Movement as Nourishment

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!

YOU CAN CONTACT NARDIA VIA: Web: | Facebook: nardia.norman Twitter: @nardianorman | Instagram: @nardianorman

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