Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Loving our Bodies

Since I'm teaching a workshop on Saturday about this very topic, I thought I'd do a little blog post as well. This won't be a substitute for the class because I'm doing some cool meditations so please come if you're able!

In today's society, specifically America, we are obsessed with looking fit. I say "looking" because I don't think we actually care if you're healthy or not, just that you simply look the part. As long as you have "lean muscle" and "abs of steel", you've achieved your goal. If you're not throwing up in your workout, you're a wimp and you're not doing it right. It's a very aggressive attitude towards fitness and doesn't leave a lot of room for nurturing our bodies and, quite frankly, our specific needs. There are a lot of diet trends that include terms like "whole foods", "organic", "paleo", "low carb", etc. It's an interesting time in the diet/fitness industry and it's been elevated to a whole new level thanks to social media.

I actually am not saying that any of our fitness crazes are wrong, that eating healthy or whole is bad, or that we aren't supposed to try to be healthy. I'm saying that marketing is better than ever and it's captured us in a way that we've never been captured before. We've all become experts with knowledge of nutrition and how our bodies work. Are we overthinking it? I actually don't know the answer to that. I think anything can become an obsession and what's scary is the disordered eating that seems to be coming from that area of focus.

So what am I suggesting? I'm suggesting that we can actually love our bodies, no matter what size. I am suggesting that our bodies actually can guide us to what foods work best, if we take care of it and listen to it's needs. We don't have to take on some Biggest Loser mentality in order to learn how to care for ourselves. All we need to do is quiet our minds, connect with the present moment, and listen. The challenges that we face as people on the diet merry go round include things like overeating, compulsive overeating, severe restriction, mental obsession with health, rigidity in one's diet/exercise plan, and then also, the majors like Bulimia, Anorexia, etc. What are the steps we need to take in order to move towards a healthy relationship with our body?

1) Stop the negative self talk: I catch myself saying negative things all the time internally. It can be about my physical appearance but it can also be about anything I'm doing. It's like I'm wired to constantly beat myself up. That kind of sucks right? The good news is I can change it. I can stop myself mid sentence and decide to do something differently.

2) Give myself freedom: This used to sound really scary to me. I mean, if I just eat what I want, I'm going to eat a bunch of crap and become really fat. And you know what, that's what I did at first. I had restricted for so long that I had a lot of catching up to do. I got it out and then you know what, it got old. I started feeling poopy again and I realized that eating healthy actually made me feel better. I found that I really do crave veggies, lean meat, all of those things that make me feel good and strong. My diet started to even out and now it's a very healthy, non restrictive mixture of veggies, fruit, whole grains, and dessert.

3) Accept myself for how I am in this very moment, without feeling the need to change anything: Yep - accept that there may be some higher purpose for me to be where I am and allow myself to fulfill that goal. Stop trying to change who I am and just participate in things that make me feel good about myself. That is going to be different for everyone. For me, it's yoga, meditation, walking, hanging out with family and friends, and occasionally Zumba :)

I can really go much deeper into this topic, but I'll reserve it for my workshop. I have included the details below so please come if you can!

Workshop: Learn to Love Your Body
Location: Yoga East, 4510 Old Spartanburg Rd, Taylors, SC 29687
Cost: $20
What to bring: paper and pen and yourself

Thanks so much!

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