One of the 10 Intuitive Eating principles is gentle exercise.
“Forget militant exercise. Just get active and feel the difference. Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie-burning effect of exercise. If you focus on how you feel from working out, such as energized, it can make the difference between rolling out of bed for a brisk morning walk or hitting the snooze alarm.” -Evelyn Tribole
Now this one, I will be honest, it’s tricky for me because I’ve had an interesting relationship with exercise. Yes, I am a dietitian and a personal trainer, but I am also human and it has been interesting to watch my relationship with exercise over the years. If we fast forward to the first few days of the Coronavirus news coming to fruition it definitely brought on feelings of stress, anxiety, and the fear of the unknown. For me, during the first few days of social distancing, I didn’t leave my house much. I went for the occasional walk but a lot of my time was spent consuming content on my phone, thinking about how we are going to fully transition our business online, and all the other what-ifs that come with the unknown.
Now as we enter the second week of fully social distancing I’ve been able to build on my introspective awareness and say to myself ”what do I need right now?” Sitting at my computer hunched over working endlessly makes me feel fatigued, tired, and overwhelmed. So I turned my focus back to the basic principles of intuitive eating and asked myself “what movement am I currently implementing that feels good for my body?” To be honest it wasn’t much at all. So I started with walking… I am very blessed to live in Florida and to have very warm weather right now. So if you are reading this from a cold snowy state I apologize in advance.
As I would walk and listen to music and let the sunshine and warm air absorb into my skin, I noticed how much better I started to feel. I then noticed that community partners such as Titanium Yoga are offering classes streamed virtually. Even though this is such an easy setup, I noticed myself trying to make excuses of why I couldn’t log on or why I couldn’t fit a class in. Instead of becoming judgmental or shameful about the excuses that were popping into my head, I became curious. Why am I struggling to move my body so much? Why do I have this resistance to participate in physical activity? So I said screw it I have no reason not to sign up for this class. So my husband, my french bulldog, and I logged on at 7:15 a.m. and moved and flowed our bodies as the sun rose . My tight muscles were very achy… I kind of expected this after sitting in a chair for a week prior, but it truly felt good to be able to move my body.
Physical activity has always been one of the first things that I cut out when I get stressed or anxious, so it makes sense to me that I didn’t turn to physical activity when shit hit the fan with Coronavirus. I will say that adding movement back in has been very enlightening and very soothing during this time of unknown. This is not me telling you to go run 10 miles outside. This is not me telling you to order a weight bench off Amazon and become a professional bodybuilder while you are quarantined. This is simply me asking you a few questions about the movement that you are currently doing…
- What movement are you currently doing each day?
- If yes, do you enjoy doing that movement?
- Are you doing the movement because it feels good or because you’re trying to change the size of your body?
- If you are not currently engaging in movement, why do you think that is? (no shame, guilt, or judgment)
- If you are not currently engaging in movement, is there anything that sounds good to you, that you would be open to trying and evaluating how it makes you feel?
- What if we looked at movement as a celebration of what our body can do versus a punishment to burn calories and change the size of our body?
Need some ideas of movement that are fun and actually feel good? Here are some ideas:
- Go for a walk and listen to your favorite podcast or music
- Stream some free Youtube yoga videos or find a local studio that you enjoy offering virtual classes
- If you live somewhere warm, enjoy some nice stretches outside
- If you have equipment at home and are more advanced with your fitness, don’t be afraid to try something new. We have linked two of our favorite personal trainer accounts below:
Remember that rest is just as important as the exercise itself. New blog on ‘The Permission to Rest’ coming soon.
Do you relate to this blog? Do you feel like you need more support when it comes to your relationship with food, body, fitness?
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