I’ve been thinking a lot about fitness and weight loss lately. It *might* be related to the fact that we’re coming up on my son’s first birthday and I have some weight loss goals attached to that… either way, it’s been on my mind. And more than anything, I’m realizing how completely HORRIBLE our society is at approaching this subject. I could write a novel (and I actually plan to write an eBook on this topic in the near future #shamelessplug), but I’ll try to sum up the problems. They have to do with sentences like this:
“Push yourself till you can’t go anymore!”
“Work hard for that bikini body!”
“Schedule your workouts at the same time everyday!”
“Get it done, or give up!”
“Keep going until it hurts!”
Has anyone else notice that when it comes to weight loss, there are a lot of people yelling?? Is there really a good reason for that? It’s like someone woke up one morning and though ya know, psychology says that yelling at your kids stunts their growth…so it MUST be a good motivator for adults! Logic, anyone?
What I’d like to focus on for today is this concept of pushing our bodies until it hurts, and how it relates to our cavewoman ancestors (sorry, guys, but the blog IS called Real “Girls”). See, I think we’ve come to this place as a planet where we are just so completely out of touch with our bodies. Why else would we yell and scream at them and try our best to hurt them in our effort to reach a goal? I have a theory, which is based on my intellectually advanced education in human evolution and anthropology (HAHAHA…HA…ha…erm):
Back in “the day”, our bodies spoke to us. A lot. They had to. Everything we did required physical effort. As a result, our bodies made a lot of demands and we had to meet them for survival and happiness.
As time has gone on, we’ve created more creature comforts (at least us first-world folks), and more methods to ease the demands on our bodies. I think this is a good thing for the most part. We’ve sort of left behind the era of the “body” and entered the era of the “brain”. Now our brain makes the demands. Our brain takes the brunt of the effort and strain in our daily lives. We struggle more intellectually, mentally, and emotionally than we do physically. And our bodies have no need to talk to us anymore. Our bodies are pretty much taken care of at every turn! There are very few situations where we need to “beef up” for a long buffalo hunt or to run or ride to the next colony 15 miles away.
And since our bodies have stopped talking, we have stopped listening. Our bodies have essentially become the middle child.
And since I am a middle child, and happen to be married to a middle child, I know WHAT A HORRIBLE IDEA THIS IS.
Our bodies are basically the middle child who has gotten pretty self-sufficient and learned to handle things, so we just kind of forget about her. We know if we take care of the bare essentials, she’ll handle the rest. We don’t have to worry about her, she’s got it covered. Until one day when all the neglect builds up and she blows her top and throws a massive shitstorm. Oh crap, did you want to be cared for too??
I’m not bitter.
We need to start listening to our bodies. They have a lot to say; you’d be surprised. It’s amazing how often your body actually DOESN’T want that ice cream bar, or DOES want to go for a jog, or just really needs a 10-minute power nap, if you just took the time to shut off your brain for a few minutes and tune in to your physical being. It completely shocks me how often I go looking for a piece of candy, and then upon pausing to see what my body has to say about it, find that it actually doesn’t want candy. It’s my brain or my feelings that want the candy (probably from all that childhood neglect).
So this week, start getting reconnected with your body. Listen to what it says, and even try to just follow it’s lead even when your brain doesn’t want to. Your brain has been running the roost for so long, it will probably feel awkward at first, but keep at it. It doesn’t require any effort, just a little mindfulness. Just a little reminder here and there to check in. After a while it will become a habit, and you will find yourself close to both physical health and personal wholeness.
Because even middle children need a little love. Even as adults… who would never think of holding a grudge…
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