Confessions Of A Former Runner

by HEAB on April 24, 2009

Hello my almond butter loving friends. If you're new to HEAB, you may like to subscribe to my RSS feed or receive my posts via email. Thanks for reading!

I am surrounded by runners.  My husband runs…a lot.  Many of my friends run. Almost all my clients run.  They cannot believe that I no longer run, and apparently many of you can’t either.  After receiving almost daily emails from people asking about my new found love for yoga, I decided to write an entire post about it.

Below is an excerpt from an email I wrote in response to a reader who runs 60 miles a week but really wants to cut back.  After reading my Yoga Wrap-Up she was curious as to how I was able to maintain and even lose weight after cutting out so much cardio…

60 miles a week? Impressive.  I think my highest week was 50 when I was training for a 50K.  Listen, I’ve been there.  Although I did not run as much as you, I did run 5-6 days a week for about 7 years.  In my head, my workouts had to be at least 60 minutes long.  So, I either ran for an hour or longer, and on days I did shorter runs, I would fill the rest of the hour with weights.  I maybe did yoga once a week.  Honestly, I never really counted calories when I was running, but I know I probably ate around 2300 a day, sometimes more, but rarely less.  If I felt I overate, I would just do a long run the next day.  It was an awful cycle.  I was running to eat, and although I thought I loved running, I was not in a healthy place.

After getting married, buying a house, and adopting 2 puppies all in one year, I simply did not have as much time to devote to my workouts.  I also bruised my sacrum 10 weeks before getting married and could do nothing but take long slow walks.  I gained about 10 pounds during my first year of marriage, freaked out, and started working out again hard….and was miserable.  Things started to change when I tried shorter more intense workouts (think Tabata Intervals) and super sets with heavier weights.  My weight began to go down, and then something just clicked with yoga.  After doing it consistently for a few weeks, I began to do less cardio and fewer strength training sessions. For a while, the thought of adding a run or some cardio intervals before or after class creeped into my head, but I forced myself to let it go.  I decided to stick with only yoga for 30 days to see what would happened.  What happened was my arms toned up, my legs became stronger, both my strength and flexibility increased, and I lost 3 pounds.  Keep in mind that these were intense yoga classes in a heated studio.  One hour every day of the week with a 2 hour class every Saturday.  I worked hard and learned to love it so much. I’ve been back in the studio everyday since my workshop ended, and I feel amazing.

Now, back to my eating. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this, but one reason I did not want to stop running was because I loved being able to eat so much.  My appetite was out of control when I ran, and I couldn’t seem to eat enough.  Yes, I ate mostly healthy foods, but I ate a lot of them.  When my miles crept up, I added more foods like pizza and ice-cream.  I needed the sugar & carbs for fuel.  Now I don’t, simple as that. I was scared that if I exercised less, that I would still eat the same amount and obviously gain weight.  This has not been the case at all.  With less exercise, my appetite decreased, and I usually eat between 1800 – 1900 calories a day, and I AM NOT HUNGRY.  It’s wonderful.  Plus, yoga has helped me build more muscle, &  I’m not as puffy as I was when I ran (and I even lifted weights 2-3 times a week).  I weigh about 13 pounds less than I did a year ago, and I feel longer and leaner and much much better. Promise!

Is exercise important? Yes. Do our bodies need hours of cardio day after day? No. Will you gain weight if you stop running? No. Just focus on staying active and building lean muscle mass. Try out a new strength training class at your gym. Workout with a trainer.  Get outside and take a long hike.  Run up and down the stairs in your office building. Want to work on those arm muscles? Try 60 minutes of Power Vinyasa Yoga. All those Chaturangas did more for my arms than any amount of weight lifting ever did!

img_2041

My friends, I know I’ve said this before, but our bodies were not made to spend hours in the gym.  I won’t lie, I still struggle.  Even with my yoga practice, I often feel the urge to do the most challenging class that I can find that day, but then a good friend or two will knock some sense into me. I’m fairly confident that yoga is going to remain a big part of my life, and I know when we move to Colorado, I’ll hit the trails for an occasional run. However, it will only be if I truly want to…not because I need a good calorie burn. I challenge each of you to ask yourself: What is the motivating factor behind my exercise? Why do I do it? Is it because you absolutely love spending an hour on the that elliptical machine, or is it because you know think you ate too much yesterday? Please please please honor your body. Exercise to be strong and healthy, and I promise you can get there without all this cardio nonsense.

For those of you that are truly passionate about running, then I say stick with it. Just don’t overdo it, and listen to your body. And for those of you ready to cut back? I say trade in those running shoes for a pair of Lululemon yoga pants! Trust me, your body will thank you. :)

img_20431

Winners of The PURE Bar coupons:

Winners, congrats! Please email me with your address.

Happy weekend to everyone!



{ 103 comments }

Erica April 24, 2009 at 5:00 am

Great post- appreciate your honesty. I really enjoy reading about your passion for yoga and love that it helps you to not only stay in shape, but helped you to break the cycle of needing to run and run and run! You rock.

Ashley April 24, 2009 at 5:13 am

I wish I was in the place you are in, Heather. I love exercise, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think I will ever be able to extricate some of the motivation for exercising from the justification it give me for lots of eating. I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing, per se. But its my reality.

