Wearing the (Yoga)Pants in My Relationship with Exercise

You’re probably wishing these words were vividly describing a fruity dessert. You’re not alone. I could easily talk about delicious food all day, this is much more uncomfortable. Recipes come easy, it’s this serious stuff that’s harder.

I don’t talk about my own journey very much on this blog, but just because I don’t bring it up doesn’t mean I don’t think about it. It doesn’t mean that I think I’m already recovered. It just means that I’m self-conscious when it comes to sharing. But who isn’t?

I really jumped onto the high-carb low-fat vegan thing at the start of last summer. It took some time, because eating big has never been easy for me. However, carbs have always been easy for me. I’m a life-long potato lover.

It took even more time to notice any changes, but towards the end of the summer I did. I don’t weigh myself, but somehow you just know. Regardless of numbers, I felt happy. I felt like I was making progress.

I can’t say it was easy, that would be far from the truth, but I wanted to find health…and I still do. Aside from the time it takes to eat that much food, it took a lot of mental effort to be okay with the change. However, fourteen hours of classes and countless hours of homework later, the progress has slowed.

I’m not going to make some bogus excuse about not having enough time. Come on, I’m a food blogger; I allocate plenty of time to thinking about, making, and eating food. As with anything, it’s not about how much time you have, it’s about how much time you spend.

Minutes on the clock aren’t the problem; it’s the mental minutes that are hard. Mental minutes are a precious resource, and they are hard to come by some days. Writing papers, studying blogging, and just living take up a lot of those. Some are happily given, others not so much (cough, cough, school). It’s those weeks when I already feel overwhelmed with tests and homework that I don’t feel like nudging myself to eat, eat, eat more, more, more.

So I took this as an opportunity to work on the other aspect of recovery: less exercise. Sometimes I feel like this is harder for me than the food. I started by skipping one day of yoga. I was afraid the guilt would hit me. It did, but it was a soft blow countered by the freedom I felt and the time I gained. One day turned into two, and with each day the guilt became more faint. Hearing about or seeing other people exercising still often triggers my guilt reflex. In those tough moments I have to remember that I’m my own person on my own unique path. I have to realize when exercise, which is generally considered a positive thing, is no longer serving me in a purely positive way.

Sprinkling in rest days has made me enjoy my yoga practices more when I choose to do them. I’ve realized that I don’t need to do a long, powerful practice every day. Any practice I do is great, and any practice I skip is great too.

Maybe I am being an excusitartian and blaming school for stealing all my mental minutes. But on the flipside I’m thanking school for pushing me to reclaim control over my relationship with exercise. Now I wear the (yoga)pants in this relationship.

Don’t think this means I’m not eating over here, I’m still holding my ground on that part too. Actually, last weekend was the first time I have gone out to eat in quite a while, and I completely enjoyed it! So I’m still working on the food side of things as well.

As cheesy as it sounds, it really has been one of those silver lining situations. Amidst the craziness of this semester, realizing I don’t need to exercise everyday has been my silver lining. This semester has been sprinkled with little nuggets of progress even when it seems like progress is hiding from me. And every time I do push myself out of my comfort zone, I am always happily surprised by how easy and happy-making it can be. The hardest part is to keep pushing.             

After countless rereads and edits and asking myself why anyone would want to read this much about me, I just posted this…and then regretted it a little, but I let that go. I love reading about other peoples’ journeys, but it doesn’t seem fair to absorb all the beautiful words that others write while keeping my own thoughts bottled up. My most recent encouragement came from this beautiful post, which left me feeling inspired for days.

I’d love to hear the comments and thoughts that are filling your head as your read this. Also, let me know if you like personal and non-food posts like this of FF (yes, I did just make that up), or want me to stick to the recipes.

Much love to you, Natalie.


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