Growing up, I wasn't always comfortable in my own skin. I was often teased for my weight and in an attempt to fit into society's beauty standards, I always felt like I needed to lose weight. It didn't matter how small i was, I still saw myself as "fat" and I turned to exercise thinking it was the answer to all my problems. I started working out excessively, even if it wasn't pleasurable. I thought if I ate more or drank more, I could just workout more to make it feel okay. It wasn't until later that I realized how detrimental this behavior was to my physical and emotional health.
For years, I struggled with an eating disorder. My thoughts were consumed with food and my weight. I only felt good when I was exercising, and when I wasn't, I was plagued with guilt and shame. I couldn't enjoy life and it felt like everything was centered around exercise. It wasn't until I started seeing a therapist that I realized how unhealthy my relationship with food and exercise was. She helped me recognize that my exercise habits were linked to an eating disorder and that I needed to approach my health in a more balanced way.
It was hard to break out of the mentality that I had to "earn" every indulgence with more exercise. However, with time, I learned to listen to my body and prioritize its signals over my mind's demands. I started to understand that rest was an essential part of my health and fitness routine and that overtaxing my body was counterproductive. Instead of pushing myself to the max every day, I started incorporating joyful movement like dancing, hiking, and yoga into my routine.
Changing my mindset around exercise was an essential part of my journey. Instead of looking at it as a punishment for indulging in food, I began to see it as a celebration of what my body can do. I started to appreciate my body for its capabilities and uniqueness rather than its appearance. I also began to look at exercise as a way to boost my mood and alleviate stress, rather than just burning calories. One thing my therapist taught me was that movement didn't always have to mean traditional forms of exercise. I discovered that walking and stretching are forms of movement that are just as significant as high-intensity workouts. I realized that these activities helped me to connect with my body and mind, and were crucial for my self-care.
The final and most significant step in my journey was starting My JAMM (My Joyous Adaptive Momentous Movement). It's a private movement studio that focuses on joy, inclusiveness, and sustainable movement practices. I started it because I wanted a way to share what I had learned with others and to create a safe space where people could exercise without feeling judged or intimidated. It's been a fantastic experience, and I've met so many incredible people who are on the same journey as me.
Embracing joyful movement has had such a positive impact on my mind and body. I feel more energized, less stressed, and happier than ever before. Exercise is no longer something that I dread or use as a way to punish myself. Instead, it's become an integral part of my self-care routine, and I look forward to it every day. I've learned that being healthy doesn't mean adhering to a strict or punishing routine but rather finding a way to move your body that makes you feel good and supports your overall well-being.
In conclusion, my journey from excessive exercise to joyful movement has been transformational. It's helped me develop a new and more positive relationship with my body and prioritize my health over my appearance. I hope that my story inspires you to seek balance and enjoyment in your fitness journey and to understand that exercise is not a punishment or a reward, but a way to honor your body's needs. Remember, find your JAMM, and keep on moving!