How To Quit Being a Slave to Your Workouts, and Not: Gain weight. Freak out. (Or die.)
Ya’ll know by now, that my workouts have transitioned over the years from obsessive, to… barely at all. Haha. (I average three workouts a week.) But I do laugh because I feel like I am in on a great little secret: I discovered that you really don’t HAVE TO be a slave to your workouts to stay in shape and maintain your weight.
I mean, I’m not competing in any body competitions or anything, but I quit being a slave to my workouts over twelve years ago, and my weight has not changed a bit, I still fit in the same clothes (I know cuz I still wear some, haha,) and I still occasionally sport a bikini.
**2 notes on this ^ pic…1) I only include it after a few people I trust (friends and husband) suggested I ought to include a bikini shot to authenticate what I’m talking about…
and 2. On modesty: There is a very different culture in Hawaii as far as swimwear goes, and bikinis are quite mainstream–the norm. for everyone including moms. I most often wear a one-piece or a cover up over bikini at the beach, but occasionally when I’m w/ my hubby I’ll wear a bikini. He took this picture. 🙂 Thx for understanding! 🙂
Back to the story: For many years I assumed that to keep my weight under control, and stay in even decent shape, I’d have to be a slave to working out for the rest of my life.
So it’s kind of a really exciting thing to me that I not only broke free from my mental food and exercise hangups, but my body hasn’t changed either.
(Of course there are some changes in my body due to basic aging, and I’m trying my best to do that gracefully…even if a bit stubbornly. :))
Now…Some of you have told me that you too want to ease up on the workouts, but it’s scary.
I know! I remember.
But you can do it. I really, really believe you can!
As with everything else that I talk about, I have found the key to all of this in your thought-life.
**If you live with a belief that loosening your grip on workouts will equal everything spinning out of control, then your actions will match that. One day off schedule, and you might overeat, feel bad about yourself, sit around, overeat some more…it’s really a nasty cycle!
**But if you believe (as I think you ought to!) that your workouts are not the boss of you…then you can miss a few days, give yourself some positive self talk, and cruise through it. You’ll eat a little less knowing that you are burning a little less, and you’ll kind of like the extra time you just added to your life.
I know that some people fear that cutting back on workouts will lead you to quitting workouts altogether. You’re better than that! You can find balance.
For those of you ready to step back from an unhealthy relationship to exercise, I want to encourage you to just do it. Be brave! You don’t want to live the rest of your life a head-case because of your relationship to working out. (And for the love of your social/family life–trust me when I say that it’s hard to be a friend or family member to someone who puts their workouts before people and other important things.) (Some of you need to go back and re-read that.)
I’m not suggesting anyone quits exercising. I think every human being capable of exercising should–and should do it consistently. (read this.) Today’s post is written with a specific population in mind–the ones who have workout routines that they feel controlled by. Whether it’s seven days a week or three–it’s the control it has over you that I’m talking about. ( I think you know who you are.)
So…If you’re in a season of life where you just can’t workout as much as you used to, or maybe you have an injury that is preventing you from working out the way you always have…or perhaps you’re just sick of being a slave to your workouts, this is for you:
FIVE GUIDELINES to help you DECREASE your workout routine without INCREASING the number on the scale.
(pst: you can pin that ^^)
1. REMEMBER: It’s widely acknowledged by pretty much every health and fitness expert that your DIET is the biggest factor in determining your body fat and weight. Most agree that your diet makes up about 80-90% of your weight maintenance goals.
2. As you decrease your workouts, you might lose weight/body fat. Truth: Less exercise will lead to less of an appetite. It might take a few days, but I find that when I am not working out, I can get by eating a whole lot less. In fact, so much less that I realize that the amount more that I eat when I am working out is probably more than the calories I burn on those days. Which (if I do the math,) means that I am probably burning more fat on the days I don’t exercise. haha. Funny, but true.
3. When you don’t workout, you will have all the more energy to get things done. Maybe I’m getting old, (no!) but on the days I workout hard, I find that I often want a nap later, and I am simply exhausted at the end of the day. On days that I do not workout, I am powering through my days, often doing more cleaning and projects that require energy. So when it’s all said and done, I probably burned nearly as many calories throughout that day–PLUS I got stuff done. Double bonus!
