Honoring your body

Posted by Jennifer Campoli on March 31st, 2010
Filed under Motivation, Positive psychology, Wellness | 6 Comments »

Helloooooooooooooo! It's been way way way too long friends!

I snuck off to the sunny state of California to hang with my bro, niece, mom and my bro's fabulous gal. We had a BLAST! The reason for my adventure was to support my brother. This past Saturday he completed his second half Ironman. Rockstar, wouldn't you say? Both of my brothers have entered the world of Ironman competitions and rather than joining them in the insanity…I am their groupie cheerleader! Am I must say, I'm pretty darn good at it!

The race was in Oceanside which is a gorgeous military town south of LA, about half way to San Diego. Gorgeous land out there friends…

We had the best view from our hotel room of the water but also the race. The swimmers flew past us right between the buoys. I love being a part of these races.

Race morning started very early for us. My brother was up and out the door before 5:30. I was still on east coast time so I was wide awake as well!

The race started at an early 6:40 am…here are the first batch of pro's. Don't they look like a school of jumping fish!

Here are the distances in a half ironman:

1.2 mile swim

56 mile bike

13.1 mile run (half marathon)

This can take any average competitor anywhere from 5 to 8 hours. That would be 5 to 8 hours of constant exercise. Whatcha think about that one kids? I have always wanted to do a long distance/endurance race. I've trained for 3 marathons (notice trained not completed) and I've attempted a few triathlon trainings. After experiencing joint pain, knee pain, discomfort on all long runs beyond 10-15 miles, and finally chronic back pain, I finally realized what it means to respect my body.

My body is simply not intended to compete in endurance/long distance races. I would fight this every time I started training for a marathon or attempting a program that was not suitable for me and my body. And every time I would fight, my body would start to yell at me in new ways. I finally learned after hurting my back and taking nearly a year to rehab it. A tough lesson indeed but there was some silver lining in this experience: I was able to realize how MUCH MY BODY CAN DO! And that doesn't have to be an ironman or any form of exercise that requires 5+ hours of my time. :)

But how often do we fight our bodies and try to be someone or do something that just isn't right for us?

That question leads me in to my thoughts for the day…

Honoring Your Body

What does that idea mean to you: honoring your body? I think this idea is unique to every individual but it is something that we can all learn and benefit from exploring how it can fit into our lives.

What are some ways we can honor our body…

Sleep 7-8 hours a day, relax on a Sunday morning, taking an unscheduled rest day, eating a nourishing diet, practicing yoga at sunrise, walk if it hurts to run, run if your legs beg for it.

The way I sum all of those ideas up is with one simple concept: respect what your body is asking for.

I thought about this quite a bit while I was away. I was gone for 5 days so I┬áhad brought my workout clothes, my Chalean Extreme DVDs, and my workout plan. I committed to working out on Friday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. That's 4 out of the 5 days. Realistic? Depends on the vacation. Friday was a relaxed morning so I was excited to wake up and get my sweat on. Sunday and Monday were slightly different days: everyone was EXHAUSTED after the race! Not only the athlete but his groupies as well. I felt like my niece did on our drive home…

My body was tired, my mind was tired…we all just need to decompress and chill out! But what was I thinking inside this lovely head of mine? "Jenn, you have to workout. You told yourself you would and here you are blowing it off again. You can fit in 30 minutes after your 2 1/2 hr drive back through the LA traffic. Plus, you ate all weekend long and you must sweat! You've already taken 2 days off this week. You need to workout."

Sound like healthy and positive self talk to you? Nope, no, not at all. But this was my frame of mind this weekend and suddenly I was also struggling with food issues again. I had felt so centered and balanced these last few months and out of the blue this food gremlin had found his way back! And most importantly, my body was tired on this trip! It was not energized to workout. It was not energized to sweat. It needed to sit back, relax and enjoy some quiet time with the family. But did I recognize that, move on and enjoy the day in front of me? Not at first.

Why am I telling you this? Because we all struggle. We all have our moments, days and weeks where no positive thinking and no relaxation can shake the negative talk and pouty attitude! Everyone has these experiences and if they tell you different, they are fabulous at lying! :) The key to these moments is having tools and strategies to help you through them! You can't avoid them but you sure can overcome them.

This weekend I turned to my trick of literally stopping myself in my tracks, in the middle of a conversation, meal, shower or walk. I close my eyes and have a mini conversation with myself. I get very honest and very real with my thoughts. I stop the negative talk and immediately replace them with something else. My mind can be like a tennis match somedays where the negative gremlin is yelling something and then my positive, focused, balanced angel is standing tall and proud and yelling right back. Quite the scene I imagine. But it works for ME!

Here is what I am getting at: honor and respect your body friends. Decide what that should look like and feel like. You deserve to have a relationship with your body where you can respect and care for it.

Here are a few ways to start that process or better what you are already doing:

1. Listen! Simply stop what you are doing and listen to what your body is saying. The cues are there. Just decide what they mean and then respond accordingly. Some days it may mean running sprints up your stairs, other days it may mean taking a bath. But just listen.

2. Let go of the pressure. Let go of who you think you are supposed to be, what you are supposed to do and what the world thinks you should do. Let go of having to do cardio 6 days a week NO MATTER WHAT! If you feel good doing that, fabulous! But recognize that some Friday morning you are going to wake up and your body is going to be screaming for more sleep. Then you best give it that regardless of what your yoga instructor says, what your marathon training books calls for or what your Beachbody schedule is. Let go of that pressure!

3. Make a list. Keep a small pad or journal with you and write down how your body feels throughout the day. Do you know what your body feels like 10, 30 or 60 minutes after a meal? Or what you feel like 5 min after waking up before your coffee? Pick some random moments throughout your day to tune into your body and see how it is feeling. You might learn something new or you might realize that your oatmeal doesn't truly fill you up until lunch time! Who knows, maybe a salad is your perfect lunch or maybe you need more calories. The key to this exercise is learning paying attention to your body and learning to recognize cues.

4. Add a new daily habit. Do something new for yourself that is just for you and your body. Whether it be a new body wash that feels luxurious, a peaceful sound machine for bedtime, a tasty tea that perks you up at 3pm or a new walking route to work that lets you breathe fresh air for an extra 5 minutes before and after work. Incorporate something new that simply takes care of YOU and YOUR BODY! You deserve it!

So, how do you honor your body? Share some ideas and things that work for you!

Off to do more work friends. I have so much to catch up on!!!

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6 Responses to “Honoring your body”

  1. Deana says:

    Jenn,
    Thank you for your honesty. You really are inspiring. Honoring my body: I like to take time every once in a while to sit down and paint my nails. I don't get manicures very often anymore if at all, so that's a little thing that I do that calms my mind and body. Haven't painted my nails in a while, and I think I am overdue.

  2. What a fabulous, well though out, and inspiring post- thank you for sharing!

  3. admin says:

    Thank you so much Heather!!!!

  4. admin says:

    You are so fabulous Deana! Always offering such insight with your ideas.

  5. Colleen says:

    Jenn, I always love your posts (as you know ;-)). Sharing some of your innermost thoughts takes courage, and you're helping many people by doing that. So thank YOU!! :)

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