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What If We Stopped Exercising To Lose Weight?

IMG_2492-67[2]In my last post, “Get a Body You Love At Any Age” I mentioned “working in” as well as working out. That’s the idea I want to explore with you today – the idea of using movement as a way to connect with our bodies and tune in – not just a way to work out, lose weight, or get in shape.

So I’m not saying we should stop exercising. I am proposing that we stop exercising solely to lose weight, and I would love for this post to prompt a discussion we can have as a community here around this topic in the comments.

In an email from Lissa Rankin back in September, she was talking about finding your calling in life. She said, “The Uni-verse will conspire to encourage you to heed the call, even if it means thwacking you upside the head with the proverbial two by four. When you ignore the call, you may get sick. Your relationships may fall apart. You might find yourself in financial ruin. You may experience a loss so painful you’ll think you won’t be able to keep living. But you will. Because you’re on a hero’s journey. And the hero must prevail.”

This is exactly what happened to me the last few years working in fitness. I started to get this feeling that diet and exercise weren’t enough. We think we’re doing these things to look good, weigh a certain amount or fit into a jean size we’ve assigned our self-worth to, but really what we’re seeking in all of those goals are to FEEL good in our bodies. Maybe even to LOVE our freaking bodies.

This is the calling I was ignoring – to help women not only connect with their bodies, but to use their bodies to connect with their higher selves.

As a personal trainer, I began to suspect that people didn’t just need to, but wanted to go deeper, factor in their energetic bodies and intuition along with the physical bodies, but that doesn’t sound sexy-so of course, nobody is really looking for that. So I did what I always do, I tried it on myself first.

Since the summer of 2012, I’ve shifted my focus (even as a fitness professional) from “look perfect,” weigh a certain amount, or maintain a certain body fat percentage to simply enjoying living in my body. Moving in ways that feel really good, choosing foods that taste delicious but are also nourishing. Of course, shifting the mindset around all of that has been the most challenging part, but when you’re clear about going for a feeling instead of a look – it becomes easier over time.

At several points in this journey I’ve been reminded that “Motion creates emotion.”

I’ve shed quite a few tears in yoga classes over the years – mostly in hip opening poses (we store A LOT of emotion in our hips!). I’ve also experienced it during sprint workouts-when I’m running as fast as I possibly can. What’s interesting is the intensity of the movement is usually directly proportionate to the intensity of my tears.

With this in mind, I’ve started developing a new workout class that will be a full mind, body and soul movement experience. As I’ve been sharing this idea with women in my circle and at networking events when they ask, “What do you do?” I’ve noticed something interesting. This isn’t the type of experience women are searching for. By that I mean, no one is Googling, “full mind, body and soul movement experience.” BUT, when I describe it – they’re all , “yes, yes, tell me more!!” And I really think it’s because we’ve just been pounding treadmills, pushing weights, peddling our hearts out in spin classes and watching what we eat for so long – we’re freaking exhausted. We crave better relationships with exercise and our bodies, but we don’t know where to look for it. We’d love to make time to do a different type of workout everyday, meditate and go to yoga – but that’s pretty rare.

So let’s discuss this in the comments, are you vibing with this philosophy? How are you currently experiencing your body? What kind of movement experience would you create if the goal was to feel as amazing as possible in your body?

Lots of love,

Liz

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Liz DiAlto is a Fitness and Lifestyle coach, on a mission to help millions of women all over the world get the bodies and lifestyles they crave. Recently named one of the Top 30 Motivators for 2013 by Shape Magazine alongside Dr.Oz, Jillian Michaels, Ellen DeGeneres, and more, Liz believes that willpower sucks and simplicity, motivation and enjoyment are the non-negotiable keys to achieving success. Connect with her via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and her website.

  • Dee

    Yes…yes please. Love your approach to fitness and bod image, and love your work.

    • Liz DiAlto

      I appreciate this, Dee – thank you!

    • The Daily Love

      Thanks for sharing, Dee! -TDL Team

  • Heather L

    This is exactly how I feel. I would love to be the kind of person that can in corporate a good workout (like spinning) with yoga and meditation every day, but by the time I get through work and run errands & make dinner more often than not I’m too exhausted to even think about it! I have pin after pin of different workouts I want to try; stacks of books piling up about meditation, spirituality, positive living (the whole lot!) but I don’t even know where to begin. I think finding a way to combine all these elements into an effective mind/body/soul experience would be brilliant!

