Hello! Today we’re talking about exercise and body image — wondering how the two relate? What role does exercise play in your view of your body image?
Years ago, I was so focused on my body and constantly questioned what others thought of it. I would second guess myself and others anytime someone made a comment on my body (even if it were a “positive” comment).
Now, I have a “me first” body image. A “me first” view means I decide how I feel about my body first and foremost. This allows me to not care what other people think, or even what the scale says. MY opinion of my body is the only one I let matter. This empowers me!
An example I gave on the podcast episode was when Marco bought me a running leash the other week as a gift, and I didn’t once question his intentions. I didn’t think “Well what is this supposed to mean? You want me to run more? Do you think I need to lose weight? What are you saying?” I was able to see it as the sweet gift that it was, and immediate think about how he went out of his way to get me a something he knew I would love. Years ago, I might have questioned his intentions — is this a sign he wants me to start working out again? What does he think of my body?
I’m so thankful that because of the work I’ve done on body image, I now am able to appreciate these things rather than question them.
Something I remind myself of is that what other people think of me is none of my business. I get to decide what I think of myself, and what others think of me is none of my business. This is true for you as well! You cannot control what others think of you anyway, so why give it a place in your life?
So where does exercise fit in with all of this? Well, as I share in the podcast episode, exercise is an opportunity to build a GREAT relationship with your body. You just have to like your reasons for WHY you’re exercising.
Do you exercise because you love feeling stronger and powerful? Do you feel empowered when you lift weights? Or, do you see exercise as a punishment? Do you exercise to get thin or control your size? Is it something you think you should do to make up for eating something you think is bad?
If your reason is to control your body or use it as a punishment, just know that is has very little to do with exercise and has more to do with confidence, your body image, or pressure to get your body to a certain size. This takes the fun out of exercising completely.
So, perhaps you’re realizing you need to let go of your current reasons to exercise and start doing things that make you feel good. Just to clarify, you can absolutely still push yourself in your workouts! You can still challenge yourself and set goals for yourself in your workouts. If this brings you joy and the reasons you are exercising leave you feeling happy, then you can absolutely challenge yourself, because you love your reasons for exercising. It can be a method of decompression from the day, to get out in nature, to spend time with family or friends — whatever the reason, as long as you love it, is totally okay.
Another thing I want you to consider — if you depend on exercise to improve your mood on any given day, it’s possible that you are giving exercise too much power.
Instead, realize that your thoughts create how you feel, not your actions. How we feel each day is what determines our actions. So, it is okay to question where you are putting too much power. While exercise does create endorphins (hello, Elle Woods!), it is your thoughts that create how you feel, not the action of exercising.
Think about your favorite seasons of life — way back to being a kid. How did you exercise as a kid? Did you ride your bike? Play with your friends? How can you incorporate this into your life now? Can you go for a bike ride? Can you spend more time outside like going on a walk with friends? What are exercises you can do today that make it feel more fun and will allow you to let go of exercising for control, and instead create exercise around joy and fun?
Listen to the podcast episode for more ideas on changing your view of exercise and how you can break the reasons you might exercise currently.
Subscribe to Aligned with Paige Schmidt on any major platform, and let me know what you would like to hear in future episodes! A new episode is live each Tuesday!
While you’re there, please subscribe for weekly episodes, rate and review (I notice every single one — thank you!).
P.S. If you would like even more support in this area, make sure you come check out Aligned Coaching where you can get coaching and immediately jump into the Better Body Image course. I’d love to see you there. Come join me in Aligned Coaching today.