4. Your workouts will rock! You will enjoy and go strong on your workout days all the more if you have a few days off in a week. After I’ve rested for two or three days, I am so amped to run hard, to workout strong. I love that! It is so much better than dragging myself through boring workouts every single day.
5. You will feel so proud. Something happens when you realize that you are not a slave to your workouts. You feel proud, and (in my boys’ words,) like a boss. 🙂 I know that for me–I feel so happy just knowing that I don’t just look like I do (which again–isn’t perfect, but is acceptable to me,) because I’m a workout diva. I actually live a really fun, balanced life. I love being able to say that. 🙂
‘K friends…Speak up! I have a feeling a few of you have thoughts/experience/fears/stories to go with this post. Let ’em fly. 🙂
PS Since this post went live, I finished my book, THE SECRET OF YOUR NATURALLY SKINNY FRIENDS.
This topic is just one of many in the book, and I think you’ll love it! 🙂
CLICK HERE for the book page! Click here to order it on Amazon (in paperback, or kindle edition.)
I know this is an older post, but my daughter and I have been discussing the biking topic for a while. You talk in this article about bikinis being the norm in HI. We find them to be pretty much the norm everywhere, except among our more conservative, fundamental friends. But my daughter was wondering how your teen-age boys feel about Christian girls wearing bikinis? She wants to be modest, but she doesn’t see it as being a moral issue. She wonders why you mostly only wear them when with your husband and not whenever you want to? Thanks for any help and discussion on this topic!
Lots of love!
I’m sorry, did I read right? You are apologizing for wearing a bikini? Excuse me but your body is awesome, whether you’re a mom didn’t take that from you. You have all the right to flaunt your body. I haven’t even gotten past that sentence so I don’t know how much you do or don’t excersize. Regardless you care enough to do something when most ppl don’t. They believe simply because they had kids it’s time to throw in the towel. It’s ok to reclaim your bodies ladies! You’re awesome and you keep rocking your tiny ass bikini!
Pris — Haha, great comment, thank you. I don’t remember exactly what I said (I guess I need to go re-read the post :)) but I suppose I just try to be modest and don’t often show photos of myself in a bikini. But I agree with you–We should all try to take care of ourselves, and I a indeed thankful/proud of what I’ve got. You’re sweet! aloha-
I really needed this. I’m facing a knee surgery after 2+ years of exercising 5-6 days a week & having just started CrossFit 5 months ago. I lost 70 lbs between July 2013 & Sept 2014 & I really don’t want to revert back to my old habits & end up gaining weight back.
Hi Monica. Thanks again for an excellent post. Even though I like working out I never have enough time during the week to do it more than once. My other biggest problem is my sugar and starch addiction. I don’t know how to go through the day without a chocolate or chips or something unhealthy! Any tips on how to deal with this?
Great post, Monica, thank you!
I was wondering what supplements & vitamins… you take to maintain your weight and health…..
If you could share your thoughts on that, it would be great!
Thank you Nicole! The only supplement I take–and have taken for over fifteen years–is Juice Plus. Otherwise I just try to eat healthy and balanced and workout regularly but not obsessively. 🙂 More on my daily diet, etc., in a future post! Much aloha! PS Here’s link to Juice Plus: (I signed up to be a distributor back when we realized how much we loved it and that we wanted the family to be on it forever.) 🙂 https://monicaswanson.juiceplus.com/content/JuicePlus/en.html#.VPAkAYfufpY
OH. MY. GOSH! I needed this YEARS ago! I’m not even kidding when I say that this one blog about not being a slave to my workouts will change me forever. Thank you for liberating me! Thank you for giving me the permission I didn’t even know I needed to STOP THE INSANITY of working out 6-7 days a week! You are wonderful. That is all. Thank you, Angie
Angie—YOU just made my day. I know there are others who feel this way, but hearing from you–Seriously…Makes everything I went through worth it too! I can’t wait to hear how you do…please keep in touch!! Much Aloha!
