How do I Develop a Healthy Relationship with Exercise?

As part of my Ask An Expert column with Libero Network, I was asked: How do I develop a healthy relationship with exercise? I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum – over exercising and not exercising at all. I’m currently not exercising because I hate it so much, but I know my body needs movement.  What should I do?

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The Week That Was #3

Despite the fact we’re only 3 weeks away from summer, the weather here in Melbourne is still cold and wet. I just got back from a walk in the rain; there’s something about being outside that really helps clear my head.

Lots of reading involved this week; make yourself a cuppa and get comfy 🙂

1. This article about ‘real’ food.
All food is real. Whether it’s grown in a garden or made from a packet; it is still food. And it’s up to each individual to determine what the right diet for them is. If you choose to follow a diet made of primarily whole foods grown in your backyard, then awesome! I honestly think it’s a great thing to do if it’s working for you. But it’s just as awesome if you choose to shop at a supermarket and use bottled pasta sauce (that’s me because I always end up killing my basil plant!). Regardless of your food choices, they are yours and yours alone.

2. Dr Rick Kausman’s on radio!
Last Sunday, and for the next 3, Dr Rick Kausman will be presenting on ABC Melbourne radio at 11:30am. Next Sunday will feature Clinical Psychologist Louise Adams. Well worth a listen if you have the time.

3. Snoopy Wisdom!
I posted a Snoopy cartoon on the AHP Facebook page this morning, but this one was too cute not to share as well!

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4. This article on how to change your body image monologue.
Body image can have a really profound impact on an individual’s life; affecting their physical, social, emotional and mental health. One way it manifests is in the way we think about ourselves – what sort of thoughts run through your head when you look at your body? If they are negative, this article provides some tips on how to change and create some positivity.

5. This article about Eating Disorder recovery.
Eating disorders are not about body shape or weight. You can be ANY shape or size and have an ED. Yet, so often in the media we are shown images of emaciated young women (also – what about men and older people?). This article expresses that even when someone is a ‘healthy’ weight, the pain of an ED can still very much exist.

“I beg you; don’t dismiss someone because they look fine. Don’t dismiss yourself. Don’t wait to get help. I’m sorry that people are so judgmental. I’m sorry you think you’re not sick enough – not thin enough – until someone forces you into treatment. I’m sorry that eating disorders are misunderstood.”

6. This status update from Nutritionist Fiona McHugh
Not much more I can say on this one – I love what she says and completely agree!

The Week That Was #2

Hi! I missed last week as I was holidaying in Sydney. It’s a beautiful city with lots of lovely walks around the harbour – I love that form of exercise, definitely more enjoyable than walking on a treadmill.

So here’s a few things from the past 2 weeks that I loved!

1. This beautifully written post on why freedom is an amazing reason to exercise.
There are lots of different ways to be physically active beyond going to the gym (see my holiday above) and there’s lots of reasons to be active beyond the desire to change our appearance. Sometimes we need to change the way we think about exercise and how we do it. It should be a form of enjoyment rather than punishment. This article is just lovely. 

2. This video on meditation and neuroplasticity.
I believe that the way we think has a huge influence on our lives, the way we think about ourselves and others. If we’re constantly saying or thinking negative things to ourselves, that’s what we’ll end up believing. Taking some time out from your thoughts and then working to make them more positive can really have a huge impact on quality of life. The video is only 8 minutes; grab yourself a cup of tea and enjoy.

3. This article discussing how weight loss prevents alien abductions…
Haha not really! But you’d be forgiven for thinking it after listening to some people who believe weight loss is the cure for everything. But even if it was – we are yet to find a fool-proof way for people to successfully lose weight and keep it off. We know that diets don’t work. We know that most people regain the weight they have lost, plus more. We know that yo-yo dieting and weight leads to physical complications, not to mention the mental and emotional impact it can have. We know that healthy food and exercise behaviours are good for the mind and body and are achievable for all people – yet it doesn’t guarantee weight loss. So maybe that’s where we need to change our thinking, focus on healthy behaviours not weight.

4. This picture. 
It can be difficult to know how to help someone who is struggling; sometimes you need to do nothing more than be there.

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The Week That Was #1

There are so many great articles, pictures, comments and blogs that I see throughout the week. A lot of them I share on my Facebook page, but there’s often things I choose not to share because I don’t want to be posting multiple times a day and annoying everyone. So I decided to do a weekly blog post sharing all the things I’ve seen and loved over the past week. If you’re interested and want to read more click the links (the heading for each), if not, keep checking Facebook for daily tidbits!

1. This article about little girls and body image. 
I found this article quite upsetting and unfortunately so true. This line in particular struck a nerve –

“And the other day, in that car, tears streaming down her face, she finally said ‘I know, but you’re training me. You’re not training the whole world.'”

We need to support our children (both boys and girls) to develop positive body image, but as adults we also need to work to change the way the entire world thinks about the human body. Big challenge. But it starts with you.

2. This Tumblr response following the Maria Kang ‘What’s Your Excuse’ meme.

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I personally didn’t like the original Maria Kang meme at all, for a number of reasons, but the biggest being the insinuation that we should all look like that or being striving to look like that and we must all be full of excuses as to why we don’t. The fact is we’re all different and we all have different priorities in life. If she chooses to prioritise and dedicate such time to her body and appearance then that is entirely her decision and that’s ok, but likewise, if someone chooses to dedicate their time and effort to getting a uni degree, or learning an instrument, or looking after a loved one, or watching back to back episodes of Gilmore Girls or whatever else they choose then that is their decision as well. There are some people who might even dedicate as much time to their health and fitness as what Maria does, yet still not look like that because quite simple, we aren’t all meant to look like that. We don’t need an excuse for not looking the way Maria Kang does. These are two responses that I loved.

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3. This ‘End Fat Talk’ video.
The way that we think and talk about ourselves and others really does have a huge impact. The more you say something, the more you start to believe it. Change your thinking from a thin ideal to a healthy ideal.

4. This article about whether saturated fat is good, or bad, or neither, or both….
Dietitian and Nutritionist Fiona McHugh posted this on her Facebook page. A very interesting article exploring the research around saturated fats and the manipulation of results to suit people’s (and the media’s) own opinion. My favourite part:

“‘In the past 30 years in the U.S. the proportion of energy from consumed fat has fallen from 40% to 30% (although absolute fat consumption has remained the same), yet obesity has rocketed.'”

The author of the commentary, Dr. Malhotra, adds the “yet” at the end of this line as if to indicate this is a surprise outcome. We cut dietary fat, but got fatter! But in implying this, he also seems to be implying that he failed to read what he just wrote. Re-read his line.

If the percent of calories from fat went down, but total fat intake did not (this is exactly what he is saying, and yes, it is true)- it leads inexorably to only one conclusion: total calorie intake went up, diluting down the percent of calories coming from fat. Can you imagine not rolling your eyes at a statement, pretending to be provocative, that read: “our calorie intake went up and yet we got fatter!” The only reasonable reaction to that assertion is: duh!

It seems pretty clear that most journalists covering this story ignored the implications of this line. But more surprisingly, the author himself ignored the implications of what he wrote. We never really cut our fat intake-we simply diluted it as a percent of total calories by eating more sugar and starch. So we kept the saturated fat, replaced some of it in time with trans fat, and applied a generous icing of starch and high-fructose corn syrup. And yet, amazingly, we didn’t wind up healthier. Well then, yes, clearly saturated fat must be good for us! Or not.”