Intuitive Exercise

November 21, 2013

A bit of a heavy topic today. If you’re looking for something lighter check out Tuesday’s post that is all about puppies!

If you frequent the blog world like I do then the term “intuitive eating” isn’t anything new. If you’ve never heard of it, it is exactly as it sounds. You eat when your intuition tells you to eat and you stop when it’s telling you to stop. Pretty simple idea right? I think we all have that intuition, it’s just a matter of whether we choose to listen to it or not. Your intuition likely isn’t telling you to eat that entire chocolate buttercream cake, but I highly doubt it’s telling you not to take a bite either. Our bodies instinctively tell us what to do and what to eat, but in a society that is constantly bombarding us with diet ads and cronut burgers it’s easy to get lost.

Wine is a balanced part of my diet.

 In the last several years I’ve made some great strides to reach a comfort level with my diet. I’ve gone through the junk-food and diet-coke phase and the phase of low-calorie everything, no-gluten, no-dairy, no-eggs yada yada yada but it’s starting to come full circle. There are days when I might eat cornbread for every meal and days when all I want is salad. It’s just a matter of giving my body what it needs and occasionally what it wants (I’m looking at you Trader Joe’s chocolate sea salt almonds!)

I wish I could say I’ve made the same strides when it comes to exercise. Fitness has always been my kryptonite. There’s no denying you feel better after a good workout sesh. But for me, a day without exercise meant an unhappy one. I was the first person to admit that I was addicted to the endorphins.

Endorphins are a great thing. They are life’s natural anti-depressants. But your doctor isn’t going to throw you onto the highest dose to make you the happiest you can be, right? In the same light, exercise doesn’t need to be done to the max to yield your perfect level of happiness.

I remember feeling exhausted and worn out on this day but went anyway.

I have a lot of regrets. But instead of dwelling on them, I’m trying to learn from. I recognize now that working out stopped being fun and started becoming a chore. I ignored the aches and pains, I ignored the fatigue and I rallied my exhausted body to run even if it was -5 degrees and snowing outside. My attempts to keep myself happy were ultimately hurting me.

Enough was enough. For the first time in about 5 years I let go of my incessant need to exercise and did exactly what my body was telling me to do, rest. And rest I did. It’s been 2 months since I’ve done any form of higher intensity exercise and I’ve never felt better. I haven’t stopped moving my body though. I walk daily and when I have the time I try to make it to a yoga class. Have I noticed some changes in my body? Yes. But I am trying to view them as positive changes. I’m not 18 years old anymore. If my body wants to have curves and a little junk-in-the-trunk then so be it

Spinning with my bestie. This is when exercise is fun!

 I love exercising, but I got so caught up in the numbers and the progress that I completely lost sight of this. I would like to eventually get back into the gym, start lifting, running, spinning or maybe even a BodyPump class, but it’s not going to be the same as it was. It won’t matter how far I run, how much I lift, or how often I go. Just like my cornbread days, I may have weeks where I only do yoga or spinning, or do absolutely nothing at all! What matters is that it feels good, and when it doesn’t anymore I need to stop.

I never thought I would say this, but I am so grateful for getting injured. It showed me that I’d become a slave to exercise and completely took advantage of my body. I ask you to take the time to listen to your body, and no I’m not talking about that nagging voice that tells you to stick to your workout plan or else you’ll get fat. But to really listen to your intuition. You’d be surprised how often your body will tell you to move, but when it’s telling you to rest, rest. Accept that not every run has to be your fastest or your furthest, that walking is exercise and that it can still be a great yoga session even if you don’t do any of the advanced options.

Listen to your body and exercise intuitively. 

Everyone’s favourite blogger, Arman asked me to weigh in on this topic for his he says/she says series. If you’re interested in hearing more, head on over to The Big Man’s World to check it out.

Do you exercise intuitively? Have you ever found yourself exercising too much? 


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  • Reply
    Jan Sproutsnsquats
    November 21, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Lady well done for opening up and talking through this I am just so proud of you and love this post. I think in all of those photos you look absolutely incredible, if that is you with extra ‘curves’ then you need to know how friggin good you look.

    I can so relate with definitely having over-exercised before. Last year there was a time when I was exercising 8-9 times a week which meant 3 days a week I was exercising twice a day, I thought it was normal and good because how could it be wrong to do more exercise? Now I see what a waste of time and energy it was and how out of balance my life got because I wasn’t spending enough time just doing more things for me not just exercising…which is why I’m glad I found blogging as it helped me to definitely find the balance.

  • Reply
    Karen B
    November 21, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Listening to your body is SO important! This is a great reminder for everyone to just take a moment and see how their body/mind is feeling.
    Thank you for sharing! You are beautiful…keep smiling! 🙂
    Karen @karenlovestorun

  • Reply
    meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles
    November 21, 2013 at 11:18 am

    I definitely don’t take a enough rest days, that’s for sure. I do listen to my body, alternate the routine with light workouts and stop running if I feel uncomfortable but a full rest day does need to happen more often! I too love the endorphins and love what just 30 minutes a day does for me. I guess that’s why I keep going with the exercise routine each day, to me just 30 minutes is enough and often that’s all I do a day. Although, skipping those 30 minutes sometimes I still probably a good idea.

