Stop Using Exercise to Punish Your Body; Use It to Connect WITH Your Body

Beyond the brain health benefits, beyond the physical health benefits, moving your body is a way to intentionally connect to it and create space for safety and healing and growth.

When you have trauma of any kind, when you have body image issues or a history of disordered eating or disordered exercise behaviors, when you are fighting a chronic disease or are consumed by depression or anxiety… the last thing you want to do is intentionally connect with your body and be present with it.

For this reason, I hold a deep appreciation for movement like yoga or slower, low impact exercises. When I was a runner only, I could escape from the racing thoughts. I could “beat my body into submission,” by pushing harder, increasing my miles or my speed. But in yoga, where the moves rarely change, or when I’m walking slowly through my hilly neighborhood, I’m trapped in my thoughts – and my body. I have learned to lean into the discomfort of being present with my body, instead of punishing it for not acting how I want it to act.

I heavily dislike anyone promoting that you shut down the signals your body sends to you. I recently saw two shirts pop up in Facebook ads (thanks algorithm) that bothered me on such a deep level. One shirt read, “FIT: F*&% I’m tired” and the other read, “Shut up, legs, you’re fine!”

Listen. If I’m tired, I probably need to rest or make an adjustment in my schedule. It is simply unhealthy to keep pushing forward. If my legs are hurting during a workout, I probably need to take a breath, ask my body how to provide it further support. Exercise is an incredible tool for growth and healing. It’s a hormetic stressor that can create stress resilience.

It is not for dissociation and punishment. 

Moving my body is a way to engage, not disengage and dissociate. One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do is be present and move with the body I have – not punish my body for what I don’t.

Movement is therapeutic, it’s a celebration, and yes – it can even be a form of worship.

What a joy to intentionally flood our brains with endorphins and serotonin and GABA and brain-derived neurotrophic factor. What a gift!

Exercise and moving your body isn’t just something that impacts your physical health. Like with the act of eating, your mindset matters. Your thoughts matter, and they send signals to every cell in your body. Using your time of movement to renew your mind, renew your thoughts about your body, and celebrate what your body can do goes beyond simply pumping your arms and legs and getting your heart rate up.

I love moving my body. I love connecting to it and creating space for safety and healing and growth. I DISLIKE shutting down the signals my body sends me. 

Remember: every thought you think is a chemical messenger that brings information to your cells, positive or negative. Partner with your body; don’t punish it.

How Movement Can Help You Listen to Your Body’s Needs

Our bodies tell us things about every day, but typically we wait for someone else to tell us what’s going on before we listen. In this episode, we talk about finding a way to tune into our unique body’s needs through both stillness and movement.

Elise Carter has been a student of yoga for over two decades, and a small business owner for sixteen years. She has both taught and studied with a number of inspiring yogis across the country and has accumulated additional teaching certifications in several different lineages of yoga. Elise currently holds the E-RYT 500 teaching designation, the honor given by Yoga Alliance to their most senior teachers.  She has spent countless hours in studio (both practicing and teaching), and has developed an unquenchable thirst for all things yoga. Currently, she is the owner of beFree yoga in Tyler, Texas, where she teaches several times a week and leads yoga teacher trainings.

Download and listen here or wherever you get podcasts!

Continue reading “How Movement Can Help You Listen to Your Body’s Needs”

Dissecting Today’s Most Popular Diets

We know that diets fail 95% of the time, but think of it this way – if dieting was a medication, the FDA would never approve it.

Dieting never got to the root of my health issues. In fact, it only made things worse. My guest Heather Creekmore of Compared to Who says the same thing. Both of us have made pretty amazing health transformations – and we did it without dieting.

With spiritual, mental, emotional, and yes, physical health at the forefront of our conversation, in this podcast episode we discuss the popular dieting trends this summer.

Download and listen to this episode here or get wherever you listen to podcasts!

Continue reading “Dissecting Today’s Most Popular Diets”

Movement Matters

You have the freedom to move your body in a way that feels good for you!

If you want to lift weights, lift weights. If you want to run, run. If you want to dance, dance. If you want to practice yoga, practice yoga. If you want to hit snooze, or take a nap, you have freedom to do that too.

Your body loves movement. Our ancestors weren’t sitting in cubicles under artificial lighting all day. Movement is crucial for detoxification, heart health, stress management, sleep support, blood sugar regulation, and all that other stuff other people have already written articles about.

The problem is that because we have all the information and all the experts talking about it, most of us engage in exercise as a “have to,” and not as a “want to.” We let other people tell us what’s best for our bodies, or we use it as punishment for caving into a craving or to beat our bodies into submission to our idealized versions of ourselves.

