Exercise Resistance Syndrome

Exercise Resistance Syndrome
I recently had the privilege of interviewing Francie White about Exercise Resistance Syndrome.  Below you will find the transcription of the interview itself.

I would love to hear what you think, share a comment below!




Dr. Anita Johnston: Hello. Dr. Anita Johnston here and I'm in California with Francie White. Francie White is the founder of Central Coast Treatment Centers. Her background is in dietetics, nutrition, exercise, movement, women's issues. She's basically one of the big thought leaders in the field that has to do with women and movement and nutrition. I wanted to speak with you today about a concept that you came up with called exercise resistance or exercise avoidance. Can you tell us a little bit about what that is and why it's so important?

Francie White: Exercise resistance syndrome, for no better name at this point, is something that I realized was actually a syndrome, a complex of symptoms and issues that, when put together, added up to more than just, “I'm lazy” or having a bad habit of not being as active, or thinking one's not athletic. It's actually a syndrome — and many, many have it — of just repeatedly quitting what is actually a very natural, instinctive part of being female: and that is physical activity.  It's either a pattern of fighting oneself, quitting and getting very, very inactive, getting anxiety with exercise, or actually flat out giving up and not exercising, just refusing to.

I know some people have physical disabilities and cannot exercise, and obviously, that is not the population I'm speaking to. It's more the kind of throw in the towel attitude toward physical activity, and the point here is that it is a “curse” […]

Metaphor of the Eclipse

Metaphor of the Eclipse

Dr. Anita Johnston here. I'm in Boulder, Colorado, at the time of the eclipse.

It's so interesting, because all the warnings are out: Don't look directly at the sun without special glasses. We know that if you look directly at the sun you can actually burn your eyes. We've always needed the reflection of the moon — which has allowed us to see the light of the sun more directly.

Right now, during the eclipse, the moon is comes right in front of the sun and creates a shadow. You can see shadows on the ground, all in moon shapes.

When I think about what the eclipse means to me, I get so excited, because, metaphorically, the moon is the representation of the Feminine Principle, and it eclipses the sun, the Masculine Principle. And, just for a moment, they come into union. I think this is something that all of us need to experience, individually and collectively: the moon and the sun coming in together in union. In this moment here on Earth, we get the most incredible show. We can actually see what it looks like when the two come together, when the Feminine Principle is united with the Masculine Principle. It's quite an incredible phenomena.

This has been something that I've been waiting for for a long time, internally, within my own psyche. I think this is a powerful place of balance, where the bright intense light of the sun is blocked by the moon so that we don't get fried by it, so that we can bear it. This is a job for the Feminine Principle, the emotional, intuitive, relational aspect of our Being, that needs to come into balance with our […]

Take a chance to leave that which is now constricting in your life

Take a chance to leave that which is now constricting in your life
Hello, Doctor Anita Johnston here. I'm on Guam at Ty Ty Beach.

This is the beach of my childhood. I spent many, many days on this beach with my siblings, with my cousins, and with the hermit crabs.

The thing about hermit crabs, unlike other crabs that continually will have to make a new shell as they grow, hermit crabs have to, at some point in time when they outgrow their shells, go on a journey. They have to find a new shell. A new shell that fits the body that they've created.

So there always a time when the crab has to get very vulnerable because just like us, there are times that we outgrow situations in our life, and then like the hermit crab, there is a time in our lives where we get very, very vulnerable because you see, to leave your shell means that you become vulnerable to outside circumstances.

The hermit crab is coiled up inside the shell, and it's little tiny body is shaped like a little worm. At any point in time, once it loses its shell to get into a new shell, it’s vulnerable to a bird that might decide to have it for lunch; or maybe a lizard.

So it is with us.
We have to find the courage from time to time, when we have to leave that which no longer fits us.

The lifestyle that we've been living that we've outgrown. Yeah, it is scary to become vulnerable and leave that part of ourselves that was once the perfect home — the way of living that was once the perfect fit, but that we have since […]

Understanding the Communication from Our Unconscious Mind

Understanding the Communication from Our Unconscious Mind
Hello, Dr. Anita Johnston here. I'm in Palau, Nikko Bay and I'm about ready to go diving into an underwater garden and I'm taking you with me. One of the rock islands stands alone but there's a whole cluster of them surrounded by coral reefs, which are amazing. This one is called Rembrandt's Cove.

