“I want you to bring your kettlebells, to the park then sit and read a book”. These were the wise words from my best friend regarding what I should be focusing on in the midst of my metabolic damage journey.
I thought it was utterly bizarre to not spend the time working out to lose the weight I “needed” to lose. I had the mindset of:
I needed to burn calories…
I needed to burn “x” amount of calories….
I needed to always be in a deficiet….
I needed to workout even if I was tired…
I needed to do it all even though my body was saying “please don’t”...
I spent nearly an entire year, repeating the same routine (ex. Fasted cardio, egg whites only, tilapia and asparagus please) expecting that my body would eventually remember that this routine would eventually work (even though day after day I was getting the same results). They say the definition of insanity is “repeating the same behavior, and expecting a different result”. Well, I spent nearly an entire year, in “insanity” mode”.
The turning point, was at the peak of my frustrations. I felt so unwell: lethargic, tired, depressed, out of control with my eating, disconnected from friends and family. I decided to take a chance and change my approach to wellness.
Instead of taking away food, I started to add in foods that felt nourishing.
Instead of burning calories, I opted for movements that grounded me and simply just made me smile.
Hobbies and finding movements that create joy is a critical step in producing a happy (and healthful body).
When you’re engaged in something you love, what are you typically thinking about? Well, probably not much other than being present with the task at hand, whether that is playing frisbee, sketching, singing, or knitting socks. The anxiousness of how you look, the internal chatter and stress of the next day typically dissipates. Your present, which allows your brain the space to relax, and with that relaxation comes a positive surplus of feel good hormones.
Here is a list of reasons why picking up hobbies may help improve your health and heal your metabolism:
Increase in presence= Increase in gratitude: (Studies have shown that those who practice gratitude are happier more fulfilled individuals)
Social hobbies (like recreational sports): helps connect you to people: As human beings we thrive in environments that connect us to each other. We literally cannot survive without one another. A sense of connection and spending more time in a supportive community helps bring more purpose to our daily life other than counting calories.
Hormones: The more often you do things you actually enjoy, the more your influence hormones. Healing your metabolism has less to do with how many calories you burn, how little you ate or how you said no to dessert. It has to do with hormones. How balanced are you?
Active hobbies: tend to get you out and moving in ways that we are meant to move. Your brain thrives off of novelty and if you’re engaging in a new sport or activity you’re feeding your brain everything that it craves. Structured movements like weight lifting (which mostly come in saggital plane work), do not provide the brain with the type of fuel it thrives off of.
I know it’s hard to consider that swapping the calories burned on the stairmaster for drawing may be more beneficial for the health of your body, I know. We’re told day after day that we need to eat less and sweat more in order to achieve weight loss. So let me just say this, if you’re suffering from fatigue, food/exercise obsession, binge eating, lack of sleep, high stress and truly want to feel better, you may have to do something you’ve never done before to get there. If you truly want to feel happy, why not fill your life with things that genuinely bring you joy.
A quick disclaimer, exercise has a purpose. While burning calories is beneficial for many to achieve metabolic change, I however needed the opposite. I needed more time spent doing things that didn’t involve escalating cortisol, spiking adrenaline. I needed rest, and movements that fueled by brain and body.