We get on running kicks, weight lifting kicks, kickboxing kicks, Zumba kicks, or whatever seems to be the trending activity of the season. We go hard on one activity, make our exercise schedule, then don’t sustain it.

This month, we celebrated freedom. Yet I know so many people who live enslaved to other people’s instructions and expectations about what they need to do for their bodies.

I want you to realize that you have freedom to choose what is best for your unique body – in movement, nutrition, activities, routines, relationships, whatever it is you are doing!

You are the expert on your body. Nobody else knows your body like you do, and nobody else has walked the same road that you have walked with your body. Depending on where you are in your life, the movement you choose can change. It can change seasonally. And that is OKAY!

I used to think running was the ultimate exercise for me, and it was therapeutic for me during a season in my life. Now, I like to change it up, and I like to make sure I’m incorporating some kind of movement once a day, most days. Yoga has been a beautiful way for me to tune in with the needs of my body and slow things down. Instead of running away from my problems with cardio, I’m forced into stillness and awareness. I feel the same about walking. I’m tempted to pick up the pace and start jogging, but being intentional with walking, staying present, is a good way to keep my mind engaged and my inhales and exhales in a rhythm.

It isn’t about weight maintenance or about needing to “make up” for what I eat. Some of my favorite benefits of movement that have zero to do with how I look include and everything to with my brain include: endorphins, dopamine, tryptophan, serotonin, BDNF, autophagy, GABA, glutamate, and oxygenation of the prefrontal cortex.

Different life seasons call for different solutions. Movement is a wonderful way to find awareness and peace in the body you have, so find that thing that you love to do… and do it!

Let’s Reset! A 14 Day Coaching Group to Enter Into Fall

Today is the first day of fall. The changing of seasons always feels special to me. But the shift from summer into fall is especially meaningful. The autumn season is associated with transformation and letting go of the old.

Because of this, I am partnering with my friend, fellow holistic health coach and master sports nutritionist and personal trainer, Melissa McGaughey, to bring an online 14 day coaching group for the low price of only $29 – and it starts Monday, September 28!

Melissa and I recently discussed a few of our favorite health tips on my podcast, sharing simple tools to creating healthy habits, and we thought what better way to implement some of our ideas than through a group coaching experience?!

This group is all about adding in real food, movement, and mindset, in order to nourish our bodies and minds as best as we can in this new season. The format will be through a closed Facebook group, which will encourage participation and accountability from participants and coaches. Sign up here!

Also included in the group:

  • Kick-off meeting through Zoom
  • Daily educational posts
  • Accountability from other participants along with the coaches
  • Recipes
  • Pantry/Grocery store list

Melissa and I both strive to empower women to become their own health advocates, and this is a great time to do it! For only $29 (which is just a teensy fraction of the cost of our private coaching sessions) you are getting the encouragement from two experts for a full two weeks!

Together, we can let go of old habits that are weighing us down and embrace this new season with a complete reset – body, mind, and spirit! Contact me for more information or sign up here and I will email you a confirmation.

3 Things Moms and Kids Need Every Day

With everything going on in the world, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I recently sat down with my friend, fellow health coach, Melissa McGaughey, and we discussed how to simplify our daily needs into just THREE things we are focusing on for our continued health.

But we didn’t just stop with us and our needs. We expanded the conversation to include the top three things that our kids need every day. You can listen to the entire episode here.

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Key topics include:

  • Our favorite easy ways to include more whole foods into our daily diet
  • Why sunshine is the best way to “charge your battery”
  • The types of exercise we’re loving right now
  • Sleep hygiene and why it’s time to find some blue light blocking glasses
  • The importance of meditation and intentional breathing
  • Mindset and gratitude and the impact it makes on our whole body health

No matter where you are in your health journey, this episode will help inspire you to keep going and incorporate tiny habits to make a big impact.

For more on Melissa, head here.

Top Tips for Immune Support

Fall is here, winter is coming, and with both – all sorts of viruses. Hand sanitizer and a flu shot that is estimated to be less than 20% effective this year is not enough for me. Managing cold and flu season for my family requires the same 4 steps as managing my mental illness:

  • Nutrition
  • Supplementation
  • Movement
  • Relaxation

1. Nutrition – let’s start with sugar. Sugar is public enemy number one when it comes to illness. It will wreck your immune system. Studies have shown that at a blood sugar level of 120 (easily obtained by drinking a soda or juice or a latte or eating candy or a cookie), the white blood cells’ ability to absorb and destroy viruses and bacteria reduce by 75%. It takes 4-6 hours to get back to normal. Don’t forget that refined carbs like processed white flour spike blood sugar even more than sugar itself (like that burger or sandwich you had for lunch AFTER you had a muffin or toast for breakfast). Think about that when you’re figuring out what to do with your kid’s Halloween stash. Continue reading “Top Tips for Immune Support”