what would happen if you exercised for yourself and not for someone else?

Lately I have been thinking a lot about exercise.

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I recently decided to cancel my gym membership, in hopes to save a little money each month, and told myself I would utilize the gym on campus or fill my mornings with running like I used to.

I used to be good at running. Not fast, not at all! But I could run 10+ miles, no problem.

I tried Crossfit for a while and found I didn’t like the way it made me feel. I felt inflamed and uncomfortable.

I tried different exercise programs: Kayla Istines, Alexia Clark, you name it – I bought it and tried it.

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But over the course of my 5 years in college I slowly stopped running, I stopped lifting weights, and I struggled to find the right exercise for ME.

You see, my mom has always LOVED exercising. She loves exercising like I love oatmeal so ya know, A LOT. I have always been jealous of that. If I am honest with myself, and I mean brutally honest with myself, the last 5 years of my life I exercised for her.

I exercised so I could keep up with my mom during runs.

I exercised so my mom would be proud of me.

I exercised so I could spend time with her.

I exercised for her.

I exercised for someone else.

How silly is that?

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The past few months I have been taking Owen on these long walks. Some days I wake up and decide to run a few miles but that’s usually only once a week. I have found that I really like walking. Like really, really, really like walking. It doesn’t make my joints hurt or leave me inflamed. It makes me feel relaxed and happy and full of energy.

All is well, right? I thought so.

Recently I had someone in my life tell me I was gaining weight. The comment threw me off guard since my clothes were fitting fine and I genuinely felt at peace with my body. I started thinking about that comment all the time. When I was cooking, when I was in class, when I rode my bike to work, when I stood in Church. I started questioning myself: “Is walking not enough?” “Am I eating too much since I am only walking?”

Then I got mad at myself.

Why the heck was I wasting so much energy on someone else’s opinion?! Why was I questioning my self-worth based on how someone perceives me? Why was I “friends” with someone who only saw my size of my thighs instead of the size of my heart? Why was I second guessing the only form of exercise that has felt comfortable in years?

Then I started laughing at myself.

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I started thinking about how long it took me to realize that I didn’t need to exercise for my mom, I needed to exercise for me.

If walking is what feels best right now, then walking is enough.

If running once a week feels best right now, then running once a week is enough.

If YOU like going to the gym 4 times a week, going to the gym 4 times a week is enough.

If YOU like going to yoga everyday, then yoga is enough.

If YOU like exercise classes, then exercise classes are enough.

YOU are enough. I am enough. And exercising for yourself is enough.

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