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How trusting my intuition helped me get back in shape

Like many others, I gained some weight during the pandemic. Not just a few pounds; a couple of dress sizes.

This didn't start until a few months in. Over the first few months of lockdown, I was furloughed (on paid leave, albeit at reduced pay) and we had exceptionally beautiful weather in the UK. It was spring time, we were allowed to get outdoors for exercise, and as a resident of Wimbledon Village, I had access to stunningly scenic long walks through some of the leafiest, greenest and most affluent parts of London. Coupled with the clean air we enjoyed as cars stayed off the roads, it was brilliantly conducive to looking after my physical health. I appreciate not everyone had it this good at the time.

But then a confluence of seasonal allergies and back-to-work stress eroded this bliss. Comfort eating and a lack of movement took their toll. And they became habits.

It's important to stress that this is not about feeling any shame in size, weight or appearance. This is about the fact that I wasn't giving myself the physical nourishment and movement that I needed. It's about self-care.

I spent much of my adolescence through to my mid-twenties yo-yo dieting, but I've come to a place in the past few years where I value caring for my wellness far above caring about what I see in the mirror.

And, crucially, I've come to a place of genuine self-acceptance. If you can't accept yourself regardless of your shape or size, you will never truly be able to love yourself even when you're at your preferred shape and size.

Fast forward to last summer, I felt this self-acceptance deeply, despite "carrying a few extra pounds" and not feeling as healthy as I wanted to. But I recognised that I wasn't supporting my physical needs.

So, I resorted to an intuitive approach. I started asking my physical body what movement it needed and what it wanted to eat and drink.

We often think we're giving ourselves what we need, when we're actually listening to the wrong nudges.

Sometimes we're simply trying to distract or ground ourselves with foods and flavours that we assume will satisfy us. Or we consume what's healthy for others but doesn't agree with our own systems in quite the same way. Or, in attempts to eat healthier, we end up cutting out the very foods that would give us the nourishment we really need.

Likewise, we can push ourselves to do exercise that isn't consistent with the kind of movement our body wants. At other times, we think we need to rest, when the one thing that would give us the energy we need in that moment is physical activity.

The body intuitively knows what it needs. And learning to lean on our intuition means learning to differentiate between the voice of our inner knowing and what the mind assumes to be best.

So I've asked, listened and done my best to give it what it wants, when it wants it.

Physically, I now feel even better than I did pre-pandemic. And the results have been sustainable so far. I don't need to force motivation.

Coupling this with true self-acceptance is an unbeatable feeling for mind, body and soul.

If nothing else, I hope this encourages you to listen to, and trust your intuition that little bit more.

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Disclaimer: The information in this post, and all of my other blog posts, is provided for general information purposes only.


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