Hello! This is Part VIII in our How to Get Free of the Diet Mentality series, (visit The CEDRIC Centre blog for immediate access to all articles in this series).
If you’re new to our community, welcome! You’ll fit right in here if you are an emotional eater, or find that you binge, restrict, or struggle with anorexia, bulimia or some other stressful way of relating to food and want to learn how to stop.
Last week I shared with you about what a diet mentality approach to exercise looks like and asked you to be on the lookout for it in your own approach to fitness/exercise and body image.
This week I want to teach you about what a balance, life-enhancing and sustainable and, gasp… FUN, approach to exercise looks like.
This is an approach you’ll enjoy so much you won’t even know you’re exercising! You’ll become one of those folks who just naturally enjoys moving their body and seeks to bring movement into their lives, not because they need to lose weight or feel crappy about their body, but because it’s fun and feels good. Really!
Without further ado, a rational approach to exercise looks like this:
• Get clear on how much time you actually have to exercise each day/week given all of the other commitments you have in your life (work, friends, family, hobbies, etc.) and the needs you have for healthy meal preparation (including the shopping) and rest (8 hours – typically starting before 10 pm is what science says provides the best restorative rest and gives us the most energy for our day).
• You identify 5-10 forms of exercise or movement that you truly enjoy – based on how much fun you have when you do them not on how many calories you burn during. Your list can include such things as Walking, running, cycling, swimming, tennis/racquet sports, rollerblading, skiing etc., dancing, Pilates, Nia, yoga, jazzercise, gym workouts, weight training, kickboxing classes or some other form of martial arts, belly dancing etc. etc. – the options for making exercise fun and educational and even for mixing some socialization with friends or new people can be in there too!
• You identify key times that work best for you to exercise and where you will have the greatest ease and likelihood of follow through. These should be based on your schedule in point 1 and what you know about your energy levels – i.e. If you’re not a morning person do not expect yourself to get up at 5:00 to fit in some exercise)
• When that time comes on that day just pick one of the 5 – 10 forms of movement you have on your list. Which feels most enticing / enjoyable at that time?
• You base this decision on a combination of the time of day; the weather; your energy level; whether you feel like doing something more cardio or more strength training or more relaxing.
• The duration of your exercise session is determined by how you are feeling that day in that moment and not on our diet mentality rigid expectations of what a workout has to be in order to count. How you feel, how much energy you have and therefore how long you want to go for is determined as you’re going. If it feels good you keep on, if you start to feel tired or pained you stop regardless of how long you’ve been at it or whether you’re in the middle of a class setting. This is all about you feeling good and building trust in yourself at the same time as you build good physical strength and cardiovascular health.
That is self-respect. That is an approach to exercise that is sustainable and life-enhancing and one which you will see yourself looking forward to and benefiting from for a life time.
If you don’t trust yourself to approach exercise in this way or if it feels too daunting a task to figure this out for yourself and start getting some movement in your day, I urge you to contact me or one of my team and see how quickly things can shift for the better when you just have some simple tools and support. Learn how to treat yourself with dignity and respect and get more action and traction from yourself than you ever have before.
Off you go! Have fun!