One thing I am frightened of is how I will cope without exercise when I go overseas in a couple of months. I will be away from home for about 4 months. I’m really excited about what a wonderful adventure it will be, but I’m scared as well about dropping off from my exercise regime…

Also, I find my appetite doesn’t decrease with less exercise.. In fact, the days I don’t exercise I tend to eat more (go figure…)

Anyway – I appreciate your thoughtful post Heather :-)

And one more thing… I want your arms. Move over Michelle Obama.. Heather is in town!

coco April 24, 2009 at 5:19 am

Such a wonderful and insightful post. I really heart you, because I went through a similar experience (no, I didn’t run 50K a week) and yoga totally transformed me. I used to 3-4 or cardio (some running, some Ellipticals) and strength training 2-3 times because I felt I need to burn in order to eat, but it entered into a vicious cycle that I despise myself of getting in but hard to get out. The thing changed when I went back to China for vacation and didn’t join a gym just for cardio (the fitness class weren’t good) and then I found a yoga studio near home and i liked the peace the place entails, so I joined in and began my truth journey to yoga (I practiced it sporadically for 1 year before but didn’t feel I was working out). In that summer, I had 1 hour of yoga everyday. At the beginning I felt I wasn’t working out enough, but I just let it go and enjoy more time with my family. After a month and half I felt stronger and more peaceful with my body, totally fall in love with yoga. then I came back to US, the first thing i did was to find a yoga studio and I was so lucky to find sacred space with Kim who happened to teach the day I went, and I loved her class (much more than any class I’ve taken before). I’ve been practicing regularly for almost a year now and I feel stronger, leaner and if I don’t do cardio for a week or more, I don’t stress out and I didn’t gain weight either. (I didn’t loose because I didn’t want to, since I’m in the lower range, I ate enough to maintain the weight. but otherwise I think I’d have lost some weight too because I feel less anxious and less need for food).
okay. finishing up this long comment, just want to thank your sincerity and share your thoughts about how working out can bring us extra stress.

Shelby April 24, 2009 at 5:30 am

Love. This. Post.

I think I will e-mail you later with a personal question =)

marafaye April 24, 2009 at 5:34 am

Thank you so much for this post… I’ve been feeling a bit like a loser in blogland because I don’t run, and really don’t want to. Yoga is intriguing to me, but I can’t afford to take a class. You’ve been an inspiration to me to try different and interesting foods, so why not yoga too??
Can you suggest a video or something to get me started?? Love you Heather!!!

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 24, 2009 at 8:59 am

Sweet Mara,
Don’t you EVER feel like a loser my friend…never ever. :) Running is not for everyone, and I know there are also people out there that will never enjoy yoga. You just have to find activities that you love doing. Why spend time forcing yourself to do something you don’t enjoy, right? That being said, so excited you want to give yoga a try.

I wish yoga studios weren’t so expensive because that is my favorite place to do yoga. However, you can definitely practice at home. I would really recommend some of Polly’s yoga videos. They are short, and she even has one for beginners here. I’ve also heard really good things about Sarah Ivanhoe, but I’ve never tried her DVD’s myself.
Hope this info helps Mara. Love you too. :)

Amy April 24, 2009 at 5:38 am

Thank you SO much for this post, Heather. You’re already incredibly inspiring to me, but your thoughts on cardio and gym-in’ it 24/7 really hit home. I am so appreciative to have a great role model like you to look up to.

KILLER ARMS, girl, you HOTTIE!

glidingcalm April 24, 2009 at 5:46 am

I love you! And I love this post!! Running to me has ALWAYS been a chore. I can’t stand it and find it hideously boring. But it also scares me…. my Mom ran all the time as a young adult and now has the most awful knees because of it. She has to be careful with everything she does, and now only walks and does pilates. My coach wants us to run often, but I’ve found that I get knee pain after about 15 minutes…even if I try to focus on how I am running. I’ve been told by doctors to be REALLY careful with running, so I’m so nervous about risking my joints.

Like Mara, sometimes I look at other bloggers and wish I could run like them….but at the same time, I wonder how their bodies will hold up after a couple years.

Thanks for being honest, and thanks for sharing. You truly are a great inspiration.

Mad love!

VeggieGirl April 24, 2009 at 6:03 am

A. FREAKING. MEN.

Sarah April 24, 2009 at 6:10 am

I have had so many doctors, nurses, pharmacists and RANDOM people tell me in the past week about how hard running is on the human body.

The hard part is, running really has become something I love deeply: that hour or two of sweating, listening to MY music, my thoughts, and the added bonus of NEEDING to eat ridiculous amounts of carbs. BUT…at the risk of sounding like an after-school special, LOVE ISN’T SUPPOSED TO HURT.

While I am sad that my running chapter is prematurely coming to a close, at least for awhile, it is going to push me to try new things (i.e. swimming, biking, couch sitting).

Thank you HEABs. Expect a medicated phone call from me soon ;) Oh, and my Chris just said, “Do you want me to mail this package for you?! It’s been here forever!”

Happy Friday!

polly April 24, 2009 at 6:30 am

ditto what Veggie said. ;)

LOVE YOU, H!! XOXO

dailygoods April 24, 2009 at 6:42 am

heather i absolutely loved this post. it really makes you think of what your body craves and wants instead of what you think it needs or deserves. thank you for being so honest and for layign it all out there for us! you are truly a yoga queen!

Beadie April 24, 2009 at 6:47 am

Awesome post, Heather. Recently, I have been trying to work on my relationship with exercise and food. This post reminds me of my goals.

FoodsThatFit April 24, 2009 at 6:52 am

Heather-

This is a wonderful post and I hope to one day be as passionate about yoga as you are. I honestly do just LOVE to run though. I feel my best when I am out on the trails with no one around and can sort out my thoughts and stresses while being surrounded by nature.

However, because I feel so passionately about running, that can lead to major emotional breakdowns when I get injured (which I have had my fair share of). However, about 2 years ago I was forced to quit running due to some knee issues that sidelined me for a year and a half and I was MISERABLE. However, now looking back on that time I am grateful for the lesson I learned and for the activities that I now enjoy that I never would have gotten into otherwise (biking, snow shoeing, cooking, etc.).

Now that I am back and running again I sometimes feel myself going back to old habits of wanting to run EVERY day, which I know is too much stress on my joints. So I am now trying to make a more conscious effort to map out my training schedule and incorporate those other activities that I enjoy into it. As hard as running can be on the body, I think that it is important to point out that just because you run doesn’t mean you are destined to get injured or end up with knee and hip replacements. My Dad and father-in-law who are both around 65 are still out there running and doing marathons and feeling good.

I think will all things in life, moderation is the key. Phew, sorry that may be way too much info :) Love you Heather!!!!

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 24, 2009 at 9:06 am

Abbie,
I totally agree and think you have a very healthy perspective. Moderation is key! Chris hopes to keep running forever, and he is so good about listening to his body. If he’s tired, he takes a day off. If he’s hurt, he rests until he’s 100%. He also does most of his running on grass or trails, and I believe like your dad and father-in-law, he’ll be running for many years to come. I, on the other hand had such an unhealthy relationship with running even though I always claimed I do it because I love it. Now, looking back, I know that wasn’t true. So glad you’re in a good place with your running – keep it up, and I look forward to hitting those Utah trails with ya one day…then we can go take a yoga class for some stretching…and eat chia pudding. :)

brandi April 24, 2009 at 6:54 am

congrats to the winners!

and Heather, thank you for this post. What a great testimony – I feel like I’m just getting to the point with running that I do actually enjoy it, but I don’t run every day and don’t plan on it. As long as I still love it, I will do it, but you’re right – life is too short to do something we don’t love.

Danielle April 24, 2009 at 7:03 am

Heather, thank you for this post. I am an aspiring runner myself and I’ve found that I’m really starting to get the hang of it… both in the fact that I can actually run for an extended period of time :) and then enjoy myself while doing it. I do feel the pressure from many “runner” friends to do more though. I can, it’s true, but I don’t really want to. And I used to hate that, I thought it was me being afraid of trying, but now I’m not too sure. Maybe I’m simply afraid of not doing it because I want to and because I like to but because I feel like I should? Hm, anyway, your words obviously struck a cord with me. I’m going to hopefully continue running but at the same time I cannot wait to return to more yoga practices when I get home. It’s that kind of mind-body exercise that really keeps me in balance.

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 24, 2009 at 9:11 am

Danielle,
Do what makes you happy, and never feel pressured to run more. You’re not afraid – you’re just listening to your body, and I think that’s awesome. :)

orangepop April 24, 2009 at 7:07 am

Thank you for this post. You look amazing (I thought you always did!) & you’re a living testimony for including yoga in your life. I am so happy it’s been so positive for you… & that you let it, that’s great. I wish I had the money to devote to endless yoga classes! Oh well, my birthday’s coming up, haha. I love it… & your upside-down-ness, head-stand!!! Namaste!

charlotte April 24, 2009 at 7:11 am

Fabulous post! As you probably know, I’ve been caught in the exercise-to-eat cycle for a while. I DO love yoga though and am thinking that this pregnancy may be a good excuse to try and fix my bad gym habits. Thanks for your honesty. I’m so glad you found what works for you!

peaceandpeanutbutter April 24, 2009 at 7:12 am

Heather, this was such a beautifully written and much-needed post. Thank you for reminding us to HONOR OUR BODIES – it’s so easy to forget, yet so so important. I have found yoga (especially hot yoga!) to be so enjoyable to myself and my body, and such an important part of my life, as well! It not only makes up physically stronger, but also mentally stronger!!

Thanks again for your honesty in this post!

Have a beautiful weekend!

Erika

(P.S. We workshopped my “Tales of Poop and Crayons” story in my fiction class yesterday – it was a BIG HIT! LOL!!)

Anna April 24, 2009 at 7:31 am

Heather- This was such a breath of fresh air! Thank you! Yoga truly is an amazing thing. I recently realized that I am happiest when I am doing a different workout every day- yoga, running, biking, ultimate frisbee practice, etc. Easier on the body, too.

raspberryrunner April 24, 2009 at 7:40 am

nice arms girl!! thanks so much for this post. sometimes i have to remind myself that running is not the only form of exercise! it even took me a while to see swimming as a “real” work out because i wasn’t sweating (or didn’t notice sweat in the water), and i had to run in addition to my swim workouts. one of my goals is to get into yoga more…i think the strength and flexibility would be really good for my body! your passion for yoga is very inspiring :) . have a great day!

lissa10279 April 24, 2009 at 7:47 am

I love this post and your honesty, Heather!! I know I often over-exercise to compensate for over-eating. NOT GOOD. I do realize this … it’s a sad truth. And your post was a good wakeup call. Thank you!

Pearl April 24, 2009 at 7:56 am

congrats to the pure bar coupon winners! and thanks for this post!

Leah April 24, 2009 at 7:58 am

I just love this post!! It really is great to see such a transformation, and you are being so good to your body now!

Lara (Thinspired) April 24, 2009 at 7:58 am

Hi Heather,
This is going to sound selfish but this post was really good for me to read today. I’m not a hard-core runner in any sense of the word, but because the blog community is so strong at it I feel so much pressure to keep up! Today my left knee is freaking out a little and I wanted to run anyway but after reading this, I know it’s not the best thing for my body.
I probably do exercise for the wrong reasons sometime, so this post has given me something to think about. You look awesome in your yoga poses and in all of your photos look so happy, strong, and slender, that running can’t be the only way!
Hope you have a good weekend :)

Vani April 24, 2009 at 8:10 am

Awesome post!! I’ve felt SO much happier since I quit the gym . . . and my body is thanking me too.

kaneil April 24, 2009 at 8:49 am

amazing post – this really hit home with me today! Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us all. Your guns look awesome! :)

Kaneil, balanceisbest

Hangry Pants April 24, 2009 at 9:04 am

This is really interesting because I just posted about how training for a half marathon has helped my relationship with food and my body. I am definitely not running 60 miles/week, but I find myself more relaxed and appreciative of my body. If I stopped running I am sure the adjustment to eating less would be hard, but I think that because I’ve learned to listen to myself, my cravings and needs, I could do it. I think there is a line that can be crossed and you can become an obsessive exerciser for calorie burn. That sounds no fun and at all and not anywhere near where I am. I recognize it in others and it makes me sad. I appreciate reading your honest thoughts about your transition and how you came to honor yourself.

Love ya HEAB.

Holly April 24, 2009 at 9:05 am

Once again, Heather, I love hearing your thoughts! I love your writing because it’s so easy to follow, and obviously most of us relate to you in some way, shape or form.

After being away from running for a year, that was a horrible year for me. I was stressed, a little depressed, and just felt not myself. Now that I’m back to running, I truly feel myself again – so happy! But there is that part of me that has to remind myself not to overdo it, for fear of getting injured again.

