What is your idea of a healthy body? Is it the version that’s been flying around the media about having a ‘beach ready’ body, you know, the bikini body? Or is it the type that is a defined, kick-ass looking body, that comes from tough sport or martial arts training? However you define it, it does seem that men and women are under immense pressure to conform to a notion of a healthy body that is all to do with their exterior look!
In my role as Interfaith Minister, I regularly officiate at funerals for people younger than myself; and in the past eighteen months, I have lost two family members who are several years my junior. In the present, many people appear to be dying younger, from preventable diseases than was previously the case. When I contemplate on this, I wonder what it means to live, to be healthy and strong and to have a healthy body…
It is true that a healthy body comes in all shapes and sizes. At my age, (I’ll be fifty-seven in a couple of weeks time), I am continuing to play, have fun and enjoy my life, and why shouldn’t it be so? However, traditional wisdom tells us that as we arrive into middle-age, our bodies will start it’s rapid down hill journey into deterioration, and function less well than in our younger years. I do not consider myself old, but many do lol (especially my grandchildren), but I feel a great pressure not to ‘look my age’, but to remain looking young. Of course we see this all over the place, from glamorous grannies, to healthy film stars; no wonder so many of us are obsessed with trying to stay looking young on the outside, in order to compensate for how we might feel about what could be happening on the inside!
There are some raw foodists too who seem to be preoccupied with their youth-like or younger looking appearance and ways to hold back the natural hands of time, as part of their selling point…rather than focusing on a youthfulness of mind and spirit, which is what keeps us positive and playfully healthy anyway.
I think my body speaks to me even more directly now than it did before, and I am made instantly aware of any slip into unhealthy practices. Fortunately I am in tune with the possible meaning of a headache, tiredness, anxiousness, aches and pains etc., so I see a healthy body in terms of meaning ‘self-care’ for wellbeing, for which I am directly responsible.
Our connection to our bodies changes throughout our lives, but the bottom line is that in order to maintain our health, our bodies need nutrients for fuel, maintainance and growth, along with regular physical movement and with positivity feeding our mind and spirit. Of course age is a factor, but mostly in relation to how much of each we may require at a personal level. If we are taking our self-care seriously and making healthful choices each day, we are more likely to benefit long term by having a healthier body.
Coming back to food for a moment, I have discovered how a raw plant-based food lifestyle benefits my particular needs. I have done this by committing to the journey and by making all the usual mistakes, and then by learning how address them at my own very personal pace. I try not to use labels to define my life (i.e. raw food teacher etc.), as I find that they can create unwanted expectations. Rather than that, I am Anita, fulfilling my purpose with as much grace as I can muster. With raw plant-based food, the most important thing is our commitment to discovering how it can beautifully support our journey to sustainable wellbeing and great health, no matter our age, looks, shape, or gender.
Just as with other areas of our lives, where we plan and create strategies to sustain a good productive life, or to attain the outcomes we want, we can also benefit from creating a self-care plan or routine that helps us to develop and sustain healthful behaviours.
We need to develop a set of new personal roots, so that:
- we can keep it real and focus more on how we feel, rather than how we look!
- we can understand that it’s not only about food, but also about how we think
- we can learn how to connect within ourselves, developing a personal awareness of our needs
- we can reduce and eventually eliminate unhealthy attitudes & behaviours, replacing them with more uplifting ways of being
- we can take full responsibility for our personal wellbeing, forget the adverts and propaganda and find out for ourselves
- we can create connections with like-minded people, who will support our decision to prioritise becoming healthier
- we can learn how to live in the moment, finding ways to keep our focus on now, reducing stress associated with being pre-occupied with the past & future
- we can learn a new physical activity or reboot an old passion, keeping our organs and body in it’s best natural shape
- we can change our eating habits to include healthier options, providing much needed essential nutrition for optimum body functioning
You could continue adding to this list of suggested new roots of behaviour, but play around with the list anyway. Some suggestions may speak to you louder than others. Try listing them in order of importance to you, maybe try one or two out and see where it leads you, and perhaps journal about your process of discovering what a healthy body really means to you…in any case, remember I’m on the same journey with you!
Here are a few affirmative gems I have picked up along the way:
Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body
Healthy Life, Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
Behind Every Healthy Body, There is A Healthy Mind
Health is Wealth
Eat Well, Feel Well
Keep in touch, let me know how you get on with your lifestyle changes
Sistahintheraw – The Wellbeing Warrior x