3 Things That Helped In My Struggle To Work Out Less

I was never all that good at eating less so I became really good at exercising more. By nature I am someone who likes to move so it was easier for me to add in exercise than to cut out food. It hit a point where I was spending 3 or more hours a day doing a mix of running, biking, walking, & weights and would feel stressed on days where I couldn’t fit it all in. Even on the one day I took “off” each week I’d still go for a walk & get on the bike. It wasn’t a fun way to live but I felt trapped, worrying that without it I’d either gain weight quickly, or not be able to eat much at all.

In the beginning it was easier to give up calorie counting & allow all foods than it was to cut back on exercise so I waited until I was comfortable with the food side before tackling my disordered relationship with exercise. It took some time but these were a few of the things that helped me let go:

    Spending as much time & attention as I did working out made me think I couldn’t do less without having a huge impact on my weight. I did some research & there were no studies I could find that could link exercise to weight loss. There just doesn’t seem to be a correlation between more exercise & less weight. This article here does a good job summing up a few studies but there are many more articles all basically saying the same thing. Exercise is great for your health but if you think it’s going to control your weight, you’re probably mistaken..
    It was easier for me to drop a little at a time & get comfortable at that level before dropping more. Each week I cut a little more out, focusing on what I dreaded the most, finally getting to an exercise routine I love & no longer dread.
    At each step I paid attention to hunger & fullness cues but made NO attempt to cut back on what I was eating. This was hard because it was so ingrained in me to believe that if I worked out less I couldn’t possibly eat the same without gaining weight. I was pretty impressed with my body, with less exercise, I sometimes found myself less hungry, but when it was all said & done I don’t eat noticeably less now than when I was exercising all the time. My guess is that my body got really efficient with how it used calories so that even though I was working out ALL THE TIME I couldn’t really eat that much more.

It was not easy to cut back on exercise. There was an adjustment period for my body where it felt like I was gaining weight while my metabolism adjusted to less movement. It was hard to let go of the control exercise always made me feel I had over my weight. There are so many things I gained now that I let go of control. I wasn’t happy when I spent so much time & attention exercising but still didn’t have the body I wanted. Life is so much better now that I don’t have anxiety when I can’t/don’t work out.

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