Day 9 - Move and Feel the Difference

Time to talk about.....EXERCISE.
Or as I like to call it, MOVEMENT.
What can I say? I'm a new-age hippie at heart.

But first, we need to check in on yesterday.
I'm dying to know: how did it feel to contemplate the thought that your body might be fine, exactly as she is?? Were you resistant or were you into it?

It's definitely easier to love a body that is behaving (eating healthy food, running 5K a day, fitting into tiny short-shorts, etc).....in the same way that it's easier to love a child (or a pet ) that is behaving. But that's not real love. Real love is unconditional. Real love is accepting your child, even when she's been in the principal's office FOUR TIMES this month, and it's understanding that even when your body is at her worst, she deserves care and respect.

Body love means accepting yourself as you, imperfectly, are and attending to your physical and emotional needs without ever needing to justify why you deserve it.

Alright....moving on.
{pun intended}

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Day 9 - MOVE - and Feel the Difference.

When it comes to movement, most women I work with fall into two categories:

1. They don't move at all. Either because they only exercise while dieting/eating well and when they feel their food is not perfect they throw exercise out the window OR they've over-exercised themselves into complete exhaustion (see #2).

2. They exercise in an anxious, compulsive way. In this case, exercise is very much about earning food or burning it off. It's punitive and prescribed and - like the unreasonable rules we often have around food - unreasonable exercise rules typically exist. For years, I felt that the only thing I could count as exercise was a 1hour+ long run. NOTHING ELSE COUNTED. I'd sacrifice social hiking or walks or swimming at the beach to get that run in. My other, extreme, belief at that time was that the only way I could eat was if I ran - so my life REVOLVED around running. I ran myself into the ground. I had a permanently swollen ankle that HUNG over my shoes (cute), bursitis, chronic knee problems, and I looked ten years older than I am now.

When I finally stopped running....I stopped for a LONG TIME. I was just so tired (see #1).

Thankfully, I found my way back to exercise in a healthy way - because movement is SO FUNDAMENTAL to this process. Movement connects you to your body, it makes you feel more energetic, improves your mood and motivation. The benefits of movement span SO many areas of your life and it's a great first step toward getting touch with your body's needs/wants - especially when it feels too hard to start with food.

Why it's dangerous to link exercise with weight-loss:

  • When linked to weight-loss, people tend to crash-exercise in the same way they crash-diet. It's all or nothing, on the wagon/off the wagon exercising. Women start when they are feeling motivated by the start of a new food plan and then abandon exercise (and all it's many benefits) when the diet falls apart.
  • Even when they are enjoying exercise and it's not linked to food, many women will stop exercise when they aren't getting the weight results they want.
  • When exercise is for the purpose of weight-loss, women begin to ignore their body signals around movement in the same way they do around food while dieting - they will exercise themselves to injury and/or a hatred of exercise
  • Studies have shown that exercise does NOT often lead to weight loss.....so, not a great idea to link those two concepts!!!!


The major point here is this:
When done right, exercise is a highly enjoyable way to spend a piece of your day, with a number of incredible health benefits - physically, mentally, and emotionally. When you uncouple exercise and weight you are free to choose movement that feels joyful and fun and you can reap ALL the health benefits of that movement without getting discouraged about whether or not your body is shifting the way you think it should.

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Homework

It's time to get out of exercise mentality! (diet mentality's evil, equally disturbed, twin).
Let go of all your preconceived ideas about what exercise SHOULD be and start to find ways to move your body that you actually enjoy.
I want you to experiment with movement for FUN.
Not for steps or calories or to beat a record. JUST FOR FUN.

Ideas:

  • Yin Yoga
  • Pilates (on a reformer is my fav!!!)
  • A dance class
  • Swim in the ocean/lake
  • Walk with a podcast or favourite playlist
  • Jog with a friend
  • A Crossfit class
  • HITT training at home
  • Try a new movement APP: I'm loving AAPTIV right now.
  • Rent a paddleboard
  • A barre class
  • Play tennis
  • Bootcamp
  • A long slow bike ride around town
  • Walk to work
  • Walk at lunch
  • Walk anytime, anywhere, anyplace - it's cheap, convenient, and relaxing

I want you to think about finding exercise that you look forward to, movement you crave, you enjoy before, during, and after doing it......instead of just when it's done.