Just about everybody knows or has heard about the importance of exercise. And many of us are truly on board with moving our bodies and feeling the great benefits that exercise can bring. But there’s a hidden and often slightly darker side to exercise, and it’s this: many people exercise, but they just don’t like it. It’s as if exercise is a punishment for eating, or having body fat, or not looking perfect. What’s more, a large number of people simply refuse to exercise for this very reason – it feels like punishment for a crime. Well, it’s time to turn this around. Tune into this fascinating video from IPEtv as Emily Rosen, Director of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating shares the best kept secret about about exercise that can completely change the way you experience movement forever!
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Here is a transcript of this week’s video:
Hi, I’m Emily Rosen, Director of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.
Today’s topic: The Most Important Exercise Secret Ever
Before I tell you what I think is the most important exercise secret ever, we need to set the table a little bit and look at the world of exercise by peeking behind the curtain and seeing what’s really there.
We say the word “exercise” quite a bit – but I believe that a significant number of people all hear something different.
Exercise is a loaded word.
Some people hear the word exercise and their eyes light up because they love to exercise, it’s part of their life, and it comes natural to them.
There’s another subset of people who hear the word exercise and they immediately feel heavy. Exercise for them is a struggle. It’s not something they enjoy. It’s hard to do. It seems like a necessary evil.
Other people see exercise as something they should do, and must do, and they are indeed able to do it – but they’d rather not. Exercise is for them is a practice in not gaining weight and not being unfit.
There’s yet another group of people who have a past history of bad exercise memories. A lot of us felt forced to do exercise in school, perhaps not suited for their bodies, and others had embarrassment around lack of athletic ability and being made fun of.
I want to share with you about yet another group of exercisers who are indeed exercising to lose weight and no matter how much they do and how hard they go out it – nothing shifts, and they don’t lose a pound. And then they go into absolute disbelief and upset because all that hard work happens for nothing.
So here’s what I consider the most important exercise secret ever that applies to just about every subgroup of exercisers:
Move in ways that you love.
In other words, if the movement or exercise doesn’t feel good and doesn’t make you happy, then don’t do it.
Obviously there are all kinds of sports and exercise that are intense, that are challenging, and that often come with a bunch of pain. I’m not at all saying to forgo that. For many of us, we do such sports or exercise because when we sum total up the entire experience – we love it.
I’m simply saying this:
Stop moving if you’re doing so from a place of push, force, self rejection, self-hate, and self loathing.
• Move in ways that give you pleasure
• Move in ways that make you smile
• Move in ways that are doable for you
• Move in ways that truly make it feel good for you to be in your body
• If you’re the kind of person who has trouble exercising then let go of any goals, and take the smallest baby steps that you can and do any kind of movement
Researchers have identified this thing called over-exercise.
Far too many people operate under the assumption that more is better.
This may be true when it’s true, but when it comes to exercise and movement, the body has its natural limits.
When we over exercise, we move the body into a stress response. The physiologic stress response – meaning sympathetic nervous system dominance – yields an increased output of both cortisol and insulin. These two hormones when secreted in excess signal the body to store weight, store fat, and not build muscle. So we can literally create the opposite physiologic effect of what we desire from exercise when we artificially push ourselves past our own natural limit.
Furthermore, if you’re doing exercise that you hate, or that feels like a burden, such an experience can also create the physiologic stress response with the same unwanted chemical cascade that ends up taking us down the wrong metabolic road.
Walk, dance, swim, ride your bicycle, do some yoga, do any kind of movement that has a sense of celebration to it. Take a hike with your dog – find any kind of movement that makes you feel happy to have a body.
That’s the point.
That’s the greatest exercise secret.
Don’t use exercise to shed pounds.
Use exercise to feel alive and to exercise the inborn urge to move and feel free.
From there, if the body truly has weight to lose, then it will lose it.
Forget about calorie burning when you exercise, and let go of any self-judging thoughts that you might have when you move.
Consider this an experiment.
I have a feeling that the result of this experiment for you will be a wonderful success. It’s time to celebrate your body in whatever form of movement or exercise you choose to do.
I hope this was helpful.