Do you exercise and love it, or struggle to find the will to get up and do it?
Do you feel excited to do the activity, or feel fear and anxiety?
Do you exercise somewhere you love and feel safe, or somewhere you feel you are constantly being watched?
Do you do it because you want to, or because you feel you should?
All too often people moan about dragging themselves out for a run, or to the gym, or to a class that they detest, and say they have to do it because they had something to eat earlier that they feel they now need to burn off. Exercise is not a punishment and you never have to earn food or burn calories.
Let's find a way to enjoy movement, not kill ourselves exercising.
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Intuitive Eating, HAES, Health At Every Size, Body Positivity, Body Confidence, Body Positive, Anti Diet, Non Diet, Diet Culture, Food Freedom, Fat Acceptance, Fat Liberation, Self Care, Weight Loss, Eating Disorder, Eating Disorder Recovery, Disordered Eating, Nutritional Therapy, Slimming World, Weight Watchers, Cambridge Diet, Cambridge Plan, 121 Diet, Lighter Life, Noom, Coaching, Healing, Health, Wellness, Exercise
Welcome to the Intuitive Eating And Body Positivity Podcast. I'm Terri, and I'll be talking about all things Intuitive Eating, body positivity and Health At Every Size, and shaking of Weight stigma, diet culture and food rules, so that we can all have a better relationship with food and our bodies.
Oh, it is hot here today. Us Brits are having a heat wave. I love it. I love the sun, I love the heat, I love the summer. I love it so much. But it is hot, hot, hot. I don't know about you, but I struggle to sleep when it's really hot, but in the day I love it, I love it. But this does mean that today I am sitting here recording with the windows open and with the fan on. Sorry, not sorry. So I'm going to try and edit it out, we'll see how well that goes. Hopefully there won't be too much background noise, but if there is, there is. That's just the way it's going to be today.
Has your week when has it been has it been good? Um, yeah, it's been alright for me. Yeah, just a normal old week. Nothing much going on, really. Nothing much to say. We've had a lot of cake and stuff in the office this week. There's been some birthdays. There's been some cake arriving just for the sake of cake arriving. Um, yeah, it's been it's been pretty good on the cake front this week.
That's it. That's all I can give you for this week. I hope yours has been more interesting and more exciting than mine has.
Right straight into it today, then so this week I want to talk about exercise.
A lot of people, when they're in the dieting zone, use exercise as a means of losing additional weight. So 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.
So here is my question to you, the exercise that you do. If you do any, do you love it, or do you struggle to get up and do it? Do you feel excited to do the activity, or do you feel fear and anxiety? Do you exercise somewhere you love and you feel safe, or somewhere that you feel you're constantly being watched and judged? Do you do it because you want to, or do you do it because you feel like you should do it?
It's so easy to be the negative side of those questions and not enjoy what you're doing, and I feel really sad for people who don't enjoy their exercise. I'm not saying that you have to do the traditional definition of exercise, but if you do, you should at least enjoy it, because all too often people moan about dragging themselves out for a run, go into the gym, go into a class that they hate.
Don't even get me started on the people that say they have to do it because they had something to eat earlier and now they feel like they've got to burn it off because let's just get this straight, exercise is not a punishment. 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. It shouldn't be something that allows you to eat.
Here is a nicer way to think of it. Think of it as movement, not exercise, because 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. It's got a multitude of benefits throughout the body that you might not even think of, and 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. You look forward to how you feel when you do it.
Do you remember when you were little and 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? What about when you used to kick a football around the park or you'd ride your bike so far that you got lost and you had to find your way home? Or is that just me, because I am rubbish to navigation, but you got my point. What about when you used to go to the swimming pool and just splash around just because it's fun?
That's what we miss when we're an adult and we're exercising. Where did that joy go? Where's the fun gone? The fun movement has gone. You've swapped out your fun cycling or kicking a ball around the park or jumping on trampoline. You've swapped that out for something like a sweaty gym class or a spin session.
Oh, my God, how much I hate spin classes. There is very little else in this world that I hate more than a spin class. Oh, no, that's not for me. If you don't enjoy it, just don't do it. It is as simple as that. What is the point in half killing yourself because you think you should be doing it? Life is too short to spend time doing things that you don't enjoy. Find a way to move that you do enjoy.
