How To Let Go Of Your Guilt About Food And Exercise

I want to remind you today that it’s OKAY to not always be “on track” or “in routine.” Routines can be really helpful and it’s great to be moving towards your goals, however sometimes routines and practices can start to become coping mechanisms, obsessive, or unhealthy.

A lot of times when we struggle with food, body image, and loving our bodies well, we can get stuck in routines of eating, exercising, etc. that are coping mechanisms for safety. If we aren’t eating the same things all the time or are not sticking with our weekly exercise routines, then we start to feel guilty, ashamed, uncomfortable in our bodies, or even unsafe. Because food or exercise or our bodies are areas that we struggle feeling comfortable in, we start to create patterns and routines that allow us to feel safe. Sometimes this is intentional, but a lot of times it’s very unintentional. We start to create rhythms, habits, and routines that aren’t intentionally rigid, but they start to become rigid and we start to feel uncomfortable if we get out of them.

This can start to show up if life gets busy and you can’t keep up with the routines that you’ve been practicing. Or maybe you go on a trip or start traveling more and getting out of routine makes you really uncomfortable. It is OKAY to have routines. But it starts to get unhealthy when you cannot enjoy your life and live your life because you are always worried about staying in a certain routine. This can show up with habits and exercise, but this can also show up in food and eating. For example, maybe on a “normal” day you eat 3 meals a day at specific times and you have it all planned out. You know when you are going to eat, what you are going to eat, and how it will make you feel physically and mentally. If you are out of your routine or traveling, maybe you do not have a set schedule for food, or maybe you don’t know where you are going to go eat, what time you are going to eat, or what you are going to eat. This can start to make you feel really uncomfortable if you are used to always eating the same things at the same times and always knowing what you are eating. 

There is nothing wrong with having routines and practices in place, especially as you are healing from unhealthy patterns and actions surrounding food. Routines can provide that comfort and peace if you are healing from an eating disorder or an over-obsessive relationship with food, exercise, or your body. Use the tools that you need, in order to heal and feel your best. BUT, I want to remind you, if you are in that stage of life, it is OKAY to not always be in your routine. If you get thrown off because of a busy week or because of travel, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are still safe and okay. Remember that it’s okay to feel the discomfort, but that it will pass and you will get through this moment. You are safe and healing and okay.

Abby Horst

A podcaster, wife, health/wellness coach, beach lover, and musician. She specialises in nutrition education, meal planning, and developing sustainable habits. She passionately works with her patients to help them build healthier and happier relationships with food, exercise, and themselves.

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