After a warm, energizing and buoyant summer, we are finally starting to feel the weather changing into a calm, quiet and inward fall. The tree leaves are finally turning into golden, amber and scarlet shades; some trees are starting to lose their leaves; the wind is starting to blow a little stronger and cooler; and the sun is starting to feel a little gentler. I can also feel the changes in my body starting to show up. At yoga, I am craving for twists, hip openers and heart opening positions, and I cannot forget my cravings for warmer, creamier and heavier foods, such as my favorite Vietnamese chicken pho, stroganoff, homemade pumpkin spiced lattes, creamy sweet potato dishes, chocolate and…well, anything chocolatey… In fact, as I sit here and allow myself to enjoy the pleasure of a delicious chocolate chip cookie, I am thinking about an overwhelming topic of our times: body image and self-acceptance. It is inspiring to see more people starting to embrace their body’s size, shape, femininity etc… However, I do think that above all we should embrace our health, and there is nothing better to show us how healthy we really are than how we feel physically and mentally.
Media has always played a crucial role in causing personal insecurities to sell more products that promise to transform us into “perfect” (does that even exist?), “beautiful” (and who is to tell me how I should look besides how I feel inside my own body?), and “fit” (does fit mean healthy?) goddesses. There is also an infinite amount of nutritional and fitness information everywhere, and much of it is conflicting and unclear. We know we should take care of our health, so we try different products, diets and supplements that promise to get rid of our belly fat, just to end up lost, miserable and unhappy with our own inabilities to keep it up… But have we ever stopped to think that maybe the solution might not be this idea that to become healthier, thinner or stronger, we should blindly follow a diet, exercise like a crazy maniac, and always do the same thing (like counting calories, restricting our food intake, spending at least 1 hour of high intensity cardio every day, or routinely lifting super heavy weights without paying any attention to form or functional movement)?
Now, if you are the ones rebelling against this idea of self-destructive transformation for once and for all, have you stopped to think that even though you don’t have to conform to media’s impossible ideals, maybe there is a positive side to looking within yourself and getting inspired to change into a healthier version of yourself? All self-transformations are not equal. Change is part of who we are. Just like the seasons change, and your body gets older, you should not only embrace who you are, but out of self-love and acceptance, you should also think about what type of changes could help you move forward in your own journey. Are there any old patterns that can be recycled? Is there any adjustment that could help you feel better inside and out (because when we feel better inside, we always feel better outside)?
Clearly, one size doesn’t fit all. Embracing our uniqueness and distinct body types, needs and desires is a must to achieve optimal health, for we are different individuals with diverse needs and desires. To create a natural balanced condition in which each of us can thrive, we need to stop and listen to our body. Some questions that might be helpful: Am I feeling stressed, fatigued or lethargic? How is my sleep? Do I feel good when I move around? Do I feel any pain? What types of food will nurture and heal me right now without causing lethargy or any other problems later on? Let’s honor and welcome the positive insights and possible changes brought to us this season. With self-awareness, love and acceptance we can reach our so desired optimal health.