  • Reply
    November 21, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    I loved this post! I don’t think I over-exercise per se, but I definitely have dragged myself to the gym when I REALLY didn’t feel like it. I think in the blogging world we see so many people who work out 6-7 days a week religiously and we don’t want to feel like ‘slackers’ in comparison. Listening to our bodies and taking that time off is so important. Thanks for posting this!

  • Reply
    November 21, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    great post, Davida! I am a big fan of intuitive eating and find that it works much better for me than any “diet.” I like the idea with exercise too… I think listening to your body is extremely important. I’ve also slowed down with my exercise lately, which was a little distressing at first, but I’ve discovered that *gasp* my body is just fine with it!

  • Reply
    Elise @
    November 21, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Such a great post. I feel like I often get sucked into that mindset where I HAVE to workout if I don’t I just feel like crap and guilty the rest of the day. I think as with food (and life in general) it’s about balance and moderation!

  • Reply
    November 21, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Davida, I could not agree more and really appreciate this post! There are days when I really want to work out and then there are days when I have to literally FORCE myself to workout. I should be listening to my heart and body and doing what is best…and I’ve gotten better about this since I’ve been married. (and it helped to not have a white dress to fit into haha). I think exercising is all about doing what’s right for YOU and no one else, including society. 🙂 p.s. YOU are beautiful!

  • Reply
    Amy @ The Little Honey Bee
    November 21, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    It is so great to read your feelings as you have written them so eloquently in this brilliant post. Funny that we post about the same thing, with slightly different viewpoints, today 🙂 Your journey is inspiring and we can all learn from you, thank you for sharing. xo

  • Reply
    Kathy @ Vodka and Soda
    November 21, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    i love this post! like you, my injury has forced me to switch things up a little and i’m rediscovering things/programs that i’d forgotten about. it’s all about balance and our bodies need change otherwise we adapt.

    Vodka and Soda

  • Reply
    Chelsea @
    November 21, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    “I never thought I would say this, but I am so grateful for getting injured” <-- I could not agree more!!! I love that it forced me slow down and completely change my relationship with exercise. Three years ago I never would have considered walking and yoga to be exercises - I would do those ON TOP of a "normal" workout. But now those are good enough for me. As long as I'm moving in some way or another on most days of the week, I feel healthy.

  • Reply
    Erin @ The Almond Eater
    November 21, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Ahhhh I’m so glad you wrote this! (side note: you had me at TJ’s chocolate sea salt almonds). I, too, am thinking that this injury is a blessing. It’s something that was ignored for far too long and I just kept pushing myself. Turns out, you can only push so hard before you crash and burn. I’m glad you talked about this–I think a lot of people can relate. Last but not least…YAY for walking! Walks are thee best.

  • Reply
    Alexis Kornblum
    November 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    You are sooo cute!!!! Go girl!

  • Reply
    November 21, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    So glad you wrote a post about this! It’s so important to listen to your body and do what it tells you. Rest is so crucial so I am glad you are getting enough. And hey, there is nothing wrong with a little junk in the trunk!

  • Reply
    Amanda @ .running with spoons.
    November 21, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    People look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them that I’m grateful for going through an exercise addiction and an eating disorder, but it’s the God-honest truth. Did it suck? Hell yeah it did — those years were some of the worst of my life — but I came out of it with [what I hope is] more wisdom and a much healthier mindset. I took a few years off from heavy exercise so that I could repair both my mind and body, and it proved to be one of the most beneficial things I’ve ever done. I love being active, but only when I -want- to be, not when I’m pushing my body beyond its means.

  • Reply
    Em @ Love A Latte
    November 21, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    I LOVE THIS POST! Thank you so much for sharing this because I think it is crazy important to put those words out there. So you know me I was training for a marathon starting in May and got injured August 31st. I have run once since then and like you been doing lots of walking. I think my body was talking to me. Telling me it’s ok to rest…life will go on. And you know what? It totally has. I look forward to getting back out there, but taking a step back from running being all consuming has given me time to focus on the other stuff in life. I’m so proud of you! I was a crazy calorie counter in college (way too restricted) and now – 5 years later – I finally feel like I’m in a happy place with food. In college I had to exercise every day or I felt so bad about me. I’m so glad those days are over. I’ve realized that once I stopped putting all the unnecessary pressure on myself, a weight was lifted. I’m me no matter whether I went to the gym that day or not. That being said, I will definitely be training again when the time is right! =)

  • Reply
    November 21, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Thanks for this post! It is exactly what I needed to read today!!!!!!! My friends say I’m a bit OCD about running…and I probably am. But I’m trying to figure out my balance and my happy place between the “all or nothing” mentality!

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      November 22, 2013 at 9:36 pm

      I know that feeling so well! Don’t feel like every run has to be your best or that you need to push yourself to your max just because you can. It will eventually start to take it’s toll and I wouldn’t wish that feeling on anyone. Feel free to send me an email if you need to talk!

  • Reply
    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles
    November 21, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Love this post lady! First of all, I love how you managed to find the silver lining in your injury – woot positivity! I definitely know where you’re coming from with this though – I’ve definitely had periods where I’ve pushed my body beyond it’s means and forced it into exercise when it really needed rest. In all honesty, this is probably something I could still stand to work on – I’m still a little more uncomfortable with unplanned rest days than I’d like to be.

