For over two decades my life's passion was focused on helping clients transform their physical body through fitness training/ coaching, health education, nutrition counseling, speaking and publishing. As a multi-sport athlete in a young industry I thrived on learning and innovation in every area of exercise science imaginable
At that time my training methods where unorthodox despite being mainstream today. I was known for helping clients get fit expediently, while losing 10, 20, 30 even 50 pounds of body-fat fast. However, despite a successful track record there was an elephant in the room that concerned me.
Years later I would see these same clients in a restaurant, or in the media to find they had gained much, or all the weight back and often more. This concerned me to no end. Clients worked so hard to transform their physical bodies only to have to repeat the same painstaking process all over again. From a rational perspective I understood the myriad of physiological reasons of how and why this could happen. I knew that priorities change, time becomes an impervious enemy. and life happens. However, intuitively I sensed there was something more going on. Something outside the physical realm at play here, which I needed to resolve if for no other reason than my own self-understanding.
So how much does our physical health affect our mental health? It turns out this interrelationship directly affects every aspect of our life and mental health in a profound way.
I had spent much of my life fascinated by Eastern philosophies and studied numerous martial art, Yoga and meditation practices, along with several spiritual philosophies and self-development fellowships. The next logical step was to attend graduate school to learn more about psyche and soul. I attained my MA, and am currently a doctoral candidate working on my dissertation.
While it is extremely difficult to commit to a fitness and body-fat reduction regime, it is immensely harder to maintain that fitness condition and a fitness regime long-term. For what its worth we have a very difficult time with consistency when it comes to our own self-care.
The culprit resides deep within our psyche and only surfaces in those quiet moments when we are alone in self-reflection. The irony here is that we spend very little time these days in self-reflection, primarily because we the fear of the unknown.
More specifically we fear what may slowly trickle up, rise to the surface to remind us one again of all our behavioral defects, insecurities, shame and unresolved issues, which can be painful. We seek pleasure and run from pain. Our neurobiological make-up is wired for two things, struggle or connection and both are a choice.
It is much easier to live in the illusion that busyness and productivity will lead to fulfillment. We fill our time with every distraction imaginable, meaningful or not, anything to avoid looking inside ourselves for truth and resolve. Our feelings toward self are then manifested through our embodied behavioral patterns that control how we think, act and feel. The difference between surviving and living is in the understanding all of life is a series of choices.
Our level of honest self-understanding is reflected in our self-care. Moreover, self-care determines our level of self-respect and self-worth, which in turn either supports, or sabotages, our efforts to feel better about ourselves. Often previous life experiences dictate our feelings about self, our future and how happy we believe we deserve to feel! If we do not believe we deserve tofeel good there is no way we can feel good in the body we wear every day!
Our thoughts and feelings about self are reflected in all our relationships and in our way of being in the world. Our level of self-care is a direct reflection of our self- worth, self-respect and self-esteem and will always be the deciding factor of how successful and happy we choose to be in any area of our life. Often we don't even realize we are just puppets on a string when it comes to our thoughts and emotions and psyche is the puppet master.
This belief pattern can be changed. Our dysfunctional society injected many limiting belief patterns into us at a very young age. However, through self-exploration, which is our responsibility, must be an integral component of any long-term transformation process.