Check it out here if you like, the general gist was that while exercise has many benefits, it’s not fun and should not be peddled as such. Later saying the article was “tongue in cheek” on twitter, it didn’t come off so well in the BODY issue. http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/michelle-bridges-20130806-2rd7s.html
The BODY issue itself was inconsistent, on one page publishing curvy bloggers, and a dancer who overcame body issues and on others actively promoting the Dukan diet. Really? This diet has been proven to be dangerous and nutritionally deficient. Statistically this woman will regain her weight and more. Are we still going to be fed this fat shaming/ pro-diet by the media? Understandably there is a backlash. Read here for a wonderful open letter to the magazine, which echoed many of my own thoughts. http://recoveryispossible.com.au/2013/08/dear-sunday-life-magazine/
I expected more from a magazine with a tagline – Body. Mind. Inspiration. – I have secretly harboured a hope that one day my own “Mind” writings might find a home on their pages. I was disappointed and found the article on Dukan and Michelle Bridges’ column on exercise a bit irresponsible, and not inspiring at all.
Surely with the current research on self-compassion and the many proven negative effects of fat-shaming, inspiring people to get outside and do some form of activity that they can enjoy would be more inspiring.
What is not taken into account in this article is that not everyone wants to be lean and ripped. Not everyone needs to be smashed till they vomit like they do on Biggest Loser. Yes HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is a great way to burn fat and skyrocket fitness, but it’s not the only way to exercise. Surely it is more important to get the majority of people out doing any type of exercise or activity, and one that they intrinsically enjoy will be a much more lasting motivation than something they hate, or only do for extrinsic reasons, like to get skinny, or because their trainer told them to.
Another key point not considered is that fun is different for different people: maybe “hanging out on the deck of a luxurious yacht on Sydney Harbour, being waited on by svelte Latino boys wearing nought but a pair of boardies and a sailor’s hat” is fun for Michelle, (even tongue in cheek fun) but it’s not really my cup of tea, I’d rather go for a bike-ride through the park with my husband and daughter.
It’s funny too, I actually was thinking “Gee this is fun”, as I was jogging up Heartbreak Hill last weekend. I was listening to Tony Robbins interview Deepak Chopra (I know I’m a total geek) and thinking about how wonderful it was to be in a sea of so many inspired human beings, of all shapes and sizes, getting out and challenging themselves in the name of fitness, fun and fundraising. I genuinely thought that as I was coming up the hill from Double Bay. It was fun for me because of my mindset about it. The fact that the run was getting challenging didn’t really enter my mind.
Human beings have the ability to make anything fun or torture, based on their perceptions. Even a massively challenging workout that makes you “suck in the big ones” can be fun, if you think of it in terms of challenging yourself and seeing what you are capable of.
Michelle makes an excellent point at the end, “Focus on the outcome of your workouts. That way, being uncomfortable while you’re exercising doesn’t take the front seat.” Which would have been better being the key to her article. If she had elaborated more on what you focus on “front seat” and what you defocus or ignore, she could have come up with an inspiring article about being able to make any workout fun, and to focus on the fun things in any workout and afterwards.
There’s an unspoken paradigm from the perspective of counting and discounting in here that unsettles me. The paradigm is that only really intense workouts count, and that’s simply not true. For many people the exercise that counts most is the daily walk or weekend soccer match that is enjoyable, and because of that, is done consistently each week.
Instead of inspiring more people to get out and do something that they enjoy, and give themselves permission to have a great time exercising, it’s probable this article disheartened many of Australia’s overweight or obese from even getting started, thinking that they need to torture themselves in order for their exercise to count.
Remember that you have the ability to make anything fun, through your perception and framing of it. Fun exercise counts. Light exercise, and really challenging exercise can be fun in the moment and also reap lasting benefits afterwards.
Notice your self talk around how you exercise and what you do? Are you buying into the “I must smash myself in every workout” paradigm? Or the “exercise is not fun” paradigm? Don’t buy it! You’re in charge of your mind and your thoughts. If you focus on the joy of being able to move and challenge yourself and you can find the fun in any workout.
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