Archives for Exercise
Working out has become synonymous with weight loss or maintenance. That is, we assume that people only work out --- that we should work out --- to lose weight or to maintain our weight. This is often why exercise is thought of as a chore. As a necessary evil. As a punishment for eating dessert or consuming too many carbs or fat grams. As a way to burn calories. And nothing else.
Here's what is so awesome about appreciating our bodies: We don't need to wait until we lose weight or change anything else about our appearance to do so. You can begin embracing your body right now. I hope these suggestions provide a helpful start:
Many of us think we have to repay anyone who says something nice or complimentary to us, to anyone who takes us to dinner, to anyone who pays attention or is kind in some other way (whether the kindness is genuine or ill-intentioned). We think we owe something beyond a heartfelt thank-you.
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.