First off, a friendly reminder that everyone’s experience with movement is different. I’d like to share a story about my movement throughout my life. I’ve always been into exercise, but it’s been an evolving journey. In college I struggled with an unhealthy relationship towards food. I leaned on cardio with the idea that it could help me manage my weight. I just needed to move more and push harder, I thought, and I could maintain the slim figure I wanted so badly to keep. This worked for a long time, or so I thought. I picked up running and would regularly run over 5 miles. Then I started HIIT training at the gym and would go for one to two hours a day. Even my teachers taught this fallacy that you can eat less and train harder with cardio and you will achieve the weight you want. Throughout my 20s and well into my 30s I heavily relied on cardio, even days when my body wasn’t really into it. I continued this through my first pregnancy, but my body was starting to give out. The stress of being a new mom was taking a toll and adding the stress of high intensity workouts was starting to backfire. My body was trying to hold onto weight, and I had problems with my milk supply around 6 months. It turns out all the cardio was releasing the stress hormone, cortisol. My body was receiving “fight-or-flight” response signals. I was in that state chronically and the cortisol kept me in a state of chronic stress. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the bottom fell out with my second pregnancy. I wasn’t listening to the subtle clues and my health decline became a siren that things needed to change. But they didn’t change overnight, and I continued to trip over myself as I tried to rewire my brain. I identified with being a cardio junkie. That was my outlet, it was all I ever knew to try and control my weight and my emotions. Through a lot of meditation, counseling with various experts and a hard look at reality things finally started to shift. In the past few years there’s been a lot of talk in the health world about how weight training is what women need as we age and that really sparked my interest. Building muscle has had a wide range of benefits for me. Starting to exercise with weight training in my 40s will help protect me well into my later years. Muscles help increase insulin sensitivity as well in the long run. Along with a healthy lifestyle, this has ultimately been how I’ve managed to get to a healthy weight again. I still sprinkle in cardio, but rarely do beyond 30 minutes at a time. If anyone who’s reading this can relate, there’s other options to lose weight, feel comfortable handling stress and optimize your body. Feeling good and living your best life is your inherent right. I’m here if you seek help figuring out what’s blocking you from getting there. Wherever you are at, meet yourself there with love.