Diving underwater feels so much to me like descending into a dream. The laws of the universe don't seem to apply here. Gravity is different. Time gets altered. Sounds have another frequency and words show up as internal dialogues in my own mind. Actually, beneath the water is a fantastic and beautiful world depending entirely on an unusual complex web of interrelationships between plants and animals.

This entire reef has been formed very slowly over thousands and thousands of years through an interesting partnership between huge colonies of diverse coral animals that come in all shapes and sizes and they partner with the green algae, a tiny plant that lives in the tissues of the coral animal. The algae uses photosynthesis to provide nutrients and oxygen for the coral and the coral provides a protective environment for the algae and the carbon dioxide it needs to consume. It is the algae that gives the corals the brilliant colors that we see.

While in normal conditions the coral and the algae coexist in a mutually beneficial relationship but when the coral is stressed by the water becoming too warm or excessively low tides, for example, it dispels the algae cells and turns white. If the disruption of the coral/algae symbiosis occurs for too long a period of time it can be disastrous and even lead to the death […]

Balance in Recovery

Balance in Recovery
Hello. Dr. Anita Johnston here, and I am at Nikko Bay in Palau, in the backyard of my very, very dear friend, Cliff, who goes paddleboarding in probably the most beautiful, pristine water in the world. The key, clearly, to paddleboarding, is

The key, clearly, to paddleboarding, is balance.

But here's the thing.
It's not simply about balance.
It's about pleasure.
It's about the joy of living your dreams.

Cliff is living his dreams, and this is what he does every day, right outside his back porch, in his backyard. Now, not all of us get to live this kind of dream, and nor should we, because we all have different kinds of dreams. Each of our dreams is unique unto ourselves, but the key for all of them is to find the balance. The balance in your life between what it is you need to do in order to achieve your dreams, and, then, how to enjoy the process.

You see, that's the case for recovery as well.

Because in order to recover, it does require a certain kind of balance between doing what you need to do (that may not feel really great in the moment) and making sure that you’re also focused on what brings you joy.

Because you know how you want your life to be, because you have a dream for things being better, you do what needs to be done, and (here’s where the balance comes in) you also do what brings you joy.

So, the process then becomes one of saying Yes.
Saying yes to your future dreams and also allowing time in the present moment to enjoy what life has to bring.

It's a bit of a paradox. A paradox that requires balance, because […]

The extraordinary changes that mark the change from girlhood to womanhood.

The extraordinary changes that mark the change from girlhood to womanhood.
Hello. Doctor Anita Johnston here and I am in Palau right now.

Wait, where is Palau? Well, Palau is south of Guam. Where is Guam? Well, both Guam and Palau, are part of the Micronesian islands. Polynesia, which most people know about, includes Hawaii and Tahiti. Then there's Melanesia, which is near where New Guinea is, and then there's Micronesia which means little islands — and there are lots of them. Palau is about 7 degrees north of the equator. Guam is about 14 degrees north of the equator and Hawaii about 22. To get to Palau, you go to Hawaii and then to Guam and then you turn left and go south and you get to Palau.

Now, the thing about Palau is I think it's the most beautiful place on the planet. The islands are pristine. The water! The water feels like silk on your skin and is crystal clear. And the corals are brilliant and amazing. Culturally, however, Palau is a really interesting place. One of the things I find most compelling is that they still have rituals for girls when they have their first menstrual cycle. And they celebrate many of the phases that women typically go through.

One of the things I find most compelling is that they still have rituals for girls when they have their first menstrual cycle. And they celebrate many of the phases that women typically go through.

When a woman gives birth for the first time, it's extraordinary what they do. They cover her body in oil and turmeric so that her skin shimmers. There's dancing and celebration. And, when a girl goes into menarche, which is the […]

There’s meaning to what you eat!

There’s meaning to what you eat
Hello Dr. Anita Johnston here.

I’m at the Little Theater in Epidaurus and I’m going to tell you the story about Demeter & Persephone.

There were once these two goddesses.
Demeter was the mother goddess, and her daughter’s name was Persephone.

The story goes that they were very, very close. They did everything together; they went everywhere together. One day, they were out in a meadow and they were picking some flowers. As Demeter turned her back to reach for some flowers, Persephone was reaching for a (get this), narcissist flower. Just in that very moment, the earth ripped open and up came Hades with a chariot being pulled by four black horses. He snatched Persephone and took her into the Underworld. Demeter turned around and said, “Where’s my daughter? Where’s Persephone? She’s gone!” She was frantic.

