fitness Live

What Happened When I Stopped Exercising For A Month

March 16, 2016

Perhaps a more accurate title for this post would be “what happened when I stopped putting pressure on myself to exercise”. Because for the past month that’s exactly what I did.

I know, I know for someone who preaches exercise and just generally promotes an active lifestyle it seems pretty out of character to choose to be sedentary for a month. I suppose I have some explaining to do.

I’ve been very honest with you regarding my struggles surrounding food, but I’ve stayed away from vocalizing my issues around exercise. Partially because I’m still pretty in the thick of it, but also because I feared being called out as a hypocrite.

I find I’m much better able to sort through my thoughts and share them with you guys when it’s in hindsight, but this time I’m hoping that sharing my struggles as they happen can both inspire you but also recruit you to help me. I want you to know that my life certainly isn’t perfect and I definitely don’t have this whole health thing figured out.

I’m telling you this because lately I’ve been realizing that my relationship with exercise is far from healthy.

Exercise has been and I suspect will always be my vice. Learning to eat intuitively was a challenge but learning to move intuitively has proved to be one of my biggest obstacles.

I often find myself wishing I could just un-know information. Wishing away the number of calories burned while running, the benefits of strength training, how to build muscle and stick to a training plan. Yearning to get back to a time when exercising was something you just did, rather than part of some larger goal you’re trying to achieve.

But these days, I find it hard to let this information go. Suddenly, “only” working out 4 days a week riddles me with guilt and anxiety and irrational fears that even I can’t explain. Rather than celebrating the fact that I moved and challenged myself for 4 days, I focus on the 3 days that I didn’t.

Did I balance enough cardio to strength? 

Am I stronger than I was last week?

Can I run a little further?

These kinds of thoughts wax and wane in my brain. When I think them through objectively I realize that the entire purpose of exercise (to keep me healthy and strong) are being entirely negated by my stress surrounding it.

It reached a point where exercise was just another thing on my to-do list adding pressure and anxiety to my life. It stopped being about moving my body, but whether I was meeting the expectation I set for myself as an active person.

Interestingly, these thoughts have nothing to do with how I look – thoughts that plagued me for many years in the past – but with whether I was living up to my brand. A brand that encourages movement and exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle.

But what I’m beginning to learn is that no amount of physical activity can help us tackle our mental health. Being healthy and in my case, inspiring others to be healthy requires that we support our mental health as much, if not more than our physical health. I’ve come to realize that my disordered relationship with exercise has been threatening my mental health. That I was putting my body first, and my brain second, forgetting entirely that they depend on each other to function at their best.

So what did I do? I stopped exercising. Entirely. With the exception of a few workouts here and there (you try going on vacation with Fit Foodie Finds…), I took exercise off my to-do list. I ditched the goals, and the expectations and gave myself permission to move if I wanted to, but with no plan dictating how to do that.

Having a dog prevented me from becoming entirely sedentary, but besides our daily walks I learned to embrace other ways of supporting my body. Instead of dragging myself to the gym, I read a book. Instead of forcing myself to go to a class, I sipped a new tea and took a nap. I did everything my body was telling me to do. I relaxed.

So what happened?

Everything. I put no specific timeline on myself for when I’d dip my toes back into working out but here I am a month later feeling invigorated and slightly more aware of how damn smart our bodies really are.

And for those of you wondering, here’s what didn’t happen:

I did not balloon or turn into a sloth whale (yes, this is what I imagined in my head). I don’t own a scale, but none of my clothes fit any differently and I still felt pretty bad-ass going bathing suit shopping.

I didn’t suddenly notice a new roll on my tummy or less definition in my arms. I didn’t have to go out and buy new jeans or spend the entire month wearing moo-moos.

In fact I feel a lot more comfortable in my body than I did before this experiment.

More importantly, here’s what did happen:

I became a lot more aware of how great it feels to prioritize self-care. In some crazy way, taking that time that I normally allotted to working out and instead dedicated to doing what felt right to me made me a better person towards others. I was more attentive and patient because I felt less pressured or burdened.

I felt an overall contentment with my life. This one is kind of hard to explain, but I just felt like I was a lot more present and took a lot more enjoyment out of the small moments in life. Taking Rhett for a walk, cuddling and watching episodes of New Girl with C, meal prepping a couple meals for the week. I cherished these moments a lot more.

Taking the pressure off myself to do something I felt like I was supposed to be doing, made me realize how many other things I burden myself with because I feel some inexplicable sense of commitment. I’m someone who puts a lot of value in my word and also wants to do everything, all while doing it perfectly. Realizing that life doesn’t fall apart when you can’t get that workout in, also helped me come to terms with the fact that I can’t do it all, and I certainly can’t do it all perfectly.

And finally, I realized how much I really do love to move. After a couple of weeks off I went on a run and it felt amaaaazing. Today I went on a hike in Arizona and tomorrow may bring more of the same. But I also am getting comfortable with the idea that I don’t know what tomorrow will bring and if all it includes is a walk around the block, I’ll be happy with myself.

I’ll never be able to un-know everything I’ve absorbed regarding working out and the fitness world, but I certainly can become better at listening to my body’s cues. At understanding when it needs a HIIT workout, or when it needs a run. Or sometimes, a bath and a sleep-in is exactly what it needs.

I’m not changing my tune when it comes to exercise. It’s like brushing your teeth, you just have to do it. But you don’t have to torture yourself in the process. I think goals and fitness challenges are great. But just because your friend is training for a marathon and your boyfriend just completed Tough Mudder doesn’t mean that going on a 30 minute walk isn’t enough. You’re allowed to go to the gym one day and lift weights and not be on a training schedule. You can go on a run that is shorter and slower than your last and not feel like a failure.

Likewise, you can slow down, eat a piece of chocolate and go to bed early and still be doing as much good for your body as that muay thai-yoga-crossfit class.

Sometimes we all need a little kick in the pants to get moving, but it’s important to remember what you’re moving for. I realized that I what I truly prioritize is feeling great. Do I want to be strong? Of course. But I want to be strong enough to move a box without breaking my back or carry my future children. I don’t need to lift a 250lb barbell above my head and I don’t need to run a sub 4 hour marathon.

If lifting that barbell makes you feel great, then more power to ya! But in the same vein, if you want to do a strength class one day and a spin class the next and then never do either again, that’s totally cool too. You’re allowed to be inconsistent. You’re allowed to move for the sake of moving and not because you have to achieve a goal. It’s easy to get wrapped up in this idea that we need to exercise to meet or exceed a challenge. That if we’re not dry-heaving on the ground, the workout was worthless. But our workouts don’t need to be the most effective for them to be worthwhile.

This isn’t an excuse to stop moving or permission to become a couch potato. It’s just a reminder that we don’t all need to perform like professional athletes on a strict training schedule to get the benefits of exercise.

I guess what I really learned from this whole experiment was that our bodies are ridiculously-crazy-smart. In some weird-twisted way, I had to eliminate exercise entirely to realize it’s benefits. And I also had to take a break from it to remind myself how important it is to care for other aspects of our being.

In moving forward, exercise doesn’t feel like another thing on my to-do list. I have no idea how many times I’ve worked out this week and I don’t care how many times I workout next week. I’m not perfect and I know this won’t be an easy road, but I’m taking it day by day. I’m asking myself if I’m moving because it feels good and I want to or because I feel like I have to. If it’s the latter, it’s important that I assess how I could make a better use of my time.

What I’m trying not to do is feel guilty around exercise. To constantly remind myself that it doesn’t matter how much or how hard I worked but how it made me feel. This isn’t easy when you’re surrounded by people posting their latest #workoutgoals and fitspo images. But I’m going to give it my best shot.

