I have had a couple of minor break-downs recently that are opening my eyes to the reality that there’s more to exercising than the waistline. Though I find myself asking the question, all to often, “Whats the point in exercising?” The truth, I am finding, is disguised in the fear itself.
How anxiety leads me to understand that exercise is more about the mind than the scales.
My battle began several weeks ago, prior to my husband and I leaving for Colorado. I had been dealing with a mental battle. The battle had me convinced, that I would soon suffer a heart attack. I shared my concern with my husband and then did what I often do, pushed it aside – ashamed of how my brain functions – and labeled the apparent fear as stupid, pulling myself up by the bootstraps.
Fast forward several days.
I’m in Colorado. I am not getting a ton of sleep because of the high altitudes and I wake with a tightness in my chest. I proceed to move forward, knowing full well it is just anxiety amplified because of the lack of sleep. I try to tell myself to pull it together. I put on my snow gear and head for the slopes. Prior to walking out the door, I apply my Serenity and Balance essential oils, walk out, put my skis on, spot my husband and ski down to him. Upon being in the safety of his presence, tears of fear stream down my face, and I lose it.
I am terrified that I am about to have a heart attack.
In that moment, I didn’t care who watched me fall into pieces, for I knew my body was cleansing itself of a fear that had been building in me for some time.
But where was this fear all coming from?
I believe it began with a little voice that simply asked a question of me. The question, which seems harmless, but grew inside my mind harming me beyond what I knew was possible.
The question simply asked of me, “What’s the point?”
For months, I have been working to lose weight. At times I have worked hard, and at other times passively. After all there were girl scout cookies that had to be eaten! 🙂 But after 5 months of trying to lose weight and only watching the scales climb, I gave up. After all, I am aware that I am on a medication that causes weight gain. And though I am down on the amount of medication, it is still in my system. Thus the “What’s the point?” question grew louder and louder. And here, in this place, the question took me down. But my mini break-down reminded me there’s more at stake than losing pounds and inches. My mental health was at risk. And if I lose it mentally, I am no help to me OR anyone else.
It was seeing the truth, that I came to see the point in exercising.
You see, the reality is, I tend to believe that exercise is for weight loss alone. And though there is some truth to this reality, this simple way of thinking could not be further from the full truth. After all, the real reason exercise is important to the human body is to help it function at it’s highest level. Sure, weight loss can be a positive side affect of exercising. But believing it is solely for the purpose of losing weight is a mindset I must shift. After all, exercise does so much more than this.
The reality is that when I set my eyes on the immediate benefits of exercise – such as an increase in endorphin levels (the feel good chemicals), the reduction of depression and anxiety, an increase of oxygen to the cells of my body, and the release of toxins through persperation – the frustration of that which I am focusing on diminishes. Recognizing that I need to exercise for the sake of my brain and healthy cellular function allows me to refocus my mind on that which is the real goal.
Weight loss is secondary when suffering mentally and/or physically.
The whisper desires to make me stop. If it cannot cause my foot to stumble, it will cause me to do the next best thing, give up. Or worse, lose hope that there is benefit in whatever I am trying to accomplish. Giving up leads me down a road where my joy is no longer able to grow. In quitting, I create an environment where anxiety, depression and disease will thrive and grow. And so, I am working to shift this mindset of mine and to see exercise for what it gives me in the moment, understanding I only have so much control. And so, I will control what I can, and rest knowing I am doing myself a favor and benefitting – even if the scales tell me differently.
What about you? Do you struggle with this same mindset? What is it that you do daily that you find yourself asking, “What’s the point in (you fill in the blank). How could you change the way you look at exercise or the particular activity in which you say or ask this question? Have you already recognized this in your own life? If so, how have you shifted your focus to benefit you? How has it enabled you to overcome the mental battle? I’d love to hear from you!
Till next time,
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