The Role of Fitness and Nutrition in Empowerment
"Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness." Joseph Pilates
As many of you know, I have been doing healing work with others for almost twenty years now and I have always understood the role of exercise and nutrition in living an empowered life - to a point. I knew it, but as long as I was feeling reasonably well physically and energetically, I didn't think about it nearly as much as would have been ideal.
Honestly, for me, as a child of abuse and neglect, I always had a bit of a disconnect from my physical body. (Disassociating from the physical body is a popular coping strategy for those who grow up in abuse) While I exercised much of my adult life, it was more off and on than I wanted, as were healthy eating habits. To be totally honest, for much of my life I used my body as a playground - I ate and drank what I wanted, stayed up too late and largely ignored the health and well being of my body. I have done over 25 years of healing work on my emotional, spiritual and energetic wounds and trauma in a very dedicated and focused way, but still there was a disconnect from my physical health, and even a lack of regard for my physical health at all.
I feel like, although it is not ideal for anyone, most of us can skate through our younger years living this way - maybe even all the way through our 30's into our 40's, without too many health repercussions. Once we hit our mid to late 40's though, the jig is up. For me, five years ago, at 42, I found out that I had an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto's Disease, chronic inflammation in my body and I was in early onset perimenopause. At the time I was a bit scared and made some small changes, but I honestly was not yet ready to take dedicated action in this area of my life. Why? Well, for starters, as I said, I was divorced from my body, and that worked for me in a way, because it allowed me to not feel many unprocessed painful emotions that were stored up in my body from childhood trauma.
Over those five years I did make a lot of good decisions that would lead me to a healthier and happier life. I left an abusive relationship, facing my fear of being alone, I left a partying lifestyle, I left friendships with toxic people, I moved from a crowded and expensive major metropolitan area to a small town in the mountains and I married a wonderful, loving and kind man. Things were looking up in many ways and I felt much better for it.
However, once we started getting settled into our new home in beautiful Asheville, my physical health began to demand my attention. I started having a lot of symptoms - extreme fatigue, mood swings (something I had always struggled with), depression, burnout, irritability, brain fog, aches and pains I had never before experienced and chronic anger. I began seeing an integrative medicine doctor and found that my Hashimoto's antibody levels were through the roof, which was not too surprising since my symptoms were much worse than before.
He suggested that I try the Autoimmune Protocol diet for 30 days and then come back to have my levels retested to see if it helped me at all. I got on the AIP diet and decided I was ready (finally - after YEARS of trying to get serious about my physical health!) -- fast forward to now, eleven weeks later, and I feel SO much better!!! Not only that, but when, after 30 days, I had my levels retested, they had all gone way down!!! After ONLY 30 days! I felt more energized, more balanced and so happy to have found a viable solution. Yes, the food plan is strict, but it is worth it! What I realized for myself is this - if I feel this much better after 30 days, and my levels are going down so much so fast, why would I not continue to eat in this way? It only makes good sense, and I am done feeling sick.
I had been doing Pilates off and on for years, and had been in search of a studio here in town that taught the style I was looking for. I am happy to say that I found one, and when I began, I have been going five days a week ever since. I LOVE IT and know that part of the key for me in being consistent with exercise was finding exercise that I actually ENJOY.
So what's the point in me sharing all of this with you? I have now come to understand in a very deep way the importance of physical health and how that well being, or lack thereof, either contributes to our emotional well being or depletes it. Mind, body and spirit are indeed ONE. You cannot separate them. As a result, I have made the decision to do some additional trainings and expand my business offerings - I am beginning a Pilates instructor training in less than two weeks and a nutrition health coach training next month. It is my intention to still offer energy healing for trauma, emotional imbalance, etc., and these other areas will augment my work of helping women to connect with and ground in their authentic power.
What I know now is that if your physical body is sick, you have nothing. Everything else erodes from there. When fatigued or sick, those issues take ALL of our attention from the other areas of life. Our physical body is truly the house of our power - without a strong body, you cannot have access to your full power...it is impossible. As my teacher used to say, "the way you tend to your physical body is the way you tend to your power." This is more true than I ever realized.