I hope you’ll join me in trying to become more intuitive with our bodies and how we move them. Honestly, I could use as much support as I can get. But if the least I can do is get you to ask yourself whether this statement applies before your next workout then I’ll have done my job well. I certainly hope it resonates with you as much as it resonated with me:

“I’m working out because I love my body, not because I hate it.” 

Let’s all give our bodies a little more love, because we’ve got one life to live and it’s the only one we’ve got!

What Happened When I Stopped Workout Out

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  • Reply
    Liz
    March 16, 2016 at 6:57 am

    It really is amazing how smart our bodies are about dictating and getting what they want! Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It is really inspiring.

  • Reply
    Sophie
    March 16, 2016 at 7:19 am

    I absolutely love this post. I totally see why you would be hesitant to open up about this since, as you say, healthy living and thus exercise are part of your brand, but I think that this sort of mentality you’re working towards (how you feel rather than how hard you worked) is so important and healthy, and can benefit so many people who are feeling the same way. I struggled with this for ages because I’ve never EVER been athletically inclined, and yet I continually forced myself to run and sprint and strength train multiple times a week, knowing it was ‘good for me’ and wondering when I’d finally turn into someone who loved doing those things 😛 Whereas I’m happy as a clam walking or jogging or biking or doing yoga (all of which for ages I didn’t consider to be ‘real’ exercise), but I still occasionally catch myself thinking I’m lazy or ‘letting myself go’ and telling myself I should work harder.

    But anyway – that’s my long-winded way of saying thank you for this post!
    Sophie recently posted…(Frozen) spring pea and basil soup

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 11:02 am

      Thank YOU. It’s so nice to know I’m not alone. Walking and hiking bring me more joy than any other activity but for years I wrote them off as a form of exercise. I’m slowly but surely learning that moving your body in a way that you enjoy is far more important than how hard you work it!

  • Reply
    dixya @ food, pleasure, and health
    March 16, 2016 at 7:43 am

    i am sure MANY of us will relate to this post..because this is a struggle i go through alot. in general, i enjoy being active but within the last few months, i have gained weight and i know its partly because of my relaxed eating habits and inconsistent working out. i did my best to listen to my body and allowed it do whatever it asked for but i realized that im tooooo relaxed which is why i started to watch what i eat closely and be consistent with workout. like you said, now i feel like exercising is part of my to do list rather than something i enjoy. im struggling to find the balance 🙁
    dixya @ food, pleasure, and health recently posted…Quick Pickled Zucchini Ribbons

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 11:19 am

      I hear ya sister. I think it’s so important to focus on how you FEEL and not how you LOOK. Sometimes it’s hard to separate the two but I think back to when I was my skinniest and fittest and I felt miserable. I was in pain (physically) and mentally in a pretty tough, obsessive place. These days I’m certainly not as fit or as strong as I used to be but I’m sleeping well, my skin is better and I just feel like physically drained. These things matter more to me than abs. I think it’s all about perspective. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype that looking fit will bring us happiness and contentment when in reality we tend to look more confident and comfortable when we focus on feeling more confident and comfortable! Just some food for thought 🙂

  • Reply
    Marina @ A Dancer's Live-It
    March 16, 2016 at 8:09 am

    You summed up my entire relationship with exercise. Being a dancer, it’s so important for us to “cross-train”, but then it became an unhealthy obsession. This is so inspiring to me!! I’m still learning to listen to my body but now I don’t beat myself up for rest days like I used to. Thank you so much for this, it’s crazy to realize how much you have in common with others!
    Marina @ A Dancer’s Live-It recently posted…Warrior Women Wednesday #1

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 11:10 am

      I’m so happy to hear you’re learning to be more compassionate with your body! It’s nice to know I’m not alone on this journey. Thanks for sharing, Marina!

  • Reply
    Lee
    March 16, 2016 at 8:34 am

    1. New Girl makes the world go round. 2. I’d like you even more if you magically turned into a potato. SHIT. 3. Heart you.
    Lee recently posted…Life Lately – that time I broke my foot in Mexico and got the flu of death.

  • Reply
    Kaitlin
    March 16, 2016 at 8:50 am

    this is such a great post and I can totally relate. I actually sat here reading your post thinking that maybe I need to re-asses my view and thoughts on working out, because some days I still workout because I “should” not because I want to! Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing!

  • Reply
    Ashley @ Fit Mitten Kitchen
    March 16, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Ohhh yes >> “I’m someone who puts a lot of value in my word and also wants to do everything, all while doing it perfectly” The percentage that I relate to that statement is 1000% 🙂 Why are we so ridiculous with ourselves!? It’s like the constant struggle of understanding one’s self, and then trying to make positive changes to move onward and upward, but all while wanting to stay “true” to one’s self… whatever that means. I feel like I don’t have enough room in my brain for all of my thoughts… Okay I just semi-rambled there. But know I 100% have your back and am trying to figure out some of this crap myself 😉 <3
    Ashley @ Fit Mitten Kitchen recently posted…Matcha Overnight Oats [with Protein]

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 11:28 am

      We got this lady! Wine always helps…LOL But for real, we don’t always have to be BETTER. I feel like my life is a constant struggle of accepting that it is more than okay to be average. That sometimes not improving and not ensuring that tomorrow be better than yesterday is far more admirable than pushing myself to be more. Ah well, at least we’ve got each other 😉

  • Reply
    Lexi
    March 16, 2016 at 9:12 am

    This so resonates with me. So well put, D. <3
    Lexi recently posted…Breakfast Fajitas

  • Reply
    Em @ Love A Latte
    March 16, 2016 at 9:19 am

    I used to be obsessed with getting in running miles. Having my son, Sage, really changed my outlook on exercise. For one I didn’t exercise hard throughout pregnancy and I still stayed very healthy (I ate really well) and I wasn’t able to exercise much once he was born because I was so exhausted. Again, I ate really healthy (but never deprived myself) and I felt fantastic. I definitely want to get back into running eventually but for the love of it, not because I have to. Great post!
    Em @ Love A Latte recently posted…Pregnancy #2: 23 Weeks Update

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 11:36 am

      I’ve loved following your journey as your own perspective with health and wellness have shifted. From running miles to running after Sage, you’ve always been someone I’ve admired for following their instincts about what feels right. Keep on doing you! Lots of love!

  • Reply
    Laura
    March 16, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Your post is timely! I’m an exercise fanatic and started training for o sprint triathlon for my 55th bday and just tore my ACL, MCL and meniscus skiing so right now it’s only the pool and PT for me. I am an avid crack of dawn exerciser but have to admit I actually enjoy sleeping later and not rushing around! i like your approach to this and it will remind me that I don’t need to be fanatical. Love you recipes btw!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 11:37 am

      Life has a funny (and not so funny…) way of telling us when we need to slow down. Here’s to quick healing and a healthy journey forward. Thanks for sharing your story, Laura! xo

  • Reply
    Zoe
    March 16, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Going for two 30 minute walks a day with my dog is usually the best I can do. I’m grateful for this time, a time where I can smile, think clearly…and a time where I do not have to change my clothes, shower and reapply my makeup in order to get back to work. My reality is that extra time for sleeping and down time are more important to recharging my batteries than a yoga class…at least right now!
    Zoe recently posted…Achieve Your Goals While Schmoozing Over Drinks! – An Interview with Chris Snoyer

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 11:35 am

      I couldn’t agree more, lady! On that note- we really do need to get a date on the books for a puppy playdate and catch-up time. I so look forward to these walks too and even more when I can enjoy it with a friend <3

  • Reply
    Hannah
    March 16, 2016 at 10:44 am

    What a well thought out post! As an Olympic hopeful it can be hard to find your identity outside of exercise. It’s engrained in our brains that we can never do enough, I totally understand the anxiety of feeling like you didn’t do enough.
    Hannah recently posted…Look Good – Feel Good: My Favourite Gym Clothes

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 11:33 am

      It’s always nice to know I’m not alone! Thanks so much, Hannah <3

  • Reply
    Sara @ Oats & Rows
    March 16, 2016 at 10:48 am

    I can completely relate to this post, especially as of late. I work in fitness, and I’ve been struggling with listening to my body and taking a bit of time off and dealing with the pressure from others that “trainers never need a break.” Thank you so much for sharing! <3
    Sara @ Oats & Rows recently posted…Currently: March

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 10:48 am

      oh but they do! It’s hard when you’re constantly surrounded by it, eh? But listening to your body is always better than listening to societal advice. Ain’t no one an expect on you except YOU!