  • Reply
    Megan (The Lyons Share)
    November 21, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Really interesting and thoughtful post – thank you so much for sharing and making me think! I do think I’m a bit addicted to the endorphins – I definitely don’t feel the need to “make every run my furthest and fastest,” but I do feel more lethargic and less happy on the days I don’t exercise. As totally sad as it is to say this, I often feel that my work out is the only part of the day that I truly enjoy … something I definitely need to fix. At the same time, I am fairly good at listening to my body (sometimes I brush off the messages once, but I will definitely listen on the second time a potential injury rears its ugly head … which I believe is one reason why I haven’t been injured in several years, knock on wood!!!) Still, I do wonder if I forced myself to take a few months off, if my body would tell me it liked that, too. Something to think about! Only one thing I disagree with you on … running in the snow is FUN! 🙂

  • Reply
    Alex @ Cookie Dough Katzen
    November 21, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Awesome post! Intuitive eating is the way to go and you rock it. Yes, a glass of vino is definitely part of intuitive eating. 😉

  • Reply
    Kathryn @ Illustrated Nutrition
    November 21, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    I love this post Davida! I use to be the same way, but my sporadic schedule has made it hard to stick to a workout routine, this was a blessing in disguise because I was able to accept what my body was trying to tell me. I used to get anxiety/guilt if I didn’t workout and now I look at it as a time to allow my body to rest and heal. Exercise is good for us, but it also stresses our body if we do not take breaks. Now I exercise when I feel like it and do a lot more yoga than I ever used to.

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      November 24, 2013 at 11:51 pm

      That’s awesome Kathryn! I think a lot of the change was forced to happen because my schedule clearly doesn’t allow for so much exercise. It’s probably a good thing considering I’m still moving for most of the day. No need to pound the pavement if my job forces me to be active as is!

  • Reply
    Danielle @ LabelsAreForTinCans
    November 21, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    I can SO relate to this post! I wrote something similar on Amy’s blog but initially I began working out for fun and then it turned into a bit of obsession. Cue: adrenal fatigue and other health problems! Since then I have taken a real step back. I still move every day but my intensity is MUCH less than it used to be! I’ve stopped worrying about if I gain a little weight here and there. I would much rather feel better and be healthier than worry about that. It’s so true though – it is hard to decrease intense exercise at times and sometimes it takes an injury or similar problem to stop it.

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      November 24, 2013 at 11:57 pm

      I’m glad you brought up adrenal fatigue. I’m 100% certain that played a role in my injury and my burnout. People don’t realize what a real thing it really is!

  • Reply
    Consuelo @ Honey & Figs
    November 21, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    This has to be my favorite post of yours until the date (although those mocha peppermint waffles are so close haha). No, but really, I do love how honest you are with your readers, and the way you write and eveerything.
    I’ve been there too, and even now, I’m still trying to recover from it… seeing that people like you has got to overcome it makes me incredibly happy because I know that I will get over it someday :’)
    And I never though I’d say this either, but I’m also super thankful for the injury I got a few months ago… It make me change my habits for the better in a hard way, but it was worth it.
    Thanks for the lovely postm and have a great day!!

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      November 24, 2013 at 11:57 pm

      Thank you consuelo!!! Though I think the waffles may top it 😉 But I appreciate the support. It’s amazing to see how many people feel exactly the same way I have and now do.

  • Reply
    Pure Ella
    November 21, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Great advice and you look amazing!!! 😉
    I definitely need to do more… but an injury to my knees then my shoulder made me stop completely ;(
    While listening to my body now… I think it’s upset and is getting depressed I’m not working out other parts of my body… 😉
    Great post Miss D.

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      November 22, 2013 at 6:57 pm

      Thanks Ella! I know that feeling too. You’re always welcome to join me for some hot yoga at yoga tree 🙂

  • Reply
    Nicole @ FruitnFitness
    November 21, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Great post lady! I loved running a half marathon and really miss/worried to run again but I do like not having any specific workouts I have to follow. Sometimes it’s so, so important to listen to your body and give it the rest/movement it needs!

  • Reply
    November 21, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    I love this idea! My problem was always to make myself get off the couch and START exercising, not stopping myself from exercising, but now that I have been bitten by the workout bug, I can definitely see how something that starts out as fun can get out of hand. I love that you are so good at listening to your body and finding balance. That’s something I believe we can all work on in one way or another.

  • Reply
    November 21, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Yeeeeah- I’ve been making strides with my diet too but exercise is a little harder for me. I’ve been forcing myself to take more rest days, but it’s still so hard to listen to my body because I just feel so good emotionally after a good workout!

  • Reply
    Christa @ Sit-ups & Sequins
    November 21, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Oh girl, I know exaaaactly what you mean! Only recently have I actually really listened to my body and given it what it needs. I’m definitely not perfect, there are still days when I go to the gym even though I’m worn out and a little sore, but now I know my limits a little better. I know when I’m about to push it too far and have the willpower to (gasp!) take a day off! 😉 This was a great post. Thank you for sharing and I’m so happy you are in a good place. You look fantastic!

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      November 22, 2013 at 7:01 pm

      I definitely think it’s okay to push your body a little, but those days when you really feel like you’re dragging your feet to the gym are probably better spent laying on the couch 😉

  • Reply
    GiGi Eats Celebrities
    November 21, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    I work out every day for an hour and 40 minutes – all cardio. It’s crazy to think about, but I have been doing this for YEARS! That being said, I am a lot less hard on myself as I get older. I used to FLIP OUT at the thought of not getting all 1 hour and 40 minutes in, but now, if I cut it short every so often thanks to my tight schedule, I just say, there is always tomorrow! I also used to force myself to get up REALLY early to do it, but sleep is starting to take precedence. My bed is super sexy!