I think it’s just balance….we all have to find it. Whether that means adding in yoga, starting to swim or bike, or simply TAKING A DAY OFF from working out. I’ve learned that in the past 18 months, but you’ve reminded me to STICK to it.

Have a great Friday, Heather! :-)

Chelsea April 24, 2009 at 9:22 am

Wow. This post speaks to me right where I am now. I’m injured (just temporarily- I can still bike, spin and elliptical) and after 5-years of running, part of me wants to try something different and not be an endurance whore. The problem is I feel like I’m actually caught in a triple loop.

I’m right there with you on the eat to run/ run to eat thing, and it’s not a fun way to live your life. Plus it’s hard because my husband is used to me being able to eat the crap he eats like pizza and ice cream (oh to be a 26-year old guy) without gaining weight. Salad? No! I’m ruining the evening out if I don’t split pizza with him!

Second, I had a really great running year last year. I improved.so.much. How can I possibly quit now when I think I can improve this year again? And maybe qualify for Boston this year or next year? I’m already signed up for a marathon training program that starts in the summer. Plus, when running is good, I really love it. I love getting up early and being outside. And the feeling of accomplishment when you run a great race. It’s just when it’s bad (like now) it’s really bad.

Last, I’m a runner. My parents ALWAYS ask about my long run on Saturdays. What if I don’t want to do one? How can I admit that to them without sounding like a quitter and a failure? And my friends are all runners or triathletes and all our social time involves working out together.

So I guess that’s what it comes down to. Wanting to change but not wanting to be a quitter. And not wanting to give up on goals I’ve had a long time (like BQing). I’ll probably feel a lot better about this once I can get back out on the roads again, but for now, I just don’t know what to do…

Sorry for the novel.

eatingbirdfood April 24, 2009 at 9:24 am

Great post Heather! Thanks for your honesty and the reminder to honor our bodies. Before trying yoga I didn’t really think it was a workout. Boy was I wrong, every time I take power yoga I’m sore for days (esp. in my arms). I’ve come to realize it’s a fabulous and relaxing workout!

Diana (Soap & Chocolate) April 24, 2009 at 9:35 am

SO interesting to read a yoga-lover’s personal success story. As neither a runner nor a yogini (or whatever you call an avid practicioner), it’s weird for me to read so many blogs of our genre and have the large majority of them discuss running and/or yoga with such passion – of course it makes me want the feeling for myself, having never run a race or done a yoga workshop. I could definitely see myself getting into yoga – I know with my history as a dancer it would come more naturally to me than distance running. Wish I could afford classes, but fortunately there are gajillions of yoga DVDs out there. However, after sampling a free strenth class with a couple other bloggers at a fancy studio last night, I was reminded of the power of a live class, so now I REALLY wish I could afford it!

And on the complete other hand, I enjoy the Jillian-style and dance-style workouts I’ve known and loved for years, and I’m more fit right now than I’ve ever been in life, so there’s an argument for fitness just being personal and what works for you and your lifestyle.

That was quite a ramble, but these are the things that go through my head when reading other people’s thoughts on why they love what they do. I guess at the end of the day it’s all about what works for me and to remember that just because I read about someone running 50K or whathaveyou doesn’t mean I should want to as well.

I still want to do more yoga though. :)

Diana (Soap & Chocolate) April 24, 2009 at 9:35 am

Oh and HOLY GUN SHOW HEAB!!!

FoodsThatFit April 24, 2009 at 9:44 am

MMM Chia pudding!!! I so look forward to our future out West adventures!!!

Mara @ What's For Dinner? April 24, 2009 at 9:51 am

Thank you so much my dear :) I’ll check out the yoga vids for SURE!

Angela April 24, 2009 at 10:12 am

Thanks for being so open and candid in this post. I really enjoyed reading your views on it all.

Katie T April 24, 2009 at 10:18 am

Heather,
Thank you SO much for this post. I’ve been a fan of your blog (and many others who’ve also commented on this post!) for a while, and I find your whole attitude towards food and exercise so inspiring and refreshing. I definitely was stuck in the obsessive exercising-to-eat cycle for a long time, and it was a pretty miserable period. I turned down invitations to go out with friends because I didn’t want to skip my daily two-hour workouts. If I knew I’d be going out to a restaurant for dinner or going home for a big family dinner, I’d spend extra time pounding the pavement. I got so caught up in thinking that I HAD to exercise hard every day in order not to balloon out to 300 pounds; my weight actually dropped to a pretty unhealthy point as a result.
I’m REALLY working now to get out of this cycle, and to focus on honoring and respecting my body. I’m working with a nutritionist to make sure that I’m eating enough good food to fuel my body. I know that I will always be very active, but I want to make sure that, like you, I’m doing things because I truly love them and want to be there, not out of fear that I will gain weight if I don’t. I’ve been going to yoga more and more – there’s an amazing Power Vinyasa studio near my apartment. I love the physical challenge of it, but I also find that it really makes me appreciate and honor my body.
Anyways, sorry for such a long comment; I just wanted to thank you for being such an inspiration for us all!

Monica April 24, 2009 at 10:30 am

Thanks so much for this post. It sends a very postive message to everyone out there. I too struggle with the mentality that a workout is only something that is intense, makes you sweat and leaves you out of breath by the end. But I’m trying to shift to the mentality that going for a walk is exercise too. I agree that yoga is an awesome workout. I wish I had the funds to keep practicing at my studio. In February I had a month pass that I really loved and gave me a chance to incorporate a lot of yoga into my routine.

oh and your arms are amazing!

Equinox Girl April 24, 2009 at 10:31 am

You’re awesome, Heather, and wise, too! And you have rockin’ biceps and triceps to boot. Thanks.

Emily April 24, 2009 at 10:44 am

Love this post. Sometimes I ask myself if I’d really run if it weren’t good for me. But at the same time, I find that it’s a great stress relief for me. I know I shouldn’t beat myself up when I choose not to run, and like you said, that is something that’s hard for me to do.

