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By Alicia Putinski

**Trigger Warning: This article discusses fitness and exercise in the context of recovery from an eating disorder. Please practice mindfulness and self-care if these topics are triggering to you.** 

To be in our bodies is a beautiful feeling. Experiencing the multiple layers of ourselves using the information our bodies provide is a wonderful way to form a deeper connection to ourselves and the world around us. I truly believe health is a mind-body connection and as we feel into the ways our bodies communicate with us, we are able to make choices that honour our unique needs. This experience is called the feeling of "embodiment."

I am an orthorexia-recovered life coach and holistic personal trainer. Like many in the health and fitness industry, I developed the “clean eating” eating disorder. I was so obsessed with clean eating that it became unhealthy and self-punishing. Although there are many triggers in the health and fitness industry, I will always stress that eating disorders are not about food at the root, and addressing the whole person is crucial in recovery.

One of the most valuable lessons I learned healing from my eating disorder and body dysmorphia was how to become embodied.

Embodiment is the representation or expression of something in a tangible or visible form. I feel it akids practice intuitive embodiment by playing in the forestnd embrace it as the freedom to be in my body, feeling into my body, listening to it, and replying with self-care — whether this be having an exciting spontaneous day and living in the moment, or having a challenging day, taking a time out, and showing myself compassion. We can feel embodied through movement or in stillness. Our mind-body connection is fascinating and a wise communicator. Embodiment allows us to receive signals from our body on a  physical and emotional level, and make choices that will best honour our needs.

Becoming embodied in general is a process that takes practice, so be kind to yourself along the way. If you’re hoping to integrate a healthy movement or fitness practice into your recovery, I have some recommendations to help you get started:

Progress takes time, both in healing and physical fitness. There have been many times in my own journey of recovering from an eating disorder, as well as beyond recovery, where I dialed down my exercise in order to prioritize other areas of my health. It’s more than okay to change focus and priorities. Bodies change at different phases of our lives and so do our physical abilities. As a life coach, I specialize in helping athletes and fitness enthusiasts make peace with food and their bodies. In this process, we spend a lot of time removing the identity they’ve created in fitness. Fitness can be a lot of fun when it’s executed from a place of self-love. However, it is simply one area of our lives and there is so much more to us as human beings than fitness!

Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

Alicia Putinski is an orthorexia-recovered life coach and the founder of Weightless Body Confidence Coaching. She is also a personal trainer specializing in strength and functional movement. To learn more about her work, visit