She went to all the gods and goddesses and said, “Have you seen Persephone? Persephone’s gone!” The gods and goddesses said, “We don’t know.” She went to Zeus, who was the king of the gods. Zeus said, “I don’t know where she is. I don’t know!”, which really wasn’t true because Zeus had had a part in all of this. He knew that she was in the Underworld with Hades.

Demeter fell into a huge depression. She was so upset; she could not get over the loss of her daughter. Demeter (whose name in Roman times was Ceres), was the goddess of the grain and the harvest (which is where we get our word for cereal). She was so full of despair, that as a result, the trees stopped producing fruits. The olive trees were no longer bringing forth any olives. The grasses were not producing any grains. […]

Healing by telling your story

Healing by telling your story
Hello Dr. Anita Johnston here.

I am at the theater in Epidaurus, the great healing center. This amphitheater could seat 14,000 people. From the very top of this amphitheater, you can see how vast it is. The acoustics are such that all the way down in the center, they say you can hear a penny drop.

You can imagine what it would be like to be there and find your voice at the very center of the amphitheater, where the orators would stand – where you could come to find your voice, to speak the truth (the truth that lies deep inside of you).

The Greeks understood that healing begins with the truth, and having a sacred place where you could stand and find the truth that lay deep inside of you.

They would gather in the circle.

They understood that the archetype of the circle provided a container – a container that would give safety, and where you could speak your truth surrounded by those who were willing to listen, by those who were willing to hold what you had to say as sacred.

This is where healing would begin – by being able to find your voice. Being able to be heard. Being able to speak your truth, and tell your story, so that all aspects of your being could come together in the wholeness that was symbolized by the circle.

Allow yourself to imagine. Imagine finding your voice and speaking your truth. So that you can become healed and whole.

So thank you for joining us at the Light of the Moon Cafe at the Epidaurus Theatre, in Epidaurus, Greece. We hope to see you next time!

I would love to hear […]

Your Unconscious Mind

Your Unconscious Mind
Hello, Dr. Anita Johnston here.

I am here in Greece at the Sunken City. Somewhere beneath that water is a city, and I am going to take you with me as I go looking for it. Somewhere out there is a 5,000 year old city that was sunk by an earthquake many years ago.

I am going down in search of the Sunken City.

Amazing! The Sunken City is right here — close to shore. Strangely enough, the search I am on is not unlike the search for recovery from eating difficulties. To get lasting recovery, you have to be willing to dive deep down into the depths of your psyche, not sure what you will find, but somehow knowing there is something important there for you to see, that will bring you a greater depth and breadth of understanding. Not just about why you struggle with food and eating, but also who you are, and where you come from, and most importantly, about where you are headed in this journey through life.

Look at this ancient city that was submerged 5,000 years ago! You can see the remnants of rooms and walls that were inhabited long, long ago. This is not unlike our psyches, and our symptomology. They have a history. We have ancestors whose DNA we carry. We have layers and layers of memories of past experiences from our childhoods that have been revised over time, just as this city now has walls that have become floors that sea urchins attach to and fish swim around. This happens in our psyche whether we know it or not.

We all have an unconscious mind. An unconscious mind is that aspect of ourselves that we are not […]

Stay Connected to Your True Values

Stay Connected to Your True Values
Hello, Dr. Anita Johnston here.

I am at the Acropolis in Athens, Greece where the columns of statues of six women remind me of the story of Lysistrata. For thousands of years there have been many performances at this theater of Dionysis. And Lysistrata would have been one of them.

Imagine you are an Athenian woman in 403BC and you are about to watch a comedy here by the famous playwright, Aristophenes called Lysistrata.

The story is about a woman named Lysistrada who took it upon herself to come up with a creative plan to end the 25 year long war which had pitted the Pelopennesian cities of Greece against each other.

Her plan? To convince the women of Spartus, of Thebes, and the other cities to withhold sex from the men until they ended their fighting. While resistant initially, they eventually agreed – and while they were offering a bowl of wine to the Goddess of Reconcilliation they heard the sounds of the older women who had joined them in this plan who were capturing the Acropolis.

The Acropolis was the fortress that housed the financial treasury of Athens. With this take-over – there would be no funds available to continue the war. There is a scene where the decrepit, misogynistic old men start fires and try to smoke out the old women – but they just laugh and pour water on their fires – eventually defeating them and dousing them with icy water.

Through-out the play there were 2 choruses – the voices of the older men and the older women that sang back and forth, and there were funny sexual antics on stage between the men and the women – where the […]