  • Reply
    Sam @ Barrister's Beet
    March 16, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Thanks for posting and being so honest! I love it. It’s really hard to find a balance with exercise between what you feel like you should be doing, and what you/your body wants or needs. Like you said: it’s key to exercise because it makes you feel good. Not because you have to or because you think your body demands it. Overall, it’s just healthy to get some movement each day. Although I’m happy that exercise and moving your body has become more popular in the last few years, I think we may have gone to the extreme with the intensity and frequency of workouts. Maybe your body doesn’t need a beating at CrossFit every day… maybe it just needs a gentle walk to get some air and stretch your legs. You hit the nail on the head. Intuitive exercise/movement is just as important as intuitive eating.
    Sam @ Barrister’s Beet recently posted…Prepare for Your Workweek Throughout the Week

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 11:03 am

      Thank you Sam! You reiterated everything I feel but far more eloquently! You’re wonderful <3

  • Reply
    Helen @ Healthy Bits and Bites
    March 16, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Thank you for sharing your experiment. I’ve always believed that just like intuitive eating, intuitive exercising is the best way to go. Because, as you said, our bodies are ridiculously-crazy-smart!
    Helen @ Healthy Bits and Bites recently posted…5 gifts yoga has to offer you

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 10:47 am

      exactly! We just have to learn to listen. Thanks for your support, lovely!

  • Reply
    Cassie
    March 16, 2016 at 11:24 am

    I used to be so obsessed with logging in my workouts and knowing how many calories I burned with every move. I made sure I’d burn over 3500 calories a workout according to the website, but it was very inaccurate because I was focusing on quantity over quality. It became a serious fixation that made me so unhappy and so stressed out. I deleted my account and I had my first sweaty workout in months. It was the best decision of my life.
    Cassie recently posted…Tuesday Thoughts: The Extent of Creating Our Own Reality

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 11:07 am

      Oh Cassie, I’m happy to hear you’ve parted with this website. Burning over 3500 calories a workout is never a good idea! In fact, I don’t think tracking your calories for anything is good idea. Listening to our bodies and what they truly need to feel amazing and healthy is the ultimate metric. I’m happy you’re learning to get better at this. We’re in it together!

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Eat the Gains
    March 16, 2016 at 11:52 am

    This post came at the perfect time! I work at a fitness studio and coach crossfit classes, so am around exercise constantly. I do love to get in a good sweat and it makes me feel happy, but sometimes I think I am just doing it for the sake of doing it. Especially when I am at work. I think, well I am already here, so I should just workout. I was debating on taking a rest day today (which I struggle with taking), and now I am definitely going to. Up at 4:45am this morning and now I’m going home to take a nap. I love when bloggers talk about this kind of stuff!
    Kelly @ Eat the Gains recently posted…Healthy Mini Green Pancakes

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 11:05 am

      I hope you thoroughly enjoyed that nap! I’d need a whole day of rest after a 4:45AM wake-up! It’s hard to listen to our bodies when we’re surrounded by people constantly pushing themselves to extremes. Challenging our bodies is great but we also need to be good at listening to when they need a little rest!

  • Reply
    Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious
    March 16, 2016 at 11:53 am

    So inspiring Davida! I feel like we get so caught up sometimes in what we should be doing that we don’t give ourselves a break sometimes. Our bodies need a balance of both. Love this post.
    Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious recently posted…WIAW…Taming The Hunger Monster

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 10:47 am

      It’s so true! We need rest as much, if not more than working out!

  • Reply
    Monique @ Ambitious Kitchen
    March 16, 2016 at 11:59 am

    I love this. Life isn’t about grinding away on the treadmill (or any workout for that matter). It’s about finding that happy balance that eels good for YOU!
    Last year when I injured my back/neck, I took a month off because my body needed time to heal. Looking back, it was one of the best things that could have happened; it gave me perspective as to why I was working out all the time but I also learned that without your health, you don’t have much. That being said, being healthy isn’t just about exercising or eating perfect, it’s about our emotional overall well-being too! I’m so happy that you’re trying to balance exercise and what feels good for you. Go girl!
    Monique @ Ambitious Kitchen recently posted…Interview: Elizabeth Dehn of Beauty Bets + her best beauty recommendations!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 11:09 am

      I remember you writing a post about your experience with being injured and it resonated with me 100%. It’s crazy how smart our bodies can be at telling us when to slow down because we just straight-up suck at listening to them. Thanks for being such a sound and balanced voice in this community. It’s been a huge inspiration to me! Lots of love <3

  • Reply
    Catherine @ foodiecology
    March 16, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    Love it, Davida!
    Listening to our bodies is so, so important. I recently wrote a similar post about how it’s ok to take it easy, and that back-breaking workouts aren’t the only ones worthwhile.
    I LOVE the blogging community. While it’s easy to get caught up in the comparison trap, it’s also a wealth of accountability and support. All the best on your continued journey! <3

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 10:46 am

      I love the blogging community too! It’s true that the comparison game is there, but there’s also so many encouraging and supportive members as well that help give this whole health journey a little a perspective 😉

  • Reply
    Barbara
    March 16, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    I am so glad to have read your blog this morning. I read a lot of blogs, but this is the first time that I have read anyone talking about their mental health, or like you said listening to your body. Yes I am overweight, but I do go out and walk every day. Yes I do watch what I am eating and am learning alot from your site and others. And I will continue to learn. I am losing weight slowly and some times that is very fustrating, when I am doing everything right but nothing is moving on the scale. Sometimes it is better to take a step back and look at everything and begin again. Sometimes it is better to just keep going. I feel lucky, I have gone from a wheel chair, to makeing it to the bathroom at the other end of the house, to walking to the mail box, to making it around the grocery store. I can count those steps and be glad that I have come this far. Thank you for being so honest. It made me feel good that someone in your caliber can also feel as I do sometimes. As long as it does not go into depression, I feel I am doing what my health needs

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 11:44 am

      Barbara – your comment really helped to put a lot into perspective for me. It’s 100% okay to strive to improve yourself so long as it’s coming from a place of love and not hate. The progress you’ve made is amazing and focusing on fuelling yourself with healthy food and moving your body in a way that feels great is what will continue to drive you forward. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the world of calories in- calories out, but there is so much more to your path than just numbers. I commend you for treating yourself with compassion and making a commitment to health. Keep up the amazing work! Your journey is incredibly inspiring to me!

  • Reply
    Ange // Cowgirl Runs
    March 16, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    I recently took nearly 4 months off from running. I lost fitness, but I didn’t gain weight. I know it’s probably moved around a bit, but I didn’t gain weight.
    As someone who has also struggled with food and exercise, focusing on recovering and being healthy was a HUGE lesson for me, and my goal is to return smarter and healthier than when I left.
    Ange // Cowgirl Runs recently posted…Accounting for Bloggers: How to Structure Your Business

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 10:39 am

      Workout smarter, not harder. I so appreciate you adding this perspective. It’s so so important!

