Working Out For Myself Taught Me To Love Exercise Again
Start writing a post
Health Wellness

The Day I Stopped Working Out For Societal Approval Is The Day I Fell In Love With Exercise Again

I'm working out for me — not for you — and I'm done apologizing for that.

341
The Day I Stopped Working Out For Societal Approval Is The Day I Fell In Love With Exercise Again
https://unsplash.com/photos/PHIgYUGQPvU

When I was younger, my exercise came in the form of soccer. Soccer was my first love, always has been and always will be. I played for the love of the game and for the joy it brought me to spend countless hours of my week with a ball under my feet and a goal in front of me. Then, when I was 15, I gave up on my first love, and I will always regret that.

What does this little anecdote about soccer have to do with exercising for the approval of others around me? Well, during the summer, just prior to my last season of soccer, I suffered from an undiagnosed eating disorder. I won't go into all the gory details about that here because that isn't the point I'm trying to get across, but it does deserve to be mentioned because it was during that time that my mindset towards exercise completely shifted.

The girl who had once played soccer simply for the love of the game became the girl who spent hours out in the sweltering North Carolina heat running because she was trying to transform herself into this "ideal" person based on society's standards. Let me tell you something, striving to be something that you can physically never be in order to fulfill this unrealistic expectation that society presents us is both physically and emotionally draining.

That summer, my mindset towards exercise was solely focused on what everyone else thought of me and how much I needed to work out in order to continue to lose weight. It wouldn't be until well into my freshman year of college that my mindset would shift once again — this time for the better.

When I first started college, I loved the idea of having free access to a gym that was only a short walk from my dorm. I hadn't really had that in a long time, seeing as how by this point it had been nearly four years since I'd given up soccer, and running around my neighborhood brought me back to the summer of 2012. First semester I didn't really find a ton of time to get to the gym, mostly because I was still trying to figure out what it meant to be a college student and how to balance all of my responsibilities. That all changed spring semester of my freshman year. I found myself going to the gym almost every single day, and if I'm completely honest, I hadn't felt that good in a really long time.

For the first time in four years, I was working out because I enjoyed the feeling it gave me or to help deal with the stress of a long week, instead of having the hurtful words of someone ringing in my ears the entire time. That was the moment I made a promise to myself. I promised myself that if I ever started to feel that way again in the gym — as if I wasn't good enough or I was working out to make someone else like me — I was to immediately stop whatever I was doing and leave right then and there.

In the three years since I've been in college, I have yet to have to implement that self-imposed policy. To some people, it may sound stupid or as if that isn't that big of an accomplishment, but for me it is. I went from being the girl who ran for societal approval to the girl who remembered what it felt like to fully enjoy a workout again. It was at that moment, freshman year me carving out the time in my chaotic schedule, that I fell in love with exercise again.

Words can't fully express how amazing of a feeling this is to me. Now I long to get back in the gym because I love the feeling of accomplishment of completing an intense workout. I may not get to the gym every single day, but I now realize that it's perfectly OK if I miss a day or two, or even a full week. I'm done letting other people dictate how or when I workout. I'm letting myself fall back into exercising for the sheer love of it. So this one goes out to the 14-year-old soccer-loving girl inside of me that has been brought back out by letting go of societal expectations.

Stop letting an unrealistic societal standard of beauty dictate how you live your life, whether it's in exercising or how you dress or what you eat. Be the person God created you to be, and don't apologize for that.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

I just recently got engaged and planning a wedding during a pandemic is actually kind of a nightmare.

A lot of venues are taken for 2021 because of corona brides and grooms who have had to reschedule their weddings and the same goes for other vendors and literally everything else.

Keep Reading... Show less

While promoting her most recent movie, "Work It," Sabrina Carpenter has divulged some of her favorite beauty products to interviewers.

Keep Reading... Show less

When I say we can't stop thinking about the relationship advice Miley Cyrus dropped on "Call Her Daddy" today, I mean it literally.

Her truth bombs hit me (and most who listened) like a wrecking ball and coupled with the release of her new song "Midnight Sky," we're going to need some time to process the greatness. In case you haven't listened yet (what are you waiting for?), here are 10 relationship tips Miley shared that we should all live by for the rest of time.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Founders Of Color: Rec Room's Dre Taylor On What Blackness Can Look Like And Not Working For Free

"It mattered to me that when we were depicting racial diversity for Rec Room, we showed the broad spectrum of what Blackness can look like."

Rec Room

The world of sustainable fashion is inundated with marketing gimmicks, false advertising, and large corporations cutting corners — Rec Room is the pure antithesis of that.

Keep Reading... Show less
FOX

"New Girl" is one of the best sitcoms of all time. Honestly, it is so much fun to watch, so much fun to relate to, just all around a great show.

Not only is a great show, it has so many different great settings, obviously including the loft. If you live by Nick Miller quotes and desperately tried to learn how to play "True American," you need to buy these things because you are a true "New Girl" fan.

Keep Reading... Show less

You know those items you've been pinning to your Home board on Pinterest for [insert amount of time]? Well, it's officially the moment to turn that wishlist into a married life reality, and it's going to be SO fun.

But, before you get to shopping and adding things to your upgraded bridal wishlist (sorry, Pinterest, it was lovely while it lasted), you'll first want to decide where you want to open your registry (or registries, if you want options). Here are 17 of the best websites and stores to consider saying "I do" to for your wedding registry, to have and to hold for as long as people are buying you wedding gifts.

Keep Reading... Show less

If you've ever been in the dating game, or currently are, chances are you've had a date gone wrong. These are often times super embarrassing, but they are always funny to look back on.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 At-Home Therapy Tips You Need, No Matter What Your Therapy Routine Is

Whether you're in a Zoom session or live-chatting, make sure your home therapy space is good to go.

No matter what stigmas you held about therapy before this year, I'm sure 2020 has affirmed that we could ALL use a nice long therapy session. Between wildfires that took over an entire continent, a global health crisis, and what's sure to be one giant circus of an election in the United States, we need help and we need it now.

The fact of the matter is, therapy has been a helpful, valid resource long before the world decided to become one giant dumpster fire. Having a safe space to discuss what's going on in your life, worries you have, and struggles you're facing has become a very normal thing for individuals' mental health.

Keep Reading... Show less

Dunkin' just announced that they'll be releasing their fall menu earlier than ever — set to debut on August 19 — and that it'll include new menu options this season, including a new signature pumpkin spice latte. Let me just say, Starbucks has some fall-menu competition now.

Keep Reading... Show less

When it comes to wedding planning, each and every detail is customized to the style of the couple. From venue and decorations to food and beverages, nothing gets overlooked — whether your wedding is big, small, or virtual.

The same thing goes for invites, which are getting more and more beautiful every wedding season. If you're looking to customize your wedding invitations, the options are endless... you can add pictures if you wish, opt for fancy artwork, or keep it simple with just text).

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments