A few weeks ago, a mentor of mine asked me a question while we were discussing pain and pain management. He asked me what kind of relationship I had with my body. This got me thinking…  If I had to give an answer right now, a brutally honest answer, I would say that I have a pretty sh-tty relationship with my body, and I am confident that many of you reading probably feel the same.  

For those who have been reading this column for as long as I have been writing it you will have noticed I never give quick fixes. I never prescribe meal plans to make you skinny or promote the latest fad diet. I don’t promise you 5 simple moves to a better butt or promise you that a particular workout will get you beach body ready. And I don’t do those things because I want to promote healthy living, which includes loving and respecting the bodies that we are blessed to have. I encourage you to work hard and to be your best but in the most positives ways as possible. Hard work is good, but not if it’s coming from a bad place.

So what does a good relationship with our body actually mean? Well I can’t speak for you but let me tell you what it means to me. It means not constantly grabbing the fat on my belly between my fingers. It’s not feeling guilty for eating too much mac and cheese the night before with my niece and nephew. It means not getting mad at myself because I ran way slower than I should have. It means not getting upset at the fact that I have an injury and I can’t push myself to the levels that I crave and actually allowing myself some time to rest and heal.  

I remember when I first started running and competing in running races I would constantly tell myself I wasn’t good enough. When I was tired I would tell myself you didn’t train hard enough or you are out of shape.  When someone passed me I would almost scold myself for allowing that to happen. And because of this, my times were slow. They were slow not because I was a slow runner but because I told myself I wasn’t good enough. I took that negative self-talk I was feeding myself and morphed it into positive self-talk and, no joke, my times started to sky rocket. I went from a 2:18 half marathon to a 1:32 half marathon. Being tired started to be a good feeling and when someone passed me I congratulated them in my mind on how hard they were working, turning the disgust I felt towards myself to admiration for the other runner.

Having a bad relationship with our bodies is the start of a downward spiral. You stop eating healthy because who cares, right? You stop working hard in your workouts because you believe that is all you have to give.  The more you fill your body with foods to feed your emotions, the less you exercise and the worse you feel. You will spin and spin and spin until you are so far down a tunnel it is almost impossible to climb out.  

So my challenge to you is to catch yourself whenever you are about to put your body down and turn that thought into something positive. To listen to your body and to give it what it needs. To fuel it with healthy foods, healthy moves and healthy thoughts. And remember, I am always here for any of your smutty fitness questions. Email me at [email protected].