A Different Kind of Discipline

My moves yesterday: 45 minutes of yoga, attempting headstands (are they supposed to be harder than handstands?!), 8 minutes of abs, walking.

So basically, yoga and walking. That sounds like a nice active rest day doesn’t it? A few months— or even weeks— ago, I would say so. Now though, that’s a lot for me.

I mentioned yesterday that slower workouts need to happen right now…but didn’t I say that a couple times on the blog already? Yeah, I did. I said I wanted to slow down my workouts to help me increase body fat so that I can get my woman processes all sorted out. Then I said I wasn’t doing a good job of actually giving my body rest, so I put even more restrictions on my exercise. But I still exercised a good amount because I still had a gym membership, dance, and opportunities to work out with my friends.

To be honest, when I wrote that second post about how I wasn’t really resting correctly, I sort of gave up on the rest thing until the end of the school year. I was involved in so many activities that working out became…automatic? (For lack of a better term.)

Well now that it’s summertime, I ended my gym membership, and I’m done with dance, I’m buckling down and really (REALLY REALLY REALLY) trying to rest more. Just more, not totally. I know what you’re thinking— sure you are, girl who cried wolf. 

As someone who had an eating disorder in the past, increasing the amount of food I consume has actually been the easier part of recovery. Decreasing exercise, on the other hand, has proven to be so difficult, and I honestly think that has been preventing my body from doing what it needs to do (ladies…ya know).

Why is it so difficult to not work out? For one, I simply love to move (hence the blog name). But there is also a huge culture of “discipline” in the fitness world, which can help motivate people to exercise…

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…However, I feel like these kinds of messages are also guilt-trips. If I intentionally don’t work out for a couple days in a row, and I see a photo of a sweaty, flexing person on Instagram with the caption, “get it done” (or something similar), I can’t help but feel like I should get up and do burpees right then and there.

This kind of advocacy for workout discipline is great, don’t get me wrong. These “fitspiration” messages help prevent me from being a veg on the couch watching Giada and Ina on Food Network all day.

But right now, I need a sort of opposite discipline. I need the discipline to say:

No to burpees.

No to pistol squats.

No to tons of push ups.

No to running (yeah, RUNNING— the thing I don’t even like that much).

No to being out of breath.

No to pushing myself.

And I have been doing this for the past week or so. I’m not saying I’m completely resting, because I’m obviously not. I never did. It has just come to the right time for me to finally take this more seriously. Again, no doctor ever told me to stop exercising, and my doctor just told me last week that I should still be doing some sort of exercise, and I am. {I even said a few days ago that I could do a single dead hang pull-up now, but I’m pretty sure that’s mostly because of muscle memory. I use the door frame pull-up bar every time I walk by it.} Any movement right now is for my sanity— my mental health. I’m being mindful and careful all the while though.

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Am I sure a decrease in working out will help out my situation? Nope. But I think my body needs the rest either way. I’ve also been eating even more.

Foooooooood.

So maybe this is just going through one ear and out the other for some of you at this point, but I’m still figuring out what the heck is happening too. Whatever it may be, for now, I’m practicing a different kind of discipline in telling myself to NOT go hard. Hold me accountable.

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29 thoughts on “A Different Kind of Discipline

  1. So I understand that it’s different for every individual, but speaking from my experience; it requires a good break from intensity to have a period [return in my case]. I’m guessing coming from restriction made the situation more difficult for me..either way I am really happy that you’re finally taking the initiative to lower the workouts at least (knowing your passion for moving and grooving 😉 ).
    On the topic of “breaks” : I was supposed to be on a -cold turkey- one from technology…but some bloggers are just too hard to stay away from 😀 .

    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Ms. J! I didn’t mention in the post, but I have been seeing some positive signs that the lower intensity is helping.
      Technology hiatuses are tough! But thank you for sacrificing your break from technology to stop by 😀

  2. I think everyone has a unique situation and unique needs. That’s why I think I can get confusing in the blog world because when you see one person doing something (or not doing something!) it’s hard not to think “hmm, should I be doing that?” For me, I know that I’ve been resting a little TOO much 😉 haha but I’ve also had seasons of my life where I wasn’t resting enough. I think it’s good that you’re trying to tune into your needs to figure it out!

