May 8, 2021

Movement matters

For those of you that don’t know, I host a Clubhouse on a Wednesday night at 6pm UK time each week with Anna Frueling and Ally Houston. It’s a regular weekly meet up for people with food/sugar addiction and we have a different topic each week to discuss. People can just listen or can come in and join in the conversation. You’ll see me post the links each week if you follow me on Twitter @jen_unwin

Last week we discussed ‘movement’ and I thought it would be good to write up a blog as a follow up and there were some great discussion points. 

You’ll notice I’ve called the blog ‘movement’ and not ‘exercise’. There was general agreement that any movement is beneficial and that the idea of exercise often puts people off. They have bad memories of forced PE at school (I know I do! Shudder!) and assume you have to half kill yourself to get benefits. Any activity is good. Walking, gardening, housework, taking the stairs, dancing around your kitchen!

This links to the second point. View activity as a mental wellbeing thing not a weight loss thing. It just doesn’t make a difference to weight. The calories in, calories out model only serves the food and drink industry. There are 978 calories in a small Domino’s pizza without extra toppings. That’s a 10-mile run. Never going to happen. However, doing something you enjoy for half an hour a day; a 2 mile walk, a salsa class, yoga, cycling, will be a guaranteed mood lifter. Exercising outdoors and with others seems to be especially beneficial. Dog walkers on average have higher wellbeing! 

Movement is great for mood but evidence shows it also actively supports brain health. It promotes new neuron growth and the release of brain transmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and endorphins. As recovering food addicts this is especially important. I recommend this book if you are interested in learning more about exercise and brain health. ‘Spark’ by Dr John Ratey. It completely changed how I viewed the topic.  

If you’ve been moving very little or have injuries or joint issues, start slow. Little and often rather that gung ho. As you recover from food addiction and maybe lose weight, if that has been an issue for you, you will naturally want to move more. Go with the flow. Start with gentle walking or yoga or whatever suits you. 

Probably the most important advice is to make sure it’s something you enjoy! Maybe there are activities you used to love but gave up like swimming or dancing? Try a few things and notice what brings you joy. I like walking and running (built up slowly over many years) and also go an (older) women only gym. 

Get in a routine. We often don’t feel like moving about but always feel better when we do, so don’t cogitate about it-just take a step and repeat!


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