When was the last time you criticized your body? One minute ago? An hour? How many times a day are you critical about your looks, your fat, your capabilities, your genetics? I challenge you to take a moment now and reflect for a minute, even write down, the complaints that are present now and frequently present for you… If you’re like most humans, that’s a long list! Now, what are the things you love about your body - like you actually stew on them the way you do your criticisms? Like you look in the mirror and say “Damn! I love…!” If you’re already there, give me a virtual high five!! You have transformed much of what it is to be human. People are programmed to focus on the negative: self-criticism, bad experiences and negative feedback. “The brain handles positive and negative information in different hemispheres,” says Professor Nass, co-author of “The Man Who Lied to His Laptop: What Machines Teach Us About Human Relationships.”
Negative emotions involve more thinking, and the information is processed more thoroughly than positive ones. It’s a natural human instinct! Think survival from generation to generation. With our brain holding on to and containing the negative, we can defend against future mistakes, mishaps and unpleasant outcomes. So how do we transform this automatic way of being? First, I invite you to explore what conversations are actually present for you. When did the negative self talk start? Whose voice is it? How deep-seated is it? For some of us, we were so young, we may need assistance in discovering it for ourselves.* But for a lot of us, if we really look, we can start to hear the source of negative feedback with a little bit of searching.
Let’s look: What do you already know/assume about fitness? What do you already know about your body and its capabilities like a FACT? What are your assumptions and opinions of healthy people? How does a person go about losing weight? Just throw up onto a page everything you've heard, experienced as a fact about yourself, your health, your body and the world of health and fitness. Now get ready to be a little perturbed with me: I invite you to take on that most of this is made up. Not only that, you are likely not even responsible for these beliefs. I am in no way asking you to disassociate from reality - please keep taking care of your chronic illnesses as needed! I am simply suggesting that the stories you have about your genetics, your capabilities, what it takes to be healthy and fit, etc. have been created by a construct greater than you and you’ve simply lived into it. Without knowing the realities we live in, there’s no way to redirect and create where we want to go.
So let’s create a new conversation! Think about how incredible the human body is. Truly! There are millions of processes daily that it conducts without you even knowing it. Did you know your body doesn’t actually NEED cleansing or detoxing? Are you aware that it does that on its own? If it didn’t, you’d be dead. How often do you stop and express gratitude for the fact that your heart beats without you telling it to? That your lungs pull in air without being directed to do so? You know what amazes me? I have been biting and picking the skin, cuticles and then some, around my nail beds for years, and over the years, the skin has thickened to the point that I barely ever even bleed anymore. Isn’t that amazing?! My fingers have built their own defenses against ME! The more I learn about the functions of my body, the more in awe of it I am, and the more in awe of it I am, the more good things I want to do for it. What I am even more amazed by are the studies upon studies out there illustrating just how powerful an impact our minds have on our bodies. Just check out some of the studies conducted by Dr. Joseph Dispenza, most known for his interviews in the film “What the Bleep Do We Know” and author of the book “You Are the Placebo: Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself.”
In one study, he measured a 60% increase of IgA in participants within only 4 days of positive thinking for 9-10 minutes, three times daily. IgA is responsible for the healthy function of our body’s supreme internal defense system called the immune system. FOUR DAYS!!! In these new-agey times, we already know all of this, right? But what does knowing do if we are not catching these negative conversations in the act? That's where mindfulness, journaling and a supportive community come in. If you didn't break out your pen and paper mid-blog to answer the questions, take a little time in the next few days. I guarantee your answers may even surprise you! And once you're aware of the conversations that are running the show, it's that much easier to catch them in the act and then CHOOSE to do something or not. Choice! Like REAL choice - not just your human default. * CF proudly partners with Health in Tandem, a counseling practice specializing in body image, performance, motivation and productivity, so clients can discover the assumptions and conversations that may be holding them back.