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Mindset Liberation

Mindset Liberation Marci Braithwaite Run Tri Bike

For many of us who have grown up in, or currently live in larger bodies, fear and shame are often the first emotions that we feel when we think about movement.  

  • “I can’t do that class, I won’t be able to keep up.” 
  • “I don’t want to get those judgemental looks at the gym.”
  • “I was told I wasn’t athletic when I was a kid.”
  • “I was never good at sports.”

These beliefs can limit our desire to engage in movement, or to find a type of movement that we enjoy and feel good doing. Many of us have had these beliefs for most of our lives, having been told these things, over and over, by others. They can make it so that many of us never explore what our bodies are capable of, due to fear or anxiety about what might happen if we do. Will we be able to do the movement and keep up with others? What happens if I receive hurtful comments? Will we be physically assaulted?

Embracing Our Bodies: Winning the Battle

I say all of this to honor the fact that those of us who choose to engage in movement, despite the constant messaging we receive that our bodies aren’t enough in so many ways, have already won a battle. Most of our bodies can move, except for those disabilities that cause pain or immobility. If you are here reading this right now, it’s probably because you know that you want to move, but maybe you’re uncomfortable doing it in certain ways, or you feel like your body doesn’t belong in fitness spaces. I’m going to give you some tools to help you combat those feelings of shame and fear, tools that will hopefully allow you to begin to engage in a movement that you enjoy. I call this “Mindset Liberation.”

I speak in a lot of spaces about body liberation, but in my workshops and classes, I speak more about how mindset affects us and our movement. Those of us in fat bodies often struggle with the idea that we aren’t doing movement the right way or that we’re not doing enough. Mindset liberation helps to neutralize movement and make it accessible to more people. It also helps to break the hold that diet culture has on us and our movement. By practicing the next three mantras, you can start to change your mindset into a movement-positive one.


“My Body Deserves To Move.” 

No one else has the right to tell you how you move. If you want to run, you have the right to that treadmill, sidewalk, or trail. Want to lift weights? You have the right to that bench or that squat bar. Choose to listen to music and sway along with it for 30 minutes? No one has the right to tell you that it doesn’t “count.” You have the right to join fitness spaces that allow you to move in the way you want, and you have the right to demand access and representation in those spaces. It is okay and GOOD to say, “I can’t fit into this machine, is there an exercise that my body can do that would mimic its purpose?”

“My Body Does Not Need To Change Before I Engage In Movement.” 

How many times have you said to yourself, “I need to lose X pounds before I start running?” Your body deserves to move however feels good and in whatever spaces you want to be in, no matter its size or shape. You have the right to explore that movement in a way that is safe for your body, without comparison to other bodies engaging in that movement. This goes for running, yoga, rock climbing, swimming…anything. Your movement may look different from others’, but that doesn’t mean that your movement is wrong. Don’t be afraid to fail at something, or try it a different way if it doesn’t work the first time.

“My Body Deserves Gentle Movement.” 

Workouts do not need to be punishing to “count.” Slow movements are beneficial, as are light efforts and short workouts. If your body wants to move for 5 minutes today, let it move for 5 minutes. If it wants more after that, engage in more, but if not, that is okay as well. Tune into your body and mind and decide that less is more today.

Mindset liberation can set you free of the expectations others put on our bodies to be any kind of way. Accepting what works for you right now is an excellent way to begin to move forward. Develop a movement practice that fits you and your lifestyle – and your body. Just the way it is right now.


All Bodies Are Runner's Bodies Marci Braithwaite Run Tri Bike Magazine

Marci Braithwaite is an RRCA- and USATF-certified running coach who focuses on beginner runners and athletes in larger bodies using Size-Inclusive and HAES-aligned principles. She has completed over 100 races of various distances in her 12 years of running, including a marathon, and she has her sights set on completing a 50k in 2023