Raise Your Hand If You’ve Felt Like This – Part 2

A discussion of what it means to live well 360 and how to stop the quest for health and fitness from being consuming rather than empowering. Let raise that hand.

In Part 1 I shared an email from a reader, where she asked for help with learning how to lead a healthy life, without letting it consume her.
Instead of feeling inspired by health and fitness, I feel like I’ve gotten to the point where I am trapped by it. It’s ironic that the very thing that I focus on because I think it will bring me happiness, is actually the thing that I am a prisoner to. I just want to be happy. I just want to love myself for who I am, but I don’t know how to do that. I feel so far off track that I don’t know what to do anymore.
I asked her if it would be ok for me to post her email on the blog, because I think this is a challenge that many many people face. I’ve talked about the influence of the media and photoshopped images in the past, as well as, the idea that it’s time to wake up and take our power back. I asked for you guys to comment on your thoughts, and you shared so openly and honestly about your own challenges with knowing how to walk this line. A few of my favorite comments were:
Beauty and confidence don’t come in a certain size and weight does not determine self worth. - Tracey
The most important thing is to make a decision and connect your purpose to something greater. - Samantha
One of my keys to getting myself re-inspired is to forget what I used to do or what used to make me feel a certain way and do something that I know will make me feel amazing right now. - Anne

Getting Back on Track

It may sound strange for me to say this, but the fact that she is asking this question, and the fact that many of you are feeling the same way… it gets me excited. I’m excited because, the fact that you are asking means that you are ready for the answer. Each one of us has our own unique challenges, but at our core, we are all very much the same. As cliché and simplistic as it sounds, we all want to feel happy. That is why we want to be thin, or strong, or sexy, or confident, or envied, or important, or {fill in the blank} and it’s why, as the reader mentions above, that you are asking this very question. So how do we get so far off track? How do we get to the point where the quest for health and fitness becomes something that is consuming rather than empowering? The answer is information overload and the quest for knowledge. It’s sort of a double-edged sword. There is so much information out there for us to read, learn, retain… The problem is that sometimes, we can get so caught up with seeking answers from everyone else, we lose touch with the fact that just because something is written in a book or in a research study, or because everyone else seems to think that it’s “right,” doesn’t mean it is the right thing for us. When we stop trying to fix ourselves, and realize that we aren’t broken, then the answers begin to flood in like the tide. Really though, how you got off track doesn’t matter. What matters is that you know you are off track (YAY!), and now that you know, you can do something about it.

How to Live Well 360

As the name implies, to Live Well 360 means to live well in every way… unless you are one of the handful of people who seem to think our name is live well, like a fish holding tank, whereas in this case, my explanation might be a huge change of understanding for you. I am glad that the reader said that she wants to Live Well 360, and I am so proud that she is using our name as a verb. To us, Live Well 360 is definitely something that you can be and do, and it’s so awesome to have a fan feel the same way. Yet, to Live Well 360 is almost like a credo, or a way of thinking, and for me to try to say, “this is how YOU Live Well 360,” would not be helpful, because I can’t tell you how to live your life best. But I can tell you what it means to me, and hopefully that will give you some inspirational jumping off points to make your own list.

Live Well 360 defined (for me)

1. Self-Love

For me, to Live Well 360, means to love myself for who I am… like really, who I am. Not who I want others to think I am, but WHO I AM. It seems like we often try to put up a front of perfection, in one way or another, because we believe that others will think less of us if we aren’t perfect, but in reality we all know that none of us are perfect. Our imperfections and vulnerability are what make us human and unique. The more we can focus on breaking that false belief that celebrities and other people are perfect in one way or another, the more we learn to love ourselves, imperfections and all.

2. Intuition

For me, to Live Well 360 means to let the voice on the inside be louder than the voices on the outside. One of the biggest things we can do for our health, both mentally and physically, is to pay more attention to the physical feelings that we tend to override. From the “this just doesn’t feel right” feeling, to the 3 PM sleepiness, to a headache that won’t go away, our bodies are sending us signals all the time. We often just ignore them. These signals are really important to notice. I’ve come to a realization that I shouldn’t do anything, unless or until I feel good about doing it. It’s a moment-by-moment thing, which is why I’ve got to stay tuned in. I don’t just do things because other people tell me it’s what I should do anymore, I let my intuition guide me, and I do what feels right. Meditation, yoga, and journaling have helped me to quiet the many opinions and thoughts that I know are not mine, and really turn up the volume on what I feel is right for me.

3. Inspired Action

For me, to Live Well 360, means to make decisions based on inspiration rather than fear. Fear can be a huge motivator. But do you know what is an even bigger motivator than fear? Inspiration. We are trained in many ways to react out of fear. To avoid things. To be scared. To be on the defense. I remind myself to stop and question often.
“Why am I really doing this?”
I’ve learned to look at food and exercise as a way to be strong, fit, and healthy. I’m not afraid of taking a day or three or five off from exercising if I need to, and I don’t label food as bad or good, because I don’t want to set myself up for feelings of guilt. I believe that our feelings of guilt, self-disgust, or self-disappointment are far more hazardous for us than a cookie or potato chip.

4. Health = Fun

For me, to Live Well 360 means to be inspired by food and fitness. Moving my body is really fun and empowering when I am participating in activities that I enjoy. A workout doesn't necessarily have to be running 4 miles on a treadmill or lifting weights at the gym, it could also be dancing around the living room with your kids or taking a pilates class with a friend. And... I don’t eat a salad because I am scared of getting fat. I eat a salad because of the vitamins and nutrients that it offers, and how good these will be for my body... and also because I make really tasty salads!

5. Self First

For me, to Live Well 360 means to put myself first. I am no good to anyone else if I am not feeling at peace with myself. What’s the point of looking like Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Aniston, if on the inside I am full of self-defeating thoughts and sadness? When I put my own health and self-love ahead of everything (yes, everything) else, the rest seems to automatically works out as a result. It’s strange how that happens. When you stop chasing whatever it is that you are chasing, it many times falls into your lap in the most surreal ways.

6. Evolution

For me, to Live Well 360 means to recognize and embrace my evolution. I am the first to admit I am far from perfect. I too have to remind myself of these principles from time to time (again, another reason why I am a fan of journaling, meditation, and yoga). As I mentioned above, it’s not about perfection. It’s not about all or nothing. It’s about constant growth. I look back on how I have grown and learned new things about myself, even through my writing here on the blog, and realize that I too have adjusted my beliefs as I learn more. Have you ever felt trapped by fitness? What did you do to get yourself back on track?
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