The Italian Treadmill: Do What You Love, Love What You Do

By Michelle May, M.D.

Is Movement Built into Your Life?

Before I “retired” from medicine to invest my energy in Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Workshops and Facilitator Training Program, I often heard patients say, “But I HATE to exercise.” The truth is, I do too.

But I LOVE to walk, hike, do yoga, and try new things.

Love What You Do

During our 25th anniversary dream-trip to Italy, we experienced the benefits of built-in activity. One morning, we took a ferry to Positano and walked along the streets shopping. Before we knew it, we were at the top of this hill:

Italian TreadmillPositano Italy

We walked nearly everywhere we went, often taking steep stairs or uphill inclines without thinking twice. I started calling it the Italian Treadmill or Italian Stairmaster (see more photos on the Am I Hungry? Facebook page) . Not once did I stop to check a pedometer to see how many steps I’d taken (not that there’s anything wrong with that!).

Believe me, there were many times that I thought, If I was on vacation all the time or had this view, it would be SO much easier to be active! Then I realized that most Italians probably don’t walk around thinking that. They just do it because it is part of their daily life.

So where in your daily life could you build in more movement? Here are a just a few of the many ideas from chapter 17 of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat :

 

  • Balance on one foot while you’re cooking, washing dishes, or brushing your teeth
  • Stretch while you’re reading the mail
  • Wash your car, walk to the mailbox, get up to change the channels, and walk to the next room instead of yelling
  • Consider walking or riding your bike to work
  • Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator

Do What You Love

One of the problems with show, The Biggest Loser, is that it makes exercise look so hard and uncomfortable. No wonder they have to have a trainer screaming in the contestants’ faces all week!

It doesn’t have to be like that.

During our trip, we hiked the Cinque Terre, five quaint villages on the rugged coast of the Italian Riviera. Not once did I throw up or stop to check my heart rate. Here’s the blog post about the hike – check out the amazing pictures!

Maybe hiking isn’t your idea of fun times. No problem. What is then? Take the Exercise Personality Quiz in Chapter 24 of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat. If you don’t have the book yet, download this excerpt free.

Mindful Movement Mantras

I want to challenge you to do two things for your health:

  1. Look for opportunities to build movement into your daily routine
  2. Figure out what kind of physical activity or exercise you like to do (or might like to do) and try it.

Tell me what you decide to do by posting a comment on my blog.

I know it is easier said than done. I hope these mindful movement mantras from one of our new Am I Hungry? Companion Cards will inspire you:

I was born to move!

I am a fit and active person.

I am amazed at my body’s capacity

to build more stamina and grow stronger and more flexible each day.

If I’m too busy to exercise, I’m too busy!

Regular physical activity is more beneficial than almost anything else I could do with my time, and gives me more energy for living my life.

I do what I love and love what I do!

 

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