This week’s amazing guest is Julie Newbry, the Intuitive Personal Trainer. As we discuss how to stop over-exercising, I hope you’re inspired to release exercise-related guilt and give your body grace and love!
Also — I have a NEW offer for you! It’s a free on-demand training that walks you through how to ditch food guilt and body shame so you can gain confidence and feel free! You can register at www.caitlinball.com/training and get started today!
The Start of Intuitive Movement
Julie shares that she works with clients that are pursuing fitness without attempting to shrink their bodies or focus on weight loss. Her own journey with health started at a young age —
She attended her first Weight Watchers meeting at age 10. From then on, Julie was constantly dieting. At age 16, she had a full blown eating disorder that she battled until she was 30. Even though shed remembers having a love for sports and playing as a child, she couldn’t remove them from the focus on aesthetics and weight loss that we so often pair with movement.
In her early 30’s Julie’s own concept of her physical body started to change. She began to appreciate just how incredible it was, and how much it was capable of. Eventually this inspired her to segue into personal training. Sadly, her boss at the gym constantly pressured her to lose weight and reduce body fat. Even though she has been happy with the shape she was in, she started to slip back into the need to lose weight, which ultimately led back to disordered eating patterns.
Exercising with Respect for Your Body
So many women are used to exercising frequently, with the specific goal of shrinking their bodies. Movement for fun and joy, and movement that is kind, is almost unheard of.
Julie notes that exercising to lose weight isn’t necessarily wrong…but it also isn’t helpful. Often when we force ourselves to work out in order to move the needle on scale, we get into a cycle of “never enough”. We either lose the weight, stop moving, and then regain the weight. Or, we guilt and shame ourselves into movement because we are so intent on seeking a certain outcome. Either way, we’re more likely to find ourselves aways demanding more of ourselves, rather than feeling grateful to our bodies for all they are doing.
When you can start moving out of joy and kindness, however, you can start taking back your power. Exercise can become a way of showing yourself love. You’re much more likely to stick with it if you view it as a way to build yourself up and truly love yourself, rather than as a way to change your body.
Many of Julie’s clients are exercise avoidant (not exercising much at all), and some are exercise dependent (over-exercising). She noted that many women who are exercise dependent have a lot of fear about what will happen to their bodies if they stop. She shares that, in reality, if you are maintaining a certain body size by severely restricting food or exercising for an extreme amount of time, you’re using control keep yourself smaller than you’re body naturally would choose to be.
A huge part of her intuitive movement work is to help women release this internal fear and clarify their own values about who they want to be.
Finding Joy in Movement
When you can let go of the “have to’s” of movement, you get to start experiencing the joy of movement again! Julie stresses that you can give yourself permission to move in new, different ways – ways that might be fun or get you doing something you haven’t done before.
Rather then get sucked into the need to have a certain type of equipment, or to trudge along on machines that make you miserable, you can choose to creatively explore types of movement that you might actually find enjoyable!
Julie also points out that the exercise industry is heavily invested in profiting from program and plans. You have the right to question that! What is your intention in pursuing a certain program? Is a physical challenge you’re taking part in feeling more like a punishment, or celebration? Are you having fun when you move, or are you over-stressing your body?
It can be so fun to push your body and see what it is capable of! It can also be painful and harsh, and the difference honestly comes from your own attitude and approach. By slowing down and really identifying why you’re moving and what you hope to gain from it (and when those gains don’t require your body to change sizes), you’ll likely find your approach to movement changing.
Also, when and if you decide to stop over-exercising, you aren’t resigning yourself to a live on the couch. Instead, you’re making a choice to engage in strenuous, challenging activity because you like it….not because you’re trying to punish yourself.
Food & Exercise
Your body has all sorts of awesome mechanisms that will resist an imbalance of working out and eating. Trying to live off of rice cakes and broth while playing the Tetris version of “how much can I eat” and “how much do I have to exercise in exchange” doesn’t create health. In fact, your body will naturally balance things out if you trust it with intuitive movement and eating.
Leaning in to this requires you to let go of control! Julie shares that she had to leave her gym and go to therapy to deal with some of the stress of letting go. It is hard, especially when it’s been a way of life and a personal mindset for a long time! Now she knows that the best way for her to approach movement and exercise is to have self-compassion and to question what is true.
She asks herself — Do I need to experience that kind of pain or discomfort to be a “good” trainer? Does that movement/program/plan honor my body and my needs? If I did “that”, would it come from a place of love?
Fitness and health don’t have “a look”. Any size or shape of body can be healthy; the most important thing is that you are able to honor your own values and truth in your movement journey.
Freeing Up Your Time
Julie shares that she’s had several clients pick up new jobs, start volunteering, and go back to school with all the time they freed up by practicing intuitive movement! When you can stop over-exercising and release all the mental math, preoccupation, and effort you’ve been putting into exercise, weight loss, and food control, you have so much more freedom!
And of course, you get to choose how you want to use your newfound energy, time, and freedom.
One of the most profound changes in her own life has been family dinner. She says that being able to sit with her family and eat what they eat and have that time with them is a highlight of her day. Being able to model for her own children that women can eat rice and bread, women can enjoy their relationships with their bodies and food, and women can be FREE have been things that she has found to be personally transformative.
No matter where you are in your journey, you can make the choice to change things. You can love yourself the way you deserve to be loved. You can model the sort of relationship with food and exercise that you want your children to see. The power to create change is within your own hands. Don’t be afraid to release old patterns and embrace freedom!