So let’s navigate these next couple topics carefully. This movement in general is something that can easily be received the wrong way, or more likely not received at all. The truth lying at the bottom of it all is very counter cultural. To tell someone that people can be fat and healthy is like literally fucking mind blowing to most people ( I get it, I was there once). We will reach these topics eventually and in depth, trust me. Today I wanted to touch on motivation.
I (when I say I in these posts I mean the whole entire collective of people that believe in these messages and core values that I preach) am not against the inherent act of losing weight itself. Weight loss is perceived as neither a positive or negative thing, just a thing, just a byproduct of living a human life. Instantly when people come across Health at Every Size and the BOPO (body positive) community they think we are telling people to not care about what they eat or about being healthy. This is extremely wrong so if this how you feel we are presenting these things, then I invite you to continue to read with an open mind.
The motivation behind what we do is where almost all of the danger comes from in these behaviors. Exercising is not bad for you, nor am I prescribing that you stop doing it, or stop caring about it. However, exercising to be thinner, or to manipulate your body is not healthy and what I urge everyone to stop doing. Have a conversation with yourself about this and get to the source of why you want to exercise. Do you want to exercise as a form of punishment or compensation for eating a certain way? Is it really because you want to be “healthier” or because you want to be in a different body? And maybe even deeper than all of that is where you’re truly unhappy with yourself or have some stuff that you need to sort out (that was definitely the case for me) that endless hours on the elliptical will never give you.
When I first devoted myself 100% to true recovery I stopped working out cold turkey. I recognized that I was moving in a certain way because I felt like I had to, and I couldn’t do it from a healthy place yet so I needed some time off. I am just now able to recognize whether the need to move my body is coming from a place of self care or self control. When I stopped and had a conversation with myself initially about exercise I realized there was a lot of it I had done my whole life that I truly hated. I hated running but I always did it anyway, because in diet culture we all just adapt to exercise as self punishment under this guise of health. So I decided I was never going to do any form of exercise or movement that I didn’t fully enjoy. Being able to move our body is a true and honest privilege and we should honor that in a way that feels good. The only movement I have ever really enjoyed was dance and yoga. I even stopped doing yoga at the beginning of my journey because even that was easily coming from a place of self control. So now I only dance, and do yoga. The more I have eased back into it I have realized it’s a lot easier to tap into my body and decide okay this is the kind of physical movement I need today.
Maybe sometimes it’s every day, maybe sometimes it’s once a week, or no times a week, but I always include my body in the conversation about what it physically needs and listen to myself about what I truly want in the moment. Sometimes the answer is to hang out with my husband watching Black Mirror and eating a pizza, and that’s okay. That is a form of self care! Rest is also such an important part of movement. Being able to listen to our bodies and not just what we think we are supposed to be doing and really honor our needs is a great skill to adapt.
As always I prompt this conversation with compassion. You are making your way through this diet-y world of course you’re going to have these preconceived notions, we all do at some point. But when we can include the body in the conversation and really analyze our motivation we can really start to evaluate what is isn’t a healthy relationship with something with in us.
So if you work out five times a week I just am curious as to what the answer would be if you asked yourself, why? I assume a lot of people’s answer might be “to be healthy” but let’s remember health is a combination of our physical, mental, and spiritual faculties without ignoring one for the others. So is it truly healthy for you to work out five days a week without rest? Spoiler alert, it’s not. Most importantly I want you to enjoy the movement you’re partaking in. This life is too short to torture ourselves on any level. Being able to exercise is a wonderful gift we are given by this one amazing body we have, let’s honor that body and move in way that feels enriching and loving.