  • Reply
    ACKTIVE LIFE
    March 16, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    I absolutely LOVE this post and this is something that I hope I can do soon as well, as I know that exercise for me is becoming a burden, stressful, and sometimes the thought of doing it makes me cranky. All signs that I probably need a break, but like you I am definitely scared of “what will happen when I stop”. I need to see if I can do this for so many reasons…Thank you for being honest! XOXO
    ACKTIVE LIFE recently posted…How To Do A Push-UP…Guest Post

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 11:38 am

      I think you’ll be surprised by how great you feel by giving yourself the freedom to rest. It’s worth a shot 😉 Lots of love! xox

  • Reply
    Samantha
    March 16, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Wow! What an inspiring, uplifiting, and motivating reminder 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experience with us! I definitely needed to read this today.

  • Reply
    Lindsay
    March 16, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    Oh woman, you are so wise. We can be blinded by what everyone else is doing and trying to keep up with exercise. Even when the mind says to stop and rest. This is why I stopped posting workouts. And why I took six months sabbatical from teaching classes. Mentally I just didn’t want to do it anymore. And you’re so right to be Present and enjoy the little things can really do wonders. I’m trying to focus on that each day. Thank you for this reminder and your willingness to share with us. Hugs and kisses friend!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 11:45 am

      Thank you for always being such an inspiration and voice of reason in this community! Lots of love to you Linds xoxo

  • Reply
    Hillary
    March 16, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    YES YES YES. Thank you for sharing your experience with us, and I couldn’t agree more. You are very wise, and write so eloquently. I am all about intuitive exercise (and eating). It’s easier said than do, so thanks for sharing your in-the-moment journey with us. xoxo

  • Reply
    Dani @ Dani California Cooks
    March 16, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    I learned only recently that if I exericise planned like people meal plan, I am so much more likely to “fail” and then feel guilty. Now I try and think about what exercise I want to do every day, and then do it! Sometimes that’s yoga every day, and sometimes that’s a lot more cardio.
    Dani @ Dani California Cooks recently posted…WIAW – Wednesday in SF

  • Reply
    Shannon
    March 16, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Loved this post! I have a struggle with this too, and it is so hard not to compare to others!
    Shannon recently posted…Lima Bean Soup

  • Reply
    Lindsey Bomgren
    March 16, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    Great post! Love that you have the courage to share what’s really going on behind the scenes of what appears so perfect on camera with a spatula in hand. As women we need more real, authentic stories as we are facing a lot of the same battles, we just don’t talk about them so we think we are alone! I certainly could use some more days with a cup of tea and a good book! Thanks for sharing! xoxo-Lindsey
    Lindsey Bomgren recently posted…savory sweet potato, turkey sausage egg bowl + egg bake {30 minute meal series}

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 11:47 am

      Love you Linds! I think we both know that there’s a lot more going on behind the curtain than anyone let’s us believe. It’s funny how ending up on the other side of the curtain really reveals how BS a lot of this stuff is! Thank you for contributing to the conversation and always inspiring in a way that is real, authentic and coming from a place of love xoxo

  • Reply
    Bita
    March 16, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Hi Davida, congrats on getting to the place where you are that you now exercise because you love it! It took me years (I’m 48 years young) but I made it. For me I just needed to find the type of exercise that makes me happy and then I it doesn’t feel like work at all. I used to run and be obsessive about how often, how far, and how fast. Now I dance because I love to dance. I go to a fantastic class where I have friends and I love my instructor. I go 4 to 5 times a week. Couldn’t be happy shakin’ and groovin’ and feel strong and fit. Thank your post! Happy for you! ✨

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 11:47 am

      Yeahhhhh girl! I love hearing from people who have found a way to move their bodies that feels amazingly awesome to them. It’s so commendable and more than anything, it’s SUSTAINABLE! Thanks so much, lady!

  • Reply
    Cassie @ Almost Getting it Together
    March 16, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    LOVE THIS. Working out is completely different when you let it be what it is, not something you’re forcing yourself into and therefore, end up resenting. After not running for 3 months, I was craving the routine of running again because I knew I did it because I loved it and not because it was going to keep me fitting into my jeans (because I realized it really wasn’t the only thing!). LOVE YOU and your honesty and can’t wait to catch up next week. xoxo
    Cassie @ Almost Getting it Together recently posted…Chicken Gyro Macro Bowl [High Protein, Gluten-Free]

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 11:49 am

      Love love love following your journey as you sort all of this stuff out. It makes me feel a little less alone. I need to hear about Nashville! Catch up this week? Also need to plan a date to see you when I’m out in May! xoxo

  • Reply
    Nicole
    March 16, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    Wow, this post came at the perfect time in my life! As someone who usually works out for about 45 minutes 6x a week, pretty intensely, this past month was very different. I had a school show, and most days were filled to the brim with rehearsals. I was constantly on my feet and moving around but I wasn’t training in the traditional sense. I remember the whole month thinking whether I was totally nullifying all my past progress but yet feeling more free than ever before. Now the show is over and done with, and I realize that the only thing that happened when I deviated from my strict workout routine is that I feel happier and more free than ever. I also think all the working out was actually causing me to hold on to some weight or at least retain some water because of the physical stress on the body. Honestly, I think sometimes we all need a good long break that puts things into perspective. Thank you for always hitting the nail on the head! 🙂

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 11:41 am

      It’s funny how caught up we can get in needing to workout when our hormones will find a way to counter-act any goodwill we’re aiming for! As long as you aren’t sitting around all day, doing nothing we oftentimes get enough activity living our daily lives that going in for an intense workout is actually doing more harm than good. So happy you’re finding a better balance and treating your body with more compassion. Thanks for stopping by, Nicole!

  • Reply
    Lauren
    March 16, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    Really amazing post Davida and beautifully written. I have been on a similar journey recently. I am now really learning to listen to my body and what it feels like doing instead of forcing it to do what I have “planned”. Sometimes that is lying on my yoga mat deep breathing, sometimes its a hardcore barre class and other times its a little walk along the ocean. Our bodies our so smart and its needs change daily. Forcing it to do an activity because we “should” is so detrimental. The last few weeks I haven’t been able to do any exercise at all because of my leg surgery and that has given me so many lessons too. I had thoughts that if I didn’t exercise then my anxiety would be horrendous, but funnily enough it was fine, I am fine and I feel SO much better for a few weeks of rest. Totally 100% here with you and supporting you through this journey to intuitively listening to our bodies and letting go of self imposed standards and rules we put on ourselves to meet some ideal we want in our heads! Here is to exercise freedom :). Hope you are having a lovely holiday xx
    Lauren recently posted…My Commitment To The Journey of Radical Self Love and Acceptance

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 10:40 am

      Cheers to exercise freedom and to moving because we love our bodies! Hope the healing is going smoothly! Sending lots of positive vibes your way <3

  • Reply
    Rachel
    March 16, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    Davida, thank you so much for this post. I read your Genes and Jeans post a month or two ago, and I really resonated with both. I’m a college student who recently moved into my own place and started working to support myself, so with work, school and assignment deadlines it can be stressful just to get some healthy meals prepped during the week! And amongst all those other stresses, exercise guilt has been something I have been trying to work through for a long time. I try to promote exercise and health as needing to come from loving your body, not hating it, but that same pressure you talk about still sits in the back of my mind. It’s nice as I learn to let go of set workouts a little bit (I just can’t most of the time, with my schedule), and I’m realizing that I really find moving outside much more enjoyable – hiking, biking, running – especially with friends. Many times when I have made my workouts a major priority, I felt like I separated myself from important people in my life.

    This struggle is very real, and I realize that is must have been very hard to share while you are in the the middle of it – but so am I. So know that you have helped me, and many others. We are not alone. You are a huge inspiration to me! Thank you for being real, being positive, and being an amazing writer. Please don’t stop.

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 10:39 am

      Thank you so much, Rachel. Your story resonated with me all too well. We have so many obligations in life, and while it’s important that we move our bodies, it’s equally as important to recognize our own limitations and find ways to move them in a way that’s enjoying and works with our current state of mind. No point in stressing about it when the ultimate goal is to be healthy. How easy it is for us to lose sight of this. Ah well, at least we’ve got each other for support through our journeys. Lots of love!

  • Reply
    Kaila @ Healthy Helper
    March 16, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    This post is SO timely. I needed to hear this message NOW…and you gave it to me. Thank you so much.

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 20, 2016 at 5:48 pm

      Glad to be helpful, Kaila. I hope it helps you in your journey xo

  • Reply
    Rosey Rebecca
    March 16, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    I agree with Kaila, I needed to read this post. I was just beating myself up for not exercising for the third day in a row but I feel now it’s what my body needed. I went to a PT appt for my hip on Tuesday and I have a spin class and a yoga class over the next two days. I’m going to try to stress less about feeling like I NEED to workout. It makes it not as fun! so thank you!
    Rosey Rebecca recently posted…You Know You’re A Healthy Living Blogger When…

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 20, 2016 at 5:49 pm

      Not nearly as fun and the stress you’re putting on yourself can end up being more damaging than if you stopped any kind of movement whatsoever! Be kind to yourself, lovely. We all deserve it!

  • Reply
    Kelsey
    March 16, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    I don’t know where to start – but I do have to say tears welled up in my eyes as I read through this post…because it sounds like all of my thoughts I’ve been dealing with lately. And I think reading this might be a sign I need to take a step back, maybe take a month off, and go from there. I’ve been in such a tough mental state the past few months, and I’m really trying to hone in on my mental health more than anything. This might be another step I need to take (thank you).
    Kelsey recently posted…We Don’t Have to be Superwomen.

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 20, 2016 at 5:51 pm

      Take it easy, my friend. Be kind to yourself. Think of what advice you would give to someone else who is in your state. Oftentimes our gut becomes a lot clearer when we’re asked to give advice. Just don’t be afraid to slow down. More is not always better. Lots of love to you!

  • Reply
    Ashley
    March 16, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    LOVE that quote at the end.. “I’m working out because I love my body, not because I hate it.” I’m slowly starting to love my body more and actually listen to it. Such an encouraging post. Thanks for sharing, Davida!
    Ashley recently posted…Sausage Vegetable Soup

  • Reply
    Alysia at Slim Sanity
    March 16, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    I’m so glad that you’re finding yourself in a better place with exercise, isn’t it funny how eliminating things completely can help make like so much clearer? I’ve been struggling with exercise for different reasons being pregnant. I can’t exercise like I used to, and I miss it so badly.

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 20, 2016 at 5:48 pm

      This is exactly what I needed to hear. Sometimes we take advantage of the privilege we have to workout. It’s so easy to forget this until you can’t do it anymore. Thank you for the reminder that we should be grateful for our ability to move! Lots of love to you <3

  • Reply
    Chrissie
    March 16, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    thank you so much for posting this! I am also trying to learn that listening to my body is important, and that working out just because I feel like I “should” is always the best thing. this post makes me realize that skipping yoga tonight because the even the thought of going was mentally exhausting was probably better for my overall health than going and pushing my way through it. thank you again for sharing, and I’m so glad you’re working to find balance in your life!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 20, 2016 at 5:47 pm

      Exactly! The number of times I have pushed myself to exercise when I really just needed to sleep or take a bath, or read a book or really do anything else is astronomical. And somehow it’s all in the name of health? Shifting my perspective has been really helpful, and also just having a lot of gratitude for my body. We’ll get there! Baby steps 🙂

  • Reply
    Nicole
    March 16, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    Hi!

    Really love the recipes on your blog and was initially here to look through them. However, when I saw the link to this post – I knew I had to read it especially since routine and exercise for me is something I still struggle with : feeling like I have to drag myself daily to the eliptical machine and get / hit a certain quota. Like you said, the food aspect is so much simpler to deal with but the exercise is much more deeply rooted and is rather unhealthy in terms of feeling we need to exercise to justify the amount we eat when in actuality food is meant to fuel our workouts and the mindset shouldn’t be workout to eat but eat to workout. It’s definitely hard given all the messages we hear, though.

    Kudos to you for going through what seems to be so impossible nowadays. I hope I can get to that point at some point. Baby steps, though, I suppose. I get overwhelmed thinking of stopping for a set period of time but perhaps stopping for a day won’t do any harm. Thanks for the post

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 20, 2016 at 5:45 pm

      I hear ya! It’s incredibly challenging, especially because we’re constantly being fed messages that we need to push and test our bodies. Try slowing down a bit or replacing a workout with another activity you enjoy. Sometimes a small change can make a big impact in your perspective. And always remember that it’s a privilege to exercise and not something to be taken advantage of 😉 Thanks for your support!

  • Reply
    GiGi Eats
    March 17, 2016 at 1:08 am

    Davita, I have to say, YES. I am thrilled you wrote this. I am thrilled you explained what DID and DID NOT happen. So many believe they’re going to gain 240923843892 pounds if they don’t work out, but that’s not the case as long as you eat a healthy diet and practice self love. Your experiment is admirable and I really hope girls/guys who suffer from over-exercise read this post and take notes. Print it out. Re-read it a billion times. Very well written 🙂
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Making Meatzas With Molly Sims

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 20, 2016 at 5:30 pm

      Aw thanks gorgeous! It is so true. Working out is part of a package and you can’t just expect to feel and look amazing if you’re neglecting everything else. Thanks for your support as always GiGi!

  • Reply
    Liz @ I Heart Vegetables
    March 17, 2016 at 8:05 am

    Love love love this post!!! I think it’s easy to get caught up in the rules of “healthy living” and then we miss the point entirely!
    Liz @ I Heart Vegetables recently posted…Eats at SXSW

  • Reply
    Christina
    March 17, 2016 at 9:47 am

    Love this, Davida. I think we all have good intentions when we initially start a lifestyle of regular exercise, but it’s so easy to get caught up with it. I have totally been there, and taking a step back helps me put things into perspective. Thanks for being so candid and sharing this experiment. You’re amazing! <3
    Christina recently posted…Basil Pesto Hummus

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 20, 2016 at 5:29 pm

      You’re amazing! Those damn endorphins really are addicting haha. But it’s important to keep a healthy mind too. Thanks for continuing to inspire so many people with your own journey xoxo

  • Reply
    Stacie, RDN |Simply Nourished Recipes
    March 17, 2016 at 10:22 am

    Davida, this resonates with me so much! I can get so hard on myself if I don’t move my body daily. The struggle is so real. I think I may just have to take a month of too!
    I’ve really been working on changing my mindset around exercise and really just move my body in a way that I love. Running use to be my thing….or so I thought. But to be honest, it’s not something I love to do..so why do it, right?! What I do love..is walking my dog (wilma the doodle), walking/running with a friend, hitting up a yoga class with a friend (followed by a coffee date). I like to move my body but I also like to incorporate social time with friends or peaceful time with my pup in nature. Your amazing words in this post is just another reminder to continue to move my body in a way that I love and in a way that truly nourishes my mind, body and soul!

    xoxo,
    Stacie
    Stacie, RDN |Simply Nourished Recipes recently posted…5 Reasons to Stop Counting Calories

  • Reply
    Melissa
    March 17, 2016 at 11:13 am

    This speaks to me so much, especially after having a baby and trying to do the whole business of “getting my body back” (hah, what a crock). I have been an avid exerciser for years, but sometimes it does turn into an obsession. I also easily focus on what I didn’t do instead of what I did. Now that I’m a mom, fitting workouts in is a lot easier said than done so it’s easy to be super unhappy with what I didn’t do because I literally couldn’t get to it (like this week, have a sick kid = no gym for me). My new motto is that if I don’t LOVE what I am doing and it’s not inspiring me every time I do it, I don’t do it. This goes for exercise plans that I formerly would suffer through and now would just rather quit if it’s not working. Why force something?
    Melissa recently posted…5 Healthier Ways to Indulge

  • Reply
    Jo @ Living Mint Green
    March 17, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    HI!!! Long time no chat.

