Intuitive movement supports both body and mind. Instead of exercising to reach a certain body size or shape, intuitive movement is about choosing ways to move the body that will help us to feel better.
Intuitive movement is about reconnecting with our bodies and choosing movement that is both enjoyable and supportive. Instead of exercising to reach a certain body size or shape, intuitive movement encourages ways to move our body that will help us to feel better. By moving intuitively, we can make moving our bodies supportive for both mind and body.
Eating Disorder Recovery and Intuitive Movement
Recovering from an eating disorder often involves a disconnect between mind and body. Intuitive movement is an approach that champions feeling good and working the body, as opposed to working against it, aligning it with eating disorder recovery.
Social media, advertising, influencers, exercise classes, sports brands and the fitness industry as a whole, advocate exercise as a means to change the way the body looks. The overriding message is to prioritise your weight and body shape over your health and wellbeing.
Just look at your local gym schedule with classes such as ‘bums and tums’. These classes promise a sculpted physique and washboard abs. In the gym, the quest to sculpt the ‘perfect’ body shape has taken centre stage, with strength training becoming increasingly popular, often as it centres around building as much muscle and shedding as much body fat as possible.
A recovery client once described their relationship with the gym as ‘a punishing daily ritual to achieve a socially accepted body’ which many will relate to.
Many exercise videos are tainted with diet culture, with titles promising flatter stomachs and killer abs. Tragically, this has become normalised, and goes unquestioned despite the many issues it raises.
This constant messaging reinforces the belief that exercise is about punishing the body- not nurturing it. And sadly this is a belief common to eating disorder sufferers. Somewhere along the way we have forgotten that movement can be about having fun and supporting the body, rather than fighting against it. Thankfully, there is an alternative that lies in changing your reason for working out and it’s called intuitive exercise.
Say no to spending the rest of your life at war with your body.
How do I exercise intuitively?
Intuitive exercise can look like any of the following:
If you are particularly stressed you might find yoga calming.
If you are feeling a bit down you might find a walk in the fresh air soothing.
Intuitive movement could also involve you trying a dance class if you feel like having fun!
If your back is aching you might work on strengthening exercises.
If you are feeling tired then you can give yourself permission to rest.
The philosophy behind intuitive movement is simple: listen to and work with your body, rather than against it.
This is also the approach we take with our recovery clients at our eating disorder clinic. We support you to learn to work with your body and find movement that you enjoy and feels good, rather than supporting movement for punishment or control.
By shifting your approach to intuitive exercise and letting your body guide you, we believe you can fall in love with movement again.