Balance. That’s it really, very simple.
That’s the approach I try to follow. I eat well, but that doesn’t mean I don’t pig out on cake from time to time, or go out and drink. I workout a lot, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have days where I just lounge around in bed all day. I am generally a positive person, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have dark thoughts.
I truly believe in the importance of listening to your body, particularly in regards to health and fitness. Working in a gym means I know a lot of people who compete in bodybuilding or bikini competitions. I really admire those who can do it without getting too mentally involved, they do what they need to do and once it’s over return to their lives as normal. However, after speaking to a friend who’s been competing for the past two years, it seems that for some people the super strict diet and exercise regime can become internalised, making it almost impossible to eat a meal without knowing the exact macros, or miss a day of training.
This mental state isn’t exclusive to those who compete. I went through a phase a couple of years ago of extreme clean eating (referred to as Orthorexia). It became so healthy it was unhealthy. It was detrimental to my mental state, got in the way of relationships, made me anxious in social situations and had a negative impact on me physically. I still have my moments, still go through phases of feeling the need to control, but on the whole I’m much more relaxed with food now and it’s amazing the difference it makes.
What I have really begun to understand over the past year or so, is how much our mental state affects how our body functions. Take my obsessive clean eating for instance; nutritionally speaking, I was getting all the right vitamins and minerals I needed; my plate was full of veggies and my cupboards bursting with superfoods. Despite all this, my digestion was terrible, my hormones were all over the place and physically I didn’t look my best (even though I was eating a diet that some would consider ideal to achieve the perfect ‘glow’). The stress I caused myself regarding what I was eating, on top of the stress I was already under from exams, meant I wasn’t really receiving any of the benefits from these amazing foods. My diet now isn’t hugely different (apart major increase in calories!), the main difference is my attitude towards it.
This is how my name ‘Body in Mind’ was formed. It epitomises my belief that the two are intrinsically connected: what you put in your body impacts how you look, feel and think, what you put in your head affects what you think, do and how you function. It therefore makes sense that we take care of both equally, maintaining a balance between the two in order to make the most out of what we have, and be the best versions of ourselves.