Let's get intuitive.
Buckle up, pals! This will be your best new year's resolution, ever!
Hiya sweaty pals, how’s things?
I hope you had a good break, or enjoying it still if that’s the case. I am back at my desk for now, but heading away again at the end of Jan. Trying to stretch the Summer out a bit this year and return to work properly fully refreshed. It might work. Let’s see.
Last year was busy. I had surgery to remove my gallbladder, I renovated my house and lived in a tiny hotel for 3 months, and I got a dog. Oh and probably the biggest news - I started working with a book coach to help me write a book.. scroll down for details on that.
And so all of that, plus life in general, my kids and husband, my family, and work at DCG, made for a very busy year. By the time Christmas rolled around, I was pretty stressed trying to fit everything in and being what everyone needed.
And so this year, my intention is to actually do what I say I will every year when it comes to my health and fitness.
I’m going intuitive.
Before you answer that, I’d better let you know what an intuitive life actually means, eh!
To live intuitively is to trust yourself to do what your body needs in order to feel good.
In practice, this means:
Knowing that exercise is good for me physically and mentally, and also that I can choose the days and methods of exercise that suit me in the moment. For example, I hate tricep dips and I hate squat jumps and box jumps so I am just not going to do them. And as much as I hate to admit it, I’m quitting weighted barbell squats because I get so much anxiety before them that my knees are going to pop. They do not bring me joy and so in the bin they go.
I do love tennis. It is an excellent cardio exercise and for me tennis will trump any other form of cardio. If tennis is on offer, I’m saying yes to it so long as I want to and feel I can. Exercising in a way I enjoy means I’m more likely to do it, yes?
Knowing that a balanced and nourished diet includes lean protein, plenty of fruit and veggies, healthy fats, and about 3L of water every day. But I won’t beat myself up for eating foods outside of that realm. I will go to dinner with my friends and not think about the nutritional benefits of my meal. I will order and eat takeaways with my kids. And I will celebrate friend’s birthday’s with cake. Because I know what my body needs to thrive, I trust myself implicitly to make sure that most of the time I am feeding it well and I refuse to feel guilt over any of my food choices. At the end of the day, that’s all they are. A choice.
Knowing that getting 8 hours sleep every night is the optimal amount of sleep for me, and understanding that if I don’t get that many hours for whatever reason means my plans can change the next day and that’s totally ok.
Does any of this resonate with you so far?
Please know this is not easy. We’ve been conditioned over our lives to not trust ourselves. To restrict what we eat. To smash it out in the gym every day, working through illness, exhaustion and injury.
And so undoing that natural lean towards pushing and punishing ourselves, intuitive living can start off with building up some compassion for ourselves. There’s a lot of forgiveness we need to ask of our bodies and our minds. I think you know what I’m talking about. How many times have you berated your body because it didn’t fit a dress or didn’t look the way you wanted it to? If you’re anything like me, probably lots. I’ve been giving my body a hard time for the last thirty years at least. Even when I was at my fittest, at my strongest, at my leanest, I could always find fault with my body and I would tell it so at every opportunity I had. So mean, eh!
I saw a great illustration this morning actually, and it said more or less, with every exhale of breath, let a thing go.
And that might be a great place to start if standard militant practice in food and exercise has really done a number on you. I wouldn’t be surprised if this time of year is just awful because of all the shitty messages we get fed out to us. The beauty of intuitive living is that we just trust ourselves every day forever. There’s no diets or challenges to do because this way of life just goes on comfortably while we are getting on with our lives. It’s really good!
“Ok Lou, I’m all in and I want to give this intuitiveness lark a go.”
Excellent! I’m happy for you!
I said at the start of this note to you, that living intuitively is not easy. For some reason, we allow ourselves years to study, to get a degree or other qualification. We start a new job and we allow ourselves time to “get our feet under the desk” to “settle in”. Even at the gym, we don’t walk in and immediately lift the heaviest weight we can find.
We take our time, to learn, and practice. To get good at something before we challenge ourselves with harder things.
Yet where food and exercise is concerned, we seem to ignore the time it takes to practice and learn a new thing, and just want to jump into the deep end, straight away.
It’s ok, and it’s not your fault. That silver bullet for health and fitness success rammed down our throats since the dawn of time does not exist. Living intuitively is not a diet, but you will fail if you take a speedy approach. Slow it down, you’ll be grand.
Start with reading the 10 principles of intuitive eating.
Understand that living intuitively means rejecting a whole lot of toxic diet culture. And given it’s a lot to unpack, maybe that’s all you need to do for right now. Get comfortable with the notion that all the diets you’ve done in the past, won’t ever be a thing for you again. Yay!
Intuitive eating (or intuitive living as I call it because this practice exists way outside of just food) is really about trusting your body to know what it wants and needs at any given time.
A bit about my book..
It’s true! I’m writing a book called “The Lie in Weight” and essentially it is a war against intense weight loss and the relentless push placed upon making our bodies smaller at any cost. As a pep talk of common sense, the book will expose the lies we’re told around weight and exercise, so readers can make informed choices about how they live their lives.
It’s very much in progress, but I’m excited to be writing it and I hope you will love it, too!
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