  • Reply
    Suzanne Poldon
    November 21, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    I definitely guilty of this, although I’m trying really hard to take rest days seriously. Thanks for the reminder, Davida!

  • Reply
    Becky @ Olives n Wine
    November 21, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    You are much too cute while spinning 😉 But on a more serious note, yes, I can 100% relate to this and have obsessively exercised in the past. If I ate too much, I would force myself to do 30 minutes on the treadmill followed by 30 minutes on the elliptical followed by 30 minutes on a bike. I was a bit crazy (and had wayyyy too much time in college). Now, I’m like you and play it day by day. If I want to run, I run but if I don’t then I’ll definitely walk or try to make it to a yoga class. Now the only exercise-related guilt I have is paying a ridiculous amount for my gym membership 😉

  • Reply
    Gabby @ the veggie nook
    November 21, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    This is wonderful Davida! I think everyone is guilty of this to some extent- because all the workout magazine, forums, etc. tell us to be! I have come fairly full circle with my diet and exercise too and I’m happier than ever. I hope others can find that same peace 🙂

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      November 24, 2013 at 11:59 pm

      I feel like it’s something that just comes with figuring out who you are and what you want in your 20s? At least I think so. It feels kind of awesome and I’m so happy this is a lesson I learned so young!

  • Reply
    November 21, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Freshmen year of college was when I was addicted to exercise. It was also the first time I started to see the real changes in my body…which probably made it hard for me to think that rest can sometimes be best.
    I think now it has become more intuitive. I do CrossFit, so my membership that I pay is for ‘x’ amount of times a week…but I go when it feels like my body is ready. If I had planned for Friday morning, but wake up not feeling it, I take it as a rest day and enjoy every minute. I have NEVER been happier and I plan to follow this.

  • Reply
    November 21, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Thank you for this post!! I can relate to it all to well….I NEED to listen to my body ang give myself rest! I am struggling with coming to terms with this though =/

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      November 22, 2013 at 7:02 pm

      You’ll get there in time Hayley! It’s also a challenge dealing with the pressures of college on top of everything. Try to focus on health first and things will just play out from there!

  • Reply
    Alex @ Kenzie Life
    November 21, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    I feel like this pairs nicely with my last post about wanting to change your body after an eating disorder. I feel like intuitive exercise has been a big part of my journey but I’ve found that I rarely ever regret going for a run, and it’s usually my mind that tells me not to do something rather than my body. And sometimes mental breaks are necessary too, so it’s all about finding what balance works for you. I do want to get back into yoga though! I haven’t found a studio I like in Colorado 🙁

  • Reply
    Miss Polkadot
    November 21, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    You have a way of addressing issues just when I need a little reminder, did you know that?! Awesome post! I hope that one day we can go on a walk together and chat about anything and everything buuut I digress.
    So yes: Exercise addiction – been there, done that, got injured.
    “I never thought I would say this, but I am so grateful for getting injured.” <- My thoughts exactly when I was once more recovering from a running injury earlier this year. It's amazing to see what happens when we're forced to slow down or cut out exercise completely: nothing and a lot. Nothing as in: the world doesn't end. And a lot in terms of thinking, realizing and - at best - understanding ourselves better. Unfortunately, I have to admit it hasn't stuck with me completely. Yes, I've gotten better at taking care of myself and not pushing too much. But at times like now when I don't work exercise becomes a too important part of my life and somehow the only constant again. Here's to seeing if I can balance things out and be less dependent again once I start working next week. Fingers crossed.

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      November 25, 2013 at 12:00 am

      I think a lot of my obsession developed when I wasn’t working because I had so much time! Then when I started working I tried to keep it up and ultimately just drained and injured my body. I’m thankful it’s a lesson I learned so young!

  • Reply
    Danielle @ Green is the New Black
    November 21, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Great post! Thanks for sharing! It is all too easy to get caught up with trying to do everything perfectly when sometimes the best thing we can do is listen to our bodies and try to do what is needed.

  • Reply
    Kierston @candyfit
    November 21, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    Great post my friend! I took a couple of weeks off, then a few extra days after that to give my body a break. To rest. To recharge. And re-balance itself. Listening to your body is so important, and for a little while, I lost site of that (hence my need to take some time off). xo

  • Reply
    November 21, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    Great post my love! and thanks so much for your honest input. I have also realized how important rest days are! That way I come back stronger the next day 🙂 but its oh so easy to get caught up with the numbers, and what others are doing.

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      November 22, 2013 at 7:25 pm

      It’s so true! The more time you give yourself between workouts, the better they feel! Gotta try and remember that!

  • Reply
    November 21, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Love this and you know how I feel about exercise obsession and over doing it! Great post!

  • Reply
    Angie @ A Mother's Pace
    November 21, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    I love the honesty of this post! I’ve never been one to exercise too much, I’m probably just the opposite. I do run 5 days a week but they are not always high intensity runs. A little variety in the workout helps a lot. Good job slowing down (even if it was because of an injury) and figuring out what your body really needs!

