Too many of us, including yours truly, treat our bodies as if they are things that oppose us.
‘Smash the fat!’ ‘Destroy yourself in the gym!’ ‘Why does my body react this way to *fill in the blank* food?’
It gets even worse as you get older and injuries, intolerances and illnesses take their toll.
It’s all too easy to slip into the mode that “my body is fighting me, it doesn’t do what I want”.
Going hard in the gym, being what I call “impatiently patient”, is a laudable quality whose very essence has contributed to the evolution of humanity – but a better way of thinking is to see you and your body as a team.
Just like in any team, you’re going to have fall-outs and divergences of opinion, but you are both categorically on the same side and in the closest relationship of your life.
Self-destructive habits from the very obvious abuse of binge eating and drug-taking, through to the more insidious lifestyle choices that seem to be prevalent in modern Western society, are all examples of you working against your body. But these are the obvious examples.
Many of you reading this will be making full-powered efforts to improve your health and fitness, but how many of you feel as though you are fighting your body and not working together?
The older I get, the more I learn about the power of the mind and how negative thoughts come in much more beguiling packages than pessimism or depression.
If you’re one of those people who constantly feels as if you’re in a struggle with your body, then take a step back from your ongoing fight and take the time to appreciate that you and your body are on the same side.
If your body is doing something that you don’t like, then it is telling you a story and you have to listen to it.
You don’t fight it, you persuade it with love and affection.
When you eat a “bad” meal you don’t beat yourself up over it. You realise that it’s a journey and that your next meal is an opportunity to eat “right”.
If you genuinely feel too tired to work out then in most cases it’s best not to force it.
But you can love your body a bit further by stretching, meditating or taking a salt bath.
If you’re bloated from food, you don’t rail against your guts. You realise that your body is telling you what it doesn’t like and you have to listen, not fight.
And finally, if you’re not happy with your body, the one single thing that you own outright for all of your days, get working with it so that, just as you should do when you look at your kids or your lover, you feel pride.