Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It's Not About Being a Skinny Minny!

Alright. Most of you know me well enough now, to know that I have a thing with exercise. I like it. And I do it A LOT. And despite my uncontrollable sugar addiction, I do try to eat fairly healthy. And yes, for most of my life (until recent medical events occurred) I've had a pretty fast metabolism. I've never really had to struggle with my weight. At least not too much.

You also should know by now that I have this special little alter-ego I like to call my crazy lady that lives in my brain. Someone more professional might like to call it clinical depression. Whatever.

And most of my friends and family understand my drive to exercise. I'd say most people have some sort of understanding of why someone should or shouldn't exercise. Most people.

But there are some people out there who JUST DON'T GET IT!
I don't get what is so hard to understand about it.

I get heckled. Seriously, I do! I have friends and family members who heckle me for exercising and trying to eat healthy.
I have been told, "But you're already skinny, why do you think you need to exercise?"
I've also been accused about having body dysmorphia because I exercise and eat healthy.


Let me just start by saying this: I don't exercise because I'm trying to lose weight. I'm not trying to lose 12 pant sizes, and I'm not trying to look like a 15 year old super model.

Yeah, sure, I care about what I look like. Who doesn't? But, think about it. The types of exercises that I do are not ones for getting skinny. I lift weights and I run marathons. Both of which builds muscle and mass. Yeah, I like being muscly. But, again, that's not why I do it. It's a nice bi-product, but that's not why.

I'll tell you why I exercise like there's no tomorrow.

It makes me happy.

There is a joy I find in running that I cannot find in anything else. It is different from the joy I have in my family, and in the Gospel. It is different from the joy I find in music, and in eating chocolate. There is NOTHING comparable to the joy I get from running.

And I know exactly what that is. It's called an adrenaline rush. It is endorphins. It is an actual chemical reaction in the body that happens when a person's blood gets pumping and their heart is pounding.
It's that same chemical reaction some people get from cliff diving (that's not my thing, I'm afraid of heights). I actually got this same reaction after going through labor and delivery with each of my babies. It's that moment, that sense of accomplishment, after you've achieved something really hard and painful that makes you go, "Wow! That was awesome! Let's do that again!"
I get that same reaction after I've finished a marathon, or even just a good long run on a Saturday morning.

Because I deal with a chemical imbalance that causes my depression, the endorphin rush that I get from running actually helps me balance out my hormones.
I've taken anti-depressants. I've gone to therapy. I've even done holistic, natural supplements. People, I've done it all.

And nothing, and I mean NOTHING has had the same positive effect on my emotional well-being that running has.

I could say similar things about eating healthy. I am a bona fide sugar addict.
Yes, I firmly believe that sugar is a drug. If you think that caffeine, or nicotine, for that matter, is worse, well, I might not be a nutritionist, or a scientist, but I'd have to disagree. Sugar is a drug. And it IS addictive. And it makes me feel oh, so good when I get a fix. Until I crash. What starts out as elation becomes aggravation. And then, I have withdrawals. It's a vicious cycle. I'm trying to rehabilitate myself, but it's hard. Exercise helps me to curb my cravings a little bit.

And for me, when I find something that I'm this passionate about, I want to share it with the world. So, when I find out someone is trying to train for their first 5k, or just joined a gym, or has started walking everyday, I'm so excited for them. So, if you find yourself being judgemental of other skinny people who exercise, well then, put down the cookie dough, get up off the couch, and go for a walk.
You'll feel better, I promise!


Kristina P. said...

Well said, Sher. I really, really hate running. But, I do like other forms of excerise, like kickboxing and so forth.

Running is just not for me. So you have to find what works for you. And I don't get the people who think only people who need to lose weight need to exercise. How do people think you stay skinny?

tiburon said...

Couldn't agree with you more. First - it has been proven that exercise won't help you lose weight - only a proper diet will.

I am the exact same way. I LOVE to exercise.

Someone recently told me that the basis of our friendship had changed because I enjoyed working out and she didn't. I have never picked my friends on exercise frequency but ever since I have decided that if they don't workout - they aren't good enough for me.

Seems like good enough criteria.

