According to Dictionary.com, spontaneous means: “
Sure, some things do require meticulous planning, such as vacations, or moving into a new house, or maybe even studying for a huge exam; yet we often plan the small things that really shouldn’t even require a lot of our thought. People feel the need to plan workouts, to plan meals, to plan snacks, etc. etc. And while this may work for some people, it most certainly doesn’t work for me. And that is okay. Different strokes for different folks, right?
My experience with planning workouts and planning meals has led to unneeded stress in my life. It has led to obsessions surrounding exercise and food and has caused me to go to the extremes in these areas. Planning workouts and meals in the past has caused me to isolate myself from social situations, feel miserable if I missed the workout that I had planned for myself the day before or feel like a failure if I didn’t eat what I had planned for myself to and instead maybe went out to dinner; my experience with planning food and planning exercise has just led me to be overall unhappiness and a very stressed, sad demeanor.
With planning comes the loss of spontaneity, something I find to be very important in life, and something that has been crucial to allow myself to grow in areas of recovery as well as food and exercise freedom. If we are planning every single workout we want to do and every single thing to eat, how are we learning to listen to our bodies? How are we learning to be intuitive? How do we know that in two days we will actually want to do that spinning class; what if in two days you really just want to sleep in instead? Planning takes away from something that I believe to be essential in life and essential in recovery:that being learning to be in tune with your body and what it has to tell you; learning to fully trust your body as it is such a powerful tool. But if we meal prep all of our meals for the week and plan ahead; how are we truly supposed to listen to our bodies and honor our cravings? Yes, I understand that meal prep is necessary for some people who have busy lives, but I also understand that those who struggle with disordered eating or perfectionism can take meal prep and planning to a whole new level, just as I did in the past.
Spontaneity with food means going out to eat if a friend or family member asks you to and accepting the change with plans; yet most importantly not freaking out because you did not know earlier on in the day that you would be going out to eat. Spontaneity with food means craving an ice cream cone and going out with friends to get one. Spontaneity means maybe stopping at a fast food restaurant while on a road trip and just going with the flow because it is the easiest thing for you and whoever you are with to do. Spontaneity means removing the power that we give to food, removing the control that we feel we must have around food to be “healthy” or “stay on track.” Spontaneity means feeling a sense of freedom around food as each and every individual out there should; as no one should be trapped by food rules and the expectations that we place amongst ourselves-that is not living life to the fullest.
Spontaneity with exercise means resting even if you had planned to go for that 3 mile run this morning because you are simply exhausted. Spontaneity with exercise maybe means going to a yoga class instead of a spinning class because that is what you truly want to do, and that is what will feel best for you and your body. Spontaneity maybe means going on a long walk along the beach with friends and maybe coming home and feeling exhausted, so instead of more cardio you just lift some weights because that is what you want to do. We shouldn’t have to meticulously plan every single workout of the week- our bodies know best and can tell us what to do; our bodies are amazing, incredible tools with both exercise and food and we should trust them more. We need to stop complicating the small stuff; and most importantly, we need to be spontaneous.
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them-that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
You tell me:
Do you struggle with being spontaneous? Do you wish you could go with the flow more? What were your experiences with meal&exercise planning?
Thank you for reading, have a wonderful rest of your day!