    I loved everything about this, Davida. I hate doing anything because I’m “supposed” to. I find that life is so much more fun (and less complicated) when we focus on doing whatever makes us feel “good” and keeping it as simple as that.
    I’d much rather move my body in a way that feels intuitive and not really focus on schedules, plans, etc. It just doesn’t work for me. It’s a recipe for unhappiness. Swimming against the current.
    Jo @ Living Mint Green recently posted…5 Random Things {About Me} Survey

  • Reply
    Margaret Molteni
    March 17, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    This was such a great reminder for when we get just a little too carried away. Hello, I’m the queen of that! I find myself constantly “too passionate” (obsessive or fixated) and I let myself and my balance get very out of hand. I’m not sure if I’m there with exercise, but last year I went a little too overboard always trying to PR in every distance in my running. Unfortunately now I really had to scale back, but if I would have stayed balanced I could have sustained it!
    Margaret Molteni recently posted…How My Blogging Break Saved My Blog

  • Reply
    Kristin
    March 17, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    I needed to read this today! I spent the past several hours regretting that I slept in and through my “normal workout time”. I forced myself into doing a workout the past two days this week I have slept in, and today I am just not feeling it, but yet I am dwelling on the fact that I should just do it. I realize now I am not alone in the brain battle! Its cold, windy and really I think a bath wins out today! Great read!

  • Reply
    Emilie @ Emilie Eats
    March 17, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    I will totally NOT be surprised if this post goes viral – and it totally deserves too. I’ve loved reading your past posts on your relationship with food, and this one hits me no different. I always find myself feeling guilty when I miss ONE day, or when I work out and don’t sweat, or when I decide sleeping for 7 hours for the 1st time in 2 weeks is more important that working out. Sometimes we need a break to remember why we do the things we do, whether it be working out, blogging, eating “clean,” or anything else. Thanks for sharing this, Davida!
    Emilie @ Emilie Eats recently posted…Inside Out Carrot Cake Cookies (vegan + gluten-free)

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 8:34 am

      It’s such a fine balance between all of the components that go into healthy living and sometimes we think that we need to measure them all perfectly. The reality is that our bodies change everyday and sometimes we need more sleep and sometimes we need more activity. We can’t just place the same schedule onto everyday and expect the same results! Ahhhhh it’s so complicated sometimes haha. Thanks so much for your awesome support, lady!

  • Reply
    Jaclyn
    March 17, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    You have such a way with words Davida! And this post is so perfect, I definitely need to share this with some people that I know could learn a thing or two from this. Thank you for keeping it real!!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 8:32 am

      Thanks for the support, gorgeous! Was so nice seeing you yesterday. Would love to plan a coffee date in the neighbs sometime soon! Lots of love <3

  • Reply
    Mark Forge
    March 17, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    I don’t know what to say. Why do you do what doesn’t make you happy? Exercising should be fun and enjoyable, not some torture you have to do, because it’s healthy. Don’t like running? Don’t. Don’t like lifting weights? Don’t. Find something that brings joy and that makes you look forward to. It’s so simple, yet so overlooked.

    I only do 4 compound exercises, which work all of my body. And I don’t focus on all that 90px-muay-thai-HIIT-run-50km nonsense workouts, because they are not necessary, especially when you’re not competing. I do simple bodyweight exercises, because they achieve everything that is required.

    The same principle applies to eating healthy. It’s all so damn simple, yet everyone tries to make a big deal out of it. Eat real food, exercise 3 times a week and stop smoking/drinking. Being healthy is not complicated at all.

    On being hypocrite. People change, your music taste changes, your movie taste change, the books you read change, everything changes. Why are you afraid of being hypocritical, when you are clearly torturing yourself?

    To please your readers? One of the greatest lessons I learned in life is do whatever the f*ck makes you happy and don’t care about what others think. Not your family, not your friends, not your audience. Pleasing everyone will drive you insane.

    Take care!
    Mark Forge recently posted…The Gluten Scam. Make More Money Selling The Same Stuff

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 9:28 am

      That’s wonderful that you’ve found a way to balance exercise and activities that make you feel great! Hopefully I can reach that place one day. While, I would like to believe it is as simple as you say, unfortunately I have a hard time ignoring the constant societal pressure to be and push yourself more. Lucky you to be able to ignore what others think. In time I will get there too. Thanks so much.

      • Reply
        Mark Forge
        March 21, 2016 at 10:16 am

        I strongly advice you to take the heaviest dumbell you have and punch that “social pressure” in the face. As soon as you realize that the majority of your dark thoughts are born inside your head and are usually made up out of nothing, your life will become much simpler and you will be genuinely happy.

        Take care!
        Mark Forge recently posted…Top 5 Carbohydrate Sources for Weight Loss

  • Reply
    Hayley
    March 17, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    This is wonderful. I took a few months off exercise in 2015 and it was honestly 3 of the best months I can remember. More time for friends and being creative and relaxing 🙂 I think breaks are SO necessary to maintain (or regain) a healthy balance with exercise long term.

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 20, 2016 at 5:57 pm

      Exactly! It was scary just outright stopping but it was the best thing I ever did for myself!

  • Reply
    Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets
    March 18, 2016 at 6:51 am

    I like when you get all open and vulnerable. I appreciate and respect the raw honesty.

    I think we really need to switch the focus to be on health, not size. Oh and by we, I mean society. So much of our food and exercise issues are wrapped up in a size, a number, caloric intake, how skinny something makes us look or feel, how fat something makes us look or feel, when we should really focus on whether we feel good and healthy.

    I’ve been on exercise rest for months now, at the doctors orders, not mine. In the beginning it made me crazy, but these days I wouldn’t exercise even if I could. I don’t have the stamina right now because my body is focusing all that energy on one other thing, and I’m good with that. I’ll get back to exercise when the time feels right and probably not a moment before hand.
    Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets recently posted…Week in Review: Bathtubs, Cookies and Nudity (#22)

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 20, 2016 at 5:57 pm

      You’ve always had such a beautiful perspective on life and how we treat our bodies. Your little girl is one lucky lady 😉 Thanks for always being so amazingly supportive and kind. And of course, saying everything I want to say but in a far wittier way!

