Monday, September 22, 2014

Sleep Is My Cardio + The E word

Happy Monday readers! I hope you slept well last night and had a great start to your week this morning.  Praying you all have a happy, healing week! A few weeks ago my husband and I were walking around Atlantic Station in Atlanta when we spotted this shirt. Actually, my husband spotted it first and said Danielle I see a shirt that we have to get for you!! That shirt was this one above. We both just laughed. Because it's true-- sleep is my cardio. I mean these past few months (and maybe even past few years!) it has been.  I love that we laugh about it without thinking that it should be otherwise.  This topic was bound to come up at some point. That word that everyone including myself does not like: exercising.  Just typing it out made me roll my eyes. To me it falls under the same category as drinking enough water every day and eating fiber. They're very beneficial (and actually necessary!) but they also have a lot of stigma and frankly boredom attached to them.  I'm sure everyone seems to think that I exercise all of the time since I live a very healthy and natural lifestyle, I'm thin, and I write a blog on natural living. Really though, I basically never exercise.

There's an aspect of that that I do like, but there's another aspect of that that needs some growth and thought for me and what better place to explore such a topic than on this little blog with any readers out there. My initial thoughts on exercising are that I love that I don't have any guilt when it comes to needing to exercise or not exercising. I obviously don't exercise but maybe once a year, and I absolutely have no guilt about that at all. As I've said before, I don't want any kind of guilt associated with eating, being skinny, or being healthy (or with anything really!) to be a part of my thinking or lifestyle.  I intentionally rid of guilt in any form in my life and thinking, and it is intentional! I remember a few times in college I ate a really heavy meal or a ton of junk food and all of us would say casually, "I just ate so much, I need to go work out now!" There were definitely times where I really meant that too, and I did go and work out. I'm sorry, but I'm going to go ahead and say it: I do not like or live by the mentality that I need to work for my food -- healthy food or unhealthy food.  I strongly dislike that mentality actually and it really stirs someone within me to hear people say that. I am not a dog (and to be honest I don't even treat my dog like that!) However, if you're reading this blog post, you're not a circus animal who needs to work for food. Some people post this mentality all over the internet... "You can eat unhealthy, you just have to work for it!" Really? I can eat unhealthy if I choose and I DON'T have to work for it. (I'm sure you're tempted to stop reading here, but keep reading!) I stay far away from that type of thinking, just as I stay away from the whole working out to get rid of calories you ate.  I'm all about working for things and putting effort into things, but working/exercising to eat which is a natural God-given need? No. I don't like this at all. I hate to stir up a raucous, but I don't really like the concepts of The Biggest Looser and their views on "health," which seem to broadcast this same belief all over their show. I only believe that eating and working out should  be related that in the sense that we do it to give to our bodies and to heal and to be well, not that one depends on the other though or that we are allowed to eat unhealthy foods if we work out. I'm sorry, but no!! Now, this isn't to say that I don't think we should work for things in our life or put efforts forth to be intentional in certain areas. I am all about being intentional, and this post is just proof of that. I want us to intentionally think about these things and chat about them too. I desire for us all to think about our lives with intention and not just let life happen to us. That's a mark of growth and maturity. However, let's just establish right off the bat that the reason why I want/need to exercise is not to work for my food!

I do however realize exercising is important and I realize being healthy is important. But being healthy does not equate to being skinny. You can either chase after a certain weight or you can pursue wellness. Those two aren't the same and I believe they're actually very different. You may get some of the same results (such as a healthier body) but the mindset and goals are really very different. Wellness is not about a certain weight or body shape. Wellness, to me at least, is about honoring the body you have been giving no matter how it looks and working towards being well physically, emotionally, and mentally. It's sort of a journey to healing and growing and becoming the men and women we were purposed and destined to be who will accomplish the dreams deep inside of our hearts. Wellness is about healing, and skinny may be a natural by product that comes along with becoming "healthy" and well, but it's not the goal.

Why I Don't Exercise: 
One of the main reasons I have not exercised in the past few years is because all I knew about exercising was working to be able to eat and to be able to eat more yummy calorie rich foods. I knew that I didn't want to partake in that mindset, and since that is really all I knew about exercising I stayed away from it. I don't like to do things in my life against things. For example, I don't want to work against a flu or cold I might get. I want to work with my body to help heal itself and for my body's good, not against something bad. It seems like there is no distinction between the two, but there have actually been many studies that say this type of wording and mindsets make a huge difference in how your brain perceives it's functions and whether or not your body will respond well or begrudgingly. I don't get into all of the research side of things as much (Remember, I'm the girl who didn't go to the Library in college until Senior year!), but I can tell you this-- from my own mere life existence and experience I know this there to be a difference between working against something and working for something. Changing my perspective on this has made a huge difference in my life. For so many years I worked against my body-- against my body shape, against my breakouts on my skin, against my sicknesses that I had all too often (I was a very sickly child, had heart surgery by the time I was two and had multiple health issues my whole life). This perspective of working against sicknesses or anything was an attitude that honestly subconsciously made me sort of hate my body. This is NOT wellness. This is not being healthy. Even if I would have been taking all of these supplements to just GET RID of sicknesses and fat or whatever! That's not wellness. Wellness is honoring your body and honoring who made it. Our bodies are amazing, beyond belief! I mean they are more genius and more of a masterpiece than any other worldly man-made or natural masterpiece ever created. The more I learn about our bodies, the more I amazed and fascinated I am with how genius they are. We are the glorious jewels of Heaven on this Earth. Our bodies were made in such intricate ways to work towards healing. They know healing. Before we came to this Earth our bodies were perfect without flaw and our bodies know that well. We don't need to hate our body or constantly beat it up and down. Let's honor it, let's work with it to do it's job and let's trust that it knows what's it's doing.

Now, in regards to exercising -- I don't want to work out so that I can work against gaining weight or even a disease. If I work out and exercise I want it to be because I am FOR something-- strengthening my body to become stronger as just one example. Feeling better and having more energy as another example. Getting natural vitamin D and relaxing by being outside in pure nature as yet another. I don't even like saying the words that exercising has many "health benefits" because that sounds so boring and really it doesn't even do it justice. I really believe exercising is a privilege that we have the luxury to even do! The important part about this though is that if I'm going to exercise, I want it to be for one or all of those benefits and luxuries, not because I have to do it to loose weight or prevent weight gain or even prevent a heart attack!

So.... this leads me to Exercising Part II which I will post later this week! In the meantime, think about these thoughts I shared. Let me know if you agree or disagree! And let's all try to let go of the guilt! 

P.S. To Read My Series on How I Think About Eating and Health Click Here, Here and Here.


Disclaimer: PRTLIVING (and all of those feature and interviewed) is limited to providing self-help education in natural health matters and advocating of a healthy lifestyle for the sole purpose of sharing personal experiences and historical information about the traditional use of God-given herbs and natural remedies. This information is not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any specific disease. No medical claims are made. If you have a medical problem, please seek the advice of your medical doctor.

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