Joyful Movement

This is a reblog and edit of a post from November 2017. You can read the original here.

You know what I hate? Exercise. You know what I love? Joyful movement. And here’s the difference:

Exercise is firm, regimented, and doesn’t actually care how you’re feeling that day. It employs phrases like “no pain, no gain” and “just do it” to push you past your personal limits. And it means well, because exercise is good for your heart and makes you stronger and faster. Some people really enjoy exercise and having a training schedule and that’s okay too, because it’s all about what truly sets your heart on fire. But to me, exercise is a distant acquaintance that you nod to on the street and automatically reply “fine” to when asked “how are you?”

Then there’s joyful movement – the friend that grabs your hand and says “But how are you really?” after you say “fine.” The difference is the lack of a rigid, day-by-day plan and the huge amount of listening to your body that is done. Which isn’t to say that an exercise plan doesn’t allow a certain amount of listening to your body, but there’s something so refreshing about thinking, “I sat a lot today and my body is craving movement. I’m a little sore from moving apartments, so a walk and a yoga video sound great.”

ANY MOVEMENT IS BENEFICIAL

I want to take some time out and call attention to the fact that any movement is beneficial and you don’t have to have a complex plan or big goals or any plan/goals at all for it to be good for your body. I’m guessing we all know some of the benefits of movement and fitness (heart health, joint health, etc) so I won’t parrot those here. Exercise has been shown to improve body image, and I think that’s amazing. But I think it’s also good to know that allowing yourself to find movement that feels good to you is a great place to start, and you don’t need to try and run a half marathon or CrossFit your arms off just because your friends do. If you love those, that’s cool! If you don’t, that’s also cool!

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IS IT ALWAYS JOYFUL?

Let’s dig into this question a little bit. I love that this whole up-and-coming concept of joyful movement is catching on. I think it sounds so positive and happy and freeing. But I also wonder to myself a lot – am I always supposed to be feeling absolute joy?

I think it’s okay to not be ecstatic about every workout or class or exercise opportunity. The harm comes when we force our bodies to do things they don’t want to, or when choosing movement takes away more from our day than it adds. For example – I know that my body doesn’t feel great at the end of the day if I haven’t moved a bit and walked around or stretched. So, I try to walk to deliver messages at the hospital instead of phoning for them, I use a restroom across the building, and I take a stretch break every hour or so while I chart. My heart doesn’t soar with joy for any of these things, but they’re quick, painless, and add up to feeling a little less physically tense at the end of the day.

Here’s some questions to ask yourself to guide in your decision making:

  • Why am I doing this? (your why should not be your appearance)
  • Does this add to my day? Or add more overall stress?
  • Did I sleep well last night?
  • Is this a muscle burn or muscle pain? (there is a difference and pain is bad)

DISCOVERING WHAT MOVEMENT IS JOYFUL FOR YOU

Two words: try everything. And then sing this song in your head while you do it.

Just kidding about that song thing, but really – if your doctor says it’s okay/you’re cleared for movement/it feels right, trying all the things is such a fun way to make discoveries. I used to think all you could do at the gym was a combination of a cardio machine + weight machines, but having a friend teach me how to use the free weights/heavy weights was an eye opener for me! Then I thought, if this is fun, what else am I missing out on?

So, here’s a list (that is by no means comprehensive) of different kinds of movement to try!

MOVEMENT EXPLORATION OPTIONS

BARRE

My absolute favorite form of motion for a full year was Barre3, a combination of pilates, yoga, and ballet barre. I especially love the body positivity vibes I get from the instructors (in person and online!) when they say things like “Here’s what to do if this doesn’t feel good in your body” and “Remember that your body is different every day, so it’s okay to adapt along with that.” Here’s a free class online or the link to the full online workout library (the subscription is SO worth it if you love this – not sponsored, just a great value!).

YOGA

I will say, yoga is one of the kinds of movement that feels best in an actual class rather than on my own. I went to an intermediate class with a friend over the summer and it was so nice to be surrounded by people who were also centered on loving and moving their bodies for an hour! For at home, I love Yoga With Adriene on YouTube! Here‘s a 15-minute feel-good flow.

