Self-love by Loving Earth
I’ve noticed a serious problem with the way people go about trying to get healthy, at least in America. Diet and exercise programs are all geared towards visible results, as fast as possible, whether it’s healthy or not. This sets people up for serious disappointment. Why? Well, if the person is dieting and exercising in a healthy fashion, results can be very slow to show themselves, if ever (more on that in a second). I propose that instead of setting out trying to look thinner or buffer or what-have-you, you should just do what feels good.
This is a scary idea, I know. Due to a lot of variants that aren’t really worth getting in to (or I’ll go on all day!), we are taught from day one that our bodies can’t be trusted, that they are base and dirty, and that we need to keep them under control at all times. Doing things for the sheer sake of pleasure – of whatever kind – is viewed as decadent and to many people, absolutely immoral! These leaves many many people totally out of tune with their bodies and with no idea how to take care of them aside from what is shown in mainstream media (and we all know what a great source that is).
So what do I mean by doing what feels good, instead of focusing on visible results? Well, I’ll use myself as an example. I do about 30-45 minutes of yoga and exercise every morning. I’ve been doing this for probably six months now, and there really aren’t a lot of visible results (aside from increased flexibility, but that’s, you know, not something you can see unless I’m showing it off). Last time I weighed myself – we don’t own a scale, so this was around three months ago – I weighed around 145, at 5’2″. I’m sure I haven’t lost much, if any, of that weight. By the way, that puts my BMI in the “overweight” category, but we all know BMI is a total crock. It also happens to be the only “scientific” way of telling if someone is overweight/obese or not. FYI: if I was about 15-20 pounds heavier, I’d be in the “obese” category. Brings a new light to the word, hmm?
Anyways, sidetracks aside, I do yoga and exercise because it makes me feel great. I can totally tell the difference if I don’t do yoga in the morning. It’s the same for food – I certainly don’t think of myself as deprived in any way whatsoever. I don’t count calories or worry excessively about my food intake. I don’t eat much processed food, hardly eat fast food at all, and never drink soda. Why? Because it makes me feel like crap. I can definitely feel the difference if, say, we’re on a road trip and end up eating gas station food and fast food. I feel like total crap the next day.
If my lifestyle was focused on losing weight, staying very thin, and obsessively tracking what I eat, I would have given it up a long time ago and I’d definitely be less healthy as a result. I simply do what makes me feel good – I eat good food and exercise because I feel great as a result. It seems to me that it would be better overall if we all tried this same system (if you can call it that) – no guilt trips, no calorie counting, no assigning labels of “good” and “bad” to foods, no strict plan that sets the person planning it up for resentment and failure (see also: diets don’t work). Just doing what makes your body feel good.
It’s hard to put into words the way this changed my relationship with my body. When you get back in tune with what you, as a physical human being, need, and get away from eating junk food, or giving moral labels to food (what is up with that, by the way?), or not ever exercising, the change is amazing. The pure joy of being more in touch with my body is enough of a reward – once I learned to listen, I figured out what I needed and when I needed it. I feel much better and calmer (although I’m sure the yoga has a part in that – I’m pretty fanatical about it!), all the time. I highly, highly recommend giving it a go! Obviously I can’t make any promises about how you’ll feel, but it’s a good journey to take.
- Self Esteem is Revolutionary.
- Gala Darling’s posts on radical self love.
- Shapely Prose
- More on intuitive eating.