We are nearing the end of our overview of the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating. I have had so much fun elaborating on each principle because I feel so passionately about this. Today we are discussing Principle #9 – exercise. Here are the principles we’ve covered thus far:
- Reject the diet mentality
- Honor your hunger
- Make peace with food
- Challenge the food police
- Respect your fullness
- Discover the satisfaction factor
- Honor your feelings without using food
- Respect your body
9. Today’s topic: Exercise – feel the difference
You might be thinking “Huh? Exercise, what’s that go to do with eating?” The answer is everything. The dieting industry has paired exercise with the behavior of dieting, and for that reason most people have a negative, militant attitude towards exercise. Many people even cringe when they hear the word exercise. Let’s redefine it (I like to call it “movement” sometimes to help with this).
Let’s apply the principles of intuitive eating to exercise:
- Reject the diet and exercise mentality
- Honor your body’s hunger for movement
- Make peace with your body
- Challenge the exercise police
- Respect your energy level
- Discover the satisfaction of various types of movement
- Honor your feelings without using exercise
- Respect your body’s size, shape and fitness level
- Exercise because you want to (not because you “should”)
- Fuel your body for exercise
The idea is to focus more on how your body feels and less on calories burned, percent body fat, minutes of cardio, reps of weights, droplets of sweat. How about asking your body what it’s in the mood for that day (if anything). You will find that some days you crave movement that’s relaxing like yoga or gentle walking, and on other days you crave powerfulness and strength like weight lifting. And sometimes you’ll have more energy and a run or kickboxing class will hit the spot. Yet on other days your body will ask for rest, and there’s nothing wrong with that either.
So do this experiment – pause and close your eyes. Take a deep breath and exhale. Check in with your body – scan head to toe. What do you notice? Any tension or discomfort? Any concentrated energy? Sluggishness? How would it feel to move today? If you are in the mood for movement, what kind? Now go for it! Make note of how you feel after (energy levels, mood, hunger, etc).
Tomorrow we discuss the last Principle – your health.