10 Things to Say to Yourself During Exercise to Foster Body Liberation

It’s commonly known that exercise is good for us. It’s not so commonly talked about that exercise can be a source of shame and guilt for our bodies, especially for women.

By Brit Guerin, LCMHCA

It’s commonly known that exercise is good for us. It’s not so commonly talked about that exercise can be a source of shame and guilt for our bodies, especially for women.

 

Have you ever been doing a workout and wished your legs looked like the instructor’s or that you had toned arms like the person to your right?

 

Have you ever been doing a workout and felt like you shouldn’t stop because you needed to burn off calories from dinner last night?

 

Have you ever been doing a workout and wanted to punish your body into getting into shape?

 

These are all very normal, yet unhelpful thoughts.

Reframing how we talk to ourselves and think about our body during exercise can be instrumental in improving our body image.

- Brit Guerin

Reframing how we talk to ourselves and think about our body during exercise can be instrumental in improving our body image. For specific information on how we can reframe messages we receive from fitness culture, head over here to my blog post on “Reclaiming Your Self-Talk from Destructive Fitness Culture.”

 

To help improve your body image from the inside out, try saying these things to yourself during exercise:

 

  1. My body is capable. 
  2. Thank you, body, for letting me move right now.
  3. It feels good to move. 
  4. What movement would feel good right now? Explore and go there.
  5. My legs are strong for carrying me around all day. (If you have a disability, maybe it’s your arms, heart, or lungs that help you move through the world).
  6. I feel my body work together to do this movement or task. 
  7. Is movement going to energize me or deplete my energy? Adjust accordingly. (Maybe stillness would serve you better). 
  8. I can stop whenever I want. I’m in charge.
  9. I feel energy running through me as I move in this way.
  10. Thank you body.

Pick one that resonates with you and try it out next time you exercise. Notice what happens to your breath and in your body as you think these helpful and supportive thoughts. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself and see what happens.



These are general tips for body image and not medical advice. If you are struggling with over-exercise, please know that treatment is available. You can reach out to brit@currentwellnessraleigh.com for therapy or for a referral.

Brit Guerin (she/her) has combined experience in both fitness and mental health. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, ACE certified Health Coach, as well as an ACSM Exercise Physiologist. She is using her holistic approach to health by creating a wellness center in downtown Raleigh called Current Wellness. Using Intuitive Eating and a Health at Every Size approach, she works with clients specifically who want to heal their relationship with food and befriend their body.

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