PILATES

I’ve never tried Pilates in person ($$$) but The Balanced Life Pilates with Robin Long is a great Youtube channel for equipment-free pilates options! I’ll open a quick 10-minute pilates flow video for when I need to move but am feeling cozy and lazy at the same time (anyone else get that feeling?). Here‘s my current fave.

WALKING

Who can resist a tried-and-true (and FREE) favorite like taking a stroll? I usually bring Drew along if I feel like walking so we can chat, but a podcast works just as well if he’s not around! Here‘s one that will give you all the food positive vibes.

KETTLEBELL

I bought a kettlebell shortly after moving in with Drew and it has been such a satisfying way to enjoy a sweaty workout at home! Sometimes I want slow stretching, and sometimes I want my heart to pound – and this workout definitely makes it happen.

WEIGHTS

Weights have brought me a similar enjoyment to kettlebell lately when I’m looking for a deeper muscle burn. This workout is a great arm circuit and this is a killer lower body workout.

HIKING

We live in the mountains of Idaho and hiking trails are plentiful and beautiful! AllTrails is great for finding a path, or just googling around works too! If you’re ever in the Tetons, we liked this Jenny Lake hike – lots of milage but relatively flat so it’s not too hard on the legs.

SWIMMING

I haven’t swam (swum?) in a while, but Kylie posted a lot about it when she was pregnant with her sweet little girl, and it looked so good that I’m pondering a trip to an indoor pool…or maybe just a hot tub. 😉 I love how weightless swimming makes me feel, and it’s so easy on the body! Basically a spa day plus a workout in one.

WORKOUT PLAYLISTS

You can find my workout playlists on Spotify here: cardio | lifting.

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ABUNDANTLY ENOUGH

This post is part of the Abundantly Enough blog series, where my girl Amy Shen and I chat about all things HAES, intuitive eating, and wellness. Join us in our Facebook group for more discussion + weekly videos!

3 Quick Tips for Gentle Nutrition

Hello, friends! It’s Food/Gentle Nutrition Week over in the Abundantly Enough group that my friend Amy and I run, so I’m stopping in to share 3 tips for gentle nutrition. If you’re looking to read more about the background and what “gentle nutrition” even is, read this post

GROUND YOURSELF IN THE PRESENT

One helpful way to guide your eating is to focus on the present. The restrictive mindset tends to let the past and future dictate what can happen now (“I’ll make up for this” or “I earned this”, etc) but if you treat each eating opportunity as a unique event, it can help lead to natural balance.

You can ground yourself using guided meditation, a body scan, or by asking some of the questions below (or a combo of all of these!):

  • Do I feel my hunger in my mouth or my stomach?
  • What is my hunger level? (use the scale above)
  • What foods sound good? (or, if this is too broad – hot or cold? Spicy? Sweet? Savory? Do I want my food to feel filling or light?)

When actually eating, trying to set aside at least a few mindful, screen-free minutes during a meal can help you enjoy!

If you have anxiety about treating each meal individually, visualization can help. Think about the meal or snack you’re about to eat, and picture/visualize yourself enjoying and savoring the food in a calm way. How do you currently feel when you eat? How would you like to feel? What are some ways you can get there?

MAKE HYDRATION ACCESSIBLE

I find a lot of posts about hydration talk a lot about why it’s important and how much water we need – and we’ve all probably already heard most of it. So, let’s chat about how to make it easier to hydrate – even if you don’t like water.

  • Drink from a straw | this can help boost your intake just by making it easier to take longer sips!
  • Add flavor | fun ideas include flavor drops, packets, or sliced fruit
  • Make it part of your morning routine | setting a water bottle or glass next to your bed and taking some sips before you get up can be a super-easy way to start your day refreshed!

Wondering about intuitive hydration? Check out this post.

EXPLORE SIMPLE SWAPS

I want to start by noting that I think ingredient swaps get a bad rep, and sometimes it’s justified. The whole cauliflower-for-pizza-crust thing makes no sense to me – it’s not nearly as satisfying or tasty. Give me all the doughy texture of bread, please and thanks.

But there’s some fun ways to play around with food that can up the fiber, protein, or nutrition content without sacrificing satisfaction. If you try these and hate them, get back to your roots and eat the stuff you like. Ain’t no thang.

And that’s it! Keeping it short and simple today since things are crazy lately, but let me know in the comments how you incorporate gentle nutrition into your life!

