Reclaiming Joyful Movement in a Diet Culture World

Finding Freedom: Reconnecting with Exercise Beyond Diet Culture

Are you someone who, like me, has felt their relationship with exercise become entangled with the toxic web of diet culture? If so, I invite you to join me, Beth Basham, on a journey to reclaim joyful movement and rediscover the true essence of exercise.

In this transformative episode of the Beyond Intuitive Eating podcast, I dive deep into my personal story of breaking up with diet culture and how it affected my relationship with exercise. From being a dancer who found joy in movement to later seeing exercise as just another tool for controlling weight, my experience mirrors that of many individuals caught in the clutches of diet culture.

I share how, after discovering intuitive eating and embarking on a journey to heal my relationship with food and my body, I all but stopped exercising. It wasn’t until I realized that I missed feeling fit and strong that I began to comprehend the importance of adding movement back into my life in a way that wasn’t intertwined with the destructive aspects of diet culture.

Throughout the episode, I emphasize the significance of cultivating awareness around our resistance to exercise and the underlying reasons behind it. I shed light on the concept of the “exercise rebel,” a protective voice that emerges in response to past negative experiences with exercise. By acknowledging and understanding this aspect of ourselves, we can embark on a path of healing and rediscovery.

I address the fears and insecurities surrounding exercise, such as the fear of failure and the pressure to meet certain exercise goals. I offer insights into reframing our approach to movement, from shifting our mindset about goals to embracing intentions that resonate with our individual experiences and preferences.

Moreover, I delve into the transformative power of joyful movement, emphasizing that it transcends calorie burn or physical outcomes and is deeply rooted in being present in our bodies. By dating different forms of movement and exploring what truly brings us joy and presence, we can rediscover the genuine essence of exercise that aligns with our current selves.

Reclaiming our relationship with joyful movement involves approaching exercise from a place of self-compassion, curiosity, and trust in our body’s cues. To truly embrace this journey, we must release the expectations and attachments that tie exercise to past notions of fitness and aesthetic ideals.

It’s time to redefine exercise on our terms, free from the shackles of diet culture and unrealistic expectations. Join me as we find our way back to joyful movement, reclaiming the power and vitality it brings to our lives.

If you’ve resonated with my story and are seeking guidance and support in reclaiming your relationship with joyful movement, I encourage you to connect with me. Together, let’s uncover the unique path to movement that aligns with your present self and fosters a holistic sense of well-being.

I invite you to share this podcast episode with anyone who might benefit from reclaiming their relationship with exercise. For further support on your food and body journey, don’t hesitate to explore the resources provided in the show notes.

Thank you for embracing this transformative journey with me, and I look forward to connecting with you on the path to reclaiming joyful movement. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey, and I am here to support and empower you every step of the way.

With renewed determination and love for our bodies,
Beth Basham

You can listen to episode 27 here


00:00 Reintegrating exercise post-diet culture can be difficult.

05:08 Resisting exercise due to past diet culture.

08:57 “Not lazy, cognitive opportunity through awareness”

12:52 Lost strength, impact on mental health, neglect.

14:54 Relearning to listen and trust body’s signals.

18:26 Facing fear of failure to achieve goals.

21:07 Embrace joyful movement, let go of expectations.

24:18 Rediscovering joy of movement through various forms.

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