Wednesday, October 27, 2021

INTUITIVE MOVEMENT WITH LIPEDEMA FITNESS

Great Camp Sagamore
By now most of us have heard of intuitive eating (a style of eating that promotes a healthy view of food, and our bodies). Eating should be intuitive, eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full; but so much damage has been done over the years in the diet industry, that it makes it challenging to rely on our view of hunger.

There is so much guilt that revolves around food and diets, physical vs emotional hunger, etc., that undoing the damage may take years, but it is more than worth the journey.

Intuitive movement is the same thing.

What is the common factor in both? Being intuitive. Being able to listen to your body and the clues it sends out.

Lipedema has actually given me a more robust understanding of my body, because I've been listening to it's clues for years now - is today's pain different than yesterday's? Is it Lipedema pain, or sore muscle pain? Am I having more swelling? Did something I eat cause the swelling?

All these clues present themselves, and as we learn what the clues mean, it changes how we see our bodies. It guides us - I feel tired today, I need to rest. I feel stressed today, I should take a HIIT Peloton cycling class (because for me, it lets me leave my world stressors behind, and let go for 20 or 30 minutes).

There are many places to learn more about intuitive eating, 
this post is about INTUITIVE MOVEMENT.

The first step to intuitive movement, is learning to listen to your body. 

It doesn't matter what everyone else says is a good fitness routine, it doesn't matter what everyone else says is the best option for Lipedema bodies. What matters is what your body is capable of doing right now, and what it enjoys doing.

Keep it simple, ask yourself what movements are fun? 

It doesn't have to be typical gym based workouts, maybe you like bowling, or gardening? Maybe you are like me, and like to take photographs; so build those things you find fun into your activity. 

We recently went glamping at Great Camp Sagamore, and I spent the majority of the time taking in all the nature around me, it was glorious! I woke with the pending sunrise and walked to find the best spot to see it come up; I heard the rapids and sought out the origin, I caught a glimpse of an old stump, full of adorable mushrooms, and my fairy fantasies took flight. I have wonderful photo memories, and walked all over the campsite, not once thinking of it as being active.

And when I sat on the back porch of our campsite, having my breath taken by the incredible lakeside view, my bike plans quickly washed away, and I knew my body needed to just be still and take it all in. 

We need to change how we see being active. 

It doesn't have to be running, biking, swimming, etc. (unless that is what is fun for you). Bodies want to move, need to move, so lets start doing more of that, in ways that honor our bodies, in whatever they need at any given moment. All movement is good movement.

We need to understand movement doesn't have to be this big, long, thing. Running a marathon is great, if that is what you like to do, but if you prefer a quick walk with your dog around the block, guess what? THAT COUNTS!

#allorsomething is a great way to look at it; I think people get caught up in what they think exercise should be (in fact the word exercise alone is triggering). It doesn't have to be all or nothing, all or something is pretty awesome, and gets you moving, and that is the goal!

We started saying all or something in relation to the annual Lipedema Triathlon we created several years ago. It is a sprint distance (750M Swim, 20K Bike, 5K run/walk), but I wanted anyone who wanted to participate, to feel like they could, so it has always been open to only doing the swim, or doing part of the swim. However you wanted to participate (however you were able to participate) was perfectly acceptable, it fact it was awesome!

We also need to undo the relationship between movement (fitness, exercise, whatever you want to call it) and food. It shouldn't be seen as a way to undo something you ate, that you feel guilty about. That is emotional abuse. 

And why would you ever want to move your body for fun, when you have trained yourself that you move to compensate for "poor food choices".

We need to learn to be nice to our bodies. To listen to our bodies. To have fun with our bodies in whatever way that looks like to us.

We only get the one body, and it is pretty amazing.

Movement is good for Lipedema bodies, that we have learned by personal trial and error, no longer are we being told it could make our condition worse. But the movement is all so personal, what works for me, may not work for you, and if you are struggling to begin, feeling overwhelmed, start simple, start where you are at, with what you like to do. 

Don't get me wrong, I also love CrossFit workouts, and I love a hard HIIT ride on my bike, it is emotionally healing. But I learned to listen to my body, I don't have to do the ride any other way than what feels right in the moment. If I can't pedal as fast, then I adjust to what my body needs, listen to the music, and yes, I sing out loud; I let go of my crazy day, and in the end, I feel better, not just physically, but emotionally, and that is what it is all about.

The goal for me is learning how to work with my body. I look for ways to improve my strength, balance, mobility, etc. It is the long game for me, I want to challenge my body, so I can improve in my goals, but I also want to be accepting of where I am at right now.

Remember:

  • Listen to your body
  • Learn the clues it sends you
  • Be present when moving
  • Do what brings you joy
  • Rest is important, too
  • Be flexible, have options if life gets in the way
  • You have to be a priority in your life
  • Movement is part of Lipedema self care



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