An area that I am passionate about in my Coaching is Health and Well being. Being the wonderful age that I am, my health really became an issue for me towards the end of 2012 however, it wasn’t until around April 2013 I decided to do something about it by joining an10:00 am Army outdoor boot camp course for about 6 weeks. Typical of me at times, there were no half measures, I knew I had to do something challenging in my life and to get going I needed to do something involving people. Well, lets just say the first session I did was one hour-long. It consisted of running between strategically arranged poles and doing sit-ups and all manner of exercises. Working individually as well as in teams. Using tyres, carry Logs for weight-bearing exercise, etc. When I finally arrived home I was shattered. I had my shower followed by something to eat and that was my day over because I slept like I never slept before. They could have moved the whole house and I would not of known a thing. Because my poor cells did not know what had hit them. It’s funny now, but at the time I could not believe how spent I was. But it was the injection to change I needed, and I have been on a Lifestyle change ever since.
Cute kitten huh? But I remember that in 2012 and early 2013 I had reached a place where the mirror was far from being my friend. In fact I had grown to a point where I disliked what I saw whenever I looked in the mirror.
As a Coach I realised that there are many of us, not just women who are not happy with their body shape or looks for one reason or another. Poor confidence, low self-esteem are products of our struggles. For me, I had ever increasing concerns over my health, because my body had started to flag visible indicators that it was not happy. I had swollen ankles summer and winter, my knees ached and my energy levels were terrible. Even when I slept I woke up feeling fatigued. While my clothing style had moved to a place where the elasticated-waist was my friend and everything I wore on a day-to-day basis had to be loose-fitting instead of fitted or figure hugging in any way. I was also at an age where some of my friends and family members were now suffering from high blood pressure or diabetes. So I knew I needed to do something, but the question was what? My work-life balance had very little room it seemed for exercise, and work involved working far from home and I was not one for travelling on the train with a packed lunch, basically because If I remembered to prepare lunch today guaranteed I would either run out of the right stuff or not have enough time within a day or two to do it again. So For me it was easier just to buy from the surrounding shops. However, as I have learnt over the past months, you have no idea what shops use to make up their dressings and sauces. I also now realised that it’s not just about calorie counting nor focusing on Salads, salads, salads. Because it’s about eating sufficient proteins, fiber, mixed carbs, fruit and veg especially to support you during exercise.
Many of us walk around portraying one view to the world whilst inside the truth is a hidden and scary place. I was thinking about Maslow’s Window. It’s a teaching tool that is widely used and many a Social Worker, Health Care Professional, Counsellor, etc will be very familiar with its observations. Maslow said each of us have four windows – the first window is Open and reflects the person we are happy to expose or reveal. The second is the person others see, in other words how people perceive you. This perception of you is not always agreed with, infact when you hear others view of you, you may well be surprised. The third is the hidden part of us. The areas of our lives we choose to keep private, the skeletons that exist in our personally well locked cupboards. This area we rarely share or reveal. Lastly, there is the fourth window, this is the unknown area – both to us as well as others. I feel, that when we are struggling with self, you flit emotionally between windows 1 and 3. The aim being that people do not detect the struggle or see too much of the real you as viewed via window 2. So we perfect how to not trigger unwanted attention or questions.
I learnt that, the truth is we have the power to control what people see and how much they can perceive of you. Some of us are brilliant at this, even to our own detriment. Mind you, there is always that person who has great perception and I remember being extremely alarmed by one person who asked me something at a difficult time in my life that I thought I was handling quiet well. I was totally shocked, because I thought I had masked myself brilliantly and those who were close to me had no idea what was going on however, this almost stranger had seen more than I expected. How on earth could they see that I wondered? Hahaha people like that at the time I chose to keep at a distance because it felt like someone was learning more than I wanted them to know. Hmmm…. sound familiar?
But struggling to accept who we are, or dealing with how to best change what we see as being unhealthy about ourselves is not an easy thing. Rarely, is the answer easily obtained because it often requires a paradigm shift in us. Deep changes in our values and beliefs which often ties into our attitude and behaviours. These things take time, and are often challenging. Causing us to experience highs and lows, ups and downs.
For a while the Mirror was definitely my foe. It revealed all that I didn’t want to see. The worst being store mirrors in fitting rooms. I cannot tell you how often a shopping experience ended up spinning me into an unhappy place of which chocolate was the answer. Being unhappy with yourself is not an easy place. I decided I needed to change my circumstances and the only way was to jump in with both feet and do something drastic. I’m glad I did, as now I am in a much happier place. The mirror is no longer my foe and in fact I have become more and more happy with what I see.
My health has changed and so has the reflection I see in the mirror. Improving your health can only be a good thing, so look for how you can make changes. You may want to jump in with both feet like I did or you may choose a more gentle change improving your diet or adding in more gently exercise. Either way be the change you want to be in your own life. The mirror only reflects whats before it and you control that.
Until the next time continue to be the change you want to be.
Aquene7 = Peace