Whether you are an intuitive eater or not you may be wondering, how does exercise fit into the world of anti diet and intuitive eating. In this episode we explore thoughts about movement, rest and how diet culture has influenced those ideas. I also give some practical steps you can take to right now to help you explore your own thoughts, beliefs and habits around exercise.

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Hey ladies, welcome to the health life and more for women podcast. It’s episode 102. Today I’m talking all about the E word. Exercise. All right, let’s do it. Welcome to the health life and more for women podcast. My name is Jennifer D’Amato a certified, intuitive eating counselor, coach, mom of four, lover of all things pink, and I want you to live your best health and your best life. I believe the way we can all do that is by finally walking away from diet culture by relearning what your body. Reconnecting with your body’s biological signals and redefining what health is on your terms. This show will shed some light on sneaky ways. Diet culture has infiltrated your thoughts, your family, and your wellbeing. My heart is that no matter the episode, you walk away feeling informed, inspired, and encouraged. 

So my clients know that I often will not use the word exercise within our work together. We really take that word out and replace it with the word movement. Why do we do this? Well, exercise really can have a negative connotation. Even the word workout is that one word, two words. I’ve seen it both. Doing a workout, going to work out, going to exercise. If you have a negative story with that, if there’s negative thoughts about your body, about what exercise has or has not done, it is like the E word. We don’t want to talk about it. So I often use the term movement, I mean, and that really does capture intuitive principles really well because there is a variety of ways you can move your body. And that, that movement is still exercise, right? It’s still some form of working out, but it can be that little tweak first of all, that you need. Like, okay, I’m going to move my body today feels different maybe then I am going to go exercise.

I mean, try it on for a moment. Say it to yourself. Does it feel different when you say I’m going to move my body compared to, I’m going to go work out? All right, maybe you’ve tried it on and you’re already like, okay I kind of see where you’re going, but maybe what’s important to you is not the language. But what’s important to you is breaking down how do I fit in this, this movement, this exercise, when I’m in the process of learning to be an intuitive eater. You know, you’ve already kind of stepped out of that realm of dieting and diet culture, which has a lot of rules, a lot of mandates, a lot of should and shouldn’t when it comes to exercise. So you’ve already taken that maybe it’s just a toe. It’s not like a full step out, but your toe is dipping into intuitive eating and you’re wondering, well, if I can intuitively eat, can I intuitively exercise? Can I intuitively move my body? 

Now the simple answer to this is yes. Yes, you can. You absolutely can. But, but here you go, are you ready for it? It might take time and exploration to know intuitively what your body wants and needs. It might take time and practice to really see what does my body enjoy most. Just like with intuitive eating, you’ve been following someone else’s rules for food. You’ve been following someone else’s rules, whether it’s, you know, a mixture of dieting and those rules and information that’s come in or your own beliefs about your body, that’s been contributing to restriction and you’re just not even sure. What do I do? And you’re exploring foods again. And you’re exploring this idea that all foods fit and that you want peace with food, your, you know, increasing variety. You’re doing all of these things. Movements the same way. You might need to explore different kinds of movement. 

Some that you used to do that you only did within the realm of losing weight. That you now want to go back to and try from a, I just want to intuitively move my body, do something I enjoy I’m coming from this perspective, that movement can be fun. And you may find that those movements you are doing that exercise, those workout classes, whatever they were feel different with this new perspective, they don’t feel as daunting because the focus is on enjoyable movement. You may though also need to go try on new things. I can still remember a client who, you know, is doing things the way everyone else was doing them. You know, I’ve got to go to the gym and I have to lift weights and this is what I need to do. And then I have to do my cardio and she was like dreading the gym all the time.

And so when we had this conversation about intuitive movement, about exploring, she did, she’s like, all right, so far, everything else is felt really good, let’s explore from an intuitive perspective, movement. And when she discovered kickboxing, I can still remember that session. She was the most excited I’d ever heard her. She would say things like Jen, I can’t believe how consistent I’m going. Like, I just love it so much. Now, this was from like a brainstorm of ideas, all the types of movement she had different places around where she was living different things that fit into her schedule. And she’s like, all right, I’m just going to give this a try as well. We’ll see where it lands. And it was the game changer. That she found something that intuitively her body’s like, this feels so good. 

Now I’ll tell you personally, I don’t care for kickboxing one lick. Like I don’t want to do it, not my jam at all. I actually know several people who like it lights them up. They just feel so good before they go while they’re there after. I mean, wow. Wow. Wow. They feel the same way I feel when I’m lifting weights, like I just enjoy it. I find a lot of pleasure. Now that took time. I really did have to explore, when I walked out of that space of obsessive health, orthorexia, I was doing what I’m doing now. I was lifting weights and doing cardio. I was doing excessive. Of course, everything was excessive when I was in the high midst of diet culture, weight loss focused, everything. But I decided to take a break and explore because intuitively I really did want to know what is your body want? What is it asking for?

And I tried on a lot of things. I don’t like cycling now, I’ll go on a bike ride with my hubby on the trail and we’ll have a blast. It’ll be wonderful. I don’t like Zumba type classes. And if you know me, I love dancing. I mean, I would dance all day. If that was like a job, like, Hey, could you just like dance all day? And we’re going to pay you for that. It’d be. Yes, but I don’t like the classes. I tried those HIIT type classes at high-intensity. Oh my gosh. No, thank you. No, thank you. What I came back to was lifting weights. And again, when your perspective changes, when you’re no longer immersed in diet culture, when you’re no longer making exercise about weight loss, It can change how you show up for those workouts, that exercise, that movement, whatever word you want to use there, it’s really about how you’re thinking about it, causing you to feel something different when you show up.

