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This year has been a fantastic journey away from dieting and exercising to lose weight and into eating for nourishment and exercising for enjoyment and prosperity. I hit a pretty major road block when I found out I had a ton of food allergies (list). Here are other posts (in order since January) about my journey so far:
- 2012: The year I hit Diet Bottom and found Intuitive Eating
- Simplify 2013: I put the scale away
- WIAW: Intuitive Eating edition
- Intuitive Eating and Intuitive Working Out — not what I thought
- Work it Out: Intuitive Eating (guest post on Sprint2theTable)
- I throw my hands up in the air saying “hell no” (or the time I found out I had a bunch of food allergies)
- Intervention: Sugar (even if you don’t buy into Intuitive Eating, this is a must read).
- Food allergies: A force (not?) to be reckoned with
In case you’re wondering, I don’t carry the Intuitive Eating (IE) book around with me like a bible. In fact, I haven’t even finished reading the book. The principles mentioned in the first few chapters struck me as obvious (eat when you’re hungry. stop when you’re full. eat foods that you want, etc.), so I’ve adopted these practices and have been feeding myself with little effort since the beginning of the year. I don’t think about food all the time anymore. In fact, I think about it so little, that I’ve lost my ability to plan ahead like I used to — my wallet doesn’t like that — and it’s made it difficult in some situations to find things I am able to eat with my food allergies.
If you don’t know what IE is about, here’s a my quick summary along with how I handled each piece (also like my friend Laura’s version, which she calls “the no shit diet“):
- No more focusing on weight loss or dieting.
- I quit focusing on my weight. Still have some days where I feel like a sausage stuffed into my clothes but I don’t allow myself to fixate on that, and in turn, I’ve become more comfortable with myself the way that I am and have been wearing clothing that I wouldn’t have worn in the last 5-6 years. No more baggy shirts all the time, and I’ve been buying pants are my actual size instead of two sizes too big.
- Listen to your body’s hunger and satiety cues (chronic dieters might need to relearn these).
- I now eat when I’m hungry (unless I can’t, and the reality is you can’t ALWAYS eat when you’re hungry because of scheduling), and I stop when I’m full (most of the time, but I now recognize when I’m overeating and realize it’s okay).
- Choose foods that make you feel good (physically, not emotionally).
- I’ve made my journey mostly about choosing nutrient-dense foods that make me feel good, which means avoiding allergens and sometimes having to compromise for something that isn’t as healthy when it’s the only non-allergic option. “Mostly” means that I eat fun things from time to time, and eating allergens on occasion (partially to see if my reactions have changed, but sometimes because I would be chasing my craving with a lot of other food if I didn’t eat my allergens). In short: I’m not a diet Nazi anymore.
- Exercise should be fun and fulfilling, not militant or required. I’m not competing in the olympics, so I don’t need to train like it.
- This isn’t really covered in the book, but I took the theory they apply to eating and applied it to exercising: Listen to your body and move it in ways that make you feel good. If it hurts, I don’t do it. If it’s hard, I push through because I feel accomplished afterwards. I’ve re-learned the difference between pain and difficulty.
That leads me to today’s Fitness Friday post. I haven’t participated in Fitness Friday for a while because I found that by posting my workouts on social media or on my blog that I’m mentally competing with others. I actually quit following a lot of people who I love IRL’s blogs and a lot of the same people on social media for the last few months because I couldn’t stop mentally competing with them. Trying to not compete with my former self is hard enough. I’ve finally started letting go of those thoughts and getting to what really needs to be done with my fitness.
What I was doing before was trying to be the fastest, strongest, thinnest, most visually stunning athlete out there. Why? I don’t know. I just was. All my exercise was focused on these intangible outcomes instead of focusing on things that I could measure. This is why I was continually getting burnt out or injured.
So what am I doing differently now? I’m finally ready to share what my fitness looks like. I’ve been working on moving my body this way for a while, and I’m finally past the embarrassment and guilt of sharing on my blog. All the moves I’m currently doing are for rehabilitation of injuries (not ignoring them to try to lose weight or train for a race) and to get me back into the activity that I enjoy (running). I’m not not adhering to goals for: how long I work out, how heavy I lift, how fast I run, etc. I am keeping track of the amount of times I work out each week, how long, and what I do, but not for accountability, just so I can see what I did at the end of each week and smile because I end up moving a LOT.
This is what I did this week:
Saturday: Warm-up on recumbent bike for 20 mins. Lifted 3 sets of 25 with lighter weight: Leg curls, leg extensions, calf raises, leg presses (single leg), prone leg curls, hip adductors, hip abductors. Walk 4 mins, run 2 mins (slow and steady) for 30 mins. Stretched and did rehab moves.
Sunday: Biked 5 miles on recumbent bike.
Monday: Warm-up 20 mins on recumbent bike. Walked 4 mins, ran 2 mins (slow and steady), for 30 mins. Then 25 of each: sit-ups, pushups, supermans, dead-lifts, squats.
^ this is what it looks like when I actually have fun while moving.
Tuesday: Walked (or dragged/carried him, if I’m being honest) the dog for a bit. Hiked with Mark for an hour. Took a walk around my neighborhood at dusk.
Wednesday: Biked to work and back (and home and back again over lunch), which is 6 miles total. Walked for 4 mins, ran for 2 mins, for 30 mins. Attempted to take Barney for another walk.
Thursday: Biked to work and back home (drove back because it was supposed to rain). Walked home because it turned out being nice. Whipped out Jillian Michaels’s 30-Day Shred and did Level 2 (for the record, this is harder than level 3!). I realized that a lot of the workout DVDs I own hit balance work, all the muscle groups, and they don’t involve a ton of jump work. So I’m going to go back to doing them a few times a week so that I am hitting everything for balance, instead of just my running/biking muscles.
Friday: That’s today! I walked to work this AM and am probably driving home because I have errands to run over lunch and need to take the dog out as well. Not sure what I’m going to do tonight, but it’s gorgeous outside, so I bet I will go hike for a while.
You might wonder how moving this way feels differently than what I had been doing. Well, I’ll tell you, it feels GREAT!
- I am not stressed out about getting a workout that “counts” as a workout in my daily routine.
- I’m actually moving more than I used to (walking / biking places, and taking extra walks because it’s nice outside).
- I’m starting to feel stronger, ironically, when I quit trying to lift super heavy and be all badass.
- My injuries are starting to heal. Finally.
- When I do run and look at my speed (I try not to!), I’m running faster (and I force myself to slow down) because I am enjoying it again.
- Moving my body is fun again!
- I lost weight. I got curious and stepped on the scale last week and I’d lost another 4 lbs. Probably from not stressing out about things and actually ENJOYING life.
This was hard for me to write. It took me a long time to get over looking at what I’ve been doing as “not enough” and “not worthy of posting”. Get over it. No more guilt for not having a workout that “counts”. Every time you move your body, your body is listening, and it is counting it. I’m glad that my brain finally caught up with the rest of my body.
Let’s go find this girl again:
What would you do if you moved your body only in ways that you enjoy?
PS: I would like to have some guest posts about intuitive eating or exercising (whether or not you call it that, or if that’s just what you do or have always done). I’ve got a follow-up post next week that talks about our society’s obsession with our warped view of fitness, but otherwise I’m wide open and would like to hear others’ experiences (good or bad).
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Hi there. I'm Calee (pronounced CAL-e). If that's too hard, just call me Cal. Also known as chimes or the chimes. I'm 28ish, a designer, a runner, a self-proclaimed fitness queen, a craftster, a foodie, a music snob — some might call me a hipster. Here's the unabridged version.
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