  • Reply
    November 21, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    Oh I definitely can call into the trap of exercising too much! I’m like you, I’m addicted to the endorphins. I’ve made a deal with myself though. It’s ok to still do something on rest days. I sit at a desk for 9 hours a day, 5 days a week, not counting all the hours I sit on my computer at home blogging. So even on rest days I try to do some stretching, walking or foam rolling. I view it as moving my body as opposed to working out, which is at a higher intensity and requires recovery. I’ve found that this mentality totally helps me incorporate rest days and they are something to look forward to!

  • Reply
    Katie @ 24 Carrot Life
    November 21, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    I really like this post, Davida. I think if you can get both your eating and your fitness to be intuitive then they will balance each other out so your body feels its best!

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      November 25, 2013 at 12:01 am

      Thanks Katie! My body may be changing but I actually feel better than ever and it’s kind of awesome 🙂

  • Reply
    November 21, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Love this post! I recently made a similar discovery myself. I was working out HARD 6 days a week and it was stressing me out. I’ve recently switched to 4 days a week and I love it. Good luck with your new exercise groove. It sounds great. 😉

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      November 25, 2013 at 12:02 am

      It’s amazing how positive cutting down on exercise can be! Who would have thought that something so good for you could ultimately be harmful in too high a quantity?

  • Reply
    Whitney English, To Live and Diet in L.A.
    November 21, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Great post Davida!

    I am currently working on the intuitive eating part myself. For as long as I can remember I’ve used calorie counting as a way to monitor my eating habits and I’m really trying to look to my bodies natural cues instead. It’s not easy when you’re always hungry, haha!

    Good luck on doing the same with your exercise. Like you said, it should be fun!

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      November 25, 2013 at 12:03 am

      Easier said than done for sure! But I think it comes with time. And pushing your body too far to come to a realization that less sometimes truly is more!

  • Reply
    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl
    November 21, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    I definitely need to take this to heart. My body is telling me to rest but my mind isn’t. I am doing my best to work on this. In fact, I have scheduled a second “rest day” for this week already! Tomorrow I am sleeping in :).

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      November 22, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      Why does that stupid brain of ours get in the way?? Awesome stuff on giving your body what you need! My body has been feeling yoga lately but I may just sleep in tomorrow 🙂

  • Reply
    November 21, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    I LOVED this post Davida! Intuitive exercise is very important. Its so important to listen to your body and rest when you need it. Exercise should be fun and healthy. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply
    Arman @ thebigmansworld
    November 21, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    What a timely post, my friend. Leading on from what you wrote in the segment this week and this post, its absolutely amazing to see how you’ve related intuitive eating to intuitive exercise- it is two similar concepts yet many find both so difficult to grasp. Bravo for embracing your injury and using this time to heal positively.

  • Reply
    Maria @ Little Miss Cornucopia
    November 21, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    this is such an insightful perspective on exercise and one that I definitely put into practice. I used to have a all-or-nothing attitude when it came to exercising so when I would take more than a day off from going to the gym because I was too tired or sore or I just didn’t feel like going, I always felt like I failed. But that totally backfired, sometimes causing me to go a week or more without exercising…even though I really loved my workouts! It was such a challenge for me to just to listen to my body’s signals and respect them. Exercise was becoming more mentally exhausting than it was physically because of all the stress and worry that surrounded it…when it should be fun and something your body REALLY WANTS to do.

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      November 25, 2013 at 12:04 am

      Exactly!!! Something so good for you should never be stressing you out. When I start stressing thats when I know it’s too much. I’m glad I learned this lesson so young!

  • Reply
    Heather @Gluten-Free Cat
    November 21, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    Wonderful post! It is so important to exercise intuitively, and I’ve been so bad at it. As a fitness instructor I’ve worked out for others and then added my own workouts on top of it “for me”. I’d still be running that rat race exhausted and in pain most of the time if I hadn’t moved to NYC. Now that I’m here without a job as a fitness instructor I have this sense of freedom. I workout WHEN and HOW I WANT to. Love it!! I do get frustrated because I notice that I’m not as strong as I was 6 months ago. But I feel healthier both physically and mentally. I don’t dread going to the gym anymore. if I don’t feel like going, I don’t go! Thanks for sharing about intuitive exercising. (Love that picture of you on a spin bike! That’s my fav form of exercise!)


    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      November 25, 2013 at 12:06 am

      I think I’m finally starting to get to that level! I feel like a spin class with you would be an awesome way to workout 🙂

  • Reply
    Paige Podbelsek
    November 22, 2013 at 1:25 am

    This is so fantastic and probably just what I needed to hear today. Thank you for this great reminder! Our body definitely knows what we need. Listening to it is so much more powerful than forcing anything. Glad you are feeling so good!

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      November 25, 2013 at 12:07 am

      I TOTALLY understand what you’re going through Paige! Just give it time beautiful and your body will eventually catch up 🙂

  • Reply
    November 22, 2013 at 1:41 am

    I’m much more intuitive than I used to be. There was a time that I would go running at midnight if I didn’t think I had done enough working out for the day. Now, I actually take days off on occasion!!!

  • Reply
    Nikki@will run for pizza
    November 22, 2013 at 3:02 am

    GREAT post!!! This is how I’ve tried to be in recent years too. There are still times when I workout and don’t really “feel it”, but for the most part, I’ve been listening to my body too and stopping when enough is enough. It really makes a difference the older you get! Even if i’m not going as hard as I was at 18, I FEEL better at 34.