Thanks for being so inspirational and honest! I hope I can practice more yoga and get some killer arm muscles like you, Heather! :-)

A Side of Single April 24, 2009 at 10:59 am

You are a constant insiration! This topic has been on my mind a lot lately… inspired also by your yummy friend. =) I wrote about it today. The love that you have for yourself shines through! That is where it all starts =)
– Kristen

Susan April 24, 2009 at 11:19 am

Woohoo! Check out those muscles!! This is another great post Heather. I’m not an obsessive runner, or obsessive about any particular activity. But I am very goal oriented, I think that’s why I was so attracted to running. I know that I also exercise for the wrong reasons sometimes. I like the idea of burning extra calories so I can splurge later in the day. I’ve always had a strained relationship with food and it’s something I have to work on fixing every day! Thanks for the wonderful insight!!!

Gena April 24, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Oh my god, Heather, I love this post. SO many of my clients have overcome their disordered eating, but they seem to have transferred all the guilt, obsession, and fixation that they used to place on food on exercise instead: it becomes the only way they can embrace eating again, which is a dangerous cycle for obvious reasons. Thank you for shedding some light on this!!

grace b April 24, 2009 at 12:27 pm

Thank you so much for posting this Heather! I too have been cutting back on running and picked up yoga and I LOVE it. It makes my muscles feel great after a tough horseback riding lesson and it challenges me. Thank you for reminding me that it is important to ENJOY taking care of your body. :)

Kiersten April 24, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Nice post Heather. I agree with you that we are not meant to live in the gym! I catch myself getting carried away sometimes too and need to keep reminding myself not to obsess. You have a great attitude towards all of this, one that can inspire many of us. I am glad you enjoy doing yoga so much, it sounds like it’s been good to you.

nicolegodiva April 24, 2009 at 1:06 pm

So Cool that I won!! Plus I loved this post, which makes it even more awesome. I completely agree with the overdoing it idea…. since right now I am suffering from a stress fracture.. So is Laura on The Biggest Loser!! We all need to listen to our bodies.. and not our egos.

Thanks for the awesome post.

http://nicolerawawake.wordpress.com

Kristie April 24, 2009 at 1:43 pm

Thanks for this post Heather. I’m still trying to figure out exactly where I stand in terms of exercise and what works best for me. I like running but running miles and miles on end just isn’t my thing. It’s only been somewhat recently that I’ve really started running regularly. I tried upping my miles for one month and although I was happy with what I did, all of it was done on the treadmill and I just got tired of it. I’m now just not in the mood to run very often at all, most especially on the treadmill. I really want to incorporate a VARIETY of exercises into my life, different things every day. I want to switch it up, try different things, try NEW things. I want running to be a part of it, but just a part, NOT the entire be all and end all of my exercise life. I feel much better, stronger and more fit when I pair sprint intervals with strength training and do different exercise combos and variations every day. And I seriously want to start thinking about somehow getting some yoga into my life. My mom has been doing yoga for years. Nothing hardcore, but attending a weekly class. Maybe SHE could be my yoga buddy! Hehe. I have full faith in the fact that yoga would be a great workout. Just checking out some of those crazy arm balancing poses… and checking out the guns on YOU!
Thanks again for opening up more about it. I love hearing what you have to say!

Maggie April 24, 2009 at 2:20 pm

You rock :) Thanks for this healthy reminder.

mama April 24, 2009 at 3:16 pm

ive never posted b4 but wanted to tell you i absolutely love and appreciate this post so very much!!! its a big eye opener, i want to try yoga so bad but dont have any kind of studio or gym membership, i might try some online stuff tho!! i am nursing my daughter right now so am literally starving all the time and loving eating so much too but also am worried i will gain weight when i stop nursing! Yoga might be just what i need to kick myself in the pants instead of hopping on the elliptical for hours on end!! thanks again so much!!

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 25, 2009 at 8:33 pm

Mama,
Yes, I hear that nursing requires a lot of fuel. :) So excited you want to try yoga. I know it’s not for everyone, but it has helped me in so many ways. There are plenty of online options. Polly has some great videos over on her blog including Yoga for Newbies. I’ve also heard really good thing about My Yoga Online, and they offer both audio and video. I like to see the poses rather than just get audio instruction. If you’re looking for a good yoga DVD, I’ve only heard good things about Sarah Ivanhoe. I usually try and hit the yoga studio, as I tend to do better in a class setting, but you can definitely have a wonderful practice in the comfort of your own home! Best of luck and keep me posted if you try any of these suggestions. :)

Alison April 24, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Thank you for your post! As one of the people who e-mailed you about this, I really like what you had to say. I’d like to try to incorporate more yoga into my life. It sure is hard to get away from running though. I was planning on going to the gym today, but the beautiful weather is just calling me to go run 6 miles.

runeatrepeat April 24, 2009 at 3:17 pm

This was a great post! It really puts things in perspective.

Leng April 24, 2009 at 3:24 pm

definitely agree vinyasa yoga will give you a sweat session! I love it! I used to be an avid runner in HIgh school. I did xc and track and soccer, but now that I am older I find it very difficult to like running. I’ve tried almost everything I could think of. running with people, joined running forums, subscribed to running mags, even signed up for a race (this Sun), but I just don’t seem to have the motivation or the eagerness to run anymore. Ever since I did yoga, I’ve been IN LOVE It feels so awesome mentally and physically. and to be honest, I enjoy it way more than running. I mean don’t get me wrong I run, I just don’t like it. haha.

Love your guns! :-)

Hiking is so relaxing!

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 25, 2009 at 8:35 pm

Leng,
Best of luck in your race tomorrow…maybe you can fit in a little yoga too for a good stretch after your run. :)

carolinebee April 24, 2009 at 3:44 pm

WHOA buff!!! You are awesome Heather :D I try to run here and there, but I really worry about getting into for fear of injuring myself and not being able to dance…You’re so right that running/gym/craziness isn’t right for many people, and we just should just move our won bodies however WE want! xox thanks for putting it in such wise words

Melissa S. April 24, 2009 at 4:29 pm

Great Great Post Heater! I am still struggling to move past those torturous thoughts when it comes to running and why i’m really doing it!

ksgoodeats April 24, 2009 at 5:07 pm

I am in love with this post!! I’ve always hated running – it just hasn’t been my method of working out and when it was, it was usually because a trainer was telling me I had to do it. I’m glad you brought this up and talked about how you transferred your focus from running to something else you enjoyed!

