Nardia Norman explains how movement can be nourishing.
Someone mocked me the other day for saying 'movement is nourishment for my soul'. It was met with one of those under-the-breath snorts and a 'you serious?' look.
When he realised I was 100 per cent serious he backtracked.
I am unapologetic about saying movement is nourishment for my soul. I love it. It fuels me. I use movement as a way of connecting in with myself and my body. It centres me, grounds me; I love feeling strong, fit and free. However this mindset is relatively new – it's only become part of me in the past four or five years. Before that – wowsers, I had a tumultuous journey (read: one big freakin' mess!).
Here's a very (very) brief PG version of this journey:
10 years old: Started playing sport. This was fun!
14 years old: Started worrying about my body shape and consciously made the decision to change my body shape because I hated it. Simultaneously was playing representative hockey so fitness was about performance. At this point I hadn't connected the dots between training and body shape, so for the most part fitness was still fun.
16 years old: Hockey was my life. Fitness directly equated to performance. But on the side I was manipulating my food intake.
17 years old: Joined my first gym and became a step aerobics junkie. I attended with an older friend who was persistently telling me how much she hated her body and needed to lose weight. I thought that was cool.
18 years old: Hello university, hello beers, hello first-year massive weight gain! Hockey was still about performance for me, but the focus had turned to my keg-like physique.
20 years old: Hockey was taking a back seat. I started working with a personal trainer for the first time ever. Initially the focus was on getting me super fit, however I then switched the goal to weight loss. Fitness became less about performance and more about aesthetics.
23 years old: Decided to train for my first competition. Disaster. I couldn't handle the egg whites and low fat diet (this was when fat was still the devil). I trained like a demon and I hated life as a result. Fitness had become all about beating my body into submission.
24 to 33 years old: One big horrible mess of body loathing, self loathing, angst, punishment, sex, drugs and rock and roll... (a decade of extreme craziness and dark periods which I will share the details of one day).
34 years old: Realised that I was in control of my own happiness and that this was entirely independent of how I looked. I started to use movement as a way to heal the relationship that I had with food, exercise and all my past wounds.
Present day: For me, movement is now a form of self-love and self- care. I still train hard and intensely at times, but it is done from a place of wonder and appreciation. My focus is not on how I look or measure up against society's definition of beauty; instead, it is all about how I feel. Sure, I love looking good because I take pride in my appearance, but I don't train to gain external validation. These days I validate myself, and movement is the vehicle that fuels this inner strength and peace.
I'm still a work in progress but nowadays fitness = fun and it is a form of self-love and self-care. So to the dude who mocked me, this is why movement nourishes my soul!
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