Questions to start your New Year.

We are on the cusp of Ella sleeping through the night (we started sleep training a week or so ago), which will bring a very welcomed change to my days. With more brain function coming back haha (thank you, sleep), I was thinking about the year to come and I wanted to share some non-diet and joyful movement questions you may find helpful to mull over as we head into 2020.

Jo is super sweet with Ella 70% of the time, but the below photo is 30% of the time and she’s spitting on Ella. Toddlers be toddlers.

1. What principle of Intuitive Eating would be most helpful for you to prioritize this year?

There are 10 of them shown below. If you aren’t familiar with them, here’s a post I wrote to determine if you’re an Intuitive Eater?

The hardest one for me was probably number 7. When I was stressed / emotional it took time and practice to know what would help. Emotional eating is a normal thing to do from time to time. There are times I emotionally eat, but I know that the only problem food can solve is hunger. In those moments I’m not asking food to do something it can’t (aka fix xyz problem in my life), I’m just having a cupcake because it sounds nice and my day was crap…or some similar delicious food + negative emotion combo.

In my intuitive eating journey at one point I made a list of emotional states / situations that overwhelm me (aka triggers) and drove me to disordered eating or exercise and what I would do instead of the maladaptive behavior. When I feel X –> I will do X.

A year or so after doing that I got into a regular yoga practice and it has really come in handy for tolerating discomfort in my life. Holding a pose that’s uncomfortable and breathing through it serves me nicely in life when I need to tolerate discomfort in relationships/life/work without trying to change anything. I’ve so missed yoga as I’ve been waiting patiently on my pelvis to heal after giving birth…it took about 6 months for the pelvic pain to improve.

2. How can you make health holistic?

This means making your health more all encompassing than what you do with food and exercise. Recently I listed out my quarterly goals for 2020, a la the Best of Both World’s Podcast recommendation to break them down into relationship, self, and career…not one of them had anything to do with food or exercise. See some of my list below:

One of my goals for the beginning of 2020 is to prioritize spiritual health over physical health. I have a natural bent towards movement. I like moving. I’ve found movement that helps me mentally and physically function better and I don’t need encouragement to do it…it’s just pleasurable to me. I wish my body could handle more movement without me ending up with pain, but it can’t and respecting the limits of a body is crappy but okay (and for me a nice guardrail for preventing movement and body size from becoming an idol in my life). Yoga, MommaStrong (this has helped my knee pain so much! I think it’s the emphasis she places on utilizing the glutes), Andrew and I gifted each other this bike for Christmas (dang that thing gets your heart rate up really fast), and walks with the girls. Those things are what joyful movement looks like for me these days.*

(*I received an email from someone who felt triggered by the above paragraph. My intention was to show that movement comes very easily and effortlessly to me, but sitting and reading my bible takes more effort. In 2020 I would like to prioritize being still and reading my bible / advancing spiritual health over moving my body.)

The bible is very clear on there being some benefit to physical training. I can get pretty legalistic with the bible and reduce the gospel to a list of do’s and don’ts. I liked how this post on legalism put it by saying, “Christians, of all people, desire to make changes for the better: to break patterns of sin, live more faithfully, and grow in godliness. And yet, our battle with sin remains, and our enemy works tirelessly to distract, discourage, or weigh us down in that pursuit. One of his well-known tactics is legalism, reducing the Christian life to a series of dos and don’ts, and turning a joyful, Spirit-filled walk with Christ into a joyless, calculated pursuit of goodness in our own strength and for our own glory — a pursuit void of real gospel grace and genuine freedom.”

So well put. I don’t want a “joyless, calculated pursuit of goodness in my own strength and for my own glory.” All that to say, in terms of my 2020 Q1 personal goal, this won’t be an everyday I will be doing x minutes of bible study if I want to move…I’m actually not sure what it’ll look like, but it’ll vary based on the circumstances that come with each day. For instance, the other day I wanted to go to a yoga class, but instead of looking up the class schedule first thing, I did a bible study and then later that day looked up the class schedule to see if yoga would fit in my day…so intentionally choosing not to orient my day around physical activity.

3. What am I feeling? What do I need?

Ahh my two favorite questions. Newborn days have been hilarious when asking myself these two questions because typically I’m feeling tired and I need to sleep, but too bad because Ella or Jo needs me, but still these are good questions overall. These days my most desired need is sleep, but there are other things I can do for myself that help me out even if I can’t have what I want most, which is a solid week on 10 hours of sleep/night.

Typically my answer to these questions these days are: I’m feeling depleted, I need some time away from the children and then I plan accordingly with Andrew or a babysitter.

4. What is keeping you from trusting your body?

For me (for years), it was letting myself eat every time I was hungry and stopping all high-impact and cardio exercise. I believed my hunger cues, fullness cues, cravings for food and cravings for movement couldn’t be trusted or would be non-existent. To see where my body size ended up when I trusted my body to tell me what it needed terrified me. But when I finally did let myself eat all foods and stop rigid, forced exercise, it was so helpful because I was no longer wondering I wonder what size I’d be if I did that, I just knew the size because I let my body get there.

There’s no way to make peace with your body size without being at your natural body size. There’s no way around it. You just gotta go through it. Emily Fonnesbeck did a great post on something similar…see below.

5. What movement would you do even if you knew you wouldn’t lose weight?

That right there is your joyful movement. I’ve found the amount of movement I need for health and the amount of movement I need to change my body size are different things. For me, maintaining my body’s function and caring for my family’s needs is prioritized over achieving a certain aesthetic.

Did any of these questions resonate with you? If so, which one and how are you planning on approaching 2020 differently?


  1. Emphasizing spiritual over physical health. I’ve made leaps and bounds in my journey to become an intuitive eater, but I easily get caught up in the tasks of work and prioritize movement over time in the Word. Good reminder to flip it! 

  2. Thank you for this. Most of them are areas I could really use some help and intend to focus on. My spiritual health being a priority over physical is definitely something I’d like to strive for. And then just in general trusting my body – as someone who doesn’t just get pregnant at the blink of an eye, I really struggle to do that. My first baby took ten months of diligently trying with acupuncture etc; so this go around I’m just really just doubting my body. Which leads me to my next point of doing too much physical activity that my body doesn’t always want to do. It’s all interconnected and I’m presently trying to work through and pray for what it all looks like.

    • Hi Carley! I hope your new year is starting off well and that you’re noticing when you’re not craving movement and respecting that :) Thanks for commenting!

  3. Your characterization of finding movement that you don’t need any encouragement to do resonates with me SO much. It took me a while to get there – I had to progress through “I am going to do this bc society says I should” to “I’m going to do what I think I want to do,” which was probably still influenced by external factors, to “I can’t wait to go to [fill in the blank]” bc I just love doing it. And the wonderful thing about getting to that place is that there is no guilt when there are days without movement; since my only reason for moving in the first place is that I want to, if I don’t move, its bc I didn’t want to. Seems simple enough now!

    • Agreed! Being able to decide if your body needs to move or rest and it not be a complicated thing is so nice! That sounds nice and my intention for doing it is good = do it. That doesn’t sound nice or the intention for doing it is wrong = don’t do it.

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  5. I have been visiting your blog a couple of times, and I really admire you to be open about this (even with your picture and name).

    In regards to quarterly goals, I have been doing them for a while – and they seem to work wonders for me at least.

  6. Intuitive nutrition has always been hard for me. But your article helped me take a fresh look at things. Good luck in your endeavors)

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