The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a hiatus on blogging and writing…partially due to a minor little detail called my 30th birthday. I took a few days weeks to step back and reflect on the last several years, and where I’ve been, where I’m at, and where I’m going.
That being said, I’m picking up where I left off a couple of weeks ago, and wrapping up my series of My Healing Journey. In the first 2 posts (which you can find part 1 here and part 2 here), I opened up to you about going through a difficult breakup, leaving my corporate job and then, *gasp* questioning my sexuality, and how all this related to my health.
In this 3rd and final post, I wanted to bring it home and talk about how healing can sometimes mean taking 2 steps forward and 1 step back, and then explain how you can use my situation to help you in your journey.
2 Steps Forward and 1 Step Back
Amongst all of the motivational posters and meme’s that float around on FB, the one below is one of my favorites:
And although this relates to success, I feel the same could be said about healing the body. From my experience of hitting my own roadblocks and feeling like I had to start over, I can relate to this poster.
Healing the body is never a straight line. EVER. You’ll find some success, then you may hit some obstacles that slow progress, then you’ll pick up again, get sidetracked, get back on track, so on and so forth.
Regardless of how many times you detour, the point is to never STOP. Never give up, if you fall get your ass back up again.
As your body changes and adjusts to a new and healthier lifestyle, there may be some resistance not only with in your physical body but also within your psyche.
Let me explain real quick:
If you are used to sleeping past 12 am every night, if you are used to staying up late on the computer, watching tv or doing whatever, you are entraining your body’s sleep cycle’s to start getting tired near midnight.
This is an actual phenomenon called entrainment, and most of us are probably familiar with the saying that it takes “21 days to form a habit”. Welp, even if you’re doing yourself some good by getting to bed earlier, your body is still use to the habit of getting to bed later.
So, there might be some resistance as you make changes. And all of this is OK. Here you might take a step forward by making the effort to sleep earlier, but you might have a few nights of restless sleep, which would be like taking a half-step back. Totes normal.
It all circles back to the idea that I presented in the first 2 posts: that healing takes time.
On a psychological level, the healing may take even longer. And it is here, within the deep, dark corners of our psyche and within our soul that I feel true healing takes place.
To understand how healing our psyche works, and why I feel addressing the emotional and spiritual aspects of our lives are paramount to the healing process, we need to first understand a little bit about belief systems:
A Little Bit About Belief Systems
We are all brought up in this world and naturally inherit the views, ideals, and philosophies of our parents. Regardless of how well and loved we were raised, we are naturally handed down a certain paradigm of how the world works.
And I find that when we start to heal, we start to question these paradigms, and when that happens, something within us kinda freaks out. We may feel guilty, we may feel like we don’t deserve happiness, we may feel that if we get healthy we’ll make others look bad, we may feel like if we lose weight we’ll outgrow our partner, or we may even hold onto that weight because its been a protective mechanism against external harm.
When we hit crossroads in life that challenge our inherited belief systems it can create an uncomfortable feeling within us. This is actually called something, like its a legit term called cognitive dissonance. It happens when we believe one thing, but do another, when our gut is telling us no, but we still say yes.
Even though we may want to go in a different direction that what we’ve been brought up to believe, we are often times too scared to, and thus we end up staying in the same spot, and in my case it was a relationship.
For me, I had to get over the belief system that other people knew what was best for me. You see, growing up in a predominantly Catholic culture in the Philippines, I was raised with the belief that your parents know best and that “you’re just a kid, what do you know” mentality.
As I developed as an adult, I still held on to this belief which caused me to ignore my gut and my intuition. I can look back and see all the red flags now, but since I really thought that my parents knew what I needed, and that my friends, and adult figures in my life had the answers for me, I ended up making a lot of decisions that I really didn’t want to do.
And I remember making those decisions with a sick feeling in my gut. I had not developed my own personal power or self-will to make the decisions I knew I had to make. This is a 3rd chakra issue, and wouldn’t you know, 3rd chakra health issues include digestive disorders.
Funny how that works.
