In my previous post I talked about being body positive. I could've talked about it a lot more then and there, but maybe it's better for all of us that I break it down into a few separate posts. Meanwhile a less stressful, more mindful lifestyle is something that I want to achieve and live so I will be writing a lot about things related to the positive mindset, whether it's about one's body or work or love or whatever.
In this post it's a bit more about the body. The body we live in, day to day, and the one we can use to learn new skills and use to our advantage. Instead I find that a lot of people see only the outer shell and start treating their bodies as something they need to work on. In my books, treating your body in a positive way means that you don't treat it as a project, as something you have to start a war against, to fight the fat, the cellulite and flat muscles. That's one of the reasons I highly dislike the fitness-craze. I might piss off some people here, but I think that in addition to the 2% of athletes it includes, there's 98% of people with too little background in training and looking for another excuse for a diet so they could like their bodies and finally be happy. Instead of thinking of what your body can do, these people focus on what it should look like. And it's often messy. It only does not cause mental and health issues, it also causes one to detach from their own body and stop listening to its needs when the sole purpose of training is to force the body into some mold. Forcing yourself to play with your bodily functions is misuse of the body you're given. And mind.
Don't get me wrong here, I'm a true believer in pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and into improvement. There aren't many things I enjoy more than wanting to be better than yesterday. I love to challenge my body to do something I know it can learn or it can do. Like practicing how to do a flip over and over again until I nail it. Or running a marathon when the boy in your class tells you that tiny girls like you don't run marathons. (I ran it the next day on a five-minute notice.) That's pushing, when you decide with your body that let's do this! The difference between pushing and forcing then is that pushing involves mental strength, forcing involves stress. I know, I've tried both.
I guess everyone starts with kind of effortless mindfulness when they're kids and exercise comes to you in the form of playing and you play when you feel like it. Kids listen to their bodies wihtout realizing that they're listening to them. If you know what I mean. During my anorexia years, I was forcing myself to fight against my body and exercise when it was telling me to rest. After that I fell in love with cheerleading that became my outlet for pushing myself to new extents. Then there were the years in between where I tried and enjoyed multiple different kind of sports. And loved every second of it. And then came the time when my body became my work tool and I ended up detaching my mind from it in order to work out in a way I'm "supposed to for maximal results". Huge mistake. Honestly, before the Miss Finland tour I was in the best shape of my life, even in terms of the looks. I had quit the pill a while back and there was nothing in my body messing up my hormones. But as a perfectionist I thought that there had to be something I could work on and my body became a project. I would not listen to it telling me that it wanted to move in different ways, but I was forcing it to train and eat according to a plan. And that caused a stress-infused spiral. I was tired, anxious, messed up my hormones and even turned to methods that I am not proud of (I'll tell more about those when I'm not too embarrassed anymore). I messed up my mind, messed up my hormones and the project named "bikini body" became even more difficult and difficult. Even though I was doing everything exactly the way that my trainer and all the other trainers before were telling me to do. So the rebel in me got up and I decided to do what the **** I wanted. I stopped being a project and became me.
My road to recovery got a helpful nudge some months ago when I first went to pole dancing and circus&acrobatics classes at Pole4Fit. I had so much fun, got to try new things as well as relearn some old stuff and just let the endorphins flow. I got to challenge myself physically and mentally. Unfortunately, because of my work and other occupations, I don't stay in one place for long enough to go there regularly, but it helped me realize that I should move the way that my body tells me to (this is a que for all you cheerleaders in Helsinki to give me a call if you need a very rusty addition to your veteran squad). Training was and always has been a part of me, a way to express myself and I shouldn't fight the way it comes naturally. It's a process and now I guess I'm in a phase of deliberate mindfulness. I train almost every day, but I leave room for flexibility. If my body tells me to do yoga instead of a kick-ass circuit work out, I'll do the yoga. I don't stress about training anymore and I don't focus on the effects of it on my body. Which are by the way awesome, thanks for asking. Nothing beats the results that a stress-free lifestyle has on your appearance. I realize that to be the best version of me I need to listen first and foremost to myself.
Have a mindful, active and stress-free weekend! <3