My whole life, I’ve done sports. I am one of those people to whom team sports come quite naturally, and during my high school years, I loved being part of the swim-, basketball-, and soccerteam. I had some sort of training every day, sometimes even two a day, and loved it. There’s something exhilarating about sweating like a pig with other people, I guess. 🙂
When I was 14, however, my love of sports turned into an obsession due to my eating disorder; I don’t want to get into the details, but sadly, the following years, my pure, raw love of sports became tainted by the fact that I felt I needed to constantly stay active to keep from putting on weight. Ever since then, I have continuously struggled with balance when it comes to sports and food – I can only say that an eating disorder leaves its traces on both body and mind, and while your body can bounce back to looking like you’ve overcome everything, your mind will often feel like your 14-year-old-self, a self that was very self-destructive and, ultimately, very sick.
It has taken me a long time to come to terms with myself, and I would not say that I have actually achieved “normality” when it comes to doing sports. I did continue to play in a soccer team for several years during high school, but had to “end” my soccer “career” after hurting my right foot badly twice within 1 year. When I went off to study, I started swimming again, about twice a week, and occasionally went for a run. I have had phases of doing home-workouts, testing freeletics, and doing power-yoga. I have taken ballroom dancing, and I did zumba for several years at university.
For me, it’s not so much about what type of sports I am doing anymore. I would still say I am somebody who loves doing sports, especially sports that involve being outside. Whenever I walk past a soccer field, my feet start itching. When I’m in a swimming pool, I can’t help but swim a couple of lanes. I can’t bear sitting around all day, as I get terrible backaches if I don’t stretch inbetween.
For me, it’s about WHY I do sports. I know many people who struggle with their self-discipline or even motivating themselves to get off the couch in the first place. That’s not the biggest issue for me, I can be so self-disciplined that I nearly starved myself to death once (I know I’m being krass, but I’m trying to make a point). I have this tendency on going overboard with my self-discipline.
When self-discipline turns into keeping track of how many times a week you’re doing sports, and pressuring yourself into doing exactly as many workouts as the week before, that’s a problem in my book. When self-discipline turns into a guilty conscience if you miss one work-out because you simply don’t have the time to go for that third run this week, there’s something wrong. When you’re not doing sports because you love it, when you’re doing sports because some tiny devilish voice inside your head is telling you you need to “work off that brownie” or “sweat off last night’s pizza”, it’s no longer about being motivated or disciplined or healthy.
In our society it’s so easy to lose track of why we want to be healthy. Just take a look at Instagram: nobody is asking WHY we need to eat that many greens, nobody is questioning the millions of pictures of somebody shredded in their sportsbra, because the ideal we are chasing is embodied in those pictures. How many likes does a huge salad bowl get in comparison to a snapshot of a high school kid receiving their diploma? I don’t know actual numbers, but I’m guessing that salad bowl receives a lot more admiration.
I’m definitely not saying that being healthy or doing sports is a bad thing. I still go running every week, and I find joy in doing barre3 workouts and listening to the annoyingly soothing voice of the yoga DVD I have. I love eating healthy salad bowls, I love advertising healthy food, I love scrolling through fitness Instagram accounts (I actually follow quite a few). I have just found that for me, sports is not something that is solely healthy.
This post is not about challenging you to rethink your sports habits. It’s not about calling out those that misrepresent themselves on the internet or social media (because honestly, who doesn’t?!). This post is about truth, it’s about me. I want to share who I am behind all those healthy-looking recipes.
I am not somebody who started this blog lightly. Anybody following me at the very beginning will remember how worried I was to share this blog with my family, even my boyfriend. I was worried that they’d think I had fallen back into old patterns, celebrating weightloss in disguise. This is not that. This will not be that – because I will not let it. I do not want this blog or my posts to be about losing weight for anybody! I don’t want anybody to feel like they have to work out because I posted something about going for a run – because then that run wouldn’t be about you, you’d be doing it for the wrong reasons.
Whenever my 14-year-old self creeps into my thoughts, I need to back down from doing sports, from eating healthy. Whenever sports become a means to an end, whenever I “abuse” them, I need to take a step back and reevaluate my motivation. And that’s sometimes harder than fooling yourself into thinking everything is fine. I want to do sports because I had a pure, raw love of sports once, and I love chasing the sun outside. I hope that’s why you do sports, and I hope that’s how I motivate.