Thank you Amanda for letting us think out loud! Today I get to ‘ruminate’ on one of the biggest subjects I struggled with during my unhealthy relationship with food and the body that God had given me. This is why exercise can be obsessive and why it SHOULDN’T be obsessive (from my perspective, not a health professional.)
Exercise anxiety is one of the biggest things I struggled with during an eating disorder. If I missed a workout, I would break out in a cold sweat. If someone interrupted my workout, I would try to resist glaring at them. In many ways, I let my idol of exercise replace my love for others and my love for God. I put this other god before my God, and it only served to fuel an obsession, not a healthy habit.
Exercise anxiety is just another part of the idol of an eating disorder. It was my way of trying to make my body ‘good enough.’ Yet, I couldn’t ever please myself with just how ‘fit’ my body was because my whole relationship with exercise was wrong and twisted.
Here’s what I’ve come to realize about exercise.
1. God made our bodies to move. He also made a 7th day for us to rest completely in Him and worship Him in His house. He didn’t make us to run our bodies into the ground. Life is a balance of working out and rest.
2. Exercise is not an ‘end goal’ in and of itself. For me, it’s become a means of refreshing my mind and my body so I can go on doing other things like studying or doing mental work.
3. Exercise, for me, is a special time to meditate on God, to pray, and to just be quiet, while I get my heart rate pumping. It’s actually, strangely peaceful, when I just work out, don’t talk, and think about everything that’s going on in life while thinking on God’s faithfulness.
4. It’s such fun to just be active. You don’t have to burn ‘X’ amount of calories or run ‘X’ amount of miles to enjoy exercise. You can jump on the trampoline. You can do a fun video workout. You can workout for 1 minute to 60 minutes. There’s no ‘one size fits all’, and each body is so different.
5. Most importantly, every runner, athlete, exerciser, cyclist, and bodybuilder needs rest. God created us to need rest, to refresh our bodies and minds, so that we can continue to work and serve in this amazing world that He has created!
Thoughts on exercise?
Have you ever been obsessed with exercise?
How have you cultivated a healthy relationship with exercise?