Emotional health.

Good morning and Happy Wednesday everyone!  It is a beautiful morning in Fort Collins, Co.  The sky is blue, the sun is shining and the birds are chirping!  What a beautiful start to the day.  So, why do I fell like not doing a darn thing today?  My energy level is low, my sinus’s are killing me, and I am sitting on my rear-end looking at a computer screen for the next eight hours.  Everyday we are faced with making decisions that will affect our day and our lives.  Today, I am faced with the decision to either be a Debbie-downer all day, OR look at the incredibly amazing day that is out there waiting for me!  Even though I am stuck inside, I have a great view from my home office window.  I can see the beautiful blue skies, I have the sun shining in through my window, and I can hear the hustle-and-bustle of the people in my neighborhood.  It really is, a beautiful day!

I still get amazed at how much our emotions affect our lives.  Just writing this BLOG, has already changed my mood for the day.  I feel much more energized and excited to see how this day will play out!  I think that when we put ourselves aside, and do what we can to lift others up and encourage them to be their best, we trigger something inside of us that just oozes energy and goodness.    We all have the natural desires to do good; to help others find a little relief and joy and comfort in their lives.  Now, we all don’t put that into practice, but for those that do, I am willing to bet, they have a very gratifying life themselves.

You may be asking why someone that writes a health and fitness BLOG, is yammering on about emotions and feelings?  Well, good question.  I am convinced that our emotions play a very LARGE part in our state of health.  Just by me feeling blah and unmotivated this morning, kept me form wanting to exercise.  It also has an impact on what I eat throughout the day.  Our emotions influence the decisions we make.  If I continue to let my emotions be of  doom and gloom, then I will not be able to get out of the funk I am in.  Let alone, be able to encourage or inspire others.   People see us for who we are.  We can try to “trick” them into thinking all is well, but through our words and actions, people see the reality of our lives.  Especially those that are close to us.  Our bodies tell us what we need in order to thrive.  The problem is, our emotions keep us from receiving that message.  We tend to focus on the feeling or emotion, rather than focusing on what is important to our health and our lives.  Being healthy is not just about what we eat and how active we are.  Is all about who we are as a whole.  Our mental state-of-mind is so much more important than we give it credit for.  I know for me personally, I can easily let my emotions keep me from being the person that I know I am.  The person that absolutely loves to help, encourage and inspire others.  If we all were to take a close self-examination of ourselves, a realistic self-examination, I am certain that we would be able to take a more informed approach to our health.  When we can come to grips with what is really going on inside of our minds, we will then be able to make the changes needed to live an emotionally healthy life.

I know that there are some out there that are going through some health and medical illnesses.  I am not trying to minimize your struggles at all.  My only goal is, to hopefully offer some encouragement to you.  There is always hope that each of us can, in some way, get through the tough times in our lives, and start to feel the freedom that a healthy life truly gives us.

Eating Disorders are real.

It has been on my heart, for quite sometime now, to talk about Eating Disorders, and their impact on individual lives.  By NO MEANS am I an expert in this field of study.  I am merely concerned for the well being of those that suffer from the conditions that are in the Eating Disorder family, and believe with all my heart that we all need to be aware of these conditions so that we can potentially help those that are suffering from it.  My first exposure to these disorders, was while my daughter was in her Undergraduate program for Psychology, with a minor in Nutrition.  She intern’d with an Eating Disorder Foundation in the area, and we were able to attend a few of their events.  I have to say, it was very eye-opening for me.  Being in the fitness arena, I had heard of these disorders and knew a little bit about how harmful they could be, but had absolutely no idea of the emotional impact they have on the lives of those that are involved.  Not only do these disorders take a toll on the body, but can you imagine the emotional pain and suffering these individuals go through each day?  To get to the point where they cannot stand the sight of themselves, and will do whatever it takes to look a certain way?  It hurts my heart just thinking about how they must feel.  I, personally, cannot imagine the depth of disgust I would need to have with myself, to get to that point  But, these feelings of inadequacy are real for that person.  They, cannot imagine, looking the way they do, any longer.

