Intuitive exercise

by Khushboo on June 18, 2017

In the last couple of years, the term ‘intuitive eating’ has gained plenty of momentum.  The crux of this particular nutrition philosophy involves making food choices based on internal cues from your body. There are no rules about what foods should be eaten and no counting calories/macros.  Some days you might eat more, others day less but eventually it will all even out.  The body craves balance and eating intuitively allows it to maintain a state of homeostasis.  By becoming more attuned to your body’s natural hunger signals & cravings, you can eventually create a healthy relationship with your food, mind and body.   

After losing over 35 kilos, it’s only natural that I fostered somewhat of a diet mentality for a long time.  Rather than listen to the signals my body was sending me in the form of cravings & hunger levels, I used this diet mindset to fuel my food choices.  For example even if I wanted a piece of cake with my coffee, chances are I’d reach for an apple because hashtag micronutrients. Like many others, having a set of dietary guidelines to fall back on almost acted like somewhat of a mental clutch. 

Regents Park Boats

Regent’s Park

In the past year or so, I have consciously tried to foster a more intuitive style of eating.  In a world where we are constantly bombarded with information on how and what to eat, the mere act of eating has turned into something trivial.  While eating intuitively and being able to trust my body was undoubtedly challenging at the beginning, it’s definitely gotten easier with time.  I mostly attribute that to simply becoming more mindful.   After a while of paying attention to what my body needs and choosing foods that help me feel great physically & mentally, eating intuitively has started to feel more natural & mentally liberating.    

Lately I’ve tried to implement a similar approach to my fitness.  Despite being somebody who thrives on routine and used to preschedule workouts, intuitive exercise has been sounding much more appealing since I reached London a few weeks ago.  Essentially that has involved:

  • Moving my body in a way that makes me feel energised & rejuvenated
  • Incorporating exercise into my daily life
  • Doing workouts that I want to do rather than should be doing
  • Choosing workouts that leave my body & mind feeling good
  • Realising that workout routines are flexible and adaptive.  Some weeks I’ll be able to work out 5 times a week, others 3 times a week and that’s okay!

Long time readers will know that I fell in love with heavy weight training over the past 2 years.  I looked forward to my sessions & was fortunate to work with two knowledgeable personal trainers in Mumbai who helped me achieve great results.  While the aesthetic benefits of regular weight lifting were noticeable, what’s even better was watching my body get stronger and lifting weights I previously couldn’t.  Along with the physical strength also came a sense of empowerment and improved body image. 

Victoria Embankment

Victoria Embankment

Maybe it’s because of the minimal equipment in my building gym in London, or not having a personal trainer here, or even a combination of both, but the idea of weight lifting alone has started to fill me with dread.  After lifting weights 3-4 times a week for so long, it initially felt strange to suddenly stop.  I’d be lying if I said that part of me didn’t feel a twinge of guilt for ‘missing a session’.  However rather than fight it, I’ve decided to accept that these ebbs & flows with workouts are part of the healthy living journey.  Especially as wellness & being happy is the ultimate goal, forcing myself to do an exercise I don’t enjoy seems counterproductive.  Instead I’ve been embracing workouts that actually excite me like walking at every opportunity I get, outdoor runs, body weight exercises and trying out various fitness classes in the city like boxing at BXR, reformer pilates at Total Chi & body pump at Fitness First.  I feel awesome mentally, my jeans fit great, and my body continues to be fit, healthy and in motion. Will I get back into heavy weight lifting? Maybe. Maybe not.  All I know is that I have no plans to do any workout that feels more like an obligation than a source of enjoyment.  

What kind of workouts are you currently doing?

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