  • Reply
    November 22, 2013 at 3:03 am

    I’m just starting to exercise intuitively… I get so anxious when I can’t run and do yoga in a day. Aren’t I a nut? I haven’t went to yoga in a week and I’m MISSING it, not feeling obligated to go, so I think with a little rest my body will be excited to hit the mat tomorrow.

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      November 22, 2013 at 9:21 pm

      I know that feeling so well. But when I think about it, I try to exercise to be healthy but if I start stressing over it, aren’t I just negating the effect? Sounds crazy right. When I think about it like that I start to relax more about everything.

  • Reply
    November 22, 2013 at 3:33 am

    I used to only run, then I got an injury and began weight lifting as cross training…and haven’t gone back! An injury really can be a blessing!

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      November 22, 2013 at 8:51 pm

      Trying to see it as that! I’m itching to start lifting again, but I’m weary of running again. Never say never but for now I’m just gonna go with the flow 🙂

  • Reply
    Robyn Coale
    November 22, 2013 at 3:34 am

    what an amazing post!! I’ve certainly been there before and can totally relate, but your outlook now is so refreshing and I think resonates with a lot of people. Once we start pushing beyond what our body wants is when exercise goes from healthy to damaging. You look gorgeous girl, keep rocking on! 🙂

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      November 25, 2013 at 12:08 am

      Thanks babe! It’s a fine line between progress and damage so I’m trying to focus less on the progress and more on how it makes me feel 🙂

  • Reply
    Shawn @ Fruity N Nutty
    November 22, 2013 at 3:57 am

    Love this Davida! There was also a time when I couldn’t go a single day without working out and would beat myself up about it if I missed one. Now I’m in a semi-better place and try to rest when my body tells me it has to, still working on it though.

  • Reply
    Lexi Russell
    November 22, 2013 at 5:32 am

    Wow. I really needed to read this post today. Thank you!

  • Reply
    November 22, 2013 at 7:17 am

    Love the post. I think listening to your body is SO vital. Since I’ve became pregnant with baby #2, I’ve done a much better job of listening to my body. Instead of getting up at the crack of dawn to workout, I’ve stayed in bed to get some much needed sleep that my body is craving. It’s hard to slow down and really tune into what our bodies are saying, but in the long run, it certainly pays off!

    -Melissa @ Fit ‘n’ Well Mommy

  • Reply
    Ksenija @ With An Open Mind
    November 22, 2013 at 7:18 am

    Thank you for sharing this Davida. I am actually making pretty much the same experiences right now. Though I planned on getting more serious with my running game, these cold and rainy days in Germany are really a workout-mood-killer. Most of the time I prefer to sleep one hour more instead of doing a morning workout. And for the first time in forever I am fine with it. I enjoy having the extra time and do also walk a lot more than before. And though I still believe that we all should move on a regular base for our health, I surely changed my opinion about how intense this movement has to be during this year.

  • Reply
    Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli
    November 22, 2013 at 10:00 am

    I just finished leaving a novel of a comment over on Arman’s blog…I can relate to this so much! When I first started counting calories and working out diligently last summer, I was pumped when I noticed the weight falling off…and even more so when I noticed that I was getting more defined and had muscles in places I didn’t know I could have muscles. But unfortunately, I let my addictive personality get away from me and I started to lose sight of things. Before long I was going to the gym even when I didn’t really want to just so that I could “check it off the list”…because if I didn’t go 6 days a week, obviously the world would end. THEN I had my knee surgery. It’s been a really rough year for me struggling to get back to “normal”…working on my flexibility and my range of motion. Some periods of self pity and depression were mixed in there too, but I’m happy to report that just in the last few weeks since I’ve been stretching and foam rolling regularly, I’ve been seeing some progress! It’s crazy how much I took for granted before my surgery, pushing myself to do workouts I didn’t really want to do…and now I’m so limited to what I CAN do…definitely helps me keep things in better perspective now!

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      November 25, 2013 at 12:13 am

      It’s so easy to get hooked on the rewards. I don’t think I’m out of the norm to react to something positive by doing more of it. And that’s when it starts to spiral out of control. It’s sort of illogical how getting injury can actually be good for you but like you hurting myself made me appreciate my body in a different way and focus less on the way I look!

  • Reply
    Chai a Cup of Life
    November 22, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Love your raw honesty Davida. Exercise can become addictive like anything else in life, but its great that you are balancing it out. I used to feel satisfied running and sweating it out. Now it’s all about walking and yoga.

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      November 22, 2013 at 8:52 pm

      Thank you!! Walking has been such a great tool for me to move my body and clear my thoughts. I can’t believe I used to not consider it exercise!

  • Reply
    November 22, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    This post was EXACTLY what I needed to read. I am currently struggling with this. I actually injured myself last year at this time from over exercising, and all year have been battling this anxiety about not being able to work out as hard. Every day it’s a mental battle and I hate it.

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      November 22, 2013 at 8:53 pm

      I’m glad we can support each other. If you ever need to talk, don’t hesitate to send me an email. Take each day as it comes and remember to treat your body with the respect it deserves 🙂

  • Reply
    Kim @ BusyBod
    November 22, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Davida I seriously could not love this more. Your timing could not have been more perfect (you’ll see why soon). I think it’s easy to forget that too much of a good thing isn’t so good, and that it stops feeling good. I find myself having such a hard time doing “good” things in moderation. I’ve always been an ultra-competitive overachiever. Like you, I think I’ve conquered the food side of this problem. No matter how healthy I was eating, I felt like I could eat healthier and healthier, be better and better. I’m much more moderate now, as you know. For exercise it’s different though, and I think you hit the nail on the head with the happiness connection. No matter how much a workout, I feel like I can do more. On top of that, I want to do more because I love it. Then, somewhere along the way, that connection gets lost. Am I listening to my body and my heart, or am I listening to my own neurotic and compulsive tendencies? The happiness becomes a justification, even if it’s no longer the reality.

