In my last post, I shared why waiting for it to be “too late” is terrible. How, when you realize it’s ‘too late’, the only option left is to abandon ship. I can tell you from first-hand experience, you do not want to have to abandon ship. It’s a really long road down, and an even longer road back, once you abandon ship.
Many of you reached out to me after reading that story of mine, sharing with me how motivated you were to avoid your own “too late” moment…and expressing worry that you may have already inadvertently abandoned ship on your body.
Having helped people for sixteen years now to avoid ‘too late’ moments and get back on board with their bodies, to restore their capacity to go live their lives and have adventures, I have answers to offer you…
I’ve grouped them into three sections in this post, but first…
I want you to know that if it feels hard to figure out how to take care of your body and avoid your own ‘too late’ moment – it’s because mainstream society had made it feel that way.
The mainstream message is still that it’s “normal” to feel crummy in your body. The message is that you should care a lot about how your body looks or if you’re doing the popular workout of the moment. That aches, pains, and injuries, are just inevitable.
This message is bullshit.
The modern world also is a perpetual assault on your attention – soundbyte headlines in the news about what’s “good for you”, social media that gets savvier every year in how it can be used to market at you, magazines that still make it seem like “how your body looks” is the most important thing – even amidst the body acceptance movement we’re in right now.
In short: the world is set up to make it seem like you should accept feeling “meh” but definitely do not accept how you look in your body.
It’s ridiculous. Why should you have to accept feeling “meh” in your body? And as for how your body looks…whatever you like most in regards to how your body looks is what matters.
Remember, it’s empowering to feel stoked about how you look, but a body full of aches and pains is not an empowered body.
The Great Distraction Of Aesthetic Goals
Aesthetics goals are fine to work on. Truly. However, there is an obvious disconnect that surrounds aesthetics-based programs…
The thing that lets you do everything else is your well-functioning body. But abs and aesthetics goals don’t accomplish that. They’re fun to layer on top of a strong foundation of a pain-free, powerful, durable, body. But they do not solve the aches and pains issues that arise.
We can all agree that it’s never fun to be surprised by aches and injuries showing up. And it feels great to wake up feeling 100% good in your body – no distracting aches, no underlying mistrust that your body won’t support you…
But so many people don’t attend to building a well-functioning, pain-free, body until something has gone wrong with their body.
Here’s why I think that happens –
People take the human body for granted, thinking that the body should just…work.
And so when it doesn’t just…work…it must be a defect, a flaw, an ‘unchangeable thing to suck up and tolerate.’
But it’s not true. You do not have defects or flaws. You are not stuck with whatever your body is feeling or moving like right now.
The conversation about what you’re doing
to take good care of your joints and tissues
should be as universal as the conversation about
getting muscles or losing weight.
And not in a “talk about this at the expense of talking less about body shapes and sizes, or performance goals, or weight loss success stories” way…
All of these things matter and are worth talking about.
But right now, ‘how a body feels and functions’ is sitting at the kids table despite being The Thing that lets all of the other things bodies can be, do, and look like, happen.
It’s time for that to change.
Why Does Anyone Accept Feeling
“Meh” In Their Body?
Maybe it feels like how you feel right now is “good enough” – it’s not great, but you’ll take it.
Maybe it feels too complicated to figure out how to feel better.
Maybe it feels like “one more thing” to add on your already full to-do list for the day.
Maybe it feels like “not what you want” because “what you want” is to hit a PR on your back squat.
Maybe it feels like it’s too good to be true…to feel great, better than what they say you should feel like at your age. To be abundantly capable, absolutely durable, wildly powerful, and incredibly strong.
Like anything in life –
if you don’t know you can have better,
you don’t think to go after ‘better’.
Maybe you’ve dated a few people who are ‘suitable’, but then you meet The One. And you realize it can be so much better than you thought.
Maybe you’ve been drinking coffee from a regular drip-style coffee maker, and then someone makes you a hand-crafted pour over. And you realize it can be so much better than you thought.
Point is –
If you don’t know it can be better with your body – that it can feel better, stronger, more durable, more injury-resistant, more capable than it does right now – you don’t know to go for it.
If I could imprint one message on your soul forever, it would be this…you can, so go for it.
What if I fail at actually making my body feel and move well?
What if I’m already hanging on by my fingertips and I’m afraid I can’t hang on for the long haul that is ‘cellular adaptation’?
What if I try and find out that I’m actually stuck in a body that doesn’t feel the way I want it to?
These fears are understandable.
But I Don’t Know How
It’s terrifying to have something go wrong in your body. To feel the initial pain and dysfunction. To not know what the cause is. To not know how to make it better.
Even when you find a path to start addressing it, it’s scary to not know how long it’s going to take. It’s scary not knowing if you’ll ever get back to what you were before.
Figuring out how to heal the aches and pains, learning how to build a solid foundation from which to grow your strength, your power, your endurance, and your sense of freedom – it’s ok if it feels scary wading into these waters.
I totally get you. I’ve experienced something similar myself. It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but, this past year my skin started acting differently. I was in hats and outdoor gear more than ever, and my skin didn’t know if it should be dry or oily, if it should heal a cut with a big scab or just make a pimple around the edges of it, or what…
It was strange feeling like there was a thing on my own body that I didn’t know how to take care of. But I got over my fears and anxiety about not knowing what to do, and got myself into the hands of a dermatologist, an expert in skincare who would be able to teach me, guide me, and help me.
I am to my dermatologist what my clients are to me. It’s good to be a student and it’s good to have a guide. There’s no shame in not knowing how to do something for your body.
But if you want to change how your body feels and moves, and you don’t know how, you need to take ownership of finding a guide and learning.
Like I went to a dermatologist to learn how to help my skin, people come to me to learn how to help their bodies.
And so many people arrive on my coaching doorstep very injured, feeling very crummy, and in a deeply adversarial relationship with their body – as if it were not to be trusted to hold up for them for even a second.
It’s a challenging state of affairs when you’re always slightly distrustful that your body won’t support you.
There’s good news here, though. Getting the skills you need to be an excellent caretaker of your body may be something you don’t have, yet. But getting those skills is not hard, the outcomes are knowable, and the sense of accomplishment is guaranteed.
Here are four simple actions you can take today to start (or continue) the process of becoming an excellent caretaker of your body…
Four Steps To Reclaiming
How Your Body Feels & Moves
1. Reject the message that it’s normal to feel crummy as you get older.Live it, shout it from the rooftops, stand for something better than what mainstream media wants you to stand for. Be one of the ones who stands up for feeling awesome in your body, no matter your age, history, or ability.
2. Start learning to change your own signal/response situation.I wrote a quick-reading manual for guiding you through how to do this. Because you need to know how your body responds to the signals you send it – and more importantly – how to change that signal so you get the response from your body that you want. Get your copy of the manual HERE.
3. Start looking for others who also think this way. It’s too hard to be the only person in your circle who is proactively taking care of their body. Having like-minded individuals makes a major difference in your own level of motivation and accountability. That was intensely clear during the 21 Day Habit Challenge we just wrapped up in the FFRL Community over on facebook. People who believe the same thing, executing that belief in their own lives, supporting each other through posts on the facebook page. There’s room for you in the FFRL Community, join us.
4. Write these four truths of being fit for real life down somewhere you can remind yourself of them until they become your ‘new normal’. Remember, it’s not out of reach for you (unless you decide it is).