Exercise is My Amends: Finding a Deeper Meaning

exercise amends

There are plenty of different reasons why people exercise. After writing last week’s post about the three reasons I choose to exercise, I started to think a little more deeply about why it has become so ingrained in my normal routine. What I had previously understood, but recently forgotten, was that my choice to exercise is an amends to the way I treated my body during my addiction and having such an important reason is why I have been able to maintain it for so long.

We only get one body. How we choose to treat it is up to us.

I spent many years abusing my body. From excessive drug and alcohol use to over exercising and under eating, I put it through a lot. I’m thankful that it never gave up on me. I’m grateful that I am still here to be able to share my experiences and the ups and downs that come with being an addict, not to mention an adult. Being one of those is hard enough.

So part of my recovery is to make amends for my past behavior. Not only to people, but to myself. If I am to live a different way of life, I need to practice different behaviors. This means trying to love myself even though there are days when I don’t feel like I’m enough. I need to repair the damage that I inflicted on myself by taking care of who I am and who I want to be. I do that by exercising consistently and eating healthy most of the time.

I am not advocating cutting out all foods that may be deemed unhealthy because then I would be the largest hypocrite you’ve ever met as I continue to plaster my Instagram with pictures of donuts and cookies. I like to live my life as balanced as possible and some days are easier than others. I try and be mindful about things like self-talk, exercise, and overall self-care. Denying myself foods that I like is only going to cause me to binge on them later and you will probably find me shoving cookie dough in my mouth in the corner while I snarl at you to get away. Eat foods you like, guys, just don’t eat all of them in one sitting every single day.

Exercise allows us to build a different relationship with our bodies. It allows us to practice self-compassion and respect while discovering that we are capable of more than we give ourselves credit for. Think about the last time you achieved an exercise goal. Whether it was walking for 10 minutes, using a weight you weren’t able to before, or running your first marathon, the feeling that you get from reaching that milestone is incredible. Suddenly a whole new world of possibilities is opened up. Things you never thought you could do become possible. When I have a reason bigger than myself to continue that lifestyle, I’m more inclined to maintain it.

The healthier I become, the more productive I can be in society. My goal is to be a healthy person both inside and out and the closer I get to that goal, the better I feel. Improving myself in different areas of my life allows me to improve overall and give back to a society that I misused and manipulated for so long.

Take some time out of your day and think about a deeper reason for getting healthy. In case you get stuck, here are some suggestions:

  • more years I will get to spend with my family
  • improved appreciation of all that my body can achieve
  • more compassion for myself
  • become a positive example for others around me
  • CONQUER THE WORLD!

In closing, a very happy birthday to my sister! I’m glad I got to see her this weekend and hope she can come back to visit again soon!

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9 Comments

  1. September 2, 2015 / 6:15 am

    Happy Birthday to the Sister!
    We’ve talked about this, and I think that it is so powerful that you are atoning for your past “sins” this way. And I do think it is healthy the way that YOU are doing it–you have a balance. I think that it could be a fine line (as with anything, really) though: You could start to take it too far and end up doing harm to yourself. But I think that this is truly coming from a place of love and acceptance. For myself, my exercise comes from a combination of loving myself in the present and working towards a future that I want to have (a family, and health for the long term).
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Healthy “Peach Salsa” Egg White Omelet RecipeMy Profile

  2. September 2, 2015 / 12:35 pm

    Beautiful words, Erin. I love the reason that you exercise. I like to exercise because it makes me feel strong and healthy and capable. It’s part of my routine, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂 Oh, and eat the donuts. Life is too short to not eat the donuts.
    Ashley @ A Lady Goes West recently posted…A few good links that I enjoyed readingMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      September 8, 2015 / 4:26 pm

      Oh I agree 100% #donutserryday

  3. September 2, 2015 / 6:49 pm

    Hi! Happy birthday to your sister 🙂
    I have a big smile on my face; not because you went through your stuff to get to where you are today (exercising for deeper reasons)… but because you REALIZE and remember them! Exercising for more than aesthetics is a really cool “level” that I’m lucky to get to with most clients. Initially they want “weight loss” or “more muscle mass” (both of which can be important), but to help them learn that exercise is so. much. more…
    Jess @hellotofit recently posted…Link Love #31 and a birthday weekendMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      September 8, 2015 / 4:26 pm

      It totally is. It’s hard to get people out of the aesthetics and into an actual lifestyle.

  4. Zoe
    September 2, 2015 / 9:57 pm

    Totally with you! I remind myself that prioritizing my mental and physical health shows others what kind of standard I set for myself, as well as reminds me what’s important (your health, duh). I also and cranky if I don’t workout and really feel the mental benefits of sweating out stress rather than holding onto it. That allows me to go into my next challenge and be more enthusiastic and compassionate.

    • erinsinsidejob
      September 8, 2015 / 4:25 pm

      Yeah, if I go awhile without a workout I can notice my behavior start to get a little wonky

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