Intuitive Exercise (and how I am doing it)
Updated: Sep 5, 2021
I have never not noticed how my body looked.
And I bet you can say the same thing.
As women especially, we are taught from a young age that how our body looks matters. And this blended into a message of body appearance = worth. So what does that mean?
Constantly chasing after an ideal image that is neither attainable, nor normal. And that leads to disappointment, obsession, and feeling like a flaming pile of garbage and wondering what the heck is wrong with us when we don't achieve it and asking ourselves WHY can’t we just get it together. For once.
I know this because I bought into this messaging for 10+ years.
I was always chasing the aesthetic when it came to fitness: the 6 pack abs, the sleek and defined muscles, and looking like I was in incredible shape. On the nutrition side of things, I overanalyzed every meal. Every food item. Was it “healthy”? Did it fit into my meal plan? Restricting anything that was deemed “bad,” just to go overboard on it the next time it landed on my plate.
While I didn’t necessarily see my weight yo-yo, I felt the mental yo-yo. Food and exercise consumed my daily thoughts. I had to plan my day around my “meal plan” and my workout schedule. It was exhausting.
And then I got pregnant. The first trimester brought intense nausea and fatigue that left me lying on the couch most days. Once the second trimester energy hit, I worked out a few days a week to keep my body moving and because it felt good. By the time the thirst trimester rolled around, my daily movement became walks. Throughout all 3 trimesters, I ate what I felt like eating. If I wanted Ben & Jerry’s and bagels, I had Ben & Jerry’s and bagels. If I wanted a huge salad, I made a huge salad.
You see something amazing happened during that pregnancy….I began listening to what my body needed. I became in tune with what it was telling me and slowly the constant mental chatter I used to have about food and exercise faded away. Instead my thoughts turned to - “what does my body and my baby need today to feel good?”
After my baby was born and I was cleared to workout again at 6 weeks postpartum (another topic for another time 🙄), I felt mounting pressure to get back in shape. Nevermind that my body was still sore from my c-section, or that I was barely sleeping - but I felt that expectation (especially as a fitness professional) to jump back in. So I did my first total body workout. And afterwards I didn’t feel strong and invigorated. I felt spent.
So I decided I wasn’t going to let that pressure drive my actions. I was going to do what I did during my pregnancy and listen to my body. I put workouts on the back burner until I truly felt ready, and instead focused on daily walks. Because that not only got my body moving, but the fresh air and break from screens made me feel ALIVE again. It made me feel a little more like me.
As I’m writing this, I am 8 months postpartum. Do I have a rigid fitness routine? Nope. Do I follow a meal plan? Nope. I am working hard to undo years and years of buying into diet culture, and instead going against the grain to listen to my body intuitively. It’s not something that comes easy - I don’t want to send the message of “just ditch all the rules and you’ll figure it out!” It’s still work! But it’s more rewarding. It feels better. I no longer feel pressure, or less than, because I can’t keep up with fitness and food “rules.” And I am making it my mission to help other moms (and women!) find this same relief. This freedom. So they can feel empowered and VIBRANT in their transition to motherhood.
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Disclaimer: This blog does not serve as medical advice. Please consult your medical provider before starting a new fitness routine. This blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition.