Thursday, June 24, 2010

Never exercise again! (well, "sorta")

I'm starting a revolution today! Let's banish the word EXERCISE from our vocabulary. Want to join me? Ok, let me share my philosophy. As you may know, I work with eating disorder patients in an inpatient treatment setting.

One area of the disorder is often reflected in obsessive over-exercising. During a processing therapy session last week, we explored our connections to exercise and the "triggering" aspect of falling back into old habits. The group struggled with letting go of old ideas and beliefs about exercise while trying to build a new, healthy relationship with activity.

Have you ever had one of those "light-bulb" moments where a perfect answer simply presents itself? Well, I had one during this session. Stay with me for this concept. I explained that there are many avenues of interaction with the world and one important avenue is language. Often, our language "gets away" from us because we speak in words and phrases that are habitual or unconsciously expressed.

Many times, because of our life experiences, we attach meaning to words that limits our ability to accept other, alternate meanings and may lead to miscommunication due to our idea of what a word means as opposed to someone elses understanding of the same word. In eating disorder recovery, we learn to recognize and be more mindful of our language and the conversations of those around us. At the end of this therapy session, I proposed that we totally eliminate the word EXERCISE from our vocabulary!

While the word itself may be harmless, the connotation of the concept of EXERCISE is the ability to impose rigid control over the body in an effort to lose weight and build muscle. Whether you have an eating disorder or not, the very word EXERCISE may trigger feelings of tension, inadequacy, and rejection. Instead, I encouraged the group to adopt the word MOVEMENT in the place of EXERCISE. How amazing! MOVEMENT seems so fluid, so liberating, so natural!

When we changed the conversation to a discussion of MOVEMENT, the atmosphere changed. Instead of the tension and demand that the idea of EXERCISE reflected on their faces, a brightness and joy was expressed as each person shared why they loved to MOVE and how they loved to MOVE. Somehow, it became a healthy and honest thing to connect to - MOVEMENT. It was a revelation; it was a revolution! So, go forth and MOVE!

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My pants are too tight - but I can still touch my toes!

Here comes another summer and I'm sure we have all made the resolution to fit into those too tight pants this year! When you pull them out of the back corner of your closet, take a deep breath and ask yourself this - if they don't fit, will the world explode?

We use the phrase "so what" in a rather flippant way to show our disregard or disinterest in in a certain topic, but why not take it at face value. Challenge yourself this week to honestly ask "so what"? And then be ready for the answer that your ego throws back at you. Be honest - it is usually our ego, not our intuitive self, which drives us to ignore everything amazing about ourselves in favor of shining a spotlight on the things we hate about ourselves.

Can you touch your toes? If you can, then celebrate! Give yourself permission to be honest - not about what you want, but about why you want it. Then decide if you really want to wear those pants. If you do, make it a conscious choice every day until you can. If you don't, "SO WHAT"?

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Let's be honest, we're not all supermodels. So let's get over it and PARTY!

Oh, no - not another "feel good" blog about how to improve your self esteem! Welcome to my blog of down-to-earth comments on real life.

I tend to say it how it is and have some experience to back it up; but I always write with a sense of humor and a liberal dose of understanding - because I've been-there; done-that! I hope to share my experience and insights into body image issues, diet and exercise roller-coasters, and overall life strategies for embracing and exploring the abundance of living a vibrant life, no matter who you are or what your circumstances!

So, if you're ready to have a good time while you are being brutally honest with yourself, then this is the blog for you. It might be a bumpy ride - so hang on tight! Welcome to my world!

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