Engage your body! Be fit and feel good.

As a health psychologist working with people who are trying to change their relationship with food and their bodies, I don’t put a focus on weight.  That is problematic for a wide variety of reasons and it usually doesn’t help.  Instead, I ask people to pay attention to how their bodies feel as they do certain activities and eat various kinds of food.  Paying close attention to the effects of these things on the body then begins to shape our behavior naturally.  If it feels healthy, we do more of that.  If it feels unhealthy, we do less.  Makes sense.  Yes?

In particular, getting in touch with the body’s need to move and stretch and breath encourages us to engage it more often.  It feels good.   And we can be fit and feel good, even at a weight that you might think is too high for you.  And when we exercise we boost our metabolism and are more likely to maintain our weight.  Read more about research in this are conducted by Dr. Thomas at the University of Missouri–very enlightening and worth a read.  http://mizzoumag.missouri.edu/2012-Summer/features/survival-of-the-unfit/index.php

The down low is that, once again, we are hearing good evidence about why we need to get more physically active.  We were designed to be more active than we are today.  We, as a culture, have sat down and we forgot to get up. 

We sit at our office desks for 8 hours a day, sometimes without even getting up to get water to drink or to eat lunch.  We sit in front of the TV at night or in front of the computer again.. and often both at the same time.  Right?  We forget that we have bodies that need to move and stretch and breath.

Summer is a great time to get the body moving and start good habits that can take you into colder weather in the fall and winter.  The absolutely easiest way I get in more movement is to walk more.  If you don’t have a good pair of walking/running shoes, that is about the best investment you can make.  Every day, find time to take at least a 30 minute walk.  You can do it first thing in the morning (this would never work for me but I know lots of people that do), at noon, after work before you have to fix dinner, or after dinner before you plop down in the easy chair.

Although I think it is great to walk by myself at least once a week.  Whenever possible, find a friend or family member to walk with me.  It not only makes my body feel good but it supports my relationships with others.  Lastly, be grateful for the body that you have TODAY, no matter what shape it’s in.  When you’re grateful for your body, you are more likely to treat it as a friend and talk it for a walk.