• Hannah Peterman, Undergraduate Dietetic Intern

Practice Intuitive Eating: Intuitive Movement


"I should exercise more, but I just hate it!" This is feedback we regularly hear from clients when the topic of exercise comes up. Oftentimes, our clients who despise exercise have every reason to do so! Their experience with exercise has involved militant movement, from sweaty pushups and lap-running to monotonous elliptical sessions. Ready to enjoy exercise again? Read on for some tips on how to incorporate intuitive movement in your life:

Pinpoint The Problem

Have you ever stopped to consider why it is that you hate exercise? Or have you been too busy feeling guilty about how you don't do it enough? Here are some common reasons we see for clients hating exercise:

You're Not Eating Enough Carbs

If you're skimping on carbs, your body won't be able to perform as well during exercise, since carbohydrate is your main fuel source and your body metabolizes carbohydrates more quickly than fats or proteins. Even elite athletes experience diminished exercise performance if carbs are lacking in their diet. If you're feeling exhausted and/or lightheaded during your workout, you could be under-fueling on this important nutrient.

You Pick Exercise Based On Calories Burned

Maybe you hate running, but feel that other exercise "doesn't count" since it doesn't utilize as many calories. You struggle to find the motivation to be active because you dread running so much and, even when you start running, you count down the minutes until you finish. Does this sound familiar? Oftentimes, people don't even consider what is enjoyable because they're so focused on calories or working up a sweat. In the end, they exercise much less than they would have if they picked an exercise that they actually enjoyed.

Change Your Focus

Instead of focusing on the calories burned or on how you want your body shape to change as a result of exercise, focus on how it feels! How do you feel after you move your body? Are you refreshed? Energized? Do your stress levels change? Are you sleeping better? Test out various exercises to see which ones you enjoy. Maybe you hate running, but enjoy water aerobics. Or, perhaps you enjoy walking at the mall with a friend to escape the summer heat. Once you find what you enjoy and notice how you feel, you might find that you actually WANT to exercise again!

Look Beyond Weight Loss

Even if you don't lose a pound, exercise can vastly improve health outcomes! Numerous people exercise only for the purpose of shedding pounds. The problem? If their weight doesn't budge, they give up on exercise because they view weight as the primary indicator of success. Truth be told, cholesterol levels, insulin sensitivity, and more can be improved by exercise...even if no weight change occurs whatsoever.

Where to Start?

No need to start big! Grab your tennis shoes and commit to taking a walk around the block a few times a week. Or, ask a friend if they can meet at the mall to keep you company while you walk. Have a dance party with your kids. Take a few minutes over the lunch hour to stretch your legs. Once these small goals feel easy, you can add another 10 minute walk in your day, or test out another form of exercise that you've been curious about. Yes, it all counts!

#intuitiveeating #exercise #health

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