You’re giving Mr. Sexy Hot a run for his money on the biceps, girl!!

Briana April 24, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Wow. You really hit the nail on the head for me. Sometimes, ok a lot of the time, I feel like I’m exercising because I have to not because I enjoy it. I’m glad you have found yoga and that it’s right for you. I think I’m going to try to mix up my workouts and do what I feel like doing and not punish myself for thinking I am lazy or uncaring just because I would rather bike than go for a run. Thanks for you’re words, they really are meaningful.

jen boda April 24, 2009 at 6:02 pm

I agree, very considerate and thoughtful post. I have always had a love hate relationship with running-doing it when I feel I need to maintain weight, just like you wrote, but feeling very chained to it at the same time. Didn’t know other people felt this way as well. Thanks.

jen.
http://www.bodaweightloss.com/blog

Courtney (The Hungry Yogini) April 24, 2009 at 6:22 pm

What an inspiring post Heather! Beautifully written. It is so grounding to hear your honest “confession,” especially since I relate to them completely. It is so hard to tackle those inner voices and just say NO but yoga, at least for me, helps tremendously.

Isn’t it amazing what society has done to us! Making us think that if we don’t look a certain way, we are not beautiful. If that’s not the biggest bunch of bologna on Earth, then I don’t know what is.

Thank you, Heather, for your honesty. This post is beautiful, just like you!

Gina April 24, 2009 at 8:22 pm

Ah, I have missed you, sorry I have been MIA! Thank you so much for the protein powder, I was surprised at its sweetness, but it was pretty good.

I completely LOVE yoga, and I wish I had more time to do it…I can only get to 4 classes most weeks. I need to start convincing myself to do it on my own.

Adi (oatonomy.com - repaired!) April 24, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!
Another great post, Heather.
I’m definitely inspired to give yoga another serious try… there’s a hot yoga studio that just opened that’s offering $20 for an unlimited membership for a week. I think I’ll have to check it out now :) Cheers!

Jessica (jesslikesithot) April 24, 2009 at 11:09 pm

I always love your posts! Thanks for all the honesty Heather!! I think it’s great that you have totally turned your lifestyle around and that you are completely happy with where you’re now at!

I admire your confidence/health/strength, to say the least!!!

bibixs April 24, 2009 at 11:10 pm

OMG! Heather what an amazing post. I’ve been struggling with that same thing, because i’m so afraid of skipping one day of running!
My mom ordered me to rest this weekend because there is a flu epidemy and she’s afraid i might catch it if i go out there and run. It seems horrible, but i wanted to risk getting infected and go out and run, because 3 days without running seem impossible for me.
I usually run 5 days a week.

Ah, well, i just need to relax and find some yoga classes.

Elizabeth April 24, 2009 at 11:27 pm

Heather this is such a great post! I have really been trying to get into running, mainly becasue so many other people are. Its been so hard on my knees but I just keep pushing myself into it. I do love the feeling it gives me, but this post reminds me that there are more important things to remember. I LOVE the way yoga makes me feel and I need to focus on those feelings..both physically and mentally. You are the best and I am so lucky to have found your blog. You look fabulous by the way! :)

Oh and dont forget to invite me when you and Abbie hike the Utah trails! :)

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 25, 2009 at 8:38 pm

Elizabeth,
You better join me and Abbie on those Utah trails! :)

RunTOFinish April 25, 2009 at 5:51 am

i have to say the good thing about my recent injury was it helped me to learn a lot of what you are saying.. at the same time I really love running. so now it’s definitely more balanced. I don’t need 60 miles a week and i actually enjoy yoga. very true my arms look better!

elise April 25, 2009 at 7:26 am

great post. i love cardio so much, but i know my body wont hold out forever, so i guess im going to have to get into some other form of working out…i think yoga has been on my to-do list for 5 years now, and a perpetual new years resolution in addition…one of these days…

Andrea@WellnessNotes April 25, 2009 at 8:26 am

What a great post! I think it’s so important to evaluate why we exercise and what kind of exercise/how much we do once in a while. I think it’s really easy to get stuck doing something that’s not truly healthy…

I haven’t done yoga for years, but I’m planning on getting back into it. Your post gave me a little extra push… :)

the dainty pig April 25, 2009 at 8:30 am

wonderful, beautiful, and so honest. Thank you so much for sharing! I totally relate to most of your post, and have also found that switching to a less cardio based (running, soccer, etc.) more yoga lifestyle has been very beneficial! And it is still hard for me to take an extra day off yoga, but this post helps to inspire me even more to listen to my body! you are awesome!

Dori April 25, 2009 at 9:59 am

Fantastic post, Heather. I am just starting to try to get into running, but it is because I love being outside and would love to be abel to just run! I am guilty of working out to eat though, and as much as I love spin I also know that that is a motivating factor behind it. I never did get into yoga but I am starting to love all these Lotte Berk method classes I’ve been taking (Physique57, Core Fusion, Transfigure) and I do believe that these are my way of increasing strength and cutting back on cardio. I have already considered putting ah old on my gym membership to do one of those studios full time. And cutting back on cardio BIG TIME. We will see!

Your arms look AMAZING.

Jillian April 25, 2009 at 4:11 pm

I just love this Heather…Love your honesty, your insight and the way you can put your feelings (most of the time my feelings too) into words so perfectly. I am struggling with some of the same as I ease back into running from this beast of an injury. Don’t want to do too much, but want to feel part of the group again after not for so long. Doesn’t really help getting my own personal perspective working at a running store:). But i am loving the yoga and am looking forward to doing it more. Trying to get there 2-3 days a week. I found a teacher I really love…just feel connected to her, always walk out of her classes feeling whipped, but totally revived. And funny thing…she came in to buy trail shoes today and she was saying how she really wants to be a runner…so i offered to take her out on a run on tuesday! Total role reversal huh!? Anywhoo…I am also thinking of you today because I just had the best protein pancakes!! Yum!…4 egg whites, 3/4 scoop vanilla whey, 1 heaping spoonful of cottage cheese…whisked together…made 2 cakes and put white choc pb and vanilla yogurt in between the two and on top…totally felt like a food adventurist (like you) and I loved it! So, thank you! :) Thanks for being you!

psychoj1 April 25, 2009 at 6:09 pm

Thanks so much for this post! My love for yoga is growing and growing and your such an inspiration. P.S This is my first time commenting and I just ADORE your blog!
<3 jess :)
xxx

Sally April 25, 2009 at 9:11 pm

That’s such a great story and I’m glad you were able to realize what’s best for your body and switch to yoga. You are very inspirational!

