Hi friend! If you’ve been following for awhile you, you know I’ve been going through the Intuitive Eating principles one by one. If you’re wondering what the heck intuitive eating is, I also did an introduction post that you can read here. It’s basically about ditching diets and finally finding a place of freedom and peace around food.
Today’s principle is actually one of my favorites, which is funny, because I always HATED exercise growing up. So many of my friends were athletic or liked to run or always wanted to do a workout class, and I just didn’t haha. It always felt negative to me, especially since I was chubby in school so I basically was always looking to lose weight. My whole life basically. So exercise seemed like punishment rather than enjoyment.
It took years of a mindset shift, taking a complete break from all exercise (walking only), and finding movement I actually enjoyed to have a whole new perspective on exercise. Now I do it, because it gives me energy, makes me feel good, and makes me feel stronger especially now that I’m a mama. T’s getting bigger, so I need all the strength I can get! Some days I choose sleep over going to a class, because I know it’s really what I need. If you’re a mama, and in the phase of NEED for sleep then SLEEP all you can. There are different seasons of life and exercise can look different for everyone. I also thinking walking is so underrated. I personally think it’s one of the best things we can do for our body, so if only walks with your baby work right now, do that!
It looks like I’m not the only one who feels this way. I wanted to share a quote from the Intuitive Eating book that I thought would be super relatable and helpful. “Just get active and feel the difference. Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie-burning effect of exercise. If you focus on how you feel from working out, such as energized, it can make the difference between rolling out of bed for a brisk morning walk or hitting the snooze alarm. If when you wake up, your only goal is to lose weight, it’s usually not a motivating factor in that moment of time.” (pg. 183)
Here are some tips on how to turn exercise into something you enjoy rather than something that is a burden, a punishment, or only something that will make you lose weight! Exercise is so good for you. Physically, mentally, emotionally, all the things. It’s great for health and our bodies. It gives us energy and makes us strong!
- Break through exercise barriers AKA funk– Discover why you might have exercise barriers and what makes you dislike it. Then focus on how it feels for you. It’s about feeling good, so find what makes your body feel good. Disassociate it from weight loss. When weight loss is your primary goal, then it can
- Get active everyday and in your everyday life– It doesn’t have to be an hour of sweaty exercise or even going to the gym. You can be active throughout your day. Take a 10 minute walk 3 times a day. Do 10 pushups while you’re watching a show or brewing your coffee. Take breaks during the workday and walk to the bathroom and do squats while you’re in there. Park further away from the entrance to get extra steps. It’s about adding little things in that adds to your overall movement!
- Make exercise fun– This is my favorite. What feels good? Maybe turn on fun music and just dance. We underestimate the benefits of just letting lose and dancing. Act like a kid. Try something new. Play a sport. Go on a walk and listen to a podcast, call someone, or just listen to the sounds of outside. Or find someone to walk with or workout with. Exercising with others is always more fun!
- Make exercise a priority and make it nonnegotiable– Once you get used to doing it and see how good it makes you feel, the more you’ll want to do it.
- Make sure you’re comfortable when exercising– Wear something that makes you feel good and that’s comfortable! No one wants to feel all tight and uncomfortable while working out.
- Add in strength training– This one has been so helpful for me! You don’t have to do it everyday, but adding 2 days of strength training can help replenish muscle lost from dieting. Usually when you’re dieting and not eating enough, you don’t feel like working out, because you’re so tired from lack of energy and calories. Making sure you’re eating enough is super important. Once I started eating more, I found that I had so much more energy and actually wanted to exercise.
- Don’t forget to stretch– Stretching is super important to help your muscles recover and to help your body feeling good!
- Rest, Rest, Rest– Rest is also key! It helps prevent burnout, helps your body recover, and gives your muscles a chance to repair. It’s also just good for you to rest. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t move at all. You can still be active, but just low impact things like walking or gentle yoga.
Over the past few years, I have come to find a handful of my favorite exercises! They’re not sponsored, they’re just what I personally use and LOVE. Here’s my list of go-to’s!
–Pure Barre– I love going to the actual studio as well as doing the on demand. This is my absolute favorite workout. I did it before getting pregnant, during pregnancy, and have been doing it some after. It’s been harder to get to the studio since having T with timing, but it still stands as my favorite way to exercise! It’s a low-impact exercise with isometric movements and it’s a great community. There is always fun music, high energy, and lots of great inspiration. I always love going just to see everyone and the exercises help tone and strengthen all areas of your body. It’s just the best!
–Nourish Move Love– I LOVE Lindsay, and I’ve known her and done her workouts for years. She offers free exercises online and even has workout calendars if you like following a plan! Her workouts include a mix of strength training, HIIT, barre, and yoga. Some of the videos are full length and some shows you the moves and give you the outline for the workout. You can do them from anywhere. She’s also a mama and pregnant with her second babe! She has great pregnancy workouts as well. She’s one of the sweetest humans I’ve ever met online & I just loving following her on Instagram in general!
–Fit Mama by Brittany Alexa Burns– I just started these workouts from Brittany and I haven’t gotten too far, but I adore her. She’s so sweet and VERY helpful/ more than willing to help. She also offers nutrition coaching and focuses on mama’s. She coaches women with intuitive eating so I love that about her! Her exercises are never longer than 20 minutes, but they’re super effective and very realistic, especially if you’re a mama. I mean sometimes you just have to fit in a workout whenever and wherever. She basically teaches you how to workout on your own and anywhere! She has an 8-week FitMama program to follow that I’m trying at home between barre.
–21 day Fix– This a Beachbody program. Some people hate at home videos, but I personally love them. When I started enjoying exercise years ago, this is actually the program I did before I found Pure Barre. I’ve done it off and on for years since! It’s a go-to for me because I enjoy the actual workouts and the videos. At this point, I usually turn off the volume, crank up my music, and just do the workouts at home. Not everyone loves Beachbody, but aside from the diet-stuff, I love the workouts. Thomas actually just did Lift4 2 times through and is doing P90X3 now. It’s just a structured workout that’s easy to follow.
–Walking– Don’t underestimate the power of walking. I personally think it’s one of the best things we can do for our bodies! This is my absolute go-to, especially on a day I feel too tired to do another workout or just need some rest. I love walking because I can take T in the stroller and that way I can do it after he wakes up and he loves it too. It gets us both outside and some fresh air and we always feel rejuvenated afterward! I go anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. It doesn’t have to be a certain amount of time to count as exercise or movement. Just get up and move that body!
Speaking of all these exercises, I’m never rigid about any of them. If I need a break, I need a break and rest is so important! Sometimes it may take me 10 or 11 days to get through the 7 day plan provided. You know what? That’s okay! That used to stress me out, but now I’ve found a much more enjoyable way of exercise! I try to listen to my body, but also realize that sometimes we need a little push. At the end of the day, all that matters is that you move your body if you’re able & when you’re able to. Progress over perfection!