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Has exercise become YOUR religion?! Extremes do not equal health.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I LOVE connecting to my spirit through exercise. Having some awesome music playing in my ears while I sweat out whatever might be bothering me or simply enjoying my workout because I love to feel the strength of my body is one of the best sources of satisfaction for me. I feel like I can really connect my mind/body and spirit in this way, similar to meditation for me but not in place of it.

As much as I love working out and feeling that kind of connection I also feel strongly about having balance in all things including exercise. Being overweight/obese or, overtraining and taking steroids or fat burners plus extreme dieting or dehydration just to have a body you cannot maintain naturally is just opposite ends of the same spectrum in my opinion. Now I know there are people that would disagree with me about that statement as most people think that being overweight/obese is worse than being of the opposite extreme that is the obsessed bodybuilder or physique competitor on steroids or other supplements to enhance the body including extreme dehydration and dieting. Obsession in whatever form it is whether it be for exercise or worrying about every calorie that goes into your mouth is extreme and extremes are not healthy. If you only knew what goes on behind the scenes to get that fitness picture on the cover of that magazine or for the physique competitions that are popular in some areas of the country, it’s not healthy but the opposite. I’ve seen friends over the years take steroids, fat burners, other new supplements that come on the market promising quit fat loss so that they can look better or compete in a physique competition and I often wondered what the point was as they looked great just the way they were naturally. Was there a void within that needed to be filled by the external praise that comes from standing on a stage posing? I would understand more if there was a sport on stage they were competing in to see their level of athleticism they trained so hard to attain but, simply for posing? I just don’t get it because sadly, I know that for most the end result is adrenal fatigue, thyroid problems, looking like you’ve aged about 10 years and then blowing up afterwards because biologically the body wants to keep fat on it and will fight to do so and, will most likely win. Does that sound healthy to you? Visually when you see a person with a lot of muscle and little fat, do you think they are healthy? There are a lot of unhealthy unnatural ways to get that look, is that the standard of ‘health?’ When and where did this idea come from anyway? Not that long ago fat on a woman was the standard of beauty not rock solid muscle with no fat, an extreme that is not attainable for most women naturally. Women are supposed to have fat on their bodies, it’s natural. If your life is centered fully around exercising and counting calories or weighing your food daily, where is the balance? Health is a balance between mind/body/spirit and if you have to take mood stabilizers for your hormones because there is an extreme focus on not having any fat on your body and, working out 24/7, eating specific weighed out portions of only certain types of hormone filled chicken or turkey, this is not being healthy. It’s another extreme, an exercise zealot. The fitness models you see on the cover of magazines do extreme diets and or dehydrate their bodies just to get that perfect picture, they have depression, anxiety issues and a myriad of other issues during the time it takes to do extreme dieting to get their bodies to look that way. Is that healthy? No! Although that’s what they try to make you believe but, if you knew the truth about what goes on behind the scenes not to mention, not to mention the air brushing that is done would you think it’s really healthy? The World Health Organization gives a great definition of health; “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” If extreme exercise, dieting taking various supplements to keep your body fat so low that you end up in the long term with adrenal fatigue, thyroid issues, mood problems and a host of other problems which lead to disease and other ailments, this is not healthy. It’s about having balance not being an extremist. It’s not about being so focused on what you eat that you can’t enjoy going out to eat with friends for fear of gaining fat or thinking you have to ‘work it off’ the next day. That only contributes to a cycle of guilt/shaming yourself and, I thought that was only limited to certain religions not to exercise.

Exercise like certain diets such as vegan/vegetarianism should not become your ‘religion,’ it should not be all you do, think about or talk about. It will not fill a void that comes from within, you cannot find what you are looking for from outside of yourself no matter how hard you try whether it be exercise or your diet. I see people all the time in this day and age who try to use exercise as just another way of filling a void from within and it never works. Eventually you will realize that you cannot “run” or “bike” away from yourself, it’s just another distraction if done in the extreme. Balance is key to life, moderation. 1st world problems, that’s what my sister in law and I like to say about these things. I think everyone should do some volunteer work in a 3rd world country so you’ll see what real problems are where food is limited and people aren’t obsessed with their body fat but, with survival.

I think it’s great to challenge yourself and see to what heights you can take your body, mind over matter and all such as, for a race or a healthy competition with friends, but not to the extreme on a daily basis, there should be a balance in your life. Sitting quietly with no noise and meditating helps quiet the mind, it creates balance and, helps with discipline, self realization, creativity, self esteem and, a myriad of others. It’s not about ‘doing’ all the time or breaking down the body daily that creates healthy living, it’s about connecting with your inner self too, your spirit.

pills are not healthySo many people are looking for that quick fix and often use artificial pills or other things to get a body that is not natural and it seems to me just a distortion of what a beautiful fit body should really look like. Your body should be your temple but going to the extreme with supplements, drugs or extreme dieting/exercising is just as bad as letting your body become obese. There is something missing from within and it isn’t being addressed properly. So, don’t let exercise become your religion because in the end, you’ll be sorely disappointed and most likely will end up with overuse injuries, adrenal fatigue, thyroid issues and depression and a host of other problems. Do it right and find balance in your life, enjoy life, work hard but find discipline too. Realize it’s a process, health is not a place you magically get to, it’s a process of healthy habits you invoke into your daily life.

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