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Should I stop working out?

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  • #136217
    sadpeach
    Participant

    Hi,

    I’ve posted before about my body issues. I used to work out to gain weight and bulk, because I was always so naturally thin. Even within the past year — so it’s not like I’m yearning for my 18 year old body.

    I was just speaking with a friend and remembered a time within the past year that I made a huge Oreo cake, and didn’t even eat it all before it went bad. I had to throw out half of it. I reminisced on a time before I had body, food and health issues. I now can’t imagine making the dessert, let alone making it and not bingeing on it.

    It started with 5 lbs, and then I started working out and trying to eat better, and then I went on a trip and it became 10. Then I lost 5 back, but then the holidays hit and it was 10 again. Then 15. Now I’m a full 15 lbs heavier than I used to be before I started working out and trying to obsessively eat healthy. A good amount is muscle, but I still can’t fit in to about half of my pants. I hate the way I look, I refuse to take photos.

    Don’t get me wrong, I always have had a sweet tooth and an addiction to sugar. But of course, as soon as I started realizing a small weight gain and restricting, things have gotten worse. The harder I try, the less progress I see. Part of me just wants to give up altogether, quit my gym membership and only do yoga. When I exercise, I wouldn’t say I over-exercise, but I do a lot and it increases my appetite ten-fold. I constantly think about food and calories in vs. out.

    Part of me feels like if I stop exercising, my appetite will slowly decrease and wont revolve around this in-vs-out mindset, and maybe I’ll get back to normal. Especially with the help of my yoga and therapy that I just started. I was wondering if anyone had any insight on this?

    #136235
    Helen
    Participant

    Hi Tessa-

    First, I just want to say that there is no need to compare your body to anyone else’s body, not even your past self’s body. Our bodies change, our metabolism changes, sometimes in ways we don’t like, but sometimes in ways we come to love as well. The important thing is to nourish it and care for it.

    It sounds to me like there are exercises that you enjoy doing, such as yoga. Exercises we enjoy are quite often the only ones we’ll stick with. Yes, there are people who push themselves at cross-fit, but the most dedicated are the ones that enjoy that type of exhaustion. There are other people that maintain a healthy body by walking to work or doing their errands, because it works for their schedules and they enjoy it. I personally would never achieve the peace of mind that I enjoy from a good sweat session, if I were just to walk, but I have no interest in pushing myself to my limit like they do in Crossfit. I think that in adopting any exercise, if you want it to be sustainable, it should be something that you enjoy. If the gym feels more like a chore or punishment, then I wouldn’t recommend doing it anymore. Being active is important, but that doesn’t mean the gym is the solution! (By the way, yoga is not easy, so kudos to you for thinking that is taking it easy!)

    Now as for the sweet tooth and the addiction to sugar… so many people have this. I do! There are some bingeing stories that I would never admit to, but hey- a lot of people seem to share this struggle so I’m not going to beat myself up over it. I don’t bake either because I know I’ll eat it all. I also don’t keep sweets in the house because I’ll eat them when I’m bored/stressed/craving sugar, etc. Sometimes if you recognize a vice, a good way of defeating it is to just remove yourself from the temptation. I know plenty of alcoholics that will not even let their spouse keep wine in the house, because it could make them relapse. That doesn’t mean they’re out of control, it means they’re doing what it takes for them to stay in control. If you’re sugar crazy right now, lay off the baking, it’s what works for you and you’re already doing it so great job!

    I also recommend not counting the calories, at least not your fruits and veggies. I would try to eat as much fresh possible as you can at meals, drink lots of water and herbal teas if you like them, and try listen to your body to find out when it’s actually hungry. Definitely drink a full glass of water before any binge. The binge will be smaller, and you might not even do it if you have the time to pause with the water anyway.

    I know people say you must eat breakfast, but if you’ve had a big dinner the night before, you might not need it first thing when you wake up. We tend to be in better self control in the morning anyway, so if you think you might want to treat yourself to a bigger meal later in the day, you can plan ahead by eating a little less starting at breakfast. These are just tips, they are not necessarily what will work for you. But I went through a similar experience and I felt that diet and workout science was not the answer… the answer was finding pleasure in a healthy lifestyle that worked for my schedule, energy, and budget. Much of our food is filled with chemicals or ingredients like sugar that are designed to get us hooked, so don’t feel like you are at fault for over-doing it on the sweets. It’s sometimes a long haul, but if you’ve struggled with food and body image, developing a happier relationship with food and exercise is one of the greatest feats and feelings. I know you’ll get there!

    I hope this helps, keep me posted.
    Helen

    #136241
    sadpeach
    Participant

    Helen, thank you SO much for this! I really appreciate the detail of your answer and how thoughtful you are.

