Doing what makes you happy…

…seems simple enough, right?

Well, I thought so too until I read this post from my friend Melissa over at Tales of a (Recovering) Disordered Eater. Her post, ironically, was inspired by Bethanny Frankel of “The Real Housewives of New York” fame.  In it, she talks about workout motivation. Essentially – that working out shouldn’t be your best friend OR your enemy. There should truly be a happy medium – even when it comes to exercise because you can most certainly overdo it, and not in a healthful way.

Basically – its not altogether healthy to look at things as very black-and-white all the time, especially related to fitness:

I worked out today – which is “good.”

I didn’t work out today – which is “bad.”

Working out, and the motivation to do so, should like everything else, be done healthfully and with balance in mind, above all else.

And yes – working out should (hopefully) make you happy and not become a source of stress.

Why am I saying all of this? Because this particular idea is sometimes hard for me to fully embrace, admittedly.

I LOVE to workout…and probably a little bit too much. I DO get down on myself if i either take a rest day (which duh, is obviously needed in order for your body to recover) or even if I switch up when and how I workout. For instance – today, I slept in because I was tired. No biggie. I will workout after work and it’ll be just fine. But yet – somehow, I find that I am a little bit “off” today because my routine was altered because I haven’t yet worked out for the day.

Is that wrong? Is that bad? Maybe? A little bit?  But on the other hand, part of the reason I feel “off” is because I’ve literally missed (so far today) working out which I honestly and truly just love because of the burst of energy and the positive mood it always puts me in. Much more so than things like the number on the scale or the size of my pants, honestly and truly.

So, going back to the root of my post – doing what makes you happy. If you’re truly happy working out 6 days a week, for example, and are able to weave it into your lifestyle in a healthful way, I am all for it. If you find that you are adding stress to your life because you CAN’T fit in as many workouts as you think/want/need to in a given week, that doesn’t mean you are “bad” by any means. Or — if you “just” go for a walk versus a run or to the gym to take a group fitness class, that’s OK, too – in fact, a walk is a great way to burn off some steam, get the blood circulating and to set your mind “straight” for the rest of the day.

It’s advice I openly admit I need to take more often. If I go on vacation and don’t break a sweat everyday, the world will not end. If I sleep in and do NOT makeup for it at the end of the day, I will be just fine. I need to remember that and, I have a feeling a few of my bloggy friends will feel the same way about their own (over)commitment to working out.  😉 Sometimes all it takes is a new/different perspective to see the forest from the trees, huh?

In other quasi-related news…I have done a terrible job of banishing the negative talk from my life. I know, I know, it was a new years’ resolution – I started off with the best of intentions, I really did! I think, quite honestly, now that summer has hit, my negativity has crept back in because we’re all baring so much more skin than normal. Case in point – I changed three times for that 30th birthday party over the weekend. Granted – three times is better than in the past (it often topped out at 6 or 8), but still – I changed because I felt “fat.” Totally ridiculous, I realize.  I’ve GOT to get used to living in my own skin and embracing my flaws for what they are – unique pieces of me, that make me, ME. So this is my promise to me, but also to all of you (my sister, included!), that I am recommitting to positive thinking, even if I have to compliment myself everyday. 😉

With that – I think it’s time for me to preorder the Operation Beautiful book, have any of you caught wind of it and decided to pre-order? I’m thinking it’s a must-read this summer…

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11 thoughts on “Doing what makes you happy…

  1. Great post! It can be so easy to think that if it’s good for you then more is even better for you. Not always true. You know I’ve hit the overtraining wall before, and it is a horrible experience. It’s mostly mental too (go figure) so it is very hard to rethink how you think about exercise. Plus, being super Type A doesn’t always help. You have it planned out, scheduled and that’s how it’s supposed to be. Life is not supposed to interfere in neat, tidy plans.

    Maybe there is an underlying fear that if you miss one or even two then that will become the norm. You see so many people who fall off the exercise wagon, so can it happen to me?

    • God, I love you Heather. LOL. You GET me, you truly do. I knew you’d appreciate this post because, we are pretty alike about our workout styles, and our Type-A tendencies. It IS easy to fall into the “its good for you so the more the better” which isn’t actually the right approach at all. I think with everything I do, I give it my all, 110% effort, so “missing” a workout feels like I’m not giving 110%, when in reality, I’m human and not perfect by any stretch. And that’s ok.

  2. Thanks for the shout-out! 🙂

    In my over-exercising days, I totally had that same mentality (“its good for you so the more the better”) but it is definitely unhealthy when taken to extremes!! It’s hard to believe that something good for you can be bad, but it’s how we handle it. If we can’t go out to dinner with friends because we didn’t work out that AM, that is a problem. If we cancel social functions to hit the gym, again, a problem. But if we like working out 6 days a week and find time to do it each day and it doesn’t interfere with our personal lives or work, all the better 😉

    • Of course!! Your post totally spoke to me today at just the right time, clearly.
      And I’ve got to say, I’ve loved reading your blog – especially now that “the situation” is out in the open, yay for that! 🙂

  3. you basically described my morning! i had to get a certain workout in and could only do it at work so i packed up my crap and headed to the office at 6 am. i just couldn’t start my day without a workout. and btw – the title of this post is pretty much my mantra these days…love it!

    • Wow, I can totally picture that Naomi! And totally – sometimes there are those “must-do” workout mornings…it’s when those “must-do’s” become a little on the obsessive side that its no longer healthy or “happy” am I right? So glad to hear from you – the “do what makes you happy” has been near and dear to my heart lately too…

  4. Oh, yes….I definitely hear you on this! Although I am getting a little better, especially because I think I’ve realized that if I’m so exhausted and really need that extra sleep, it actually helps my workouts more than if I go and have a horrible workout because I can’t stay awake! 🙂 I’m not going to lie, though, I still struggle with feeling like it’s okay to eat “normally” on my rest days, though, which in my head I know is silly because we need fuel on those days, too – right??

    I’ve done the outfit changes, too….sometimes I tell myself it’s a “girl thing,” but those negative thoughts definitely need to be kicked to the curb! I think it’s normal to have days where we feel great about our bods and those we don’t (for me, I think it is SO linked to my cycle/if I’m bloated, etc.), but really we just have to look in the mirror and tell ourselves we’re beautiful, darnit! 🙂

    • BINGO! I struggle with the SAME thing on rest days – the “hmm maybe I shouldn’t eat that snack since I didn’t workout” but um hello? If you’re hungry, you should eat, regardless of whether or not you worked out that day! SOO true.

      I think we need to keep eachother in check on this one, clearly I’m not the only one feeling it lately (which actually makes me feel more “normal” as crazy as that sounds!).

      AND we need to keep in check about keeping positive and embracing our collective beauty in all shapes and sizes 🙂

  5. Oh girl, I have totally had these same experiences with exercise. I can totally relate to feeling out of whack even if I still worked out, but it wasn’t when I planned to. So silly when you really think about it, isn’t it? But for some reason we are unnecessarily so hard on ourselves. I don’t know where that comes from really, but there most definitely should be a happy medium when it comes to working out. Even being sooooo relaxed now that I’m pregnant, I STILL felt kinda bad for taking 2 rest days in a row. But my body is still the same, nothing has changed, and the world most definitely has not ended. 😉

  6. Pingback: Finding Focus | The Tao of Me

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