Sweating for low stress, not small size


Anyone who’s watched “Legally Blonde” knows that exercise releases endorphins, endorphins make people happy, and happy people just don’t kill their spouses. They just don’t. Well, Ms. Elle Woods, I’m starting to see your point. Saturday night, after a long, stressful day, I set out to sweat out my emotions and boy, did it work.

I constantly preach about eating healthy, then go home to secretly binge on Trader Joe’s dark chocolate because I feel that’s the easiest way to relax after the stress of schoolwork and personal issues. What I’ve begun to realize however, is that this really isn’t the best thing for my body. Sure, the sugar and rich flavor give me a momentary high, but waking up the next morning I feel just as sluggish and tired as the day before. It’s time to find a more permanent fix.

Working out used to be my fuel and my salvation. Sophomore year, I went to the gym almost every day, even if it meant going at 11 p.m. because of my busy schedule. I valued my health and I was more relaxed than I have been in a long time. Now, two years later, I’m better at finding excuses than finding the motivation to lace up my sneakers, pull my ponytail tight, and face 45 minutes of self-inflicted ass-kicking. However, I now realize that I may need to change my mentality, listen to Nike, and just do it.

San Diego is full of beach-ready bodies, health food fiends, and juice cleanses. The pressure to be healthy and fit is overwhelming, and the rebellious side of me wants to criticize it as harmful societal influence on self-image. Do I really need to have bronzed skin and a tight bikini body to be considered attractive? My height, curves, and porcelain skin definitely don’t help me fit in with the Southern California crowd, but they do make me who I am, beautiful in my own way.

That being said, it’s time to get past my critique of society and realize that exercising for my health, mental as well as physical, is important. Working out is something you should do for yourself, not for others. I don’t want to fit in with the blonde Brandy Melville girls that populate San Diego; I want to lower my stress and be able to smile through the sweat.

Do it for the endorphins, the energy, and the cheat days. Because let’s be real, that dark chocolate is too good to give up.