The Psychology Behind Exercise


A year ago when I lost ten pounds, the only reason I lost the weight was to look good for my husband. If you are losing weight for the sake of another person and not for your own good, you might unwittingly become resentful. Thankfully I nipped it in the bud, but I saw it coming. I’m telling you my story as a warning, so that it doesn’t happen to you.

After a long homeschool day, the last thing we mothers want to do is to go to the gym, especially when it’s dinnertime. But you can’t exercise on a full stomach, and you shouldn’t really exercise later in the evening if you expect to go to sleep. So the only time to fit in going to the gym is immediately after your husband gets home from work.

I had to eat a small snack, and I prepared dinner. My husband came home to a nice dinner that he ate with the children. (I warmed mine up later when I came home from the gym.) As soon as he arrived home, we passed each other like two ships in the night. A quick kiss, and off I went. I already had my running shoes on before he got home.

The seconds ticked by on the treadmill. I would watch the numbers go up, wishing the time would go faster. Sometimes the music was so loud it gave me a headache. Some guy on the treadmill next to me tried to pick up on me. I angrily looked away and ignored him. He kept pestering me, and I almost switched treadmills. I wore the ugliest, frumpiest clothes on purpose, and couldn’t he see I had a wedding ring? It just made me mad.

Tick, tick, tick. Sometimes I would do spurts to run faster until I thought I couldn’t bear another step, and I would make it slower again. Sweat trickled into my eyes. I hate sweating. It makes me feel sticky and disgusting, especially that time of month. I suddenly got upset that I even needed to do this. Why do guys care so much about women’s looks? And I know that my husband loves me no matter what size I am, but there is a difference in his eyes when I look really good. There just is. God made them that way I suppose. But for some reason I was mad. I thought of all the hours being flushed down the toilet, running on this stupid treadmill.

When I got home, my husband had been taking care of the kids. Whenever your husband takes care of the kids, he subconsciously thinks you owe him a favor for giving you a break. Really? Excuse me, but I did not just have a break. If he had watched the kids while I went out to spend time with other women, I would have come home happy and refreshed, and oddly, I wouldn’t care if he thought I owed him, because I would have something to give. I would have felt refreshed and happy. Not depleted, sticky, sweaty, and like I had just forced myself to do something I hated for his sake.

I don’t know if I ever even told my husband any of this. I would come home and go straight to the shower, and ask God to give me energy for my husband, because I had given my all at the gym, and I had nothing left. But “my all” at the gym was for my husband, so he had already gotten it. And now he expected me to be pleased that he had watched the kids. I wanted to cry.

I recognized the sin of resentment, and I threw it out. I reached upward to God, and He gave me strength. After a shower, I actually felt better. Maybe it was the positive effects of exercise. Supernaturally I was able to enjoy my husband during the evening, and he never even knew about my struggle.

However, a year later when I gained back the weight, I just didn’t have the oomph to lose it again. I just didn’t feel like it. I know, that makes me a lousy wife, but I was juggling so many things that I just didn’t want to add something I hated.

Look, girls, I hate exercising just as badly as you do. I want to give up just the same. So if I can do this, so can you. Your husband will be pleased. Your husband chose you from all the other women on the face of the earth, and he works his butt off just to help you stay home so you can homeschool your kids. He is a treasure. He loves you. Go ahead and give him a present of a better you.

And don’t just do it for him, or resentment will rear its ugly head. You have to do it for you. I hate to admit this, but I actually feel better after I’ve exercised. Write a list of all the benefits of exercise, and post it up somewhere so that you can see it.

Think of it this way: if you are carting around a ten-pound sack of flour all day, wouldn’t you be tired? Drop the sack of flour, for you own sake.

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6 Responses to “The Psychology Behind Exercise”

  1. Kathryn says:

    I appreciate your honesty. I think a lot of us feel this way, but don’t think it through or realize all the implications.

  2. I think I’ve found that even when I do “good” things to please my husband, I ultimately have to do what pleases the Lord and for His benefit. That way, if I don’t get the human response I hope for/anticipate, my joy isn’t dependent on my husband. I have to really check my attitude to make sure that in the process of trying to do well for my man, I don’t make him wish he was single again! 🙂

  3. Thank you for your honesty.

    I know it may come across as selfish, but I eat healthy and exercise for me and God. God created me and gave me this body. It is on loan, sort to speak, and so I want to keep it as healthy as I am able to.

    When I am healthy, fit, and feeling good, all the blessings and rewards I feel spill over into my relationships with my husband and my children. But because I am doing this first and foremost for me and God, there is no resentment or guilt… Just grace and appreciation and joy.

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