To get started, we encourage you to visit our fundraiser page: https://givebutter.com/joyfulmovement
You can donate to an existing team, join a team or start your own team. Then share this page (and our message) far and wide. Let your friends, family, co-workers, gym buddies, and your social circles know they can also participate.
The fundraiser will run through the end of March, however, our "Event Day" will be at the end of Eating Disorder Awareness Week. On February 27th we encourage all team members to participate in either a period of joyful rest or an activity of joyful movement. Get in your cozy clothes, find a comfy spot, put your feet up, and give yourself permission to honor your body by giving it some well-deserved rest! Alternatively, make a plan to engage in a joyful movement activity.
For convenience, you may also donate directly from the following form. Also be sure to scroll down to hear about our awareness message regarding three types of movement and finding joyful movement!
EDCI would like to build awareness around the impact of movement on the development of eating disorders in Iowa; by differentiating the types of movement prevalent in the development, maintenance, and recovery process. We believe that movement can be broken down into three categories: Joyful movement, purposeful movement, and dutiful movement. Each with their own driving motivation, expected outcome, and impact on our physical and mental well-being. We hope that each of our community will be able to find and incorporate joyful movement.
Biking to get your morning coffee or pastry. Taking your dog [or cat or guinea pig] for their afternoon walk. Using the stairs in the office because the elevator is broken. Cooking yourself dinner. Spending the weekend painting your spare bedroom. Planting, weeding, or harvesting your garden. Strolling through the weekend Farmer’s Market. These are all examples of purposeful movement.
Purposeful movement meets a need. Making sure we are fed or our homes are clean. Getting us to social engagements. These are activities that require movement for successful completion; and it is the type of movement that is difficult to avoid. The nature of purposeful movement is that we have less choice in the amount of movement we engage in.
Purposeful movement occurs when:
We are moving to meet a personal need.
This movement is necessary for the completion of a task.
We are not moving for the purpose of exercising.
This movement has been built into our everyday lives.
Purposeful movement is a regular part of our lives and has limited impact on our emotional wellbeing. Therefore, it also plays a limited role in the development of, or recovery from, an eating disorder.
Waking up at 5AM for a HIIT class because all of your coworkers will be there. Running extra miles because you got dessert with lunch. Buying a gym membership because of your ‘New Year's Resolution’ to lose weight. Adding a second workout today because you won’t get one tomorrow. Going for a run instead of sleeping in just because your partner is. These are examples of dutiful movement.
Dutiful movement comes with an expectation. When we engage in dutiful movement we are moving because we feel like we have to. There is limited [or no] joy in dutiful movement. We feel a sense of guilt or shame for not participating in these activities.
Dutiful movement may be seen as:
Movement that we compulsory engage in.
An obligation. Or just another thing that needs to be checked off our ‘to-do’ list.
Movement that carries guilt with it if we either don’t engage in it; or don’t complete as much as we expected.
Movement that follows a rigid structure or schedule.
Unjoyful. We don’t look forward to engaging in this activity and we don’t feel joyful or fulfilled following it.
This is the type of movement that can become harmful in the development, maintenance, and recovery of eating disorders. The sense of shame and failure associated with dutiful movement is what keeps us in a cycle of movement as a form of punishment and fuels the need to move as for a sense of achievement.
Going for a walk with your partner after work to talk about your day. Spending a Saturday afternoon playing frisbee golf or kayaking with a friend. Joining a club soccer league. Going for a sunrise or sunset hike. Enjoying a casual run on a sunny afternoon. Taking a gentle yoga class at the end of your day. Even engaging in massage work, acupuncture, or chiropractic care can be considered movement. These are examples of engaging in joyful movement.
Think of the activities that you engaged in as a child. What you chose to do just for fun. This is joyful movement. These activities ignite your heart and soul. This is the type of movement that you choose to engage in with the only expectation being that you enjoy it. Those of us at EDCI want to focus on incorporating more of this movement into our everyday lives:
We know that we are engaging in joyful movement when:
Our choice of movement prioritizes pleasure.