    It’s tricky, because I actually love exercise! But at the very same time, it has become a numbers equation. So while I do love a good sweat session, ultimately the hunger I get from it and the obsessive food thoughts/body scanning for progress/binge eating from it outweigh the stress relief that it brings me. I think the negative is outweighing the positive these days.

    #136247
    Helen
    Participant

    No problem!

    I would venture to say that your problem is not exercise right now. Your problem seems to be food. It could be that you are exhausting so much of your self control trying to get yourself to complete more intense exercises, that you don’t have any mental strength left to defeat your food cravings. Maybe you should try taking it a little easier on yourself at the gym, but turn the bulk of your attention towards finding a food strategy that works.

    #136307
    Nina Sakura
    Participant

    Dear Tessa

    Go see a qualified nutritionist and change your relationship with food. You see it as a form of control towards your body and yourself. The truth is, food is simply meant to give you nutrients and energy. Please allow yourself to eat treats once in a while in small portions. Even I have a sweeth tooth but I am prone to weight gain and have a family history of diabetes.

    So instead of wolfing down sweets when I am happy, upset, outside, inside house, bored, I go and buy a tiny, expensive dark chocolate bar once a week or a good gelato. The rest of the week I eat and workout to make my body healthy and an energy powerhouse.

    This means a diet with enough calories, proper macro-nutrients and at proper intervals, portions rather than crash dieting, going hungry for hours which makes me crave sweets. Keeping busy will stop the thoughts on in and out, sweets. See this as a life long commitment to stay healthy rather than a weight loss regime.

    Opting for low GI foods and cutting out added sugar helps most. A cheat meal once a week is fine to stay sane.

    Instead of preparing a big portion of oroes, buy a small packet and enjoy it for the taste. You are restricting too much and after a point, you will get fed up of it.

    Try flavoured herbal teas like Apple cinnamon, pomegranate which are sweeter in flavor if you are craving a sweet drink during the week.

    Work on your relationship with how you see food and exercise. Doing yoga sounds like an awesome idea actually. You can supplement it with a quick walk and isometric exercises to stay in shape.

    Don’t despair. This craving problem is very normal actually and can be worked on.

    Regards

    Nina

     

     

    #138285
    sadpeach
    Participant

    Nina & Helen, thank you so much for your insight. I do think I need to cheat “when it’s worth it” and make sure it’s something I’m really craving, not just any sugar that’s accessible. I really have been craving oreos for weeks. I might buy a small packet like you said and listen to that craving.

    With that said, I’m trying to establish a healthy “non obsessive” thought process — listening to my body, not trying to plan everything down to the calorie and just eat healthy, normal foods. However, through this whole process I’ve learned that I have a serious love for cooking and trying new foods and recipes! It’s kind of hard, because it takes away a bit of the thoughtlessness when I imagine/plan cooking a meal for the creative expression and then I can’t separate it from the weight and body issues. I get excited about the meal for purely the creative expression like I used to (I used to cook before and experiment with meals but now its SO much stronger) but then it trickles into my body issues.

    Should I take a break from this and just go back to simple basic meals that I know are healthy, normal filling meals so that it eases my mind a bit and gives me one less thing to have my mind revolve around food?

    #138527
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Tessa:

    – drinking water/ herbal teas sweetened with liquid stevia (natural, non caloric sweetener) will give you that FULL feeling after exercise, or at any other time.

    – the more you restrict (items, calories), the more you will crave and binge. Learn moderation.

    – the more you obsess about food and calories in and out (including reading articles and advice about eating and dieting), the more in trouble you will be (bingeing, over exercising, being often distressed and miserable)- focus elsewhere more and more, best you can (your last paragraph reads like a good idea in this regard)

    anita

     

    #138701
    sadpeach
    Participant

    Anita, unfortunately right after exercise isn’t really when I’m hungry. It’s more like later that day or the next day. When I consciously try to drink teas and waters to curb it, the more I think about “trying not to be hungry” so that’s why I think the no exercise is one thing to help make this equation more simple, you know?

    Hopefully just some yoga here and there for my mind and therapy will do the trick as long as I’m listening to my body! Thanks 🙂

     

    P.S. I had a packet of Oreos yesterday, they really weren’t that good! lol!

    #138799
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Tessa:

    Experiment with not exercising and see if you are less hungry as a result. Try this and that, experiment. Then do what works for you. You can keep this thread as a journal listing your different experimentations and what you learn as a result, if you’d like.

    anita

     

    #138973
    Helen
    Participant

    I agree with Anita on this one. You’ll have to experiment and see!

    #144991
    Merriegold
    Participant

    You just enjoying the foods and without noticing the result. Well at least you know the outcome and know I guess you star dieting and going out to Gym..LOL

    #157430
    alan
    Participant

    Maybe it’s better to consult with the specialist first. I always ask for advice my personal trainer at the gym.

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