When I get moments to reflect, I ask myself certain questions. It is great to see people’s efforts to be more health conscious (even if it doesn’t come particularly naturally), all in order to be healthier and essentially decrease toxicity exposure which we are so prone to. But then again WHY do we keep toxicity in our lives in other forms, such as emotional toxicity?
When it comes to health and fitness, we shall remember the effect that emotional toxicity has on our health and fitness.
The body is extremely attune with our emotions, and reactions. Feelings of anger, resentment, repression, fear, grief, loss, guilt, shame (constant need to prove yourself), are some examples of emotional toxicity that can have a detrimental affect on our health and fitness long-term and short-term.
Our bodies excrete hormones based around our mood and feeling. For example, we know dopamine is our reward and motivation hormone.
What implications would consistently low levels of dopamine have on our lives?
Serotonin is our happy hormone and is associated with feelings of well-being.
Serotonin and it’s receptors are the cornerstone in anti-depressant medication
FUN FACT: Serotonin is mostly found in the digestive system!
Does what we put into our digestive system, affect our well-being??
If you’ve heard of OPrah Winfrey, she has been battling with ‘the bulge’ for years. Being a celebrity and having access to all the best meal options, chefs, and fitness coaches, she has STILL battled. Her story may not be the same as yours, but it helps to shed light on the emotional side of weight loss
It is clear, our hormonal activity changes with our emotions and food intake, and vice versa. Keeping in mind, you don’t have to have experienced serious life trauma or chronic exposure to experience these emotions/reactions. It is easy to push these emotions/behaviours aside as they involve taking ACTION to get rid of, and at times can unveil a fair amount of emotional pain when initially uncovered. If not uncovered, they seap out of your pores.
Each year that goes by, more coping methods and intrusive thoughts build to cover up what’s seaping out – like sandbags piling up to prevent a flood.
The truth is, these sandbags are HEAVY, and they weigh you down. Mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Then we go to the gym and eat-well, and get frustrated as to why we have no energy, or why we aren’t losing weight. This is exactly Why I don’t just ‘personal train’ anymore. Achieving fitness goals for some people, requires full-on health coaching.
Likely because the sandbags (filled with emotional toxicity) are now blocking everything. They’re blocking the nutrients from the foods you are eating, they are blocking the fat-burning potential of the body because the body is in turmoil and the body has other priorities (i.e. keeping you alive) rather than burning fat. On the contrary, the body may even STORE fat because it’s in fear of the emotionally toxic flood!
The cool part is, removing the sandbags doesn’t always have to a loooooong drawn out process. Any lasting change is said to have the following framework
- Desire/ contemplation
It is possibly to move through these stages at a fair pace, depending, everyone is different.
If one thing doesn’t work, time to course correct! You may even be doing 4-5 things. If they aren’t working, change something. Or maybe you’ve jumped right to step 4 which is great and a good sign you NEED AND WANT the change, but maybe you need to reaffirm WHY you need the change (step 1, 2, and 3). Why does this matter to you so much? Why is it SO important?
The best thing to do is first grant yourself the courage to embark upon this project of removing the sandbags (emotional weight). I’ll tell you right now – it’s going to be much more difficult than driving your ass to the gym! But if driving your ass to the gym hasn’t gotten you where you want to be, likely you know it’s because the emotional sandbags are piled so high, nothing is going to work. So, my fellow action taker, it is time to start following where the leak is actually starting from. Once we can locate that, we can see where the leak is travelling through and all the energy supply that is getting burnt out by it. Now, we can begin to listen to ourselves.
I would never say to give up or stop exercising. Just exercise from a more nurturing place. Breathing and listening to your body rather than beating it up.
There are lots of helpful books depending on what your leakage is all about.
A couple of the books that have helped me IMMENSELY are:
- A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle
- The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz
In all our efforts to have a healthier, fitter, stronger body – we must understand that the body is directly linked to our mind. In our mind, there is a pain body (as you can read about in ‘A New Earth’). The pain body leads us to have certain thoughts, and the thoughts and more thoughts lead to certain actions.
Somewhere in there, there are actions that are unknowingly (subconsciously) adding more sandbags so we can’t achieve our fitness and health goals because there’s just too damn much to do in a day and our body cannot support weight-loss or strength gains.
So my action-taking friends, let’s look at the full scope of what we stand for and aim to live whole-heartedly and take action to eliminate the emotional sandbags so we can free ourselves and unleash our bodies amazing capacity to thrive and start really LIVING.
Asma Kassam, BHK, CFST
Kinesiologist & Health & Fitness coach
Active Kinetix Fitness