What does it mean to honor and listen to your body? Delving into what intuitive eating means…

What does it mean to honor and listen to your body? Delving into what intuitive eating means…

Some of my friends who read my blog posts ask me what it means to honor and listen to your body. To be frank, listening to your body is a medium that is incredibly hard – harder than the extremes. Based on my experience, restricting or overeating and not exercising at all or overexercising is a lot easier than practicing “moderation.”

Across my recovery, I’ve been recommended to practice intuitive eating, but let me tell you intuitive is very difficult when you’ve been practicing disordered eating. Listening to your body requires a lot of time, patience, and effort.

avolicious header image

To me, listening to my body means to not eat ice cream because I know that my body does not process dairy well. I know that the sluggish and queasy feeling I get in my stomach after eating dairy is not worth the momentary pleasure of eating ice cream. This is not restriction. Restriction would be not getting ice cream because I know there are too many calories in ice cream.

To me honoring my body means going out for an easy run when I’m itchy for some movement. I know that I have been sitting down a lot throughout the week and want to stretch out and give the range of motion my body wants. This is not exercise addiction. Exercise addiction would be exercising despite injuries, despite your body feeling weak and tired.

To me, intuitive eating means not getting seconds because I am aware that my wanting to get seconds is emotional: I had a rough day at school, I have friend drama going on, I have a big test looming ahead. I am aware that my physical hunger has been satisfied. This is not restriction because restriction would be to not eat when my stomach is asking for more food.

Indeed, this is not easy. It’s hard to take the time to reflect, pause, and listen to what your body wants. And even when you are trying to listen, sometimes you are confused as to whether you are listening to your physical self or your emotional self.

This took me an incredibly time (maybe an upward of two years) and I’m still not near perfect. Intuitive eating is never about being perfect and listening to your body every single time. Intuitive eating is about progress, about continually getting better at listening to your body. Because sometimes, you may be physically full but you just might need a little sweet to pick you up. And that’s completely fine.

Going into intuitive eating is first a huge step. To completely ditch the calorie counting in your head, to ditch the “obligation” to exercise, to completely ditch all the rules from society but to only listen to yourself. And even when you decide to practice intuitive eating, it is a hard principle to follow. But read my examples above. Getting to that point took a lot of time, patience and effort but at the end, I feel much more energy and love and self-respect for my body.

You only get to live with your body once. Honor it. Listen to it. No matter how hard it gets.

What will you do today to honor your body?

Xoxo,

Stephanie

Intuitive Exercise?

Intuitive Exercise?

 

Today, I want to talk about intuitively exercising. I really want to experiment with this “intuitive exercise” thing for a month and perhaps give you guys an update.

As many of you guys know, I am pretty strict and regimented about my exercising routine (as you can see from my various exercise blog posts). However, for the past three weeks or so, I’ve gone to the gym perhaps in total of three times. I know…gasp. It’s a surprise for me as well.

Now, I don’t know why all of a sudden, my motivation and love for exercise died down. Perhaps it’s because of all the injuries I’ve gotten this past year (knee problems, shin problems, foot stress fracture) and perhaps because I got cut from winter track this year that I really wasn’t required to run every day like I was in the fall with cross-country or last year when I did winter track. I don’t know. I really can’t say what the reason was.

Regardless, I’ve trying to get back into exercise. And I want to get back by intuitively exercising. And this means whatever makes me move and makes my heart pump for at least 30 minutes. At that means at that instant – that instant where you realize you should exercise — what do you want to do? What makes you excited to move around?

Whether that means I’m foolishly dancing to songs, whether that means I run for 10 minutes and walk for 20 minutes, whether that means I go on a hike with my parents, whether that means I go shopping with my mom (which always takes longer than 30 minutes), whether that means I go on YouTube and find a 30 minute full-workout video or do a nice relaxing yoga session, as long as I’m moving and my heart rate is increasing, I’m good.

IMG_5406 (1).JPG
Taking a walk with my friends

I think this makes exercise so much more enjoyable. Not that running wasn’t enjoyable to me. I think because I came back from so many running injuries and thus had a hiatus from running, my endurance and stamina for running has dropped significantly. And being the Type-A perfectionist I am, every time I go on a run after my injury, I am striving to get to those splits and times and mileage again. Which is unhealthy. And which makes my body struggle and makes the whole exercise experience unenjoyable.

Therefore, I’m just going to do whatever floats my boat. Intuitive exercise doesn’t mean that I’m going to get out of shape or gain weight. In fact, some of the most slimmest countries do just that! Reading about the Japanese or Korean or Europeans, while these countries have the most delicious foods (at least in my opinion), the natives are so slim. Why? First their portions are small (what Serena just wrote about) and second, they walk A LOT. In America, we tend to rely a lot on our cars – but in these countries, there’s a lot of walking. While there’s still public transportation, walking to and from the bus stop, train stop, and all sorts all adds up. And so these people eat good food and stay in shape by simply walking! So don’t be afraid/think that your exercise regime isn’t “hard enough” – as long as you’re moving and you love what you’re doing to exercise, then you’re all set!

 

Do you intuitively exercise?

xoxo,

Stephanie