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Exercise is Not a Punishment

Exercise is not a punishment

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Exercise should not be a punishment.

How many times have you said something like this to yourself

How many minutes of cardio do you think you’d have to perform to burn off the calories from three cookies?

“I ate too much this weekend, so I have to work it off this week with extra cardio.”

“I drank too much last night, so I need to go to the gym twice today.”

“You ate it, now negate it!”



You are not alone

If you’ve ever found yourself saying or thinking something along these lines, I promise you—you’re not alone. I’m sure we’ve all done it a time or two before and obsessed over what we’ve eaten thinking we can just workout extra hard the next day.

Come on now, quit obsessing over it and making exercise your PUNISHMENT for “overdoing” it a time or two.

My family used to say, “Oh, you know if you eat that you’ll have to work it all off double tomorrow.” UMMM, no! I don’t look at it that way.(of course I certainly used to but that’s not my way of thinking anymore)  Exercise is NOT a punishment and I won’t obsess over things that way.

As I write this, I realize that writing it out makes the insanity of it all too real—and that’s the way it is with me.  I write things like this to tell bits of my own story and by doing so, it often brings me to the truth. My truth in this instance is realizing that this is no way to live BUT, so many of us find ourselves in this vicious cycle.



I used to think that if I worked out until the sun came out, I could eat whatever I wanted. I also used to think that I HAD to do MORE exercise if I overate. SERIOUSLY!! I was pretty much only working out to move the scale OR as a punishment for something I ate. That’s how I looked at it.

I hated exercise

Exercise became something I started to HATE! I didn’t want to look at exercise as something that was a punishment. It should have been something I looked forward to, something I enjoyed and something that made me feel GOOD!

Moving your body should never be done as punishment and you do not have to earn your food. Exercise should be a celebration of what your body can do, not a punishment for what you ate. Exercising is a way to show your body how much you appreciate it.


Exercise is a blessing


I workout because I know it’s good to move my body. It allows me to clear my mind, enjoy the company at the gym, I enjoy how I feel after I workout, and most of all, for some strange reason, I like the challenge of it all. It allows me to see how strong I am and how far I’ve come in the process of ENJOYING my workouts. I exercise to improve the quality of my life and to see just what my body is capable of. Let me tell you, that’s quite a rush now!!

You should ENJOY your workouts

They should make you feel grateful and powerful. Workout because you WANT to, not because you feel like you HAVE to.


Exercise to improve your health,to feel empowered, to clear your mind, to challenge yourself and to have fun...never use it as a punishment


Remember, if you feel you relate to this struggle, you aren’t alone—far from it. You are a human being with emotions, and you are not alone in your struggles. Seems the diet mentality has us thinking we NEED to workout to burn of fat or some “Crazy” thing like that. Again, as a sort of punishment for what you ate. Totally the wrong way to look at it.

There are plenty of women in my Healthy Living community who can relate to this type of struggle, and who can understand your pain. We know this is a journey, a daily practice—this type of healing doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, commitment, courage, and most of all, a willingness to give yourself grace. It’s a full mindset shift and some changing of habits. Using fitness as a punishment, is nothing to be ashamed of, or hate yourself for.

We might get mad at ourselves and think we NEED to do extra cardio because of our “bad” behavior—but the truth is that we deserve to live full, vibrant, empowering lives, because we are worthy of just that.

Hang in there, friends; you’ve got this.






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Hey there, I'm Melanie. I help women DITCH THE DIET MENTALITY and reclaim their health through mindful eating, hormone balancing, stress management, and digestive healing.

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