Reading Geneen Roth is like reading a giant hug. I found this quote particularly relevant after my last post on the self-torture thoughts about exercise can induce:
Exercise is a lure the way dieting is a lure. They both hold the promise of thinness if only you stick rigidly to the “program.” In a short time the freedom (from misery and size 16s) that exercise promises turns into the dailiness of prison bars. No longer a matter of desire, exercise becomes a matter of necessity, an act upon which your well-being depends.
We fool ourselves if, when we give up dieting and turn to exercising, we think we have broken free. We have in fact exchanged one kind of rigidity for another.
When you turn exercise into a “have-to” rather than a “want-to,” you take the strong and healthy part out, you take the joy out, you make it an endurance test, just another act in the long line of other grudgingly performed acts that you have to do because you have to be thin and you have to exercise to be thin.
… Appreciation of movement is learned through direct experience. Being told “it’s good for you” isn’t good enough. If you’re causing yourself mental and physical anguish because you’re trying so hard, let it go for a while. Or spend time sampling different kinds of movement and physical experiences. They are as varied as foods, and it is possible to find the ones that hum to you.
… I feel that the link between fitness and thinness must be cut. If you exercise to get thin, the implication is that the way you are now is not good enough. This engenders a slew of critical judgments that eventually lead to frustration, hopelessness and a decision to forget the whole thing. Negative judgments almost never lead to long-lasting change. If you are exercising because it makes you feel healthy now, then you are not involved in any sort of Catch-22. You are moving because you like yourself. It is the difference between punishing yourself and taking care of who you already are. – Geneen Roth, Breaking Free from Emotional Eating