“There’s lots of people in this world who spend so much time watching their health that they haven’t the time to enjoy it.” — Josh Billings
Health is not about the way you look as this is one facet of your entire being.
Many people obsess with their bodies, to attain the perfect physique to the detriment of their health.
They scrutinise their physical appearance with earnest, you’d think they were sculpturing the David.
However, this is harmful in the long run.
The American neuroscientist Candace Pert who discovered the opiate receptor in the brain said: “The body is the subconscious mind. Your body has an innate intelligence of its own, evident by the thousands of chemical and electrical processes that work without your conscious awareness.”
Your emotions literally transform your body ― and create your health. If you don’t believe me, try being depressed for a week and note the change in your physiology.
Your body listens and responds to your thoughts, hence constant preoccupation on your physical appearance creates stress because you are drawn to what is wrong. I’m sure this is not your intention and you might argue focussing on your physical looks is healthy.
Yes, logically, but your mind does not perceive it this way. This is why eating disorders abound because of the unhealthy relationship people develop with their bodies. When repeated attention is held on your appearance, your mind perceives this a minor stress.
“An eating disorder is a compulsion rather than an addiction, and it is not an illness. It is a culturally learned pattern to distract you from self-love,” states clinical neuropsychologist Mario Martinez
People of all ages post images of themselves on social media, in part to inspire others. This is a movement prompted in recent times by smart phones, yet its motive is undesirable to those seeking inspiration.
Health is not conveyed by publicising one’s physical attractiveness since it’s unachievable to most people. It’s why fat-shaming has flourished because people are drawn to unattainable poster images, depicting those with suboptimal body-fat levels. If you don’t fit this image, you’re considered overweight.
Really? Says who?
“Just because you’re not sick doesn’t mean you’re healthy.” — Author Unknown
Health begins from the inside out. It is not an outside-in effort.
Sure, you may have a healthy body image which reflects in your self-esteem. There are people with good-looking physiques that have low self-worth because they identify only by their looks.
Similarly, those with normal physiques have high self-esteem.
Countless people strive for physical beauty, yet many are emotionally unwell inside. Consider walking through the front door of a beautiful home, spectacular on the outside. You step through the door and collapse through the floorboards because there’s no solid foundation to support it.
The point I wish to emphasise is to nurture yourself from inside out.
“Then I discovered the one thing that changed the course of my health and my life: the belief that every thought we think is creating our future. This one little idea shifted the direction of my life. I found that if I could create peace, health, and harmony in my mind, I could create the same in my body and in my world,” states authors Louise Hay, Ahlea Khadro and Heather Dane in: Loving Yourself to Great Health.
The information found online nowadays is written by people without qualifications in their respective field. They lure you into buying their products or service to enhance their self-image, at the expense of your hard dollars and health.
There’s a great deal of misinformation on popular websites, who employ ghost writers with no health experience to maintain their online presence.
Therefore, be mindful of the information you consume. Just because it sounds good doesn’t mean it’s right for you. This applies to what you read here. Don’t take my word for it, investigate everything with due diligence and apply it where appropriate.
To know if the information is suitable for you, live it for three months and note the changes. The principles must be sound to begin with. Avoid dieting or restrictive health plans since they’re detrimental to your long-term health.
I urge you to read an eye-opening book by Catherine Shanahan MD titled, Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food. She states: “The reason that so many of us have health problems today is that we no longer eat in accordance with any culinary tradition. In the worst cases of recurring illnesses and chronic diseases that I see, more often than not, the victim’s parents and grandparents haven’t either.”
If you focus on your external appearance, something must give way in order to maintain it. It’s worth repeating, your looks are one facet of your health.
What is your identity if you are permanently scarred or injured from an accident?
I know many successful athletes who identify with their physical qualities and past performance. When injured, they fall into depression because this image is no longer there to reinforce their self-worth.
Avoid yielding to unrealistic images perpetuated by mainstream media. In most cases, they’re hired models and don’t represent a cross section of the population.
You must be content with your body image because this reflects in how it performs.
“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.” — Hippocrates
The mind body connection is powerful. If we emphasise an ideal physical type, we distort the true meaning of health.
Mario Martinez affirms: “I propose that abundance is not sustainable without a strong sense of self-worth. Why not? Because maintaining health, reaching wealth, and finding love require the capacity to accept that you are worthy of your good fortune.”
Avoid scrutinising your physical appearance because it does not serve you to find fault with your body. I’m not encouraging you to be uninterested with the way you look, but consider it one part of your entire being.
To enjoy lasting health, nurture other aspects of your life like your: mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.
What is the point of giving attention to: the foods you eat, the clothes you wear, or the ideal fitness routine, when your mental and emotional spirit calls for your attention?
I appreciate the message from authors Louise Hay, Ahlea Khadro and Heather Dane: “If you experience a health challenge, Life is inviting you to love yourself. In other words, no matter what your problem is, there is only one answer: loving yourself.”
What you seek is what you’ll sure to find. If you repeatedly focus on your appearance, your reference point becomes that. Yet, if you focus on other aspects of your health, you identify with the wholeness of your existence.
In this selfie obsessed times, we look for validation from others to confirm our self-worth.
We have an innate drive to feel good about ourselves. However, if we focus on our physical form, it overshadows the lesser components of our health.
I’m not proposing you stop posting images online, nor stop following those who do. Power is attained when we’re conscious and awake to our motives.
Health is not about the way we look but a call to love ourselves foremost.
Afterall, what we’re really craving for is love and a close connection with ourselves.
Originally published at medium.com