Saturday, January 03, 2015

Healthy practices - don't fight yourself

While I've been successfully improving my health and losing weight by altering what I eat, that's only half the story. The other half is the inner work I've been doing to align my conscious self with my subconscious, that place from which so much self-sabotage comes. At the age of 48, I've spent decades fighting myself: part of me wanting to eat healthy, nutritious food while another part of me NEEDED that cake. The battle waged every day and it was hell on my self-esteem and body.

Why is taking care of yourself so hard? Why do we sometimes know exactly what we need, but still not do it? I believe we resist it for emotional reasons. We're blocked by things we don't want to look at such as believing we deserve what we've got or thinking life is supposed to be hard or fearing that being healthy means giving up something else. Such issues go very deep, are often very old and take concentrated effort to heal. That's why it makes no sense to try to force yourself to exercise or improve your diet. You have to be emotionally ready to make those changes or you'll just go back and forth, taking steps forward and backward, over and over. I did that for years. If you’re not ready to face the emotional pain that will come up when you start to improve your health, you won't improve your health. Those of us who want to push and pull others towards the health we know they're capable of aren't honoring the fear and pain that keeps people where they are. Some people need to stay where they are. Some people need it so much they stay there for a lifetime and die that way and that's just how it is.

I'm only able to stick so well to my current detoxification plan (no sugar, dairy, grains, caffeine or alcohol) because I've done two decades of work on my sugar addiction and self-hatred. The daily war I used to wage within my mind and body has calmed down to a daily skirmish (I'm still working on it) because I've dug into those painful issues. I’ve moved out the old fears enough to be able to get this current toehold on true health. My journey has included countless therapies and healing modalities (talk therapy, meditation, Emotional Freedom Technique and Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing were big ones for me). All that work had to be done before I could get to this place where I truly have a shot at treating myself well without giving in to old habits of bingeing and self-loathing.

To give an idea of the kind of work I'm writing about, here are some practitioners who are good at getting down to the hard-wiring that keeps us from consistently doing what's best for us: Jon Gabriel, Margaret Lynch, Joe Dispenza, but there are many ways to get there. I've worked a little bit with their books, but I did most of my personal work with practitioners in Chicago and Wilmette, Illinois. I think personal work with a practitioner is best.

People who trumpet their physical health accomplishments without mentioning the inner work it took to get there, irritate me. Reaching health and staying there takes resources, especially emotional ones. Maintaining poor habits is often the result of learning that we don't deserve better. Unlearning that belief has to come before we can reach lasting improvement in how we treat ourselves. 

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