Free community ‘meet and move’ hike welcomes all fitness levels

Licensed psychologist and eating disorder specialist Dr. Julie T. Anné of Fountain Hills understands the reluctance of some folks to venture out to exercise in public.

Dr. Julie Anne (submitted photo)

Dr. Julie Anne (submitted photo)

It’s a common theme among participants in her clinic-based, emotional eating program, TheHealthyWeighOut in Scottsdale, according to a press release. She hears questions like this all the time: “I am overweight and need to exercise, but I am embarrassed by my appearance and don’t want to be seen in public. Suggestions?”

Dr. Anné’s clinic, A New Beginning, invites the public to a free community “meet and move” hike at 9:30 a.m. on April 2.  Participants will meet at HWO Intuitive Exercise Studio and then go to Lost Dog Trail at 124th Street, north of Via Linda, in Scottsdale. The hike is a 2.2 mile walk with an easy grade and is appropriate for beginners, the release stated.

“You’ve committed to a new exercise program. The weather’s beautiful and a pair of athletic shoes sits waiting by the door,” Dr. Anné stated in the release. “You tell yourself, ‘I’m ready to get out and move!’ Yet, day after day, your motivation to exercise gets overshadowed by an even greater fear of being judged; for your size, for your shape, for your public struggle with weight.”

In a society where size 4 is “acceptable” yet a size 14 is typical, Dr. Anné notes that it’s a painful irony that fear of being seen exercising in public is a primary barrier to engaging in the physical activity needed to get healthy, the release stated.

Whether driven by personal insecurities related to body image, or created through past experiences with weight-related judgment or bullying, feelings of embarrassment or “body shame” can be isolating, she said, and can undermine well-intended exercise goals.

Dr. Anné offers these tips on how to gain the support and information needed to overcome vulnerabilities related to body image:

  1. Share your struggle honestly with a friend: Feelings of shame grow stronger when kept secret. While sharing body image insecurities can be vulnerable, it also helps open the door to receiving caring support and can help you realize you are loved just the way you are.
  2. Ask a trusted friend for movement support: Once you let others know how you feel, ask them for support by engaging in movement activities together.  This facilitates accountability, helps you feel emotionally safe, and makes movement more fun!
  3. Stay away from typical gyms: Find emotionally safe, non-judgmental places to engage in movement. Take a walk around the neighborhood with a trusted friend or hike in the beautiful Arizona mountains.
  4.  Make movement fun: Find activities that get your heart rate up, and make you smile.
  5. Stay off the scale: Body shame is fueled by the scale. Measure your success in seeing your clothes fit better, your body grow stronger and exercise becoming easier.

For more information on the Meet and Move hike, call 480-941-4247.

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