    • Liz DiAlto

      I’ve started experimenting with it, Heather and it feels freaking amazing. My body feels alive and buzzing all day after. Glad you dig the idea :)

    • The Daily Love

      Thanks for sharing, Heather! -TDL Team

  • T.MORRISON AGENCY

    Love this concept. Our bodies empower us to carry out our assignments and purpose in the earthly realm. This truly resonates with me as I’ve struggled to achieve any weight loss goals b/c it just didn’t “fit” however, it rests upon me to treat my body well because I need to honor it as it honors the work I was purposed to do. I just need to find the solution for “what” that looks like. I’ll keep on the lookout for you!

    • Liz DiAlto

      Here’s a sample vid if you want to try it out! http://lizdialto.com/2xone-11-3 :)

    • The Daily Love

      We’re glad Liz’s post resonated with you! Have a great day :) -TDL Team

  • Margaret Fronimos

    I’ve doing makeup for nearly 12 years, but what I love most about my job is how women feel when they leave my chair. The makeup is pretty and they look polished but it’s what I share with them. I have a strict “no self deprecating comments” policy when they’re in my chair. We talk about life and I give myself fully in the half hour or hour to my client. Since I have started meditating regularly for just 15 minutes a day the world has opened up. I exercise and try to eat healthy, but I take that extra moment to ask my body what it desires. Sometimes I just can’t force myself to exercise, other times it feels amazing to push myself beyond the limitations of my mind. When you are happy and healthy those around you will absorb that good vibe. The correlation for me is that sine I have taken time to honor my body and my self, when I give my time to others I’m truly there. It allows that divine inspiration to kick in and I feel like I’m able to do some good in the world.

    • Liz DiAlto

      Love the beauty perspective here, Margaret AND that you take the time to tune into your body…amen, sister!

    • The Daily Love

      Thanks for reading and sharing, Margaret! -TDL Team

  • hithaonthego

    I love this concept, Liz. I’ve done a piss poor job of looking inward, and have recommitted to journaling and meditating (even if it’s just a few minutes a day) to reconnect with myself. That’s helped me seek out fitness that’s FUN for me, healthful meals filled with my favorite flavors, and spending more time reading and writing letters vs. watching hours of television while sending out emails. Thank you for inspiring me to look inward :)

    • Liz DiAlto

      Thank YOU for inspiring me to pack so light for my recent trip to NYC!! xo

    • The Daily Love

      So happy this inspired you! Thanks for reading! -TDL Team

  • Mary

    Abosloutely LOVE this idea. I can completely resonate with being “exhausted” of always trying to eat the right thing, or do the highest intensity workout. The idea of turning INward to change the OUTward appearance is so crucial. I have reduced my days of intense running and replaced it with yoga—I feel so free and relaxed. Can’t wait to see how your “mind, body and soul” classes evolve. Sending you love xoxo!

    • Liz DiAlto

      Thank you so much Mary!! There’s a notification list at http://lizdialto.com/2xone

      Yoga is friggin’ magical. Takes some patience but man is it worth it!

    • The Daily Love

      Thanks for sharing, Mary! We appreciate it so much :) -TDL Team

  • Julia

    I have been thinking about this for years. I love being fit and exercising but it is always tinged with guilt about weight and that I “should” be doing this. I would love to learn how to shift my mindset around this and to find a workout environment that fosters both intense physical work and love. I also agree that movement is a phenomenal way to release stagnant energy and break through to our higher selves, if it is entered into with that loving intention instead of one of punishment. As such I do find that it is important to combine intense sprinting, long runs, strength training and toning with gentler exercises like Pilates and yoga. For me some combination and balance of all those would be the ideal movement experience. Thank you for this blog, your work in this field and I wish you all the best with this exercise conversation and journey.

    • Liz DiAlto

      Thank you for the comment, Julia. I regularly tell people to stop “shoulding” all over themselves ;)

    • The Daily Love

      We wish you the best also, Julia! Keep us posted on your journey. -TDL Team

  • Heidi

    Love your approach. Am also in the fitness industry and struggle with balance. I tell my clients to love them selves, eat whole foods and strive for balance but I beat myself up over gained weight and not looking a certain way. I would love to know more. Thank you!

