2019 is off and running. Speaking of running; I remember when I used to run. I enjoyed it, though my body really didn’t. Running was such an incredible way to maintain the figure that I desired, and I would push my body hard to maintain those standards. And, as 2019 is here and I want that figure back, I can’t deny that running has crossed my mind. The truth is though, my body can’t really handle running, and the pain I had experienced in the past had proven severe. My body would prefer another way to get my exercise. What about you? How does your body prefer to be worked and used? Do you feel like you know? And if so, are you able or willing to accommodate its requests?
I remember a couple of years back, a mentor of mine told me her New Year’s resolution was to honor her body. She said that beyond nourishing it with loving and healthy foods, she was also going to respect it. “So, when my body tells me that I’ve really got to pee, but I’m in the middle of something, I’m going to stop and take that moment to relieve my body, to honor all that it does for me. I’m going to choose to love and respect it.” That seems like such a simple thing, doesn’t it, but yet, many of us are guilty of pushing our bodies in uncomfortable ways, ultimately dismissing our gratitude.
I see honoring the body as a form of self-love, and just to be clear, this is not about how physically fit a person then equates to how much they love themselves. As I mentioned, it’s possible to push for your health to such an extreme that you actually aren’t honoring or loving yourself, but rather your intentions then begin to reflect less positive desires. It’s about finding how to love your body to its greatest health while pushing it when it needs pushing and still respecting and honoring it as the primary goal. Carving out that balance requires a great deal of internal honesty about the why of what we are doing. On a side note- without addressing this all-important why, that is the reason why diets fail, New Year’s resolutions fall to the wayside, and we don’t craft a routine of care for ourselves that is able to be managed year after year.
We also have to consider how loud we have the volume set, or perhaps it’s even muted, to hear our body sharing with us all of its magnificent cues. These cues alert us to when we are tired, overstressed or anxious, hungry, full, feeling ill, need to use the washroom, need to get some exercise, need stretching, need better nutrition, need time to heal, need water, and a slew of other variances that make our bodies so amazing. How well do you hear these cues? And if your volume is low or muted, why do you think that is? What part of you is more comfortable not listening to your body’s needs? What does that part want that is not in conjunction with what your body needs? Why is that part so important to you that you were willing to tune out your body?
We all go through phases of health, but what if we could find that balance where our diet and exercise were naturally built into our lives rather than insisting they be in the spotlight of our mind day and night? Counting calories, tracking our every move… these things make us hyper-focused on our health, often to a level we won’t be able to genuinely maintain. And that hyper-focus cause us anxiety, which just adds to our stress and desires to comfort ourselves with our old habits.
Perhaps, if we simply are listening to what feels best in our body, and how much or little of it. Perhaps if we are moving our bodies and feel that desire to push or need to slow, we honor it. Perhaps when we feel our anxiety growing, we choose to take a step back and breathe into our body to replenish our cells. The more we listen to our bodies, our own unique bodies, the more they will share with us and guide us to our ultimate physical health.