Finding joyful movement

What is my relationship to movement?

My relationship to movement is nothing like it used to be, that's for sure. This post is going to be pretty short because there isn't as much to say. I used to exercise to burn off calories, manipulate my body shape and size, and make me feel "better" about myself.  I did this throughout my eating disorder (when I was medically stable enough) and in my early recovery. 

The concept of just moving my body joyfully wasn't introduced until 2013 when I met Dana and Hilary from Be Nourished. Suddenly these women were telling me that I didn't have to torture myself in the gym doing machines that I hate or go out running on a foot that I kept re-injuring. They said I could find some type of movement that I felt enjoyable and do it for only as long as I wanted, at the pace that I wanted, and simply because it felt good to move. 

The message came at a good time because I had recently been diagnosed with cancer and would spend the next 2 years having multiple surgeries. I was in no condition to bust my ass at the gym, but I was in perfect condition to give this idea of joyful movement a try. 

I discovered I like walking. Sometimes I like fast walking and at other times I just like to meander. I've taken my dog on anywhere from 15-90 minute walks and both feel equally good to me because at that moment that's the length I needed. I discovered I hate lifting weights and doing sit-up, even though I'd been a gym rat for YEARS and I thought true beauty only came from crunches. I'm proud to say I haven't done a crunch in 2.5 years and I feel great! I still have a gym membership and I enjoy using it when I want and in a way that I want. 

Joyful movement taught me something else that was profound: if I didn't feel like moving, that was okay too. Some days I don't have time to go on a walk or to the gym and on other days I just flat out don't want to. Either way, I'm okay! I can choose not to exercise and it doesn't mean I'm lazy or ugly, just as getting out there for a walk doesn't suddenly make me a pretty, productive human being. 

Does whether you exercise or not effect your self-worth? Do you push yourself beyond comfort in order to look or feel a certain way? Do you maybe want something else?

If you are in the Vancouver, WA or Portland, OR areas and you'd like some help, please call me at 360-284-7008 or click the button below to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation. I'd like to help you. 

This blog post is the 3rd in a 3 part series based off an assignment given to me in a body trust course through Br Nourished in Portland, OR. The other 2 posts in this series are about my dieting/eating disorder history and how comfortable I am with my body now


Tamara Werner

Tamara Werner is a counselor, author, speaker, and activist. Her private practice, Get Centered Counseling in Vancouver WA, helps women with food and body issues learn to love themselves, their body, their life, and their relationships. Her life’s work is steeped in personal experience, having fifteen years in recovery for anorexia, in addition to being a breast cancer survivor. An up and coming force in the counseling community, Tamara has been published in a textbook called Treatment Strategies for Substance and Process Addictions, and has sat on a panel at the American Counseling Association Conference, where she spoke to her peers on strategies and tools to use with clients struggling with eating disorders. Having a deep, personal understanding of what it takes to recover from this condition, she seeks to be an example to those she treats, to let them know that recovery is possible.