The following is the first in a series of posts focused on physical activity and exercises that facilitate self care. Please join the conversation and share your learning’s, questions, reflections, and struggles – we’re in this together!

All right, so I think it is about time that we were all honest about exercise…and I mean this in a few different ways! First off, there is this new “trend” of people posting pictures of themselves conquering a yoga pose, with six pack abs, on top of a mountain, with no evidence of physical strife whatsoever…okay I may be exaggerating a bit, but in some cases this is absolutely true, right?! First off, my intention here is not to shame or put down anyone (ALL BODIES ARE BEAUTIFUL), instead, my intention is to bring a bit of reality and maybe even clarity to physical exercise, so by all means, if you are that person with a six pack, doing a headstand, on top of a mountain, then good for you…you do you! What I am truly trying to “get at” is the motivation behind YOUR physical exercise. What is YOUR motivation when it comes to exercise?

…..Dig deep…be honest!…

If you are like me, or how I used to be, you most likely have a personal motivation to loose weight, purge of your calories, sweat to cleanse your body, torture yourself in order to truly “ feel” like you deserve that piece of cake, rid of what you ate, or fit society’s ideal of what a body should look like, am I right? If so…. then lets reevaluate a bit!

If this is the case, in that you are a person that exercises to ‘”look” a certain way, how is this truly going for you? …for me, it did not go so well, in that the more and more I tried to fit this “ideal” of how I “should” look the more and more I became unsatisfied with myself, the more I let myself down, and the more I brought stress and shame to what should be an emotional release! Throughout my recovery, I learned that physical exercise is incredibly important for me, in that it was and still is an emotional, psychological, and mental release, but it took me a while to get to this point!

 ….so before I go on let me say that I encourage everyone, who is within their recovery, to talk about this with their care team, helping professional, and/or doctor to ensure SAFE, and HEALTHY physical activity within a CONTROLLED manner!

Okay, so full self-disclosure right?…One of my main struggles in daily life is my negative body image…who is with me?! The unfortunate truth is that within eating disorder recovery, body image ALMOST ALWAYS comes last, and therefore it has always been a personal battle for me. For years I struggled with the addiction to toxic behaviors that coincided with my eating disorder, such as, binging and purging as well as restriction, and through hard work and commitment my behaviors are no longer, but my emotions are still sometimes present…

Ah! Ah! …. don’t forget….RECOVERY IS NOT LINEAR! The real importance within this process of recovery is staying honest, accountable, learning from your mistakes, and taking that shame away! Don’t worry…I will continue to remind you of this!

The perceptions of self are important, but none are as crucial as the continuously changing image of our own bodies (Beilharz, Atkins, Duncum and Mundy, 2016). This growing dissatisfaction concerning body image conception (BIC) is implicated in several mental health issues and can lead to harmful behaviors such as restriction, over exercising, binging, purging, etc (Beilharz, Atkins, Duncum and Mundy, 2016). Knowing this, it is crucial all to safely take control over your body image to avoid the reoccurrence of toxic behaviors.

With that being said this is why I am a HUGE believer in-group exercise whether that be through classes, group runs, and in some cases even through the use of an app on your phone! Taking exercise classes truly brought me to a healthy state within my recovery when it came to physical activity, in that I was able to practice safe, healthy, controlled physical activity without overdoing it, and without losing myself in my unhealthy motivations.

In the coming weeks I will be sharing some of my favorite exercises and ways I maintain healthy motivations.

I’d love to hear from you! What are your motivations for working out and how do you keep them positive. #MotivationIsNotJustForMondays

5 thoughts on “#MotivationIsNotJustForMondays

  1. Jayne,
    First of all, I have to say that I am beyond proud of you!! Second, I think my toughest issue with exercise as a whole has been that while I am like you, living everyday in recovery, I also have a serious progressive spinal disease and I am unable to really “exercise”. I can only physically do about 2 miles WALKING, and even at that there has to be at least 2 days rest in between. I can’t lift anything over 10 pounds, so there goes the vast majority of weight training, yoga, and Pilates (which has been my favorite for years). So while the motivation and desire is there, the physical capability is not, at least not to the point that I want it to be. That all being said, I do keep myself motivated by remembering that while yes, I have my limitations, I am still able to get outside on a beautiful day and enjoy it. There are so many people who are sick or have really severe physical handicaps that would give anything to have my limited capabilites, so that is what keeps my positive and going, albeit at a slower pace than I could a few years ago.

    1. Michele,

      Thank you so much for visiting my blog and taking the time to share your story! Your story is so incredibly real for so many, and I appreciate you bringing that to light, as sometimes we all need to be reminded of these things! I give you credit for your honesty, and your ability to move through every day with grace and strength, as this is what recovery is all about! I wonder, would you be interested, or would you benefit from a few exercise tips that would have no strain on your injury? If so, please let me know, and share with your friends and family, as I am thinking of touching on exercise for all body types, all ages, and most abilities, within my #motivationisnotjustformondays series! Let me know what you think!

  2. My dear, honestly speaking my motivation to exercise is only about fitting a social standar looking. I can see the changes that my body is going through and I don’t like it. Even though I’m too busy and/or lazy to do so.
    I said that and think… “Mile if u aren’t willing to do anything about it, then don’t be so hard on urself” same as Michele I have a health condition that stop me from exercising as much as u would like to, so my health is the best excuse not to do it.
    Instead I eat out of frustration and anxiety.
    So, I would love to read more about ur progress and tips to achieve a better healthy way of leaving. Thank you for sharing ur experience. Looking forward read more about u. Blessings ?

    1. Milena or Mile,

      I am so proud of you for sharing your own story, as this is something that EVERYONE deals with on a daily basis! Although I have never had a physical disability, I certainly had an emotional and mental disability. Because of my eating disorder, and my unhealthy tendencies towards physical activity (or shall I say unhealthy motivations), I was told not to exercise for a while, and once I was able to practice physical exercise again, it was one of the most horrifying things ever! I cared about how I looked, I worried about failing, and then I would shame myself for not even trying, therefore I can relate to your struggles in some ways, in that I too felt so much frustration and anxiety within something that is meant to be an emotional release!

      #MotivationIsNotJustForMondays will continue within the next couple of weeks, as well as another series towards healthy eating, and finding a healthy relationship with food and exercise! I hope that you can find some helpful tips within the content, and I encourage you to challenge me if certain things do not work for you….let me know and I will suggest alternatives!

      All of the best,

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