because I am now broke and feel fat. I am working on keeping up good habits with spending and eating in the hopes that when the bad comes it can be somewhat reduced. Great post!


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