Hi. I’m a person with emotions and a soul who likes to eat delicious food and also enjoys lifting heavy things. Nice to meet you. I am not a machine.
I often find myself thumbing through magazines at the checkout line of (insert your big box store or corporate pharmacy here because REDACTED) and mindlessly take in images of bodies in magazines. We all do it. What I really have noticed more than the images is the common language around bodies when it comes to fitness and health. Food becomes “fuel” and your body is a “machine” and your bones are the “structure” or “frame.” Skin is a “canvas” or makeup is “war paint” and optimal performance is the main workout goal. Even gym clothes are “maximized” to be sleek performance gear, wicking away sweat, ionizing bacteria, and maybe even taking a dna sample? I was kidding about that last part (sort of). We measure and track and monitor and chart and blip and bleep so much of ourselves that a simple trip to the gym can feel like a Marvel superhero training montage. What happens when we fall short of being a high-performance, lean, mean workout machine though? Do we get to be people again? Yeah, we kinda do.
I’ll tell you what happened to me.
I took a beat. I started a plant medicine program where we focus on breathing and feeling and gratitude. I took some time away from a workout space that wasn’t serving me so I could listen to my body instead of the inBody3000xspacefrequencymodulator. I slept in and gave myself permission to NOT be a morning person. I stopped putting the square peg in the round hole. I reminded myself that my machine, my body, has a brain and a heart and a soul that functions beyond repetitive movement. I gave myself space to listen and to be gentle and to get to know those soft parts that pad and cushion the whirring and clicking parts of my body. Most importantly, I gave all of those parts space because they need each other to function as a whole. I know this because I stopped long enough to feel it.
I’m a work in progress, but I’m treating myself like a person instead of a project. Does this mean I won’t ever workout again? Of course not! My body likes to move and my body doesn’t like the pain from staying still for too long. This new space means I get to stretch into my skin and enjoy every kettlebell swing, plank, and foam roll instead of just rolling through a series of motions.
Interested in learning more about Suhayl? Follow her on Instagram @wholehedonist. Want to email her? You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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