The 6th step to food freedom, joyful movement, is all about dissociating exercise from the pursuit of weight loss or changing your body.
It’s about approaching movement from a place of self-care, not self-control and rediscovering the JOY in movement. Instead of punishing yourself, you’ll learn to work out to FEEL good.
How to make peace with exercise:
To make peace with exercise, you HAVE to stop working out as punishment or to change your body. You need to shift your mindset and instead focus on how working out makes you FEEL. It should feel joyful, hence why I call it joyful movement.
There are two really easy things you can do to help you make peace with exercise. First, every time you are about to engage in some type of movement, ask yourself “Would I still be doing this workout if there was 0% chance my body would change as a result?”. If the answer is no, then see if you can choose a different activity (maybe it’s resting) that would feel better for your body at the moment. The second thing you can try to do is to make a promise to yourself that if changing your body is your main motivation for working out, that you won’t do it.
When you rest when you’re body needs rest and only move when your body truly wants to move, that’s when you can have a truly peaceful, healthy relationship with exercise.
Benefits of Balanced, Joyful Movement:
These are just a few of the many benefits of balanced, joyful movement. It’s important to note though, that these benefits can only be fully experienced when you are at peace with exercise and are not using it as a method for changing your body or punishing yourself for what you ate.
- Can reduce inflammation
- Can improve sleep
- Can reduce risk of heart disease
- Can reduce cognitive decline
- Can improve memory
- Can improve strength
- Can improve gut microbiome
Signs you might be over-exercising:
Over-exercising can be extremely detrimental to your health. I know because I’ve been there. I used to work out every day and had chronic back pain for over 2 years. I tried everything under the sun to make it go away and of course, as soon as I gave myself permission to not work out for 2 weeks, my back pain went away. Take a look at these signs of over-exercise. Do you experience any of these symptoms? What would it feel like to give your body a break from working out? It’s OKAY to have periods in your life where you aren’t working out; sometimes it’s just what your body needs.
- Prone to injury/sickness
- Excessive thirst (at night in particular)
- Avoid social outings to exercise instead
- Hormone imbalances
- Increased stress
- Poor mood
- Not taking rest days
- Increased heart rate
- Amenorrhea (loss of period)
What types of movement FEEL good for you? See if you can experiment with what works and doesn’t work for YOUR body!
Click here to download my 8 steps to food freedom cheatsheet: a quick summary you can refer back to whenever you need a little refresher with questions to ask yourself for each step!
Continue reading with the next step to food freedom: nourish your mind, body & soul!