Emily April 25, 2009 at 10:36 pm

I’m not going to repeat things that have been said already, but this post made me smile.

http://eatingchalk.wordpress.com

luckytastebuds April 26, 2009 at 12:36 am

Heather, this is an incredibly honest, candid, and yet REAL post that I am sure so many people struggle with. Thank you for writing about your story and what you have learned from those experiences. The part about working out giving you the extra room to eat more is only human I think, and you shouldn’t have to think too much or feel guilty about admitting that. Nevertheless, thank you for sharing that!! I love love love food too, but I think you don’t give yourself enough credit for just enjoying challenging yourself. I truly believe that when you push yourself during a workout, you release more endorphins. :P

I am personally not a runner, and have never been one. Sometimes, I do feel left out because SO many people are runners, especially the blog world. However, I’ve found my own niche in other sports, and I’m so relieved to know that a role model like you teach others like us other outlets (apart from running) to live healthy happy lives. :) I love your blog!!! Keep doin what you’re doing

Samantha April 26, 2009 at 1:56 am

Very inspiring and shows there is hope! I’ve been struggling with a few issues I won’t go into here. But long story short my body isn’t responding to healthy eating and exercise and I too feel that need to keep pushing on, having long hard workouts, and am not seeing any fruits of that labor. But my yoga time is wonderful and I find myself craving more and just wishing I could squeeze it in!

Thanks!

Kath April 26, 2009 at 6:12 am

Wonderful post – and awesome arms!!!

Ruby April 26, 2009 at 9:32 am

AWESOME post. Really, truly inspiring.

heather April 26, 2009 at 9:01 pm

as someone who is absolutely falling for yoga, and trying to become a healthier human being while losing the remaining 25 of the 40 pounds i gained last year, AND the daughter of a former marathoner & current track & cross country coach…this was a huge, huge relief.

i can do this, right?

thank you. so much.

Jenn (eating bender) April 27, 2009 at 8:11 am

Hey Heather,

This post was really eye opening. I knew before I read it how much joy you had been getting from yoga, and that you had realized that the gym is not necessary for a fulfilling and healthy lifestyle. But for some reason, the words you wrote in your email really made it come to life for me. To be honest, after reading your post, I still have a voice inside of me that says that I need to go to the gym and I need to do cardio – but there is also a part of me that is screaming that I need to broaden my horizons.

I appreciate your honesty, as always, and I am bookmarking this post to refer back to on those days where I’m being too obsessive. Perhaps it will encourage me to skip the gym and do a pilates or yoga DVD instead. Thank you :)

ttfn300 April 27, 2009 at 12:37 pm

loved this post heather! i really gotta try to get more yoga into my life, even if it’s with polly’s videos every day :)

damn, look at those guns!!

gina (fitnessista) April 27, 2009 at 1:24 pm

what an amazing, honest, and much-needed post for many of us to read.. including myself
even though i have a healthy relationship with food, i know that i do WAY too much cardio sometimes -especially with teaching aerobics and running/elliptical/weights/yoga on top of everything. the thing is, i LOVE it. it’s like i can’t get enough of those cardio-related endorphins. i just wish more than anything that we had a bikram studio in valdosta because as much as i love dave farmar, taking yoga in a studio is so much more fun.
thanks for reminding me that it’s ok to relax a little and that i don’t NEED all of that cardio. because even though deep down i know that, hearing it from someone else makes a huge difference
nice guns, btw ;)
have a great day!!!

Sarah April 27, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Thank you for this post.

You don’t know how much.

Sarah April 28, 2009 at 1:33 pm

This is such an encouraging post! Thank you for reminding me why I exercise.

joelygolightly June 21, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Amazing post! Thank you so much for writing this… as a runner and part-time yogi myself, I could identify with so much that you said here. :) Sometimes it just helps to hear what you’ve been thinking reinforced by someone else who’s actually been through it as well.

Jessica August 2, 2009 at 9:23 am

What a fantastic perspective! Thank you so much for voicing what so many of us “runaholics” need to hear.

I have never had an issue with food; I’ve always paid attention to what my body wants and I eat whatever that may be when my body wants it. My 40-50 mile a week habit is for the fun of it. In spite of a pretty healthy relationship with food and exercise, I take a month or two off of serious running every year and try something new – kickboxing, rowing, etc. – usually something that my friends are into so that I don’t get discouraged starting out. This year it was spinning. These breaks have made me feel strong and capable and given me something to do on those days that I just don’t feel like running!

Maybe yoga will be my next break activity… :)

Alix August 30, 2009 at 9:06 am

Very interesting post. While I thankfully no longer struggle with “purging” through exercise, I have been down that path before and there lies madness! I actually look about 2.5 years off any kind of exercise because I didn’t think I could ever have a healthy relationship with it. I walked my dog, and that was it. When I started running again I did so very carefully, giving myself permission to take regular off days, and slowly built back up. Three marathons later, I’m obsessed, but I think it’s as healthy as an obsession can be. I eat to fuel my running, I don’t run to eat. I take regular easy days or off days because I know they help my running longterm. It’s all about listening to your body, and those of us with disordered eating and exercise habits have a really hard time doing that!

Admittedly, I fall into the trap of thinking that an activity can only be a good workout if it’s cardio, preferably running. That’s something I’d like to move away from. I’ve been loving the hip-opening poses I’ve found to really stretch out, and I really need to start a regular practice. From what I hear, though, running and serious yoga practice are sort of diametrically opposed, but I can do my best!

Anyway, great food for thought. Thanks!

