Body and mind.

by therapyjourney

It’s time to start focusing on the physical body as well as the expanding mind. As often happens in life, you devote your energies to a current project that interests and consumes you, but logically there has to be something else that suffers. For me, I have clearly been addressing my psychological wellbeing, and on top of that have spent more time cultivating existing friendships, working on my relationship, excelling at my job, eating and resting well, and generally being super. What is lacking is any sustained physical exertion, or attempt to train my body. I bang on about a holistic approach to therapy, yet neglect how important the physical body is to mental wellbeing.

Yesterday I was given the once over by a Tanita Body Composition Analyzer and the results were predictable. Most of the time I feel like I’m wasting away. When I stepped up onto the scale, I felt like the 7-year old with too-big clothes. My weight had dropped again. I have an ongoing health issue that has given my lungs a battering in recent years. The infection has become something else from the disease I had in 2011, but it doesn’t affect my day-to-day life very much except having to take medication every 12 hours. I am sure that the medication or the disease itself causes weight to drop off me. I have always been skinny but there is less of me now than at any other point in my life.

Being skinny is something I don’t really think about. Sure, I know I am lucky to be able to wear skimpy things without rolls of fat hanging out, and it’s great being able to eat like a horse and not pile on the pounds, and also there’s something very efficient about taking up less space, that really appeals to me. But for me, my current uber-skinniness is connected with the unpleasantness and uncertainty of being long-term ill. It’s the suspicion that I might be disappearing, gradually, almost imperceptibly.

Tanita complete

I’ve included some of my data here, including blood pressure (some diastolic readings were red-zone low, but overall, normal). I was shocked that my ‘ideal body weight’ whatever that means, is 15kg more than my current weight. I have to remember that this kind of meaningless garbage is purely theoretical tosh based on averages and is only meant as a guide. But just so I can get it out, here are the stats. Fat mass: 7%. BMI: 16.5. Degree of obesity: -25.2. BMR (how many calories I need at rest to function effectively): 1146kcal. On the plus side, my metabolic age is 14. So lots to build on for a fitter, happier, more toned future.

I went to a Pilates class last night as a baby step. I had been told during the day during an exploratory neck and shoulder massage (combining Eastern techniques and Chinese meridian points with Swedish deep tissue massage), that I have a tendency to raise my right shoulder a little when in repose. As soon as the masseur said it, I realised he was absolutely spot on. My body holds tension in that right shoulder and I can feel it right now as I type. It’s not to do with being right handed, just a bad habit. The lop-sidedness is no doubt terrible for my energy flows.

The Pilates class was incredibly fulfilling, and while I couldn’t hold all the positions for as long as others did, I certainly felt very eager to learn and to try. I can see myself getting better at it. The feeling afterwards was of being incredibly refreshed, in mind and body. A tightened core makes you feel good from within. I didn’t feel tired until late last night, despite a demanding professional event I attended post-class.

Life has really been amazing recently. Life is amazing, but I mean I’ve really stopped to notice it and to revel in how lucky I am. The book, by Jon Kabat-Zinn continues to inspire me. This is about the character of awareness.
“Awareness is not the same as thought. It lies beyond thinking, although it makes use of thinking, honoring its value and its power. Awareness is more like a vessel which can hold and contain our thinking helping us to see and know our thoughts as thoughts rather than getting caught up in them as reality.”

And this is about the dangers of positive thinking.
“If we decide to think positively, that may be useful, but it is not meditation. It is just more thinking. We can as easily become a prisoner of so-called positive thinking as of negative thinking. It can be confining, fragmented, inaccurate, illusory, self-serving, and wrong. Another element altogether is required to induce transformation in our lives and take us beyond the limits of thought.”