I am so excited to talk about the 9th principle of Intuitive Eating. The thing is I LOVE exercise. It makes me feel so good to move my body, in a variety of different ways. I’ve written an entire post on how exercise changed my life. But I didn’t always love exercise and that’s because I was doing it wrong. This principle will teach you how to do it right.
When I say doing exercise wrong, I mean that doing it for the wrong reasons. More often than not, exercise is looked at as a means to achieve weight loss, or get abs, or get the Kim Kardashian booty. But those motivations to exercise are fleeting and when you don’t immediately see the results you feel defeated and the motivation diminishes. This is why so many people, myself included for years, get excited about an exercise program go hard for a few weeks and then fall off the bandwagon and don’t see the inside of the gym for months. But the key to finding bliss in exercise and maintaining fitness for life is shifting your mindset.
Find The Right Motivations
If you maintain a consistent exercise routine you may lose weight or see changes in your body – but you also may not. But if you’re exercising with the right motivations that won’t matter.
Everyone knows that exercise is good for our health. It reduces blood pressure and cholesterol. Plus it helps maintain muscle mass as we age so we can remain active and take care of ourselves. But the long term effects aren’t always as motivating as short-term results.
An immediate effect you can see from exercise is its role on your mental health. I know personally when I exercise regularly I feel less stressed, more energetic, happier, more self-confident and have an increase in mental clarity. Knowing how good exercise makes me feel easily keeps me motivated to continue.
It’s not always easy to recognize the mental health benefits so it may help to journal as you start. Journal your feelings before a workout and notice how they change and how you felt after your workout. Then pay attention to how you feel over the week. Has your energy, tiredness, or stress level changed?
Find Joy in Movement
Exercise should not be punishment. If you dread going to the gym, or for a run, or to your exercise class – stop doing it! Exercise should be something that you enjoy doing. It should be fun. Now that’s not to say there aren’t days that you don’t feel like sitting on the couch and not heading out the door to exercise but there’s a difference between feeling like that once in a while and feeling like you’re dreading heading out the door every single time.
To find joy in movement you may have to take a step back and think about what you like to do. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what everyone else around you is doing or what’s popular at the moment but it may not be what you like. Just because everyone is doing CrossFit doesn’t mean you have to too.
Instead, ask yourself a few questions. Do you prefer working out alone, with a friend, or in a group? What type of movement do you like best? What time of day do you like working out – and what time works within your schedule? Find the exercise that fits your criteria and most importantly that you enjoy doing. There are so many different ways to exercise that there truly is something out there for everyone.
So what does this all have to do with intuitive eating and why is it part of the principles? Because intuitive eating revolves around the core concept of respecting your body. Our bodies are meant to move, not be sedentary and with the multitude of physical and mental benefits exercise provides, it’s a necessary part of respecting your body.
Have you managed to shift your mindset around exercise away from physical appearance? What benefits have you noticed in your life from exercise?
Join the Wild Workout Wednesday Linkup!