I started doing some research into Eating Disorders, and I was surprised to see that a large number of Males’s, also suffer from these disorders.  The reason I was surprised, is that you just don’t hear much about men having the same issues with image.  Now, I am not trying to make this look like an issue that only women have.  I know that us guys can struggle with our looks and the image we think women want us to have.  I have always thought women want guys with big muscles and 6-pack abs, and so I have been challenged with thinking I need to have those characteristics too.  But, I know for certain, that the world does not look at men the same way it looks at women.  Our society has indeed made it more difficult for women to be who they truly are, and has put then in an impossible position of thinking they need to look like Victoria Secret Model’s, or NFL Cheerleaders, or .. anyone that looks different than they do.  Knowing that, as a guy, I have contributed to these adverse feelings, breaks my heart. Unfortunately, I can honestly say, I have made more than one woman out there, feel insecure; inadequate; or even worse, like a piece of meat.  Words cannot express, how sorry I am for doing that.

For all you men and women who are out there reading this, PLEASE here this:  YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME.  You are perfect, just the way you are.  There is nothing you need to change about how you look, just to make someone else accept you.  Don’t give into the lies and fantasies of others, that tell you that your not good enough, or you don’t fit in, or you need to look like this person or that person.  It is not worth the time or effort you are putting into it.  Have confidence in who you are and what you look like.  If you need help getting  to that point, reach out to someone, and let them help you.  We are here for you, and want you to know, you are not alone.  Together, as a society of people that care, anything can be overcome.

Eating Disorders are real.  We need to make sure that we know the warning signs so that we are ready to step in when ever possible.  The people that struggle with these disorders, are our friends, family members, loved ones.  We need to be there to help them get through the toughest of times, and to let them know they are loved!

You are WORTH IT!

What would it be like, if the world around us, had no influence at all on how we live our lives?  No one telling us we are too fat, or too skinny, or too shy, or too loud… etc.  We are constantly under the microscope of how the world perceives us.  Unfortunately, it is much worse for women, than it is for men.  I agree, that is totally unfair.  My hope is, that we can all see ourselves for who we are, without the outside influences.  Yes, there may be changes we need to make in order be the “best version” of ourselves that we can be, BUT we need to make those changes based on our own personal choices.  As a 53 year old man, I realize that I will have some “restrictions” to what I can achieve.  I get that.  I also understand that, my results will be based on how much effort I put into the process. You are no different.  You can do anything you put your mind to.  So, let’s take a step back a minute to the outside influences we discussed earlier.  We have already discussed is an earlier BLOG, that we live our lives based on our emotions.  So, when our outside influences are telling us (for example) we are too fat,  what do our emotions, tell us to do?  Stop eating?  Eat more?  Start exercising?  Our emotions will tell us, what we ALLOW them to tell us.  If we give into the outside influences, we will more than likely turn to the extreme.  The Quick Fix.  I have talked to so many people that are trying to lose weight and they just stop eating because that is the “quick fix” for them.  The way of thinking; “In order lose weight I have to eat less” or ” I have to stop eating because food makes me fat”,  will not only steer you in the opposite direction you want to go, but could potentially create severe disorders. Losing weight does not necessarily mean eating less.  It means you have to start watching what you eat and make better choices. The same applies if you want to gain weight.   The important thing to remember here is, YOU ARE WORTH IT!  Nothing can stop you from succeeding,  except you.  Don’t listen to the outside “noise”, just be confident in who you are.

Emotions rule…

If there is anything I have learned over the last 15 years of being in the health and wellness arena it is this: Emotions rule the world!  I know that may be hard to hear, but if you really think about it, there is nothing that happens in our lives that our emotions do not have an influence over.  Our family, friends, work relationships.  You name it. Where there is a “relationship“, there our emotions will be.  Believe it or not, we also have a relationship with our health.  Have you heard the term “comfort food“?  We eat different foods based on how we are feeling.  For me personally, if I am feeling down or stressed, I love a good pint of good ole Ben & Jerry’s, Karmel Sutra Ice Cream.  Then, before you know it, I am wearing my sweat pants everywhere because I can’t fit into my skinny jeans! lol..  We all do it.   We may not realize it, but it is a reality of life.  The way I see it, we have two choices here:  We can either rule our emotions and keep them in check.  Or, we let our emotions rule us, and keep eating that ice cream.  By no means am I saying it will be easy.  I will be the first one to admit that.  But here’s the thing;  life is always going to happen.  Relationships, food, jobs.  Everything we come in contact with, will have the potential of influencing our relationships.  So, let’s embrace life!  Let’s embrace the fact that life is going to happen (no matter how hard we try to keep it from happening).  Let’s learn how to recognize the situations that will affect our emotions, and take control over them, before they have the chance to take control over us.