Archives for Exercise
I'm not sure that I've ever felt good reading a fitness or "health" magazine geared toward women. Instead, I've felt self-conscious, inadequate and way too big. At some point I realized the words in their glossy pages weren't gospel. I realized that I didn't have to believe or act on their tips---which focused on watching my weight and what I was eating (like a hawk), feeling guilty any time I wavered and preparing for (i.e., panicking over) bikini season and holiday parties.
Today, in the U.S., we honor Martin Luther King, Jr., who had an incredible dream and helped make it a reality. Inspired by his powerful speech and Therese Borchard’s beautiful piece, every year I republish a post on my personal dream (which I’ve updated since last year). It’s a dream that focuses on everything from how we treat each other to how we treat ourselves. I have a dream that our society will stop judging, shaming and bullying people because of their size, shape and weight.
Pausing and thinking through what we want our lives and our days to look like is powerful. After all, it's important to get intentional and deliberate about our time on this earth. And I think knowing what we don't want is just as important as knowing what we do. And it's especially helpful if we have no clue what we want. That's why this year I've created a list of resolutions I won't be setting in 2016.
Yesterday, in this post, I shared three life-changing lessons I've learned about building a positive body image and practicing compassionate self-care. (I'm also hosting a book giveaway in honor of Weightless turning the big six, so be sure to check out that post.) Today, I'm sharing three more lessons I've learned throughout the years.
Exercise doesn't have to be about losing weight. It doesn't have to be a punishment or something on your "should-do" list. On Friday I talked about how exercise can be whatever you want it to be. It can include whatever physical activities actually support you and honor your body and make you feel the way you want to feel.
In the beautiful book Yoga and Body Image, 25 contributors share personal stories about how yoga has helped them to accept their bodies and feel more comfortable in their own skin. They talk about how yoga has helped them to find their voice and express it. This is so important, because we often forget what movement really is (and isn't). Moving our bodies isn't about punishing ourselves for eating something "naughty" or "sinful." It isn't about checking off a chore on our to-do list. It isn't about "no pain, no gain." It has nothing to do with being miserable or being bored.
In his book How to Be Happy (Or at Least Less Sad): A Creative Workbook, Lee Crutchley includes many valuable prompts. In one prompt he suggests listing 10 negative thoughts on one page, and then giving the thoughts a more positive spin on the opposite page. Crutchley gives the example of turning "I hate being alone" to “I’d like to meet new people.”
Recently, I received a comment on this post, which I wrote several years ago. The reader, Julia, thanked me for sharing suggestions on boosting our health and well-being, which don't include losing weight. This inspired me to share some more ideas. Because there are countless ways we can get healthier and take great care of ourselves that have nothing to do with weight.
Many of us let our self-doubts or previous missteps and mess-ups dictate our actions. We adopt an all-or-nothing perspective, assuming that if we can't do something perfectly, if we've made mistakes before, then we have no business trying, again. Self-doubts can lead us to question our worth and decide that we're undeserving. Self-doubts can stop us from pursuing our dreams and responding to our needs.