Healthy Inspiration — or do I mean perspiration?
This body has a weight problem. I don’t talk about it much here because this is not the place to do it. I know I get fed up of hearing about people’s weight loss journey’s — even when seeking them out. However, recent measures to combat this vast amount of adipose tissue have yielded unexpected results, besides the pursuit of healthy body weight.
When you’ve been battling a weight problem for as long as I have — think 20 years — you might look to alternative measures to make it right. I will not lie and say that anything has worked particularly well for losing weight. However, some mindfulness and spirituality approaches have given me a deeper understanding of myself and how to approach my goals.
Mens sana in corpore sano
If you’ve not heard this before, it means a healthy mind in a healthy body. The idea is that the mind and body exist in balance and that you can’t reach full potential in either if one is sick or neglected. So an unhealthy mind will reflect in the body, and a sick body will stunt an inquiring mind.
My mind has been struggling. I know that it is capable of SO much more, but it’s battling a lazy body with a weight problem.
Mental & Spiritual vs Physical
I am not religious. I do not believe in gods and monsters, heaven or hell, or any religious teaching. However, I feel that there is more beyond what our ‘monkey’ minds and senses can detect or understand. So, I looked beyond science and the technicalities of the body, and I turned my search inward to myself.
Being overweight and feeling ashamed of my body, and myself makes it far too easy to hide. As a result, hiding means that I don’t have any reason to share my appearance and shame with anyone else. So the downward spiral continues.
Shame, hide, more guilt, and onward it goes.
It sounds a bit “new-agey” and ephemeral, but I found some clarity in meditation and learning self-love. It’s a bit of a trial making time for reflection, but I managed it. I even turned to the theory of chakra balancing.
While my understanding of the chakras is a little sceptical, I can’t deny that paying attention to the areas of our minds, bodies, and souls reflected in the different chakras hold positive results.
Do I believe that chakra healing can cure physical disease?
Do I feel that paying attention to the way we fit into the physical world (root chakra) is important? Yes. Do I believe that focusing on how we communicate and express ourselves authentically (throat chakra), is essential both in relationships and mental health? Hell, yes!
Finding clarity in my thoughts about myself helped me to find something about myself to “love.”
My “Amazing Body,” Moment.
No, I’m not a fat pride person. I couldn’t do it. I am deeply ashamed of my fat body. However, my definition of fat and that of someone from the Pro-Ana movement are two extremes. By any definition, I am fat now. In fact, for full clarity, I’m in Obesity Class II with a BMI of 38.4 — It’s not healthy, and I want to get healthy.
My idea of a healthy weight for my age, height, and life experiences is probably around 75kg, and even that is pushing things (not been there since I was about 18/19). BMI states that I should be 65kg or lower, but I can’t see that. Even at 16/17 years old, I was at least 65kg, slender but curvaceous, toned and healthy, I have never been a skinny-Minnie, but in retrospect, I was never fat either. I think it is too much to ask of a neglected, abused, post-pregnancy body to get back to the same shape and weight it was in its teens.
Instead of focussing on all the things I ‘can’t’ do in my current body, I centred on the fabulous things it can do.
Can I wrestle and roll around with my son, having tickles and cuddles, and even making him ‘fly’? — Yep!
Did my body grow that amazing, healthy, intelligent little man? Yep, again.
Did I feed my baby, hold him, dance him to sleep and walk the floors with him as a baby? And again, Yes!
Can I sit cross-legged on the floor with him and play with cars, Legos, and everything else? Yep, to that too.
Can my husband hold me in his arms and be embraced in return? Hell, yes!
Can I still get super horny, and jump said husband’s bones? Definitely, yes!
Can I walk, skip, and dance? Yep, yep, yep!
This body is AMAZING! Not only can it do everything that I NEED it to, but it has adapted to the conditions I have placed on it, through abuse or neglect.
Sometimes I find it challenging to find the positives, and I dwell on the negatives. However, even then, I have learned to seek alternatives.
Can I wear a bikini on the beach? Nope! (there is only so much I can do with my mentality) BUT I can wear shorts and a vest which is just as cool.
Can I run? Nope! Heavy impact on my knees and ankles is super painful. BUT I can walk fast and do ‘quick time’ (4 steps walking — 4 steps running) without getting shin splints.
Do I feel comfortable in my skin? Nope! BUT I can feel comfortable with WHO I am.
Still, a long way to go…
I don’t have all the answers, nor can I say that I have achieved any proper balance of mind and body. What I have found is the start of a path—a beginning from where I can start my journey to having a healthy body and a healthy mind.
I don’t think anyone has all the answers. Some theories and philosophies present excellent ideas, while scientific courses provide some convincing arguments and proven results. I don’t think the answers to my weight problem live in the metaphysical, nor do I believe that science alone can heal my psyche. The solution hides in the combination of both realms, and I think I have something that could help.
My husband once jokingly said to me I was the most irrational rational person he had ever met—a combination of rational thought and irrational flights of fantasy. I think I probably have an edge on combining the physical and the spiritual to provide an answer to my healthy mind and body problem.
The Unexpected Benefits
Oh yes, you’ve been waiting for the unexpected benefits of approaching weight loss from a mental and spiritual perspective. Here they are;
I want to write more. There are so many ideas spilling out of my head that I have three iterations of the Grammarly editor open at once so I can get them down in the right places, and the right context.
Exercise doesn’t feel like a chore to get over with as quickly as possible and then forgotten about until the next necessary session. I’m exercising mindfully and focussing on what feels good about it, noticing what feels bad and understanding that pain is a warning, not a barrier to breach.
In most situations, I’m kinder to both myself and others. I’m asking more about what is upsetting people rather than biting heads off and starting a fight. I let myself be human and fallible. Did I eat a small chocolate egg over Easter? Yes, I did. It was lovely, and I enjoyed it.
I wouldn’t say that I have started the lifelong romance that Oscar Wilde was talking about, but I have started to like myself a little better. Learning to accept me for both my failings and triumphs. I’m also trying to see the path to transformation, rather than seeing only the failure and a dead end.
“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance”