Intuitive eating principle 9, Movement – feel the difference, helps you to realise that you do not need a gruelling exercise routine, and instead you can find movement that you do genuinely love.
A lot of people, when they’re in the dieting zone, use exercise as a means of losing additional weight. It’s either a way to earn extra calories, or burn some calories, or it’s a way to earn extra points, or syns, or whatever you’re counting at any given time.
Very quickly, that exercise becomes a chore. It’s something you have to do, not something you want to do. All too often people feel that they have to drag themselves out for a run, go to the gym, going to a class that they hate. Let’s just get this straight, exercise is not a punishment. You should enjoy it. You never have to earn your food or burn calories. Your exercise should be complementary to what you do in the rest of your life.
And once you have spent some time working on the other principles of intuitive eating I think you’re in a great place to start thinking about your relationship with exercise.
‘Movement’ is a nicer way to think of it. That’s why this principle is called Movement – Feel The Difference, and not Exercise – Feel The Difference!
Movement is good for you. It’ll keep you supple, it’ll keep your muscles in a good functioning condition, it’ll keep your bones healthy, it’ll help with circulation, it’ll help you regulate your energy levels, it’ll help your sleep.
Movement should be done for the sheer love of it. It should be something you can’t wait to do. Something that you do because you enjoy the way that it makes you feel. You look forward to going. You look forward to doing it.
Do you remember when you were little and physical stuff was fun. Maybe you used to jump on a trampoline? Or when you used to dance around your bedroom with the hairbrush as a microphone? Do you still dance around the house when that music is on, Or has that disappeared from your life?
That’s what we miss when we’re an adult and we’re exercising. Where did that joy go? The fun movement has gone. You’ve swapped that out for something like a sweaty gym class or a spin session.
Life is too short to spend time doing things that you don’t enjoy. Find a way to move that you do enjoy. One man’s pleasure is gonna be another man’s torture, but the world would be a dull place if we all liked to do the same things, wouldn’t it?
You shouldn’t be uncomfortable in the space while you’re doing it either. Lots of people would like going to the gym if they could just stop feeling like people are watching and criticising them when they’re there. The reality is, those people are probably not watching you, they’re probably not criticising you, but I know that that’s hard to push aside if it’s in your head.
Whatever the reality is, if you feel awkward, if you feel uncomfortable and you can’t get past that, then you’re not in the right space for you.
Go and find a friendly class where you are welcomed with a smile when you walk through the door. Go jogging with a friend that you love to catch up with. Do some YouTube videos with your partner or your kids if they’re up for a bit of a laugh and a bit of fun movement with you.
Or do something on your own if you like your own space. If you just want some down time and you want to just find your way through this movement on your own with nobody around you, fine, do that.
But find something that you love to do. Something that you’re excited to start. Something you’re excited to go to.
If the by-product of that is movement and health benefits, amazing, that’s great, but it shouldn’t be the main reason that you choose your movement.
Also, it doesn’t have to be overly strenuous, or make you feel like you’ve been trampled on by a herd of elephants the next day, to be beneficial. You can do things that are beneficial without it hurting.
You do not have to have that pain in your muscles days afterwards for it to Be health inducing. Ideally what you need to do is something that gets your blood pumping, gets the heart rate up just a little for the health benefits.
Find a way to move that makes you feel fantastic. It should make you feel empowered and strong mentally and physically.
Walk, dance, run, get a skipping rope, get a hula hoop, ride your bike, play with your kids, lift stuff, breathe, stretch, connect. There’s lots of ways to get that into your life in a way that suits you.
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