I made a commitment this week: to say something positive to my body every day.
More and more often lately, I make comments to Jon about things I don’t like:
“I wish [blank] was more [blank]” or
“Why can’t [blank] be better?”
and even worse,
“Why does my body hate me?”
I’ve struggled the last few weeks to balance those increasing comments – and thoughts – with something I consider vitally important to overall health: positive self talk. You are what you eat, right? How about you are what you think? Even more, you are what you say.
The mental aspect is such a crucial component to health that I worry is too often overlooked. Krysten at Darwinian Fail challenged her readers with the #happyheartproject to change this kind of talk. We want to lose weight, increase muscle, run longer, eat better. Where is the excitement to meditate longer, to praise yourself to yourself, to truly enjoy things that make us happy. (I love to play piano, but I can’t remember the last time I did.)
Dorothy Beal at Mile–Posts wrote this week: “Happiness isn’t a destination as I once thought. Life is rarely perfect, things often don’t go as planned. You have to learn to ride the wave of life and just enjoy it. Don’t worry so much what others think, do what makes you really happy. On that day, last Sunday, running 30 miles on a treadmill made me really happy – SO I DID IT.”
These things are necessary ingredients to good health, too.
Last summer, during all the pre–wedding crippling stress, I was working out too much, eating too little, not taking enough quiet time for myself, letting the stress take over my speech… an all around miserable summer. I was not healthy, physically or mentally. Truth be told, it is impossible for me to hit my physical goals if I am not taking care of myself mentally/emotionally/spiritually (using these terms interchangeably today).
Fellow Sweat Pink ambassador, Caroline, made a telling statement on her blog this week: “Health isn’t just about the absence of the negative, but the presence of positive factors.“ She’s completely right. I need not only to stop telling myself negative things, I need to replace them with positive words.
It is a correction of my thinking. Right now I am fixing numbness and back problems that have limited my running, but in the process, I’ve corrected my running form and increased my speed. I have a metabolism that feels as slow as molasses, but in learning how to eat for my body and metabolism, I’ve learned so many other important things of how food affects our bodies. I am curvy, making me naturally prone to carrying more weight, but I’m curvy with a perfect hourglass shape!
Somewhere on this self–talk journey we discover Casey’s magic web of emotions:
“We are all part of huge web that stretches all across the world. Each and every one of us is linked to that web. You are a vital part of that web. Now imagine if you will that there is an imaginary line drawn from you to everyone you encounter. Every person you come in contact with will take with them a piece of your emotion. (Don’t worry you have endless amounts of this.) Now lets say you are having a bad day. You’re tired, you’re grumpy, you’re uninspired, you’re feeling rather negative. The way you are feeling will come out and attach itself to everyone you meet. (Because we can FEEL emotions). This happens without people even thinking about it. At this point you are not only making yourself feel bad but others as well – yikes.”
Sarah Ogden wrote an incredible post over at Everyday Feminism about this negative talk and body shaming. (Seriously, gals and guys, please read her post). “We have trouble understanding why someone who isn’t a size 2 could love their body,” Sarah wrote. “We exist in a culture that conflates health with thinness.” I have certainly succumbed to that kind of thinking and my self–talk reflects that. When I say things like “Why can’t I get in shape like that person?” Jon is always quick to tell me that I am in shape and I am healthy.
And he’s right! Looking back to the summer, I am stronger, faster & fitter; I eat more and healthier now; I’m not stressing about workouts anymore; I’m making meditation & prayer a priority.
Sarah is on point: We need to move the conversation around exercise away from weight loss and shift the focus onto health and wellness.