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Activity body liberation Living While Fat My Story

Exercise

Is “exercise” a diet culture word? Is it “diet culture” to want to work out to the point of feeling some soreness the next day, to push yourself and want to develop strength and tone? I am not sure. My nutritionist often gives me push back for using words like “workout” and “exercise” and my HAES trainer always seems a bit perturbed if I experience any soreness. But for me, working out is a source of joy. I really enjoy the feeling of pushing myself, of trying things I don’t know if my body can do. Of getting stronger.

The pain that comes from mildly tearing muscles while lifting heavy weights, that sense of not knowing if I can finish a certain set or even rep, the feeling of trying to truly push my strength limits–that works for me. I am very strong. I have always been very strong. I have slow-twitch muscles, so even at my fittest I could never keep up at any kind of aerobic exercise, but when I am working out regularly I can leg press hundreds and hundreds of pounds and do other very heavy weights on weight machines.

How do you separate that from the urge to over-exercise in order to burn calories, lose weight, make certain body parts (like your upper arms or belly) look how they are supposed to look? I genuinely don’t feel like my tendency to do heavy strength training is a diet culture holdover. My tendency to do 45 minutes on the elliptical machine, maybe. The strength training, no.

So what about the terminology? Is it ok to say that I am “exercising,” that I am “working out” my body? My husband often likens me to a prize racehorse, because I am in constant need of care and service. And what does one do with a prize race horse? One trains it. One works it out. One gets it ready to do its very damned best at the physical contest it lives for. Is it so wrong that I want to do the same?

This is a genuine question. I cannot decide if I should be worried about my perspective on this being twisted by diet culture, even though it doesn’t feel twisted in my head. With several professionals giving me pushback on working out and straining muscles and feeling “good pain,” I wonder if I am the one who is confused.

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Living While Fat My Story

The New Normal

Finally, I feel like I am up to speed on a fairly good new routine. Here are some things I am doing:

  • Being really careful about my morning routine, including showering, dressing, meditation, breakfast, and meds.
  • Posting my outfit and makeup on Insta every day, as a way of making sure I really do get dressed and “presentable.”
  • Doing some fitness every day. I now have a zoom HAES personal trainer, and we have appointments three times per week. I have also subscribed to Curvy Yoga Studio. If you are a user of that site and have favorite videos, let me know–I am still trying to figure out which one is best! We are also trying to get outside and walk our dogs in the evenings. That has only happened once so far.
  • Being vigilant about journaling and trying to blog more regularly too.
  • Working to organize my house 30m per day.
  • Trying to keep a work routine. It is virtually impossible and probably unnecessary for me to work a full eight hour day most days right now, but I am trying to do work everyday. My work to-do list is so much shorter than usual, and has virtually nothing genuinely urgent on it, which makes it hard to focus.
  • Doing some crafts every day, including making masks for my doctor relatives.

Here are some things I am not doing yet:

  • Cleaning my house–my husband is being really great about straightening up, but the time will come soon when things need to be scrubbed and I genuinely don’t know how to do that. It will be fun. I’m nervous.
  • Eating well. I’m trying to stabilize my eating and we are doing well at having discrete meals and sitting down to eat dinner more than usual, but my eating is still a mess. Lots of heavy comfort foods.
  • Reading/Studying–this seems like a great time to read some of the large stack of serious books on my shelf and/or learn a new language or subject, but somehow I haven’t gotten that far.

I hope you all out there are finding things to do and figuring out ways to get out of bed and live a productive life. What are you doing to keep yourself moving–literally and figuratively?