Emily (The Experimentarian) October 30, 2009 at 6:58 am

Wow! thank you so much for this post! I am sure many of your readers have similar stories, but I am in recovery from an eating disorder combined with compulsive exercise. Against counseling, I still exercise 5 days a week because I am so terrified of gaining weight. I carry a vision with me of a “normal” person, in which I will not obsess about exercising and food every single moment. It sounds like you have worked hard to achieve a healthy balance, and I really admire that. I am filing this post away in the forefront of my mind to help me grow accustomed to the idea that less can be more. Thank you again! xoxo

Heather Eats Almond Butter October 30, 2009 at 8:45 am

Emily, We all struggle to be “normal”. Trust me, I still have my days, but I’m doing so much better. It just takes letting go and trusting our bodies. I’m glad this post helped you, and thank you for the encouraging comment. Enjoy your weekend. :)

Dorry March 28, 2011 at 4:15 pm

I love reading your candid thoughts. I just ran a half marathon yesterday, but I’m ready to give my body (knees!) a break from running. Love the lululemon shout out – I’m starting work there TOMORROW! Perfect timing to focus on finding a balance with running/yoga since we are encouraged to try all the yoga studios in Dallas. I’m excited to find the right fit for me. :)

HEAB March 28, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Dorry,
I hear Lululemon is an amazing company to work for – so excited for you! :)

Pamela March 28, 2011 at 4:40 pm

I just stumbled across this entry (hah, welcome to the party 2 years late!), and I really really really love it. I am passionate about both yoga and running, epecially the blissed out feeling I get from both, and I’m working at looking at them as stress-relieving, centering, and calming practices, rather than a means to an end. (Weight loss, of course.)

As a local gal, what hot studio did you attend for 30 days straight? Hot Yoga? Is there something similar happening today, in 2011? I’m a big fan of a lot of the vinyasa studios around town, but I’ve not been to a hot yoga class since college. Any tips would be appreciated!

HEAB March 28, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Pamela,
Better late than never. :)

The hot yoga workshop was at Hot Yoga Nashville on Eliston Place…gosh, 2 years ago this month. Most of their classes were Bikram yoga, but for a few years, one of the owners taught a 30-day vinyasa workshop. However, it’s now under new ownership, and I’m not sure what kind of classes the studio currently offers. I do know that Kali Yuga offers heated vinyasa classes – over on the East side. Great little space!

*Andrea* March 28, 2011 at 8:45 pm

great post!! love amazon! i don’t know why i haven’t signed up for prime yet… i also am not obsessed with sushi like every other girl i know. great to hear about your transition from running to yoga! i am soooo unflexible and would love to get into yoga. it’s hard to make it to classes though when i work until 7 or 8pm, but i need to start those podcasts or yoga online videos.

Caitlin April 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Hi Heather,

I just discovered your blog, and this post made me very happy! I ran ran ran too for many years…and I do still love running. However, due to schedules, etc. I find it easier to fit yoga and walking walking walking into my routine these days. To my surprise, I still feel awesome and fit…maybe even more so. Yoga is an amazing form of exercise…and it is good for both the mind & body!

Katherina @ Zephyr Runs July 12, 2011 at 6:23 am

You’re such a source of inspiration, Heather! I love this post and love you for it.

cameo August 11, 2011 at 8:00 am

Great post – came via your “7 Links” post. It’s interesting because I battled a serious exercise addiction for years (think, lost menstrual cycle) and I truly believed I had to push my body every day or else I would get fat. I took about 2 years “off” (yoga and core work) and now am just easing back into running, though not nearly as much as I used to. I have been reading Gary Taube’s book, “Why We Get Fat” and he has so many arguments for why exercise makes people eat more, period. He posits that it leads to weight gain more than weight loss…have you read? I don’t know where I stand on it, but it certainly is interesting!

HEAB August 11, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Cameo,
Always good to hear from others who relate to this post, and there a lot of us out there. So please know that you are not alone. I haven’t read Why We Get Fat, but I have read excerpts from Good Calories Bad Calories – could not get through the whole thing as it reads like one giant research paper. I do agree with many points that Taubes makes, and speaking from my own experience, I will say that my appetite was out of control back when I ran – totally had the “runner’s puff”, and I blame all the carbs/sugar I was inhaling to fuel my runs. I look and feel so much better without all that stuff in my life. I wrote a post about it here: http://heathereatsalmondbutter.com/2009/10/05/a-cardio-update/

Nadia February 18, 2013 at 8:08 am

Wow Heather, I am so happy I stumbled across your blog looking for a recipe to make almond butter :)

I’ve just been diagnosed with hypertension and high cholesterol so I really need to eat better to improve my health :(

I’ve always been a couch-potato and absolutely hate sweating! Yet I started hatha yoga 2 months ago to help me with my breathing (I’m asthmatic)…so I’m a newbie :) I have to confess it’s been hard for me, and I almost gave up before I even got started. For some reason I didn’t truly throw in the towel and kept coming back it; only now a couple months down the line, am I starting to appreciate this form of activity. I still suck at most of the poses but love tree pose, I even fold my laundry in that pose! First thing I do now when I get up for work is a 10-minute routine in my pj’s 5 times a week, and I’ve also just taken up belly-dance which I do 3 nights a week. My sincere hope is that I can adopt an eating plan that will complement my new-active lifestyle and keep down that cholesterol level.

Thank you so much for a very inspiring blog ^^.

HEAB February 18, 2013 at 8:39 am

Hi Nadia,
I’m glad you found me, and I’m happy to hear you’re enjoying your yoga practice. It took a few years for me to really fall in love with my practice as I never thought yoga was “enough”, but it truly is. Sadly, I haven’t been doing as much yoga lately. With three kids 2 and under, it’s hard for me to get to the studio, and I can’t seem to find my groove and do yoga at home. However, there is no reason I shouldn’t be able to do a 10 minute routine in the morning in my PJ’s. So, thank you for inspiring ME!

Best of luck with your eating plan – sounds like you’re on a good path. Just keep moving forward, and you will get there.

Thanks for reading. Oh, and I LOVE that you do tree pose while folding laundry. That made me smile. :)

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 15 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: