Exercise. What comes to mind when you hear that word? Often times, the word “exercise” comes with a negative connotation and people begin dreading the idea of running on the treadmill until they’re about to pass out, doing endless amounts of crunches or the crappy feeling when you worked your body past the point of exhaustion. What if I were to tell you that exercise doesn’t have to be bad? It doesn’t have to be a method of punishing your body, demanding efforts to control the way you look and it doesn’t have to be done to earn that ice cream sundae. Wouldn’t it be nice if exercise could be be a part of your life that not only is good for your mind and body, but something that can bring you joy and fulfillment? What if I told you that it could be just this?
Body Kindness by Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, is an amazing book that talks about the concept of “Body Kindness.” Look out for future posts that will discuss more topics that are discussed in her book! One topic that she spends a chapter on is fitness. Let’s face it, it’s good to move our bodies! Our bodies love it and there are positive mental benefits as well! You’ll almost always hear health practicioners suggest exercise as a natural medicine to improve the conditions of depression and anxiety. But what happens for people who have Eating Disorders?
Those suffering from an Eating Disorder likely have had or are currently experiencing an unhealthy relationship with exercise whether it be pushing yourself past your body’s limits, exercising compulsively or exercising as a compensatory behavior when you feel you’ve eaten too much. So here comes the tricky part, how do we start to incorporate exercise or movement into your life again in a healthy and meaningful way without it becoming disordered? Before I go on, let me make a disclaimer; this post is not to override any medical advice that recommends you limit or not partake in exercise at all. If your Doctor or Nutritionist recommend this for your health, please listen to them. This post is intended for those who are not currently medically compromised as a result of their Eating Disorder.
Let me now swap out the word “exercise” for “movement” since as mentioned earlier, the word “exercise” typically doesn’t bring up good memories for many. Body Kindness brings up 2 very important parts to finding how movement best fits into your lifestyle;
One last important point to make is that the meaning of “fitness” throughout this post is in line with what the author of Body Kindness asserted. A “fit” person does not mean someone who looks super buff and can run a 6 minute mile and bench press 450lbs, though it can. A “fit” person is someone who has found the movement that has brought them joy and incorporates it into their lives. Therefore, you can never see from the outside what someone’s fitness level is. There may be someone who is naturally thin, but does not incorporate movement in their lives while there may be someone who doesn’t look like society’s definition of fit, yet can go full-on beast mode.
Let go of your pre-conceived notions of exercise and allow yourself freedom to find the why and what of your fitness journey. Be kind to your body along the way and listen to what it has to tell you.
Thank you for reading this post and please share with anyone who could find it helpful. If you have any questions, concerns or requests for future posts, please leave a comment or message me privately.
I wish you Body Kindness on your journey to finding your State of Balance!
If you're interested in purchasing this book, see the link below!
Binge And Restrict Cycle
Eating Disorder Specialist
Healthy Self Vs. Eating Disorder