Have hope, chase joy, embrace life – recovery is possible.

Day 2: Joyful Movement

Welcome to Day 2 of lifeinfullcolour’s 6-Day Exploration of Health At Every Size (HAES) 🙂

So lovely to see so many new names visiting my blog & the lifeinfullcolour Facebook page – it’s great to have you along on this adventure 🙂 Today’s theme is Joyful Movement, but if you are just joining us, feel free to go back & try my Self-Care Challenge from Day 1 🙂

I have always loved moving my body, & especially like “outdoorsy” type activities.  I love hiking, kayaking, cycyling, running, & going to the beach. I like team sports like netball or cricket (on a social level), & i love all kinds of dancing. Kickboxing is also really fun 🙂

When i first began struggling with an eating disorder, i was still engaged in these activities, though my motivation & focus began to shift – instead of exercising for enjoyment, i began to exercise for weightloss. Instead of long peaceful bike rides around the park, where i would enjoy observing the people & the trees, & breathing in the clear air around me, i began to ride laps, around & around & around the block, oblivious to the world around me, & focused soley on how long & how far i could push myself to burn more calories. Instead of running to clear my head, & observe the power & strength in my legs & the sound of my feet on the pavement, i began to run as a punishment for “being fat” or “eating too much”.

As my illness progressed i eventually gave up all of those “outdoorsy” activities that i had loved so much, in favour of daily workouts in the gym, where i could time my workouts, & monitor how many calories i was burning – there were no pleasant distractions there to break my focus on ‘thin’. Exercise had become a compulsion, rather than a joyful pastime, & i exercised through both illness & injury. Exercise had become “torturcise”*.

The sad truth is, that you don’t need to be struggling with an eating disorder in order to have an awkward & conflicted relationship with exercise.

It is incredibly rare to hear any sort of talk about exercise, without hearing talk of weight-loss. This focus on exercise for weight-loss shifts our focus, & turns the movement of our bodies away from pleasure, & toward the path of tortucise. TV shows like The Biggest Loser (oh how i despise that show!), as well as more general advertising for gyms & exercise equipment, tell us we “should” exercise, & promote a “no pain, no gain” approach that focuses solely on weight-loss, rather than total body health & vitality. There is certainly no talk from them about exercise for enjoyment, & with a “no pain, no gain” message & images of people huffing & puffing, & slogging it away in gyms, is it really any wonder that so many of us dread exercise?


(Me, at a playground in Melbourne in 2009)

As a child, i was never concerned with “exercise” – i don’t even recall using the term! To me, those sorts of activities – riding my bike, going swimming – were simply “play”. I loved going to the park & swinging on the swings, i loved climbing trees, & not once did it cross my mind that “i have to do this” – i did these things because they were FUN.

Do YOU remember what it felt like to play?

Day 2 – Joyful Movement:

My challenge to you today, is to PLAY! 🙂

  1. Remember
    Think back to when you were a child – what was your favourite outdoor play activity?
    Did you like climbing trees?
    Swinging or sliding at the park?
    Did you like playing tag?
    What about going to the beach?
  2. Connect
    Try to connect with the feelings you had while you were engaged in those activities.
    Did you feel excitement?
    Did you feel joy?
    If so, you have found your play activity for the day!
  3. Make time to play! 🙂
    If your joyful play activity was climbing trees, your challenge is to go exploring – seek out the best climbing tree you can find, & climb it! 🙂
    If your joyful play activity was swinging or sliding, find a playground with some lovely big swings, or a long twisty slide, & have a go! 🙂
    Find some friends to play tag with, or if you have children in your life, play with them! Share your playful joy 🙂
  4. Remember – there is no age limit on play.
    Despite what society might tell us about needing to “grow up” & “be an adult”, play can be an enjoyable & health-promoting activity for everyone – of any age! So get out there & have some fun! 🙂

Be sure to pop on over to lifeinfullcolour’s Facebook page today, where our theme of Joyful Movement will be permeating my posts. And please feel free to share with me there, or here on the blog how you have found today’s Joyful Movement Challenge – i’d love to hear about your experiences! 🙂

(Images via: We ♥ it.)

*The word “torturcise” was used in the book ‘Biting The Hand That Starves You – Inspiring Resistance To Anorexia/Bulimia‘ in reference to compulsive exercise.

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Comments on: "Day 2: Joyful Movement" (1)

  1. […] little kid again. I started a water fight with my cousin to keep up with Lifeinfullcolour‘s Joyful Movement Challenge, and I realised that all I really did want to do was play. It was good to be able to act silly and […]

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