It's going to be each to their own. One man's pleasure is going to be another man's torture. Some people love spin. I can't for the life of me think why, but they do, and that's fine. Let those spin people go do spin. I'll find something else that I enjoy more. The world would be a dull place if we all like to do the same things, wouldn't it?
Even if you really, truly love the activity that you've chosen to do, you shouldn't be uncomfortable in the space while you're doing it. So, for example, lots of people like going to the gym, but they feel like people are watching and criticising them when they're there. That's not OK. 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. Those people are probably far too busy checking out their guns and their abs in the mirror, but 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 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 downtime 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. Go to a place that makes you feel joy. Spend time with people you enjoy spending time with. And 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.
I'm a pole dancer. I go to pole dancing classes and I love it, I really love it because I love the space that is in. I am lucky enough to have found a studio where the instructors just ooze positivity. It's non-judgemental. They've built this space where everybody is welcome. Everybody is free to be who they are, and we have fun learning how to pole dance. We have fun trying new tricks. We have fun dancing. We have fun just swooshing our way around the pole, and for me, that's what I love the best.
The by-product of that is it's movement that is good for my body. It is strength building. It is cardio building to a degree. I love it. I love the people that I spend those sessions with. I love the instructors. That for me, that's my perfect movement. Other people may not enjoy that. Several years ago, I did the Couch To 5K. Now for those who don't have that, I don't know how widespread in the world that app goes, but Couch To 5K is basically a programme that teaches you how to run 5Km from absolute beginner, which was brilliant because I was not a runner and I didn't think I liked running. But I wanted to have a go and I wanted to take up the challenge and see if I enjoyed it.
So myself and a friend did this Couch To 5K and it was great for me. It was a slog, but I did enjoy it and I felt like I'd accomplished something because I was not a runner. It didn't come naturally to me. But in nine weeks or whatever it was, I went from not being able to run for one minute. I kid you not. Honestly, it was a mess of a sight at the beginning, and by the end of it I was running 5Km and I loved it to the point where I then went on to do the 10K programme. And I was really proud of myself. I really enjoyed it.
Fast forward several years to last year, and I thought I'd give it another go. Now, in that time my body has changed quite significantly. I'm a lot bigger than I was the first time I did it, and this time around I didn't enjoy it. I wrote a blog post on how I really enjoyed my first couple of sessions, my first week, and I was going to update everybody. I was going to keep going and I was going to do this Couch To 5K again, and it was going to be very motivational.
I did the first week and I was in a world of pain, and then I did the next week, and I think I did about three weeks and I was hating every minute of it. I was in actual pain. I was not enjoying it. I was not looking forward to getting out the door and going running in the cold and the dark. I was not enjoying the feeling of my body doing that exercise anymore. So you know what? I gave it up.
I gave it up because I don't care what other people think of my choice to give it up. It was not for me. That was not an activity that I was enjoying, I didn't enjoy the feeling before, I didn't enjoy that feeling after, and I was not going to carry on. I just want to do the stuff that I enjoy doing.
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 know that saying "no pain, no gain". Or what about "pain is weakness leaving the body"? Yeah, what a load of rubbish. You can do things that are beneficial without it hurting. You do not have to have that pain in your muscles for days afterwards for it to be health inducing.
Now, I'm not saying that that pain in your muscles is wrong, because I personally quite like that. I like training. I like the feeling of it. I like how it feels in my muscles those days after. I like those DOMS that you get (that's delayed onset muscle soreness). I like the feeling of that. But if you don't like it that's OK, and you don't have to have that feeling to know you've done something that will benefit your body.
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, but you do you. If you're finding a way to move every day, that's got to be better than spending your days on the couch.
Now, I know that there are some people who aren't able to get up and get out and do exercise or find a way to move in their day. I know that there are limitations that some people have that means that they can't go out and do the things they want to do. I know that this is a generalisation. However, I do believe that even people who are restricted in some way can find a way to get a little bit of movement in their day.