I usually work out 3 times a week. PUMP on monday, RIPPED on wednesdays and thursdays alternate between Barre and Fit Club. However, this past month I have had to cut way back due to being sick and while it has been weird to be at home during times I am normally at the gym, it has actually been really freeing. I really want to get back to the gym, but that first workout back also scares me.
Ok, I just got my workout gear on but decided to stall, and so I sat down at my computer and pulled up your blog. Ha! What are the odds? 🙂
You speak truth. About a year ago I stopped slaving to my workouts after a lifetime of always fretting over it, and oh my, the guilt when I skipped a few days! The things I missed…the constant thoughts of needing to exercise…the dread…and still always needing to lose those 5 pounds…
The thoughts creep up still, but now I have a much healthier view of lifetime eating and exercise, and quiet those rude comments my brain makes. (um, most days 😉 ) Sure does make a difference.
Thanks for the reminder! Great post.
Great post! Most weeks I workout in some fashion 6 days, this week just wasn’t up to it and don’t feel guilty. All in moderation (food, exercise) and rest when your body calls for it.
Thank you so much. I am learning this valuable lesson. Do you think you could post what your food intake looks like for a week?
Thank you Jennifer! Yes–I’ve been asked that a lot, and some have asked me to youtube it…haha, which might be why I’ve never done it (a daunting task.) So, I’ll plan to work on a simple post to share that soon! Keep it up! xo
I am not quite there yet, but your posts have been slowly shifting my mindset to start working out! I don’t think I will ever be a slave to working out, but I do hope to get into a more active rhythm for my life…and your posts make it seem a little less daunting to me.
Oh that makes me happy! 🙂 Yes, one of my friends read it and simply said “I cannot relate at all!” haha. I say that’s a good thing! 🙂 But yes, having a healthy, balanced relationship with exercise is a great goal! 🙂 XO
Thank you for sharing this. My friends joined a really effective, fun, catchy workout center – and their results in the last 6 months are amazing. I’ve been thinking of giving it a go and just this morning asked them what would happen if they stopped and how they would maintain it if their lives got busier or they were unable to attend – blank stares! I’m pinning this post 🙂
Oh Alexandra! 🙂 You are awesome! But I’d also hate to take away a fun, positive workout experience, so maybe it’s worth a shot…as long as you keep your head on straight, you’ll be fine! 🙂 XO always love seeing you here!
Great post and LOVE reading your blog, fellow Christian homeschool mom.
you are in great shape and it shows-good for you!
Just curious of your perspective on modest, as Christian wives & moms- Especially raising boys &young men.
I value your opinion.
Thank you Lori! I totally hesitated on including that photo for many reasons–One of course being modesty…:) And then I wanted to explain things (friends I trust really thought the photo would help authenticate the things I wrote about, etc…)But it’s hard in a blog because you just can’t go on and on…:) But great question and an important topic. The “norm” in Hawaii is so different than other places…A bikini is pretty normal for almost any size/shape, and the skimpy bikinis are so normal that I am never sure if it is bad for my boys or if they are just so used to it that they hardly notice (of course as hormones kick in, yes–they’ll notice.) We do talk about modesty with our boys, and I try to model it. (I really don’t wear a bikini very often–and pretty much only if I’m with my husband.) Maybe this is a good topic to cover more fully in a post. 🙂
Great post… lots of truth in here, but I LOVE working out… it charges up my mind for the day, helps me think more clearly, and gives me that extra pizzazz in life.
I know that’s not exactly what you’re talking about here, but I guess there can be a fine line between being a slave to your workouts, and being super disciplined about them because you know the benefit they’ll bring.
Totally true about diet being the kingpin, though.
Thank you Corinna! I’m so glad you love to workout, and maybe you don’t even fit this category at all (like I said, you’d know in your heart if you had an issue. :))
I also love to workout but for some time in my life it was an unhealthy thing… If I had all the time in the world now, I’d definitely be working out much more–it feels so good, and I love to feel strong and all of that too–Which I don’t honestly feel right now. But learning to be ok any ways has been a great breakthrough! Thanks and keep it up!!