How Improving Your Health Means Changing Your Belief System
For me, the emotional stress of being in situations, and relationships that I knew were not good for me caused physical symptoms. I hated being in my relationship even though my boyfriend at the time thought we were meant to be together. So in my mind, I was like, “Oh, well he thinks we’re meant to be together, so we must be.” Even though I knew deep deep down inside that we weren’t.
I bring this up because I want to show how our decisions in life are based on our belief systems, and that it is our decisions in life that in turn affect our health.
So if you want to fix your health, you must first make better decisions, and before you can make better decisions you must first fix your belief systems.
Belief System ——->>> Decisions ——->>> Health
It’s like that friend that you have that went to the school their parent’s wanted them to go to, and took the career path their parent’s wanted them to take, only to find themselves in their mid to late 20’s hating their jobs, resenting their parents and struggling to follow their own heart and passions. And this is where anxiety, insomnia, and even addictions kick in.
If you’re committed to improving your health, or if your goal is to lose weight, I want to challenge you first by asking yourself, “Why?”
Why do you want to lose weight?
Why do you want to have more energy?
Why do you want to eat better?
And chances are the answers probably have very little to do with “health”.
For example, I’ve recently worked with a female client who’s goal was to lose weight. She was determined to reach a certain number in her head and despite my valiant efforts to educate her otherwise, she was fixated on getting there. After a few months of yo-yo’ing up and down, falling off track, and getting back on, she hit a wall and became very frustrated in herself. We chatted about her frustration and through our conversation, I learned that her mother would always comment on her weight, even as a little girl.
My client struggled her whole life dieting in an attempt to please her mother and gain her attention and affection. She always felt that she was not enough, and that her obsession on the scale was validation that she was good enough.
The sad thing is that most women struggle with this to a degree. In my client’s particular case, she carries the belief that she is not enough, and that losing weight will mean getting love from her mother. For her the job is no longer about what I need to eat to lose weight, but what I need to feel loved. And when she can find secure and real sources of love (not the scale) I predict she’ll be able to maintain her weight loss as well as feel better about herself.
It’s a battle for sure, to change belief systems, but it can be done, and honestly it’s the only way for lasting change to occur, otherwise, she’ll be stuck in this cycle for probably, the rest of her life.
So I hope you can see now how changing your belief system and what you hold true about yourself is paramount to changing your body.
What You Can Learn From My Experience
What was interesting to me after I posted the first 2 parts of this blog was how many people, both men and women, privately reached out to me about their own stories. And it was interesting to see that there were a lot of parrallels with all our stories. Even though we had different experiences there were some common themes.
It is these themes that we can find lessons, and I want to share with you what they are so that you can recognize them in yourself to help you along your own journey.
Lesson #1: Stress is a bitch, especially internal stress.
Meaning, don’t take stress lightly. When we think of stress we are probably thinking, “Oh I’m stuck in traffic”, “I hate my boss, he sucks.” those sorts of things. Those are the obvious ones.
What I want to shed light on is the internal psychological stress that we have. The thoughts that keep us up at night wondering if we if we really want to stay in this relationship as your partner sleeps right next to you, the stress from hate and anger you still hold onto from physical, sexual or emotional abuse when you were a kid, and even the stress of worrying about making sure the entire apartment is clean because you’re a little OCD.
All those things? Yeah. They’re stress and they can affect your health if you let it.
I don’t want you to misinterpret what I say and assume that the goal is to never have stress. One that is just impossible, and two, not all stress is bad. In fact stress is necessary and there are certain kinds of stress that is actually good for us. The kinds that challenge us and push us to grow to become better people. It’s when we don’t have the right outlets to deal with our stress properly that it becomes an issue.
Lesson #2: Every aspect, every movement, every thought, every personality trait, every quark, every pet peeve, EVERYTHING will affect your health.
It’s all a part of who you are. Accept it, and appreciate it everything in its wholeness because being healthy means being in true alignment with who you are.
For me, a huge component of my healing was being OK with my sexuality and being comfortable with whatever the hell that meant, and not worrying about what I thought and what others thought about it.
