Many of you will find this post odd, being that Food Practice has always been about food, our relationship with food, what we eat, how we eat and how we create connections to one another across the dinner table.
For most of us women however, eating, weight and our bodies are inextricably tied in a relationship that is often fraught with anxiety, toxic beliefs and a whole lot of punishment. These feelings tend to self perpetuate in an endless cycle that pits us against the very life thriving nourishment that is inherent in food and our bodies.
Most people exist in a low level and chronic stress response due to anxiety about weight gain, eating and how much we have to work out to lose weight or maintain weight and this reaps a whole slew of consequences for us, emotionally, spiritually and physically.
The Energetic Of Fighting Something vs The Energetic Of Embracing Out Of Pleasure
Just reading those to options above in this sections subtitle will illicit different sensations in your body.
Read them again. Notice the sensations and thoughts that come up for you when you read, The Energetic Of Fighting Something. Then do the same by reading The Energetic Of Embracing Out Of Pleasure.
You don’t even have to fully understand what I mean when I refer to the energetic of something to understand inside of yourself that those two phrases creates something different within you.
The point is that most of us exercise as a way to fight the fat that is creeping onto our bodies. Or we are exercising to fight and resist the possibility of disease. And where wanting to have good health and a slender body isn’t a bad thing, the approach with which we approach these goals can be.
What we resists persists. This is a energetic fact. Add to this the fact that when we are in the constant unconscious state of resistance and fighting something off, our bodies are in a chronic low level stress response that contributes greatly to increased cortisol in the body among other chemicals that keep us from losing weight or growing healthier as well as bringing the weight back once it’s been lost.
Using exercise and movement as a preventative or punishment for what we eat and what it will do to our bodies perpetuates and antagonistic relationship with our beings. It’s unhealthy and it’s hurtful and it keeps you from calibrating with the natural joy and Pleasure that can come through moving your body as it was meant to do: Out of joy and celebration for the life it has coursing in it.
In contrast to this rather than having to force yourself to go to the gym or go out for a run because you HAVE to do it in order to fulfill you resolutions or to lose weight or to fight off the diabetes that is threatening to show up in your body, what if you found that one thing or several things that your body truly loved to do?
What would exercise be like if it was something that was pleasurable, something fun, something that you longed to spend some time doing because it seemed to provide you and your body with a sense of expansion, opening, and celebration of sensuality and what your body was made to do?
The energetic of approaching something because it fulfills you, pleases you heart body and soul is a very different approach then dragging yourself out of bed or off the couch to do something you promised yourself you’d do because you have to change something.
The Consequences Of Existing In Stress And Resistance
Life today has made it so we are in a constant stress response. What does that mean?
Physically, holding stress in the body does all sorts of things that deplete. And the sad reality is that we are all walking around with way more stress than we think we are. Any form of inner conflict, resistance to ideas or circumstances, aversions and self loathing translate as constant and chronic stress within us The energetic footprint of this is in the amount of ‘holding’ we do internally in our muscles.
It’s easy to detect this when we suddenly stop, take in a long deep breath, release it slowly and then realize our neck or back muscle had been tense without our even noticing.
- To our bodies, stress does the following things:
- It causes the body to excrete minerals and nutrients at a faster rate than normal.
- Gut bacteria dies off faster.
- We produce less thyroid and growth hormones which slows down metabolism.
- We produce more cortisol and insulin which over time signal the body to store weight and fat to survive.
- Depletes the over all energy we have to meet the needs of our days
- Slows brain function.
- Accelerates the aging process.
To our psyche it creates a culture of constant inner conflict, aversions, compulsions in reaction to those aversions and for many, disordered eating at various degrees that range for over eating to full on eating disorders.
We become crazy over food, over our weight and over how our bodies measure up against the societal formula of what perfect looks like.
The way we try to amp up our exercise each year and how we approach our exercise regime is a symptom of this constant inner anxiety over food, weight and how we measure up, or not.
The amount of energy we are constantly and unconsciously expending on this not only taxes our health and works against us, but also deprives our lives of the focus that we can be lending to other things in our lives that are more productive, healing and celebratory.
The Benefits Of Existing In Pleasure And Relaxations
Pleasure, in contrast to stress, opens the body, creates a relaxation response and washes our bodies in endorphins that heal and increase our health. It creates a path to follow that perpetuates a deeper engagement with life, with being present and with a natural and celebratory joy.
Pleasures affects on the body are as follows:
- Increases digestion
- Increases assimilation
- Improves metabolism
- Boosts the immune system
- Supports heart health
- Helps reduce depression and anxiety • Helps reduce stress
Change The Resolution, Change The Approach
I know this sounds crazy and perhaps too, anxiety producing. But hear me out.
Your body is a magnificent thing. It’s made to move, to carry you, to heal, to celebrate, to feel pleasure and to teach you the deeper wisdoms of your being. We only ever barely tap the very edges of this magnificence.
Even the most sedate and non moving of us, have at least one type of movement that will create pleasure and the lure for more.
What I’m suggesting is that this year, explore this.
Explore a resolution that sounds something like this: This year I’m going to explore and hunt for the type of movement that makes my body feel good, feel like it’s thriving and give me pleasure to engage in.
This kind of resolution supports your life, supports your vibrancy, supports you ongoing exploration of your body and reconnecting the intuitive and inherent communication lines between you and your body.
And know that if you’re moving, you’re attending to your health and you’re attending to the support of your metabolic health as well.
But I suggest letting that go. Let go of calorie burning and weight management as a goal and concern. These concerns create anxiety and create a contraction in the body that makes it hard to really nourish the deeper parts of you body and the deeper more vibrant health you deserve and were made for.
Find what gives your body pleasure to do, and do it for the pleasure.
What Kind Of Movement Gives Pleasure, You Ask?
It depends on you! It can actually be all the tradition things you have already done. The difference would be your approach and goal behind doing it.
So it can be anything including some of the following:
- Weight lifting
- Dancing (and all the wonderful forms of it out there today)
Seek the pleasure. Seek that sensation of joy and celebration you get from within. Look for it. Make it a process of deep self inquiry as you do the different forms of exercise you do. Consider calling it movement as a way to shift your brain a bit with regards to what you’re looking for.
Our bodies were made to move and they were also made to feel pleasure, fulfillment and celebration. Don’t force yourself to do something because you have to. Practice seeking out the thing that makes you do it because you want to.
Let this be the experiment for this year. See what shifts in you with regards to resolutions, your body, your health and how you communicate with all of it. Hopefully, not only will it bring you deeper health and relaxation, but it will also bring you greater joy and ease with yourself.