    I’m so happy you’re finding some balance now, and that your injury turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Thanks again for telling me something I needed to hear, whether you knew it or not. xoxo

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      November 22, 2013 at 8:59 pm

      Already commented on your blog about how much I appreciate and relate to your comment, but just wanted to tell you again. You’re awesome Kim and thanks for inspiring me <3

  • Reply
    Power, Love, and Self Discipline
    November 22, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Thanks so much for your honesty and perspective. I have really been working on cultivating this skill over the last 6 months. Getting out of my head and actually listening to what my body wants. Sometimes it’s easier said than done.

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      November 22, 2013 at 8:59 pm

      Definitely easier said then done. I can’t pretend it hasn’t been a struggle but when I zoom out and focus on what I want in life and for my body the answer is there. Thanks so much, lovely 🙂

  • Reply
    Parita @ myinnershakti
    November 22, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Love this post and the concept of intuitive exercise. I firmly believe that our bodies are a lot smarter than we give them credit for, and if we just learn to listen, we’ll learn more than ever thought possible. I used to workout for the sake of working out and burning calories. That did absolutely nothing for my both physically and mentally. I was so burned out! Now, I welcome rest days, long walks, etc. And on days where I know my body can handle it, I push myself a little more. I guess I’m a follower of the go with the flow type of thinking.

  • Reply
    Jo @ Living Mint Green
    November 22, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    You’re so awesome, friend. Thank you for sharing this – it’s important that we get the word out.
    I was talking with a male friend about women & working out the other day. I was saying that I have NO desire to fight my body’s natural tendency to be a little curvy. I workout to feel good and live an active lifestyle, that’s all that matters. The fact that our bodies NATURALLY want to be a little fat is a sign that we shouldn’t fight it. An really, what for?

    My guy friend was saying most men prefer curves anyway, and that they don’t understand why some women are so obsessed with trying to achieve a really thin/muscular figure. And that they much prefer a woman who is confident in her own skin. YEP and YEP.


    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      November 22, 2013 at 9:03 pm

      I love this Jo!!!! It’s so true. I’m not a child anymore and I don’t need to go around sporting crop tops and short shorts. I love the idea of wearing dresses that show off my curves and my booootay and working it. Nothing sexier than confidence! Working on that!

  • Reply
    Karey @ Nutty About Health
    November 22, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Great post Davida! Good for you on listening to your body & being open about your challenges. I think we have all been in a place where we didn’t really want to go workout, but we did it anyway.. it’s good for us to take note of those occasions & not push things too far. Thanks for bringing it to light & I’m glad you’re much happier!! 🙂

  • Reply
    November 22, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    I have been trying to put into words how I feel about this topic for several days now. And I see now why I didn’t, because you said it beautifully! I love. love. love this post!

  • Reply
    Amy @ Elephant Eats
    November 22, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Amen to curves and junk in the trunk! 😉 I have both and i think no amount of exercise would rid me of them, so I’ve come to accept and love them. I only wish they made more pants that fit that body type! I totally know what you mean on focusing so much on how many calories you need to burn, etc, but it sounds like listening to your body was the way to go! And there’s def no shame in walking. The only exercise I do daily is walk and although i wish I had more time/energy for other forms, I’m sure there will come a time when I do or when I feel more of an urge to make time for it. I’m so glad you’ve never felt better than you do now, Davida!!!

  • Reply
    Amanda @ Semi-Health Nut
    November 22, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    So not that I’m glad you’re injured..but sometimes that’s what we need to take a step back and reevaluate! I myself need to get back into exercising regularly haha!

  • Reply
    Dr. J
    November 22, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    No regrets, you had to go through what you did to get to where you are!!

    I believe that we come into the world as intuitive eaters and the research supports this, however, I feel that most of us lose this ability with the way food is distorted. It can be regained, but it takes time and effort.

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      November 22, 2013 at 9:07 pm

      Exactly! I think I had to want to have a more positive relationship with food and exercise before I could get there. Thankfully now I do!

  • Reply
    November 22, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    This post is beautiful. I remember when I first started my recovery, I had to adjust to walking, yoga, and pilates. I wasn’t even supposed to be doing the yoga/pilates but I would sometimes “sneak off” to do it…bad bad. I’m cleared for more intense exercise now but I have to admit that I struggle with rest days and with listening to my body. Whenever I get sick the first thing I dread is the guilt over any workouts I’ll miss! I’m a constant work in progress and thank you for writing a post that reminds me I’m not alone.

  • Reply
    Sarah Cook
    November 22, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Great post girl! I was once addicted to exercise too and used to beat myself up if I didn’t burn x amount of calories every day. Thankfully, my packed schedule has allowed me to come back down to reality and accept that working out is about feeling good. Like you said- do it when it feel it feels good and stop when it doesn’t.
    I don’t push myself anymore. I do it when I have time and try to enjoy it, regardless of how long I do it or how many calories I burn.

  • Reply
    Alisha @ Alishas Appetite
    November 22, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    This is an incredible post, Davida! Isn’t it strange how an injury can help you in an aspect of your life you didn’t think you needed? I can totally relate to being thankful for an injury. So happy for you that you are aware of this- you will come out better than you can ever imagined once your injury is healed. You rock. Happy Friday!

  • Reply
    Nicole @ Quest for Balance
    November 23, 2013 at 1:27 am

    This is a great post. Thank you for being so honest and sharing your story! It takes a lot of bravery to bare your soul on the blog world but I think I can speak for many when I say the honesty and refreshing out take is truly appreciated. I have a similar story to you and was a slave to exercise as well. You really don’t even notice how not like yourself it makes you too. You get so caught up in doing what you think is great for your body that you ignore all the screaming signs to stop. All those ridiculous things blasted over pinterest about the no pain no gain and keep going until you can’t go anymore thought processes do not help. It took me a while to break the over exercising routine and be ok with it and i’m so relieved I have. Intuitive eating and exercise is where it’s at. Definitely key for a balanced lifestyle. When you’re focusing on what you’re eating all the time or what exercising you’re doing it’s exhausting. I’m happy to say I’ve been sick all week and have listened to my body and haven’t exercised once, minus walking my dog, and it’s been exactly what I need.

  • Reply
    November 23, 2013 at 6:53 am

    For a month in my life, I worked out for 5-6 hours per day. It was the summer and I had nothing to do (I work in schools). I was so focused on my trip home that coming month. That month was the beginnings of my eating disorder and loss of my period for over a year.

    I continued with 2-3 hours of working out while working full time. I couldn’t keep up with it – my body wouldn’t let me. Now I do 1 hour at most per day unless I’m out hiking and that’s good enough for me.

  • Reply
    November 24, 2013 at 12:28 am

    I would say my exercise is more intuitive but it’s also easy to ignore that because if you’re waiting for a “desire” then you might never get it. With that said, I’m not into all of the intense exercise that people are into now. Sure a session or two once in awhile but to do it daily just doesn’t seem reasonable. When was the last time you heard of someone living to over 80 who did cross fit style workouts every day? Okay, Jack Lalane…but he’s an exception, not a rule. I enjoy gentle exercises that will get me moving but not necessarily tax my joints.

  • Reply
    November 24, 2013 at 6:46 am

    Exercising intuitively has been one of the best decision I ever made. Love this post 🙂

  • Reply
    Lauren @ Sweat The Sweet Stuff
    November 25, 2013 at 4:28 am

    I absolutely love this! Intuitive Exercise! I totally agree with everything you said and can relate with the injury being a good thing to show us to slow down. I also haven’t done intense cardio in quite awhile and am perfectly happy doing yoga, pilates and barre. As long as you’re moving your body I think that’s what counts! I plan to start taking my dog for more walks now that I live on a quiet road with beautiful views. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jillienne @ ChasingRaspberries
    November 25, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Girl! You have the most beautiful curly hair! I’m very envious. 🙂

  • Reply
    Ang @ Nutty for Life
    November 25, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    I am super late to the game here, but I think that this is one of the best posts I’ve read in a while. I am still working through my own journey to listening to my body, specifically when it comes to exercise. I am often in a “need” mentality rather than a “want” mentality. I tend to enjoy my workouts much more when I go into them wanting to be there rather than feeling like I have to go. One big step I’ve taken is admitting that I love yoga, not just because it’s a good workout but because of how it makes me feel. I prefer going to the studio rather than doing it from a video, and if I could afford that, I might be there everyday because frankly that is what my body loves lately.

  • Reply
    Carly @ Snack Therapy
    November 26, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Amazing, amazing post, girl. I absolutely love this. I feel like exercising intuitively is much more difficult than eating intuitively, because the need for exercise isn’t as prominent as the feelings of hunger or fullness. I’ve found that my body likes three hard workouts per week, and the rest of the time, I just like walking, dancing, or doing a light elliptical sesh while watching TV. It’s what I have the time & energy for — anything more and exercise would become a chore.

  • Reply
    November 26, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Love this post, Davida. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Reply
    November 28, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Yep, it’s all about listening to your body and as good as exercise can feel, you can over do it too. I usually workout three or four times a week. When I go, I hit it hard and when I rest, I hit that equally as hard too. don’t even walk on those days unless you count from the kitchen to the couch. Ha.

  • Reply
    January 26, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Love your post. I was currently writing a lesson for my wellness group, on the topic of exercising and researched Intuitive exercising ’cause that is my message. and this is how I have been functioning for at least 10 years. In my 20’s and out of 15 years+ of strict dance training I definitely exercised way too much for my own good. although looking back I can also see how intense physical exercise was a wonderful outlet for pent-up anger and all sorts of dark emotions I wasn’t even aware of at the time! So maybe every is perfect as is. Everything is an experience to be had, and to learn from. In any case nowadays when someone asks me how often I exercise (same as with what do i eat for breakfast!), I never really know what to answer because I function intuitively. I would like to point out also that intuition is something we all have, but that has often been buried under mountains of should’s + society/culture/parental expectations…for me meditation is the best and most important means of accessing that “little wise voice within”.
    With Warmth,

  • Reply
    June 11, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Hi there! This post couldn’t be written much better!
    Looking at this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He continually kept speaking about this.I’ll forward his article too him.
    Fairly certain he’s going to have a very good read. Iappreciate you for sharing!

    Check out my page – hacks

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