Today’s guest post on Zen Barbell is from Josh Becker of I Simply Am. I came across Josh in Scott Dinsmore’s Live Your Legend group. I immediately connected with his passion and energy and of course, his message of loving yourself as you are in this moment. I am so happy he agreed to write something for Zen Barbell. What he wrote really touched me and I know will resonate with you. As we have talked about before, mindset change first, then the body will follow. 🙂
Why Maintaining A Healthy Body Has Nothing To Do With Food or Exercise – Josh Becker
Over the years, and since I started my own journey to live my Authentic Life I’ve learned that there are two ways we respond to pain. We either cope or we resolve. As a society we’re mostly taught to cope with our problems. We learn to mitigate them, set them aside, shame ourselves for having them, or turn to isolation. In fact, coping has been so engrained in us that it’s actually an acceptable response when we say that we’re coping with our problems. Coping, as I define it, means that we’re “getting by” and that we’re doing our best to live our lives despite our past hurts.
Coping may seem fine on the surface but the reality is the pain we carry affects us greatly and normally in ways we’re not even aware. Resolving our pain means just that – we’ve healed from our hurts and have freed up that energy spent on coping to love ourselves and others more fully.
Often times we turn to coping and specifically isolation as a means to numb out the uncomfortable feelings. Isolation doesn’t necessarily mean being alone (although it may). Rather, we isolate ourselves from the pain and the uncomfortable feelings by turning to things that on the surface make us happier. This could include buying clothes, getting into inappropriate relationships, drugs, and eating.
Eating is the most common form of isolation because it’s so acceptable. I mean let’s face it, we all need to eat. Eating too much food or unhealthy food is so easy to do and in fact is pretty much the norm for most of our American society. Yet, we find ourselves becoming more and more unhealthy. Whether it’s heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, or a myriad of other diseases our bodies are paying the price for our unhealed pain.
We’re always looking for the latest exercise routine or fad diet to try on in order to lose those extra pounds. Yet, the vast majority of us gain all the weight back within the first year of losing it. The problem of course is not that we don’t know how to lose weight. All of us know that regular and moderate exercise coupled with sensible eating based primarily on a whole foods diet is what it takes (for the vast majority of us) to stay healthy. Yet, having that fundamental knowledge isn’t enough, we need more – or so we think!
An unhealthy lifestyle is not the problem. Let me say that in another way – Eating too much and not enough of the right foods and limited or no exercise is not the problem. These are the symptoms of a much larger problem called coping.
I talk a lot about self-love and most of us consider this to be an emotional or spiritual thing. This is true to a large degree. However, we must consider that if what we think and feel about ourselves is based on love then our actions and physical responses to life will be in alignment with that. This means that eating well and exercising is a physical response to loving ourselves.
Most of us will say that we love ourselves but do we really?:
- Are we loving ourselves when we call ourselves fat?
- Are we loving ourselves when we call ourselves stupid?
- Are we loving ourselves when we say Yes to people when we really mean No?
- Are we loving ourselves when we judge?
- Are we loving ourselves when we can’t forgive ourselves or others?
- Are we loving ourselves when we eat that cup of ice cream knowing we’re 20 lbs. overweight?
We all do this and the problem is that we’re confusing the idea of loving ourselves with the physical, emotional, and spiritual act of loving ourselves. Trust me, I know! As I write this I have a solid 30 lbs. that I want to lose. While I rarely find that I talk negative about myself, and in fact normally I’m affirming inherent qualities, I had that cup of ice cream tonight. Yup, Mr. Self-Love Helper of others was isolating tonight and coping with unhealed hurts of his own.
Living an Authentic Life for me is a journey. It’s never a destination and therefore, I’m going to have my fair share of mishaps and mistakes along the way. Lately, I’ve realized that I’ve been turning to unhealthy food and limited exercise in return for not having to feel my feelings. There’s no way I’m loving myself and feeding myself ice cream at 30 lbs over weight. This isn’t about having a “perfect” body or fitting into the perfect size dress or pants. This is about loving (the verb) your body.
Every time we put food in our mouths we’re either nourishing our body (with the exception of those times when we eat for pleasure) or we’re covering up unhealed pain that we’d rather not feel. I know this because just the other night I found myself craving something to eat late at night. I asked myself if I was hungry and the answer was actually No! I realized that I was feeling bored and had I explored those feelings even deeper I know I would have uncovered some pretty uncomfortable ones. It’s much easier to eat and not feel. The problem is that our body pays the price for our unhealed pain. That pain eventually comes out in a physical manifestation through all forms of dis-eases.
I know I need to shine more light on how I’m treating, and literally abusing my body as a means to cope. It’s much more pleasurable to eat but this is only for a moment. Because, not long after I eat something I shouldn’t I feel terrible anyway. The very feeling I’m trying to avoid comes back eventually and the cycle starts over again. In those moments we find ourselves putting something in our mouths that’s unhealthy or when we’re not hungry the question should always be, “How do I feel?”. If we can answer this question with honesty and clarity then we can begin to make decisions that are with self-love in mind.
- Self-love means accepting that you are not your past traumas.
- Self-love means that you are not destined to live your life based on your feelings.
- Self-love means that sometimes we have to feel a lot of sadness, grief, anger, and despair to truly express our inherent quality of Joy.
When they say, “No Pain, No Gain” they’re not just talking about the sweat pouring down from your forehead as you push through that last rep. They’re also talking about the tears pouring down your face as you push through the fear, the sadness, the anger, and the loneliness we feel deep down inside.
Do you ever find yourself struggling to maintain a healthy body?
What would your answer be if you asked yourself how you felt before every bite?
What if you asked yourself how you felt after deciding that tonight would not be a “gym night” for you?
Does that fear of feeling those feelings make you run the other way? It does for me sometimes but I know that while both of us are vulnerable we’re also strong, courageous, and resilient.
When we express our wholeness, accepting ourselves as we authentically are, then our bodies get to reap all the rewards. It’s a hard journey but one worth exploring. For each of us has a gift to give while we’re here on this planet and our body is the only vehicle we have to deliver it in.
If you want to learn more about loving who you are and getting peace with your body but aren’t sure how to do that, let Zen Barbell help you! Check out the 30 Days to Stop Hating Your Body program here.