  3. This is SO relatable!! Do you know how long it took me to slow down with the running?!! Haha! I totally understand about the activity being “automatic.” It’s like we train ourselves to work out, and sometimes work out hard, which can be a good thing, but in our cases, not so much.

    But seriously, slowing down is sooooo worth it in the long run (hehe see what I did there…). It’s hard at first, but I promise slowing down is one of the best decisions I’ve made for my health thus far. Also, remember it’s only temporary! Plus you get to sleep more so liiikkeee I think that’s a bonus?

    Love ya chica!

    • Amen, girl! I whole-heartedly agree that slowing down has done wonders for my health. Despite working out less, I feel stronger than ever before! (Food and rest build muscle apparently?? ;)) Yes— SLEEP.
      Thanks so much for your support, Jess! You’re awesome. ♥

  4. I love how you called it a different kind of discipline, because that’s exactly what it is. And to be honest, NOT working out sometimes takes a lot more discipline than working out… especially for those of us who have struggled with exercise addiction and restrictive eating.

    It’ll all be worth it in the end, lady 🙂 Just remember that it’s not a forever type deal. AND… it’s a pretty awesome learning experience 🙂

  5. thanks for sharing, alison! keep it up – you’re doing great 🙂 definitely agree that when you see those “you never regret a workout” type posts/images, it’s harder to be okay with resting (even if you’re just on a rest day because you’re sore)!

  6. I am 100% on the same path as you Alison! Going off to college, actively resting, I EVEN DID THE SAME YOGA VIDEO. It’s crazy. Just please know I am so proud of you, and I am always here to lend a support to you.

  7. I wrote a big long message but it never showed up😭
    Anyways!!!… I feel like you are I’m my head! I am going through very much of the same but I keep telling myself that this will prepare us for bigger and better things. I really do think it take more discipline to do what’s best for us in a fitness calorie crazed world. I’m very proud of you for not only realizing what’s best but also for making steps each day. Here’s to us as getting our monthly visitor back and not going crazy along the way!! Lol and here’s to is having a big ole family….in time of course😉
    Love ya girl and am always here for you whether you need a vent session, a kick in the butt, a pat on the back, or to commiserate😜

  8. I’m so impressed by your commitment to honouring your health in spite of a culture that equates restfulness with laziness/lack of discipline (which is just wrong). Finishing high school and then going off the college is such an intense time, so make the most of being able to rest while you can!

  9. I love that you are listening to your body, it really takes courage to do that! I think that if 90% of society gave in to what their body really needed (which, for most of society is more fresh produce and more exercise!) then the world would be a much better place.
    If you had told me three months ago to even go three days without a workout I wouldn’t have been able to cope. Or I would have gone on extra long walks and did hard yoga, but now I haven’t been to the gym in nearly 2 months, and I’m still alive, and I am still pretty muscly! I was convinced I would turn to jelly.
    We are in this together, and thank you for constantly being a person of inspiration and motivation to me. Life throws us these challenges so we can overcome them and come out the other side a better person ♥♥♥

  10. I know I say this in every comment, but you’re so wise & self aware for someone your age. You’re like an 800 year old soul disguised as an 18 year old.

    Good for you for knowing what you need to do. The tricky part is trusting the process & not trying to control the outcome.

  11. I think it is very easy to get trapped in the all or nothing mindset with fitness. Almost as if it’s not worth it if you can’t be working towards something. The idea of just moving to move somehow gets lost! That’s been my battle for the past 2 years or so. I actually had to give up all exercise for me to find a better sense of balance and to find out what I really crave which is essentially just being outside and walking or hiking. Luckily I’m getting my fix now! You’ll get there eventually. You are awesome though. Like seriously I wish 18 year old me had known you. I probably wouldn’t have spent so many hours on the damn treadmill lol

    • Hit the nail on the head. I used to think that it was either a tough workout or nothing at all. If I did “just” yoga, I felt like I wasn’t doing “enough.” Pft.
      That’s really awesome that you’ve found that balance in exercise. A break really does help instill a true desire to MOVE!
      Treadmills. LOL.

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  16. I really like this post!
    I hate how the message is that we’re disciplined only if we never miss a workout, when in reality, skipping a workout is sometimes exactly what we need to do to give our bodies a break or be more present with our friends and family 🙂

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