But Jen, you know, don’t, we work out so that we can, you know, lose weight. There’s. No, there’s actually no long-term studies that show people lose significant weight on any exercise program. So even the things you’re being fed, the information you’re being told, you should question it because guess what? It’s probably not true. If it’s being fed from this $80 billion industry that wants to keep you sucked into it. I would question it. I would absolutely question it. Now, I’m going to tell you, moving your body is amazing. There are so many health benefits to that exercise, but when weight loss becomes the focus, when you’re only concerned about manipulating the size of your body, that exercise, that movement, is going to become a negative in your life. 

I believe one other really important point here, when we’re talking about movement and exercise, we need to talk about rest. So when you’re immersed in diet culture, and if you identify with orthorexia, if you identify with extreme health related behaviors and habits, then you don’t look at rest in a positive light. You think rest is for the weak. You say things like never miss a Monday. You tell yourself you have no excuses. That’s how you operate. I am here to tell you that rest is as if not more important than moving your body. You need balance in what you eat. You know, any time we restrict, we know studies have shown time and time again, that restriction leads to that over-consumption binge like behavior. I believe the same is true when we talk about movement. If you are restricting rest, I mean, think about that for a minute. You’re limiting your body’s rest state. Then you’re going to eventually hit a brick wall and your body is going to demand, over-consume, binge on rest.

We see that in the form of injuries, you know, big ones, small ones, strained muscles. We see that in getting sick. Where your body’s like, listen, I cannot take it anymore. Guess what? You’re getting a cold and we’re done here. You’re going to be down for the count. Whether you like it or not, your body will demand what it needs. And you know, I’d rather have my body tell me in that. Nice gentle, “hey Jen, hey, listen”, kind of voice then, “excuse me, guess what you’re doing now? I’m in charge”. You know, that mom voice is when she’s really ticked off. I know that voice. I’d rather have my body speak to me gently than yell at me and demand from me.

So when you think about rest, ask yourself some questions. Am I giving my body enough time to rest? Am I prioritizing my rest? Am I finding balance between moving my body and resting my body? And I can tell you I’ve done both. I have come from the extreme workouts. I mean, getting up at 3:3) AM. Making sure every ring is closed on my apple watch. I know what it feels like to move without rest and believe that rest is a negative and I’ve also lived not moving at all. When I was really in my healing process, intuitively what my body said was you’re doing nothing. You are going to do zero, which didn’t feel good either. I had to find the balance.

Are you in a place of balance? Are you in a place of intuitively moving your body? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to take a couple action steps here. First, go back and listen to the beginning where we talked about how we’re framing movement is the word exercise bothering you does even the word workout and those messages that come with, you know, never miss a workout or, you know, no excuses, all of those. Is that bringing up negative feelings and you need to really just shift it and use the word movement. The next action step you can take is seek out variety or assess am I doing movement that I enjoy? So maybe it’s you really actually like variety during the course of a week or a month or whatever it is for movement.

Maybe you actually are really when it comes down to it, not enjoying what you’re doing and it’s time to do some exploration. There are so many ways to move your body. Walking counts, running for all you people who think that’s a fun thing to do y’all get out there and you can run. There’s aerial fitness classes. Y’all seen these things? Go, Google search that right now. It’s crazy. Maybe you want to put on those rollerblades you haven’t used since you were 22, do it. There’s kickboxing. There’s yoga. There’s strength training. And there are so many types of dance classes. I mean, let’s just pull out Richard Simmons. Let’s just do it. If that brings you joy, grab those old, VHS’s put them on and just sweat into the oldies. Can you tell what generation I grew up in? Because all I can see and hear is my mom doing those videos. They still bring me joy to this day. There’s so much out there though, to choose from whether you do it at home, in your neighborhood, a local gym, maybe a group of girlfriends, whatever that is, you might need to seek out something that brings you joy.

The last action step is to assess your rest. Are you balancing with rest? Are you finding that rest is also a priority within the context of moving your body? If it’s not, I think let’s take a look at why you’re not. What messages are you saying to yourself that have you not prioritizing your rest? All bodies can move. All bodies were meant to move. I want you to find something that feels good for you in your heart and your soul and in your mind. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. And I hope that you find a way to move that feels good to you. 

All right, if you have a moment and you’re listening on apple, could you do me a big favor? Would you pop down into where it says leave a review? Hit those stars. Write me a little note. It means not only the world to me, but I know when other women are searching for, Hey, should I listen to this podcast? Is this one useful and helpful? They read those reviews and if you find this to be an inspiring, encouraging, and helpful podcast, you can let them know and then they get to tune in and imagine what can happen for her as well. All right, until next week. 

After that episode, you might be wondering what’s next. Well, don’t worry I’ve got you. You can do a couple of things right now. If you go into the show notes, wherever you’re listening to this podcast, I have links to my Instagram, my website, and you can get on my newsletter. I connect with you each and every week, so we can hang out on the podcast and in your inbox. If you just listened to this episode and you are ready to walk away from diet culture, but you’re not sure what the next steps are book a free consult with me. You can do that by heading into the show notes or going to www.healthcoach4life.com. I have a limited availability for one-on-one coaching, and if it’s for you, grab your spot now.


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