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ABUNDANTLY ENOUGH

This post is part of the Abundantly Enough blog series, where my girl Amy Shen and I chat about all things HAES, intuitive eating, and wellness. Join us in our Facebook group for more discussion + weekly videos!

Other Abundantly Enough posts:

Good For Her, Not for Me | A Life + Business Update

It seems like forever since I shared a more personal update over here, but today feels like a good day because I have allthenews. But first, let’s backtrack a little.

Was not kidding about being high school sweethearts… although I can tell you, never in my wildest dreams did I think at 17 that this was the guy I’d marry!

THE BACKSTORY

I’ve known for six years that one day, I’d move away from home to be with Drew wherever he was working. He’s a mining engineer, and it limits the locations he can reasonably live since he needs to be on-site for planning and management purposes. Going into college, he knew this was the path he wanted – and since we were high school sweethearts, I knew that it was a very real possibility that it would be the path I’d join him on. Note: I’m thankful for a mother-in-law that encouraged me to choose my own career without considering her son’s plans. I pursued a degree in nutrition based on my own passions, and not based on whether I could get a job in the towns where Drew would reasonably be living.

So, for the past six years, I’ve been somewhere in the middle of 100% doing my own thing + thinking towards the future that Drew and I want to build together. It was challenging to cling to my independence while still dreaming of getting married and starting our life together at a young age (that’s a whole other topic for another day). But somewhere along the line, as we started to seriously talk about getting engaged and married, I began to think about what my professional life would or could look like in the towns we’d live in.

And that’s when my anxiety ramped up, because dietitian jobs in these towns are limited and the future was incredibly uncertain. So I dug into the information and came up with a reasonably simple solution: I’d open a private practice.

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BUILDING SATISFY

I started a small blog in college (that I no longer post to), and toyed around with various business ideas. I liked learning design + entrepreneurship, and loved the idea of creating a personal brand and supporting myself with a blog and practice. The idea of having my own nutrition practice was daunting and terrifying and exciting.

After we got married in August + I moved to rural Idaho where Drew worked, I threw myself into learning how to start a private practice + blogging more. I’m so proud of Satisfy and the opportunities it’s given me, from blog collaborations to refining my viewpoints on health to meeting a new best friend on the Internet. I’m grateful to each of the private practice clients I’ve had for allowing me to be a part of their food freedom and health story. Which brings me to my first and biggest update:

As of March 1, the private practice side of my business is closing and I am no longer accepting clients.

THE “WHY”

I’m making this move for a few reasons, the main one being that I’ve accepted a job at a local hospital as a clinical dietitian and part of that is a non-compete clause. But I think another equally important reason is that private practice doesn’t suit me as well as I thought it would.

If you’ve read Amy Poehler’s “Yes Please“, you’ve read a phrase that changed my life:

Good for her. Not for me.

This more or less sumsup the feelings I have about private practice, even though I’ve been denying it the last few months. The beautiful and unique thing about the field of nutrition is that it is so diverse + there’s so many areas you can work in. From the beginning, I’ve felt called towards clinical work – but I began to worry that our living situation wouldn’t let me respond to that calling. The more I fought to suppress my love for clinical nutrition (in what I thought was an act of self-preservation), the more my anxiety around my job rose.

I think dietitians who have private practices are awesome. I have the highest respect for all of my friends and mentors that rock their businesses and create their own path and help allthepeople. But I also think that maybe this path isn’t for me – so it’s time to explore how I can serve people through clinical work (and still incorporate HAES/IE, don’t worry)!

WHAT’S NEXT

I had my orientation at my new job on Wednesday, and I’ll be there ~32 hours/week (I’m still completing my Master’s degree via a distance program, so splitting time made the most sense). The job I’m stepping into is a big one, with a wider variety of responsibilities than a typical clinical RD would have, so I’m giving myself some time to adjust and grow into this position before refocusing on blog content. However, once I get settled in, I’ll be back with a regular posting schedule! In the meantime, I’ll still be co-hosting the Abundantly Enough group + finishing our current blog series.

If you’re looking for a Health at Every Size/Intuitive Eating dietitian to guide you through eating disorder recovery, general nutrition, digestive issues, etc. – I am happy to refer you to my talented friends! 

If you have questions or requests for blog content, please continue to let me know!

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