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Intuitive Eating Principles for Runners: Respect Your Body

Updated: Oct 31

We've been diving deep into the principles of Intuitive Eating, and today we're tackling a crucial one: how to respect your body. As we approach the holiday season, this principle becomes even more important for your running performance and overall well-being. So, why is body respect such a game-changer? Let's find out.

body image and respect

What Does "Respect Your Body" Really Mean for Runners?

Respecting your body isn't just about body positivity; it's all about accepting your genetic blueprint and your body for the way that it is, because the truth is: if we all ate and exercised the same way, we'd still look different. And that's a beautiful thing!

Accepting your body means adapting body neutrality (note I did not say body positivity, which would imply you feel positively about your body all the time).

Body neutrality means that you make peace with your body, allowing yourself to dislike the way your body looks one day without the pressure to try and love it. You're simply accepting your body the way it is and understanding that it holds no moral value to who you are as a person.

it's about acknowledging your body's unique needs and limitations. For runners, this means understanding that your body is your vehicle for peak performance. If you're not respecting it, you're not going to get very far—literally.

The Role of Body Respect in Runners

For us runners, respecting our bodies means recognizing our needs, limitations, and potential. We respect our bodies by fueling it, pushing it, and allowing it to rest when needed.

Often times, this can mean allowing flexibility in our training. So many runners tend to be very type A, perfectionist-type personalities, making it hard for them to deviate from a detailed training plan.

We respect our bodies by allowing that deviation from the plan when it's needed. If your body needs rest, allowing it that extra rest supports this principle of respecting your body and sets you up for better progress and performance overall.

Practical Steps to Body Respect: Tips for Runners

So how do you start respecting your body?

First, ditch the negative self-talk. Your body hears everything your mind says.

Second, embrace body neutrality. You don't have to love every inch of yourself to respect what your body does for you. For runners, this could mean appreciating your strong legs or your lung capacity rather than focusing on any perceived physical flaws.

Third, listen to your body's cues, whether it's hunger, fatigue, or the need for rest.

How to Respect Your Body while Making Smart Food Choices

When you respect your body, making food choices becomes a whole lot easier.

Forget the food guilt; if you're respecting your body, you'll naturally gravitate towards foods that fuel your runs and make you feel good. And yes, sometimes that means indulging in grandma's famous pumpkin pie.

Let's work together!

If any of this has resonated with you, I'd love to hear! My 1:1 clients work on various areas of nutrition including this and other intuitive eating principles, fueling for performance, and more. Check out some of the ways we can work together here.

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