You always want what you can’t have, amiright?
Two weeks ago, I had a biopsy done on my upper back. Don’t worry, it’s nothing extreme like skin cancer… but I have been dealing with this insane rash that doesn’t seem to want to budge (and is taking over my life…). Anyway– we’re not here to talk about my skin issues. As she was in the middle of the biopsy, my dermatologist goes, “Alright, no exercise for two weeks!”. Gee, thanks for telling me while you’re in the middle of the dang procedure.
I had just bought a monthly membership to an online yoga studio, YogaGlo, and bought a new mat, cushion, blocks, Buddhist singing bowl, and was getting into a routine of doing yoga at home in my office. Right when I was starting to enjoy home yoga, BOOM, here came something blocking my path. Two stitches in my upper back and no exercise for two weeks.
The concept of Intuitive Exercise means choosing movement that you enjoy and look forward to. I had been forcing myself to run and cycle and lift weights for years when I wasn’t really enjoying it. Yoga is something I truly enjoy and look forward to, and I never feel like I’m forcing my body to do something it doesn’t like.
Being forced to take two weeks off of yoga has really made me CRAVE movement. I am so excited to go back to the derm office on Friday and get these two annoying stitches out of my back, so I can finally stretch and move and get back into my yoga practice. That’s the thing about deprivation. If you deprive yourself of something you love, or something your body needs, you’re going to end up craving it and wanting it more. Your body knows what it needs to be happy, healthy and balanced. Avoid movement, and your body is going to give you subtle (or not so subtle) messages that it wants to be active!
It works the same way with food: we all have the foods we love that make us feel good. Deprive yourself of those favorite foods, and that’s all you’re going to be able to think about. The key is to tell yourself you can have these foods and movement when your your body wants or needs it — as long as you pay attention to your body and listen for hunger, fullness, and symptoms of overexercising.
If you’re feeling stuck and having trouble finding movement you enjoy, I encourage you to take a break from physical activity for a couple weeks, or as long as you need. Pay attention to how your body feels when it’s not moving. Do you feel tired, groggy, and sluggish? Do you find yourself wanting to get up and move around and just do something? At the end of your exercise break, make a list of all the activities that sound enjoyable to you. Maybe its yoga, pilates, or walking. Maybe it’s something more intense like running or weight lifting. What sounds fun and enjoyable to you?
Listen to your body– it knows exactly what it needs.
Do you have a favorite movement that you enjoy?
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Hi! I’m Emily, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and self-taught intuitive chef. I firmly believe that cooking is the simplest and most important step we can take to improve our minds and bodies and build healthier communities. Join me and let’s bring food back to the kitchen!