Lesson #3: Listen to your gut and learn to trust your intuition, even if it’s scary as hell.
I believe that we have all the answer we ever need already implanted inside of us. I believe that we know what’s good for us, we know what we really need, and what we want we just have to stop and listen.
It’s like trying to hear a crying child in the corner while there’s a house party going on. How can you hear this child if the music is blaring, the t.v. is on and people are playing drinking games and acting like fools? I say this because that crying child is our true voice, our intuition, the one that knows what we want and need.
The party is our day to day life, our job, our commute, our worries. The music is all of the distractions, computers, music, reality t.v. etc. and all the guests are the people in our life. In order to really hear what our inner voice needs, we need to shut all the other shit off.
Turn off the distractions in your life and give that child, your intuition, time to speak. For me, this meant taking some time away for myself and for making some decisions I knew were good for me despite the fact that I was scared as shit.
Lesson #4: Go to bed.
Sleep is very often overlooked as a necessary component to health, and when it comes to losing weight, sometimes getting to bed earlier and sleeping in a little later can break a plateau.
Not only is sleep important for hormone optimization for weight loss, but it is uber-importante for your psyche and for your emotions. Think about, ever notice that kids throw tantrums when they’re hungry and/or tired? Welp, that tiff that you got with your bff or the fact the waitress was rude to you could very well be from a lack of good night’s rest.
I learned this lesson during my sabbatical to Japan when I literally did nothing more than eat, sleep, read and relax. And it was beautiful. Now I am very aware of emotional changes and food cravings purely based off my sleep patterns.
If you want lose weight, get healthy, boost your energy, or what have you, go to fuckin’ bed.
Lesson #5: Let go of fear and open yourself up to love.
This is the final lesson, and I wrote about letting go of fear earlier this year in this blog here, and I want to explain this a little more and why letting go of fear and being open to love can affect your health.
First, we must understand the stress and the fear response. Our body’s most basic and primal instinct is to survive. Every chemical reaction, and biological change in our body is designed to make sure that we can still breathe in order to live. When our body is put under a stress, our survival instinct kicks in, and you are probably familiar with this as the “fight or flight” response.
The thing is, the body doesn’t know the difference between a stress from almost getting hitting by a car and the stress from spilling coffee on your new blouse. A stress is a stress, and regardless of the source of stress, your body automatically kicks in the survival response. So if you are constantly stressed, your body is in constant survival mode, and the emotion that is associated with survival is fear.
Am I going to live? Holy shit, I’m scared I might die.
When you’re in this fear state, stress hormones stay elevated which, as you know by now can cause a whole lot of crazy shit in the body.
Not only that, but if you are always fearful, always holding on afraid to let go, how can you have room or the brain power to think of anything else? When your body is afraid, its only concern is survival, not starting a business, losing weight, or even falling in love.
Yes it’s scary as shit to let go because there is no certainty. If we hold on, we at least know we’ll survive. You know what though?
All the amazing stuff in life happens when we let go, when we get let go of fear. When we let go of fear, we open up ourselves to love, to possibilities, and to healing.
How can you heal if you’re always worried about surviving?
As I close out this final post, I want to thank you. Thank you for allowing me the time and space to open up this area of my life and for giving me support and feedback along the way. Thank you for allowing me to help you. And thank you for trusting me with your health.
It’s been quite cathartic to write these blogs, and it’s been so gratifying for all the love and support I’ve received from friends, family, colleagues and clients. The sentiments have meant the world to me.
I sincerely hope that you found some inspiration, hope and motivation with my story and if there is anything I can do to help you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
You are so amazing! I know first hand the physical damage stress can do to the body. When I was preparing for the bar exam last year, I was so stressed that I began losing patches of hair, developing acne, and experiencing a very low sex drive. My mind was so busy that I couldn’t sleep at night which made me irritable and depressed.
Thank you for putting it all on the line and sharing your journey. You’re truly an inspiration with a beautiful spirit!!
Thanks girl I appreciate your feedback. I’ve worked with many clients who’re taking the bar and know exactly what you mean.
Keep rockin’! 🙂