    • The Daily Love

      Thanks for reading, Heidi! Have a wonderful day :) -TDL Team

  • draagen

    Don’t forget the guys; the only thing that could EVER keep me exercising for long was the desire to FEEL good. We guys get a pass in our culture—one I think women should DEMAND—in that we aren’t under the same pressure women are to match some platonic ideal made flesh (although there are guys who feel that pressure or impose it on themselves), but I think many of us want the same things from our body; to feel good in it and to connect it with our spiritual nature.

    My two cents. :-)

    • Liz DiAlto

      Thank you for the male perspective! I never “forget” the guys- I just specialize in women :)

    • The Daily Love

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts with us and Liz! We appreciate it! -TDL Team

  • Jenny Sjolund

    I noticed this phenomenon observationally, when I would work out and get in the zone and finally I realized it was like some sort of emotional catharsis was happening. I actually had to be careful because I’d be on the treadmill running, get in the zone, kind of space out and get emotional about experiences that were traumatic, then eventually snap out of it and realizing I was exerting myself WAY too hard physically.

    On the flip side, if I don’t work out/nurture my connection with my body, I clearly internalize everything and have negative physical reactions like depression and high blood pressure. I also an convinced that my issues with weight to begin with are rooted in emotional/spiritual issues, the weight is an effective shield and numbing agent.

    So, I love your idea of a mind, body and soul movement experience. For me, that experience is dance. But I love the idea of applying that concept to any kind of movement/exercise.

    • Liz DiAlto

      I’m so glad you see the connection between weight and protection, Jenny. So many women think there’s something wrong with them when diets or exercise don’t work, but really, they’re just not seeing the full picture :)

    • The Daily Love

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and share with us, Jenny! -TDL Team

  • guest

    I remind myself that I am healthy in Body, Mind and Spirit on a continual basis. I am 55 years old and even though I have a number in years, my body is willing to keep up with me as I remind myself daily that this vehicle needs to stay healthy. It’s not just the physical body that we need to be concerned about and that is where you will awaken those that need it, to embrace that the mind and spirit also have to be in alignment. This is what I gently share with those that enter my circle of life. I was inspired a few years ago by an amazing women called Mary Harper. Who in her 70’s was the oldest person to sail solo across the Atlantic. I spent some time with her when she was sailing alone in her early 80’s on her boat and got to know this women who, although looked frail and aging helped me see that she had a spirit that was young and adventurous. I only knew her for a short time but that short time reminded me that as I age I don’t need to fear the aging process. Staying fit is not about looking fit, it’s about giving your best shot at staying healthy in body, mind and spirit….

    • Liz DiAlto

      what an amazing opportunity that you got to sale with her – I am 100% with you, “It’s not just the physical body that we need to be concerned about…” Thank you for this!

    • The Daily Love

      Thanks for sharing with us! Wishing you all the best :) -TDL Team

  • Jessi Kneeland

    This is my jam Liz!!! It’s what has always come naturally to me and what my clients have always seemed curious about and interested in discovering. I don’t meditate, and I’m not as spiritual, but I move to check in and experience myself, and I want to help people move toward a more intuitive way of training and eating. I think women need more outside-the-box options for how we use our bodies… There is a lot of compartmentalizing in our industry.

    Not everyone who does yoga is gonna be blissed out, just the way not everyone who deadlifts is gonna be tough. I’ve cried on a Deadlift PR, and I’ve cried after a “free dance” class. I love where this is going.

    • Liz DiAlto

      Thanks, Jessi! We have to nerd out on intuitive training and eating when I see you Weds :)

    • The Daily Love

      Thanks for reading, Jessi! We love your enthusiasm! -TDL Team

  • Amy McCoan

    YES!! This is an amazing concept and i wish someone would take it to my small little town so i could enrol in those classes! Having been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 3 years ago, exerscise has become some sort of requirement for me. Having been in denial, hating exercise and not ever really knowing where to start, i dont find myself at the gym very often. I find it so tedious to have to go to the gym, to constantly watch what i eat just to see if the pounds come off. It always works for a bit and then i rebound and im back were i start. But thats inevitable when your mindset doesnt change with your body. Makes perfect sense. I did sign up for tough mudder next year and i will train for that specific amount of stamina needed, but i will start seeing the gym as somewhere that i get to reconnect, and feel in tune with myself rather than a place where i go to judge how many clicks i can run and how many push ups i can do. This is brilliant!

