This month I want to address something that arises for folks living in parts of the country where the weather is beginning to become more inclement and lulls many of us into a more sedentary mode.
One of the tenets of the Health at Every Size(r) paradigm is incorporating joyful movement into our lives that is NOT done to lose weight. When weight loss is the goal of moving our bodies and we don’t see the imagined results reflected on our real life scales, we tend to lose motivation to continue to engage in those activities. If, however, we choose opportunities to move our bodies based on enjoying the movement, we are inclined to continue. Call it simplistic, but we humans just like doing what we like doing! And the secondary gain is a healthier body whether weight is lost or not.
When the weather changes, and we can no longer engage in our favorite outdoor activities, we are tempted to just stop moving our bodies and go into hibernation until we can once again emerge and re-commence our outdoor activities. Our bodies may still benefit, however, from some kind of activity and one way to figure out a replacement is to look at the reasons why you enjoy the activities you enjoy. Do you choose a specific activity because you like being around people or do prefer to be alone. Do you like something that is risky or something less challenging? Do you have a certain schedule that you have to adhere to? Once you have made a list it is easier to then explore possible options based on what will be enjoyable and weight neutral. Don’t be afraid to try new things or do some research! You never know what you may find that turns out to be a new “fave!”
Title: Child’s Play
To explore the qualities of physical activities that you enjoy for pleasure rather than weight loss.
Drawing paper, markers, pencils, crayons, magazines, glue sticks scissors.
- Sit quietly for a moment and think of your favorite physical activities from when you were a child. What did you do that was so much fun that you weren’t noticing that it may be “exercise” or “good for you”? What were the activities that you lost yourself in and forgot about time passing?
- Write down the ones that come to mind.
- Look at your list and see what common qualities the activities have? Were they done with friends or were you alone? Were you outdoors or indoors? Were they really difficult or just challenging enough?
- Write down all of the qualities you can think of.
- Using your art supplies, do a drawing depicting the feelings you experienced when you were engaging in one or more of the activities you listed. If you’d like, include what made you stop doing the activity?
- When you are finished, see if you can think of a way to re-capture those experiences in your life today. Can you resume something you gave up as a kid? Can you find another activity that incorporates some of the qualities that is more feasible for you to do as an adult?
This expressive arts idea is from contributing guest author Dr. Deah Schwartz. Once a month, Dr. Schwartz shares an art therapy activity or idea to facilitate exploration, increased awareness and healing in the areas of body image and eating disorders.