The decision to engage in movement is a choice, not an expectation.
The chosen movement makes us feel good, both physically and mentally.
Also allows the option of choosing rest or less ‘active’ movement.
We are listening to our body's needs while engaging [or not] in movement.
Joyful movement can be a beneficial piece of self-care, eating disorder recovery, and generally helpful movement. Developing the ability to differentiate the type of joyful movement/rest that our bodies require increases our self awareness. Through this we can regularly make sure our needs are met and we can develop a closer, more trusting relationship with our bodies.
We hope that you also continue to spread the message of self care and self compassion through regularly engaging in joyful rest and movement
Rachel Steil, author and founder of Running in Silence, shares a message of her journey to joyful movement:
Running had always been something I found joy in. Unfortunately, developing an eating disorder negatively changed my relationship with running.
It wasn’t until I received professional help from a therapist and dietitian and asked myself why I ran in the first place, that I could reflect on my relationship with running, and what I wanted to do with it going forward. This is evident in the following excerpt from my book, Running in Silence:
Dashing out into the open grass from the baseball field, I turned sharply around the orange cones, sped between the trees, pumped my arms up the small grassy slopes, and let my legs fly on the way down.
I still felt large as I ran that evening. I still felt far from ideal in my body. But I ran that workout with serenity, the same way I was learning to approach food. I had no one to compare myself to, no times to judge against, and no wild expectations.
As much as I hated “the dark side” of running with the eating disorder, I also realized that it was how I approached running that made it “good” or “bad,” just like how I approached food. I had transformed running into something so defining that I depended on it for my identity.
But now, I myself could define a great race. I did not have to measure a race performance by time, but by effort and drive and determination. It sounded silly to think this way, so naive, I thought. But if I could win by effort, then the effort I had put into the races that past year by far beat the effort I put into the races I had run as an All-American freshman.
I finished the mile intervals that evening a few minutes before the rest of the ladies, so I jogged around the sunny park and eventually stood with [my coach, Woj] to cheer on the team.
“Can I run with them?” I asked suddenly, giving Woj a sly smile as the women dashed past. It felt so like me to want to go do that. Woj nodded (I thought I caught a slight eyeroll of amusement), and I tore off through the trees after my teammates.
I felt, despite the fatigue in my legs, that I could stretch them again. And in this new body, I was the same Rachael I had been before. Except this time, I was stronger, wiser, and yes, heavier. But I still felt the same joy and freedom in running that I had had ever since I first began, before competition, before weight and food had ever invaded my mind.
With so many messages from society about treating exercise as a way to burn calories or lose weight, it can be difficult to see exercise more as joyful movement. Thanks to the help of my eating disorder dietitian, I learned about how smart my body was—and that it did exactly what it needed to do, whether I exercised or not.
Movement happened to find its way back into my life to help clear my mind and feel strong.
When you step out the door to go for a run, jump into the pool to swim, or hit the basketball court to shoot some hoops, have you asked yourself what is getting you out there in the first place? Does it become dutiful exercise, or joyful movement?
It’s a question I had to ask as I ran my college workout that summer afternoon. When I remembered how exhilarating it felt to fly down the hills, and work together with my teammates to achieve our goals, running returned to what it was and should have been for me (and us) all along: joyful, purposeful movement.
It’s difficult for an eating disorder to survive there.
Douglass Thomm, K. (2018, April 4). Purposeful Movement. https://experiencelife.lifetime.life/article/purposeful-movement/
Hartley, R. (2020, January 22). What is Joyful Movement. Tips to Learn How to Like Exercise.
Hester-Brandt, C. (2021, February 25). 50 fun, joyful movement ideas. https://www.chelseahester.com/post/joyfulmovement
**Thank you to our volunteer Em for sharing her expertise and writing! Thank you to Rachael for sharing of her journey to joyful movement!