    • The Daily Love

      Thanks for reading and sharing with us, Amy! We appreciate it so much :) -TDL Team

    • Liz DiAlto

      Ooh, I tried to train for a Tough Mudder once, I quit. That was a big lesson for me, I signed up because the guy I dated was doing it – but I hate running! Haha. I do hear from people who enjoy running that sometimes that time is a great way to connect with the body – through breath,and through nature.

      You also make a great point – this is why I love to offer things in person and online so people in small little towns can do it from home, even if it’s not offered where they live :)

  • VeegMama

    Yes, yes, yes! Count me in. I am so tired of working out hard and then being so disappointed with the results. Why haven’t lost more weight? Why aren’t my arms showing more muscle definition?… After reading your last post about getting a body you love at any age, I started to shift my thinking about how exercise – to try and enjoy it and not just push through it to the final goal. I have been struggling with what to do to accomplish this. I just want to feel good. Bikram yoga is something new I have been trying and enjoying. I love how open my body feels during and after. I’d love to learn more about what you’re doing.

    • VeegMama

      Thanks, Liz. Just signed up!

  • Z

    Hi Liz!

    Awesome idea!

    As an ex-anorexic/bulimic, I was really challenged when I decided to stop excessive exercise! It was an addiction – my way of keeping my weight down, so I thought.

    So when I took on a new, more moderate approach to exercising, I definitively went through all those spaces of guilt, fear, dislike of my ‘untoned body’, etc. If I had had a class like you are cooking up for us, I think it would have been easier. It would have given me the trust and support I needed to get though the process with greater ease.

    Where will you offer the classes?

    X

  • Guest

    I think the jurys in. You’re on to something here. I resonate with all of it. I’m sick of working out and not seeing results. I know I need “push” myself but why do we have to have that mindset? Why do we think that working out is going to make us skinny? Let’s face it, you have to workout hard and eat healthy 24/7 to get there and to maintain. At what point do you decide to have fun? I’m to the point where I’m getting sick of working out and I don’t want to feel that way. At 47 my body has changed and what worked even 5 years ago, doesn’t work now. I’d love to know what type of program you design and hopefully it’s something we can all do at home. Thank you

    • Liz DiAlto

      Thank YOU.

      and YES..I believe in giving people access to movement they can do anywhere, anytime – not just at a gym or in an expensive studio!!

  • Mil

    As a martial arts practitioner for the last 10 years, I found that mind body spirit experience in karate. It has been the most important thing that I have ever done for myself. I am 51, and truly amazed by the physical and mental strength that training has given me. I do not have six pack abs, or wear a size 4, but I have stamina, focus, balance and skills that I can, and do, carry into daily life.

    • Liz DiAlto

      And I’m guessing you have zero inkling to reach for those things either since you’re at peace with yourself. Love hearing this. Thanks, Mil!

  • Jill_Hallgren

    LOVE this philosophy. I have spent nearly 10 years on the yoga mat and for the last year or so have stopped finding what I needed. I was leaving classes feeling empty or like i had just “worked out”. I, somehow, lost my connection through yoga. I had to listen closely and refound it through dance. 99% of the time I look SUPER silly and my technique stayed where it was when I was 10, BUT I feel fantastic when I have finished a class.

    • Liz DiAlto

      Jill – this is a great point, too! As we evolve, HOW we connect with ourselves may evolve, too. Thank you for sharing!

  • http://lizcarbonaro.com/ Liz Carbonaro

    You so awesome ;) Falling in love with ourselves is the one (and only) key to sustainable health/fitness — and I might add it’s not as easy as it should be.

    If you don’t know Liz – she rocks and will rock your world with her passion for YOU – not her goals or her agenda, but YOURS is all that matters in her coaching. I highly recommend her :D

    • Liz DiAlto

      Aw, shucks, Liz! Appreciate this so much. Hope you, the fam and your biz are all doing awesome <3

  • Kelly Pietrangeli

    This sounds wonderful and I wish I could zap you over to Madrid so I could take part :)