Don't let anyone get you down. Most people that think you workout too much are sitting around on their flabby ass.

Chii said...

I admire you. Really, I do. I used to do martial arts 5 days a week, 3 hours a night. Since quitting (almost 3 years ago) I can't seem to get motivated to workout. Reading your blog makes me want to try to get in shape again (not lose weight, but just be able to walk for more than 30 minutes without being tired).


Garden of Egan said...

Sher, thanks for sharing that. I was an avid runner about 5 years ago, then life, stress, teenagers from hell and other stuff got in the way. I stopped. Now, I'm 40 pounds heavier...gross...ya, Tib, I'm that person.
But I've signed up for a 10k and I'm starting to get into it again.

I agree with the endorphin thing too, when I'm faithful about exercising I feel awesome.

wendy said...

It is good that you have found something so "good for you" that also makes you HAPPY.
When I exercise I like how I feel. I like how I look. I am even stronger in bed (TMI) but true story.

I don't like running, but I like walking hard.
It has been realloy hard here cause I have NO gym to go to. NONE.
I love to walk, and there are many awesome places to walk here ---WHEN THE WEATHER PERMITS.
Winter is too cold
The wind blows REALLY hard sometimes.
So I just can't walk in that crap.

Walking clears my head.

so good for you and keep it up.

and as for me, due to reasons stated above, I have a pitiful 25 lb weight gain

Me (aka Danielle) said...

Well said! Seriously!

Although I'm not a runner, I do find that I always feel better when I get some exercise.

Wonder Woman said...

Sorry people give you crap for exercising. That's not cool.

Love this. Love you.

Just SO said...

I think it's awesome that you find help with your depression through your running. I wish I could train my brain and body to like exercising.

Mikki said...

Well said Sher! I cannot run. It's just not for me either. I loved, adored dancing when I was in highschool and college, I really do enjoy a good workout--but sometimes finding the motivation to start is the hard part.
I too, don't understand how people can think only fat people need to exercise. Everyone needs it!

Pedaling said...

though, i'm not a skinny minny;
nor am i addicted to running....

i get it.
i do understand...it makes perfect sense to me.

Jessica said...

I agree completely with you. For the longest time when I would start one of my 2 weeks of "exercising" it was always with the motivation to look better, to get skinnier. But when I started exercising to be healthy, to feel better, and be able to do things like hike and climb, I felt so much better and have had more motivation to exercise regularly. Genetics doesn't allow everyone to look like a supermodel, even if they exercise, but it does help you feel so much better about yourself I think. I feel so lucky I get to run with you. You are inspiring.

DeNae said...

Hey-ey-ey -- there is NO need to go after my cookie dough. It is just an innocent and delicious bystander in all of this.

And I already apologized for the dysmorphia thing, for which, if I'm not mistaken, you used your awesome muscles to full on PUNCH me in my cookie-doughy arm! Good thing it's all soft and squishy and just absorbed the blow without my really feeling it or anything.

And you have a knack for mental health, Sher. Go for it!

Heart you!

Annette Lyon said...


When I was a faithful exerciser (I will be again, I swear . . .) I didn't do it to lose weight, which would have been a happy side product, but I did it because I was a more level, even-keeled, BETTER mom when I was exercising. My kids deserved THAT mom.

What annoys me is my sister who is a skinny minny (I swear she'd blow away in a slight breeze) and doesn't exercise. Somehow, it doesn't seem cosmically fair that we share so much DNA but I got the crappy metabolism.

Jami said...

You nailed it. Now if I can only act on that truth.

Heidi said...

It just goes to show how messed up our society is. People criticize people for being overweight, but then once they try to do something about it, they get criticized for being too strict with their diet & exercise, and people who are thin get criticized for exercising and eating right because they don't need to lose weight--(Hello! Why do you think they are thin in the first place.) Why can't we just support each other at whatever stage we are in? Good for you for doing what makes you happy!!

tammy said...

There are many skinny people who are unhealthy. Just because you have a great metabolism and good genes, doesn't mean you don't need to exercise. Exercise helps with so many things. I know I feel better on the days I work out, than on the days I don't have time to.