You might feel like you're not physically able to get off the sofa and. Go for a run. Well, that's fine. That's no problem. Baby steps. You might feel like you can't even get off the sofa. That's fine, too. Baby steps. So maybe you start with some arm movements. There are an abundance of resources out on the internet that you can search through and find something that suits you and suits your ability levels, if that's where you're at. Whatever your situation, find a way to move that makes you feel fantastic. It should make you feel empowered and strong. And by that, I feel, I mean mentally stronger, not necessarily physically stronger. That's you know, that's not what you're aiming for. That's fine. But mentally stronger, mentally more positive, excited to do it.
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.
Which of those things makes you feel like you would want to have a go? Which of those words made you feel like you could find some happiness doing them, because those are the things you want to start with? What movement do you do that makes you feel amazing?
What are you doing at the moment, movement wise? Take a look at that. Do you enjoy it? Do you like the movement that you do? Or do you need to rehash that and think about something else that you could bring to your life? Maybe there are new opportunities locally. I know we're coming out of lockdown and things now, so what things are going to be going on locally as things open up that you could get involved with if you wanted to? Maybe today is the day that you try something new. Maybe today's the day that you get online, you get on YouTube, you get on Facebook. You get wherever you want to go and you hunt out something new to try just for a laugh, just to see what happens.
That's the way that movement should be. I stand by the old adage of if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got. And so if you are that person living in misery, jogging on the spot in your kitchen at 10 pm, just because you've got to get your step count in, or you're breaking your back to get to the gym in the morning or to that class that you hate, and you're doing that and it's painful, and you're not doing the things that you're enjoying, now is the time to change that. It is not good enough just to say "it's OK, I look and I feel fabulous for this" because you are not doing your body or your mind any favours in partaking in that exercise? If it's not for you, if it's not pleasurable, then make today the day that you decide to change it.
Never mind what your mates at work say. Never mind what your friends are doing that you feel that you should be doing. Never mind what your Fitbit says and what myfitnesspal says. You do you. You do the things that make you feel good, because if you feel good doing it you are going to stick with it longer.
And also it doesn't have to be dedicated exercise. So today, it is gloriously sunny outside. Packing a picnic, going for a long walk, finding a spot to sit down and have a bit of food and then walking on a bit more. Maybe you'll play on the riverbank for a bit. Maybe you go on a bike ride to explore some new places. Those are all things that are movement but they're fun things you can do in your day. So it doesn't have to be a case of going out and finding actual traditional exercise to do.
Whatever you do though folks, please stay hydrated, especially when it's hot weather like this. Make sure whatever you're doing, whatever level of movement you're doing, that you've got some water or something with you, because hydration is very, very important. It's very, very important to your body. Here endeth, the lesson.
I just wanted to kind of reinforce the fact that. It doesn't have to be misery. Exercising doesn't have to be misery. It can just be some nice, gentle fun in your day. I'm giving you permission to give yourself a break and quit the gym. If you're a friends fan, you will now be thinking about Ross and Chandler and "I want to quit the gym", right? Please, please tell me that you're going to recreate that. And if you don't know what the hell I'm talking about, shame on you. Go and watch an episode of Friends. Go and watch that episode of Friends. It's bound to come up on YouTube if you search for it. It's very funny.
My activity today is going to be cleaning my living room carpet. I mean, the carpet cleaner is a wonderful piece of equipment, the carpet needs a freshen up, but whatever I do today, it's going to be a hot, sweaty mess. But yeah, it needs doing so that's what I'm going to do.
Whatever you are doing with your day, please enjoy it. Please have a good day. Please have some fun, some downtime, some chill time. Just make sure you enjoy your day if you can.
Right, got through this relatively unscathed noise wise, it did stop for a little while at some point because there was a bus outside my house. It just stopped there for about ten minutes. I'm not even joking. It just stopped there. The one day that I want to record a podcast and the bus stops outside my house for no apparent reason. But it's not been too bad. The neighbourhood kids have been quiet, the traffic hasn't been too bad, the fan seems to be just ticking along in the background. So actually, it's been OK, hasn't it?
That's it. That's it for today. I'll love you and leave you. Have a lovely day, whatever you're doing. Enjoy the sun if you've got some sun.
Come over and join me on Instagram. That's where I'm most active. @IAmTerriPugh because I am Terri Pugh. Yeah, come over and join me. That's where I'm most active, and then you can get bits and pieces of motivation through the week to not just waiting for the weekly podcast.
Thank you for listening. I will speak to you next week. Take care. Be kind to yourself. Bye.