  • Reply
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    March 18, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Davida, this is one of the absolute best posts I’ve read in a very, very long time! As a “healthy living blogger” training for my 2nd half Ironman, it’s SO easy to wake up and go into the autopilot mode of whatever my training plan says I should be doing that day – all without giving thought to how my body truly feels. This year I’m coaching myself (as opposed to having a coach like I did last year) and it’s been a really interesting experience. I’m allowing myself more flexibility and making an effort to train more intuitively. But still, sort of like you said, when you come from a place of training every (or almost every) day, AND when the message you preach is healthy living through nutrition and fitness, it can be hard to fathom flat-out stopping. Like you, I’m beginning to gain a real appreciation for the mental health side of all this, and your post resonated with me for so many reasons. Thank you!!
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat recently posted…Fit Bit Friday 235: The Drop it Like a Squat Workout

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 20, 2016 at 5:20 pm

      It’s all about perspective at the end of the day. If training for a half ironman is something you’re doing because you already love yourself and your body, then go big! But for me, any kind of training or striving started to feel like torture. Like I was constantly trying to keep up with the ever turning wheel. Today I went on a run and thought to myself “I am so privileged to be able to move” and it was incredibly motivating but also freeing. I think stopping our usual and throwing ourselves into a new situation (like flat-out not working out) can help us gain this perspective. Definitely give it a try if you’re feeling a little worn down with training. Lots of love!

  • Reply
    Sherry Judy
    March 18, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Amen! Beautifully said!

  • Reply
    Suzanne
    March 18, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Been there girl, and still working through it. I too have loosened up on the exercise in the past few months; no more sub-zero winter running for me. I forced myself to slow down when my body began screaming at me; everything hurt. It wasn’t only the exercise, it was also the stress/cortisol/what-have-you that was making me ache. I just had to stop. I had the same fear that you mentioned, and while I can’t say that my pants fit exactly as they used to, they do still fit. But you know what, they’re just pants and if they don’t fit no one (including myself) is going to die.

    I’ve still got stuff to work through. I think the real root of my problem is anxiety and my type-A addictive personality. I’m really good at ‘being good’, and if I deviate from this, well then something inside me thinks that is not okay. I had this epiphany (and keep having it over and over) that I don’t want to look back on my life in 5, 10, 20 years and regret all the self-imposed sadness and stuff that I missed out on because I had to exercise instead, or was lamenting over the number on my waistband.

    Wow this is a novel, and I could go on, but hopefully we can see each other in person again soon. Im in town April 18/19th, and I’ll shoot you a text 🙂 xoxo Su

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 20, 2016 at 5:17 pm

      I think our roots are quite similar. Always trying to be better than yesterday. It’s okay to not be on a road of constant growth and improvement. Sometimes we just need to slow down and accept ourselves and our abilities exactly as they are. We are already more than enough. I’d LOVE to see you as always. Perhaps a walk around the neighborhood? A kind way to move our bodies and catch up as always. Lots of love to you!

  • Reply
    Grace
    March 18, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    Reading this post made a light go on in my brain. Sounds cheesy but so true. We don’t all need to train like pro athletes or try to emulate them. I live in a mountain town where it seems like everyone is an elite skier, climber, runner or triathlete. I’ve been so unhappy comparing my fitness level to theirs. What a waste of energy! So I don’t ski 6 hours a day or run marathons. I get in my kickboxing and strength training 3 times a week. I actually look forward to these classes because they make me feel strong, confident and less stressed.

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 20, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      I feel the exact same way you do. I’m surrounded by super fit people in the blogging world who make working out 6 days a week look like a joke. It’s hard to step away from this and realize that it’s okay to just do your thing and what feels right for your body. I hope we can support each other through this journey and remind ourselves that comparison really doesn’t do good for anyone. Lots of love <3

  • Reply
    Alexa
    March 18, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    I don’t want to repeat what everyone else has already said, but it is exactly what I’m thinking, so I will just say — thank you for being brave enough to publish this post, and I’m sure you have no idea how many people feel the exact same way you do. Including myself! I look forward to supporting you with this, and reading more blog posts on the subject to help me with my own issues on the matter.

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 20, 2016 at 3:28 pm

      Thank you so much for your support, Alexa! It’s nice to know I’m not alone. I’ll keep sharing more and am all ears if ever you want to chat!

  • Reply
    Rebecca Dawkins
    March 19, 2016 at 1:39 am

    Hi, very enlightening post. Exercise is the ultimate confidence and mood booster. I love my body most when I exercise. I like seeing what all it can do and how strong it is. 🙂

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 20, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      That is so wonderful! I love hearing that. I hope you can spread this perspective with many more people 🙂

  • Reply
    Caroline
    March 20, 2016 at 9:37 am

    I love this post! I agree with absolutely everything you’ve said here. Exercise is supposed to be about doing something good for yourself. I, and I think many women, struggle with thinking that it’s all supposed to be going toward some goal or that each day needs to be better than the last. Living in the moment and taking care of mental health is just as, if not more, important than our physical health!

  • Reply
    Cora
    March 20, 2016 at 10:46 am

    I cannot commend you enough for this. I struggle with exercise addiction, and yet it is something I do not talk about – in my blog or life – because honestly? I’m too scared. Somehow speaking about food seems a lot more societal understood, and to me, less embarrassing. Its so much less talked about – at least in the truly raw, honest way you have now done. No matter the degree of struggle one may have with exercise, it is so real. I just thank you so much for being open and honest. You’ve given me a nudge of bravery to hopefully one day begin opening up more honestly about my struggles.
    Cora recently posted…Breathe and Chakra Release Part THREE: The Root Chakra

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 20, 2016 at 3:06 pm

      Thank you for sharing your honesty here, Cora. It’s one of those topics that feels silly that it’s an issue but also so so real for the people experiencing it. Such a first world problem to struggle with exercising too much, but the damage (both mental and physical) is incredibly painful and needs to be spoken about more often. I encourage you to contribute to the conversation once you feel comfortable. Your story is powerful and I think you’ll be surprised by how many people can relate.

  • Reply
    Sveta
    March 20, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    The first part of the post is just me right now 😬 thank you for sharing your experience, I believe, it really made mere-consider my attitude to my unhealthy relationships with exercise!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 20, 2016 at 2:59 pm

      We’re in this together! Sometimes just being aware that we may have teetered over the edge a bit is all we need to get back to a better balance.

  • Reply
    Momof3misses
    March 20, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    I so needed to read this. I torture myself with my personal exercise demands. Sometimes I wish I could give myself some slack.

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 20, 2016 at 2:58 pm

      We all need to be a bit kinder and gentler with ourselves. Easier said than done. It takes a big shift in perspective but take it day-by-day and I know you’ll get there!

  • Reply
    Arman @ thebigmansworld
    March 21, 2016 at 11:25 am

    Cheers for opening up and sharing your struggles here- I reckon there are many out there who could/can relate to this and now feel more able to respect themselves and their bodies. You’ve given them hope and something to strive for and/or achieve.

    Epic post, D.
    Arman @ thebigmansworld recently posted…Coffee Talk #7

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 21, 2016 at 11:57 am

      Thanks so much Arman! As always, I appreciate your support! Stopping by TBMW to see what’s happening 🙂

  • Reply
    Claire Humes
    March 22, 2016 at 8:53 am

    I heard that! Sometimes it’s so hard to get out of the mentality of exercise being like a transaction or like a penalty for every indulgence. I totally have felt like a failure because I didn’t accomplish XYZ

  • Reply
    Emily
    March 22, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    I’m so glad I found your blog! Thank you for so candidly sharing your journey with us!

    http://www.thewefiles.com

  • Reply
    Victoria A
    March 25, 2016 at 6:51 am

    This was absolutely amazing and came at the perfect time. i can definitely relate… Some of the thoughts you had here are some I’ve experienced too, the stress of “having to workout”. I’m glad I’m not the only one but this article really was a good find. Thank you.

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 30, 2016 at 8:33 am

      Thanks for your support, Victoria! Hopefully we can work through this together 🙂

  • Reply
    Sofi
    March 26, 2016 at 2:17 am

    I hear ya, congratulations! I really admire you!

