By Michele Zehr
To say that I am sore is an understatement right now. I’m sort of walking like I have no knees because my quads in particular are so sore and tight. To be honest, I’m not sure there is a part of my body that isn’t sore right now. Mo gave me another set of exercises (that I do right in my home) that I found pretty challenging, and all I could do was laugh when I imagined what I must have looked like trying to maintain my form (laughing at yourself joyfully is liberating by the way!!). Even with the pain, I really trust him. I know he knows what he’s doing and he also respects my philosophy with how I’m approaching this entire experience.
For instance, he had me get on the scale this week, and before I did I told him that it’s fine if he wants me to weigh, but that this number is not how I am going to gauge my progress or determine that I’ve been “successful.” He totally got it and said that we don’t have to weigh every week but it is one way for him to monitor how my body is responding to the workouts. I respect that as he doesn’t live in my body, and he can’t feel what it feels like to be inside of my body.
Speaking of #’s, I know most people usually post their beginning weight, measurements, pictures, etc. throughout a blog such as this. My omission of these details is intentional, but not because of shame. When I first signed up w/Mo, he had me weigh, measured my BMI, and tape measured the normal places around my body and I took a “before” picture 2 days before my first session with him. I’ll share the pictures when I feel I have reached a point of maintenance, but my emphasis remains on the inner journey. He has this record and he tracks it every 30 days. He also asked if I had a goal weight in mind. For the first time in my life I said, “No, I don’t care what the # is, I only care that I feel healthy.” He respected that too. I was first introduced to this concept of trusting your body wisdom a few years ago when I read the book, “Intuitive Eating,” by Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch. This was the first book that I read that even dared touch upon the fact that the weight-loss industry is a money-making machine and that diets don’t work. The root problem is that we’ve lost our connection to our own body wisdom. Again…relying on all of the external indicators of “success.” It has been so freeing to just go through my workouts without the fear of the scale not moving. In fact, I’m also meditating for about 20 minutes after I work out so that I can really feel the energy and life force moving through my body as a result of exercising…something I’ve never paid attention to before. The more aware you become of your inner world, the more aware you become of everything that makes you tick including those parts of you that love to try to sabotage your plan which brings me to my Inner Hustler.
This week I had many internal conversations with who I refer to as my “Inner Hustler.” You know, this is that voice in your head that is always trying to make a deal. For example, “Oh come on, you’ve had a long day so it’s ok if you only do half of your running mileage.” Or, “Hey, it’s ok if you just walk instead of pushing yourself just a little bit.” My Inner Hustler has also proven quite useful when dealing with a car salesman and things of that nature, so there is no part of me or any of us that is all “bad” or all “good.” Just like nature, everything is made up of light and shadow. I will say that my Inner Hustler can be very convincing. I’d even go so far as to say that I could probably have been a con-artist, but I’ve always said I won’t use my “powers for evil.”
Instead of freaking out about the inner conversation, I just listened to what my Inner Hustler had to say and then asked myself, “What most supports my evolution right now?” This is where we all have to be willing to be blatantly honest (the Inner Hustler hates this by the way). I knew that my body was asking to run all of the mileage. I knew my body was asking me to push just a little bit, so that is what I chose. I felt so good when I finished that particular run. I was proud of myself and I knew I honored my body and loved it.
Another aspect of this journey is honoring my body’s requests. You know that “runner’s high” or all that energy they say you get after exercising? Well, that is not my experience (yet). In fact, I often feel super sleepy after exercising, no matter what time of day I work out. There was one day in particular that I was literally so sleepy and tired after working out that I simply had to lay down and take a nap. I slept for a solid 2 hours but woke up feeling refreshed. I asked Mo about this as I was afraid I was doing something wrong. He helped me understand how my body’s metabolism and energy responses are working during these beginning stages of changing my energy demands. I was used to being sedentary most of the time and then I woke up one day and started jogging 10 miles a week and doing other exercise. My body needs time to realize that this extra energy demand is here to stay, so he said, “Of course you were tired, but after your nap did you have energy again?” I told him yes, and that I was able to get to work without feeling like I was going to fall asleep. He said that was perfect, and if my body is asking for sleep, then give it sleep. I was super excited that I had intuitively respected my body’s requests.
The last thought I want to touch upon is related to offering non-judgmental compassion to all people, regardless of their body size, makeup, etc. Have you ever had a friend who smoked and after they quit they became the most obnoxious and judgmental “hater of smokers?” I think people who have extreme reactions like this have them because they are fearful they will be sucked back into the unhealthy behavior, so they have to make an “enemy” out of the very person they used to be. I think people who really transform their bodies could easily fall into this place of fear too. I want to be perfectly clear about my intention with this blog. I don’t personally believe that all humans were meant to be the same size. I don’t believe body fat is unattractive or that it is even an indication that a person is unhealthy. I believe curvy women are just as beautiful and valuable and worthy of love as thin women. In fact, I have a friend who could probably out-hike most people while climbing up a mountain because she hikes all of the time. She also happens to be a curvy woman. Does this make her unhealthy automatically? My personal answer is no, but I do believe there are markers that can tell us if we are unhealthy regardless of how much fat is on our bodies.
For me, I was told by my doctor that I was just barely below the threshold of being a Type 2 diabetic, and I was getting to the point that I didn’t enjoy hiking because it was painful on my feet and knees. This scared me because I know Type 2 diabetes is a serious health concern that can be reversed by giving my body what it really needs. And as far as hiking goes, I can think of no other place I’d rather be than in the middle of the wilderness, but you have to hike to get there and I was about to lose this most sacred place because I was not honoring my body. All of this was part of my decision-making process. I had to ask if I wanted a life of taking pills to “correct” what I knew I could correct through movement and better nutrition, and I had to ask if I wanted to force myself through unnecessary pain so that I could commune more deeply with the Earth. So I am not preaching, “All people must do what I am doing or you’re all losers” I’m sharing my inner journey because I want every person (women particularly) to be able to witness what is possible if we are willing to completely surrender our old stories and self-limiting beliefs. Yes, I’ve tried many things in the past and I had always considered them failures because it didn’t stick, but I realized the other day that these weren’t failures by any stretch of the imagination. They were preparing me for this moment in time, as it has been easier to change my eating habits and use correct form for my exercises because of the things I’d tried before. My body remembered what to do so much more easily, so I’ve also released the stories that I “failed” at anything in the past. In fact, it was all perfect and prepared me for this exact moment. Here’s to another week of transformation from the inside out!
P.S. If you decide to sign up with Mo because of this blog, please mention you heard about him because of Michele’s Blog. Mo offers to every customer a free session for each referral, so I’d appreciate it greatly. Thank you.