  • Reply
    Claire Meier
    April 11, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    I get up and work out 5-6 days a week (if it’s only 5, I feel guilty about skipping day #6), no matter what. I’ve been having some health issues lately, and my therapist is on me about sleeping more. I regularly get 6-6.5 hours of sleep, but lately have been trying for 7. Not always making it, but trying. I think I’m going to try a new thing: if I don’t get 7 hours of sleep, the gym cannot happen the next day. I’ve spent so many days prioritizing getting my workout in over the self care that is sleep. I’m currently on a pretty restrictive diet from my doctor to alleviate my headaches, digestion problems, and more, and you know what? I think it all boils down to the fact that I don’t sleep enough and I stress myself out with the workout thing!

    This article gives me confidence. Today was the first day that my alarm went off, I woke up with a headache, realized I had only slept for 6.5 hours, and went back to bed for an hour. I’m struggling SO MUCH with not beating myself up for it, and rather, celebrating it. It’s not easy, but I think it’s the start of something good. And it’s definitely motivation to get me in bed earlier! Thanks for sharing your story.

  • Reply
    Ogi the Yogi
    April 23, 2016 at 3:36 am

    I hope that you post can inspire other food, diet, yoga bloggers/instagramers to come forward about their struggles with EXCESSIVE exercise. It is no surprise that people who struggle with eating disorders, including, orthorexia (obsession with eating healthy foods) develop excessive or obsessive tendencies around exercise. The line is of course further blurred when you are talking about individuals whose lifestyle/livelihood is centered around exercise, including yoga, obviously drawing a line between too much and this is my career can be a difficult one, as any professional athlete can attest to. Still just because something is difficult does not mean we shouldn’t address it as a society. The constant praise that instagram yoga personalities get for their physical prowess whether its perfect abs, or bandy backs need to be balanced with the consequences that this type of reinforcement creates for susceptible audiences with compulsive tendencies and previous or current struggles with eating disorders, who might just be starting yoga, and can fall easily into the cycle of self-loathing, unhealthy goal-setting, and constant guilt. This of course is not easy, but I think an absolutely necessary conversation that our society needs to finally engage in!

  • Reply
    Evelyn M. Speaks
    August 2, 2016 at 8:24 am

    Wow..
    Such a rewarding post altogether. The sort of mentality highlighted by you Davida is so healthy and important. This will surely benefit people who are going through the same mindset. Eating habits determine and influence our physical health in all forms. I feel creating that balance between exercise and balanced diet is the key to having a quality lifestyle. Keep posting & sharing 🙂

  • Reply
    Joan J. Carrigan
    August 18, 2016 at 11:33 am

    Thanks so much for the great article! I was dumped hard from a friend’s horse a month ago and probably pulled a muscle in my groin area which caused pain enough to make me limp around for the first three weeks. The soreness is almost gone so I am at that stage where I think I can start exercising again but don’t want to blow it and have to start all over again. I am going to print out this article and read it everyday until I can get back to my regular exercise – cycling. (I started biking a year ago and really love it, lost 30 pounds and feel great at 61! And I have been riding horses for 3 decades so it was just one of those things with the horse.) Thanks again for all the great advise!
    Joan J. Carrigan recently posted…What The Next Week Will Bring For Emerging Markets

  • Reply
    JerryE.Lindsay
    September 6, 2016 at 7:45 am

    Hi Davida ,

    I love this post! I’m finishing up a graduate degree in exercise physiology and I really enjoy exercise and how it makes my body feel. That makes it a lot easier to go on a hike, hop on a bike, or go for a run around a new place. Eating well and exercising regularly is something I totally struggle with . And I always appreciate posts like this that motivate me to really think about what I’m putting into my body. I am glad this post could reignite some fitness motivation. To stay healthy maybe eat fruits as much as one can or try to get home cooked food. Yoga definately helps to stay focus and good health as well.

    Thanks For Sharing
    Keep Posting

  • Reply
    Dahlia
    January 3, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    Literally just binge-read some of your blog posts and this is my favorite so far. Was thinking similar thoughts today about exercise. At the end of the day, I would also beat myself up when I didn’t work-out. I’ve had enough self-guilt! Ready to move on!

    Having a puppy definitely helps and gets me moving!

    All the best, Dahlia

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      January 11, 2017 at 12:26 am

      Oh Dahlia, I’m so happy this resonated with you. It’s been really wonderful learning to move from a place of love, instead of hate. I hope you’re learning to embrace the same mentality! xo

  • Reply
    Sriram
    January 17, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Wonderful thought.

    I had been ditching myself for not hitting the gym in the past month. That was so depressing and made me Google it out for any positive thoughts around it. And bingo I found your article right on top.

    Trust me this is my first reply to a blog post ever in my life. It was so relaxing reading it and feeling so light.

    Thanks.
    Sriram

  • Reply
    Tamara
    March 9, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    This is presented from a non-competitive-athlete perspective on exercise routines, but it really resonates with experiences I’ve had as a competitive runner, and especially coping with situations in which my athletic goals and relationship to training routines is disrupted by prolonged chronic injuries. I like the comparison between intuitive eating and intuitive exercise, the thoughts about disassociating guilt from exercise, and just generally enjoy your honest and balanced perspective.

  • Reply
    Jessica Dalliday
    March 9, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    Hi Davida,

    I absolutely loved this post (and your blog)! This post especially resonates with me and my personal journey with food and exercise and it’s comforting to know that others are having similar struggles. I couldn’t agree more with all of your points and have encountered very similar results- I was so surprised to realize how smart our bodies are and that we really need to listen to them instead of constantly pushing them. It’s been a tough process but I am getting better everyday. Thank you so much for sharing this personal message, it’s helped me a lot and I so many others alike! ❤

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      March 11, 2017 at 4:21 pm

      Thank you, Jessica! I’m so happy this could resonate with you. Too often we have to learn this lesson the hard way but we’re better for it in the long run. Here’s to listening to our bodies!

  • Reply
    Tara
    March 24, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    Hi, I so love your post, actually your whole blog is wonderful! I am not an exercise fanatic!!!! So this was kind of foreign to me. That being said, I do realize t he importance of movement throughout the day. Right now my priorities are not sitting too long and saving my energy to “play” with my daughter! Unlike myself, she is a total mover and shaker! My workout is practicing soccer, and training for cross country running with her. I think it is important to prioritize exercise and movement as it fits into your lifestyle and not o be too hard on yourself.

  • Reply
    Niki Wilson
    May 10, 2017 at 2:56 am

    “I’m working out because I love my body, not because I hate it.” Girl, you are goals.You really inspired me to work out.I was so much in a need of a motivational post like this.thanks for sharing : ) xoxo <3

  • Reply
    Stacey
    May 18, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    This post was like what my mind has been screaming and torturing my body with !! I’m on 7 days of exercise and o hate it lol!! I’m wondering since your post is a year olds what have you been up to since her you still maintaining non-exercise weeks and have you gained any weight from it? Or feel any different ?

  • Reply
    Erin
    July 31, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    What a great post! It really resonates with what I often find myself struggling with. I’ve been able to get past exercising for the purpose of weightloss, but I still find myself worried about doing the “right” exercise for the “right” amount of time in order to achieve maximum health.
    I’m constantly googling the reccomendations from the government, public health etc. About how long to work out and how intensely, and then obsessing about whether or not I’m achieving it. I’m afraid if I don’t, it will affect my health in the future. Any thoughts on how you marry intuitive exercise (which I love the idea of!) to these kinds of things??

    Thanks so much for your post!! <3

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