- A Realistic Body Image
This is a topic that I hear people struggle with everyday. Men as well as women, tend to hold an image in their minds that is frankly, unobtainable. Yet we think somehow, someday, if we work hard enough, diet long enough and pray the right prayers enough, we will magically awaken one day to find we're in it. Of course, media is the worst for constantly flaunting these perfect, young, flawless bodies exaggerating our desire to mirror that. The Fashion industry, who ironically is predominantly owned and run by women, is we woman's' worst enemy. They are all about the perfect body, extreme beauty and awesome wealth. 1/10 of 1 percent of the world's population falls into that category and the rest of us are left to the feelings of envy, remorse and defeat. Men are basically up against very similar standards, with even more pressure to be 'part of' the Fortune Five Hundred scene.
Personally, I choose to gauge my standards based on these more tangible criteria. I choose to focus on the quality of my health, my energy levels, and my physical, mental and emotional/spiritual stamina. When I am working a solid fitness program that incorporates 30-45 min. of cardio a day and, 2-3 weight training sessions per week, the first two criteria take care of themselves. I haven't been sick in years and I'm often likened to the 'Eveready Bunny'... I can go and go and go. Prior to age 40, maintaining good health and high energy levels was somewhat easier...why? Mainly it boils down to 'lean muscle mass'. We loose approximately one pound of lean muscle per year after age 40, if we are not weight training. That means as we loose muscle our metabolisms drop and we become less efficient at burning the calories we ingest. With less muscle also comes less energy and that usually means less physical activity. The majority of bacteria and germs are 'anaerobic', which means they thrive in an oxygen deficient environment, like an inactive body. Consequently as we loose muscle, begin to gain fat, our energy levels drop and we sit around more...we get sick. The really good news is that you have the power to turn all of that around relatively fast. Schedule your workouts into your work week just as you would any other important appointment and then GO!!!
Now about the mental, emotional and spiritual stamina. Again, SCHEDULE 'quiet time' for yourself to meditate, pray or to just be still. I think this is one of the toughest things to rationalize into a schedule but it is by far the most fruitful. Being aligned with your Higher Power is a top priority because that is the spring board from which the rest of your life is launched. The 20 and even 30 something's are welcome to set their sites on the models that are so prevalent in our world. They have the best chance of obtaining those rather impossible standards. As for the rest of us, I say do your best to train regularly, eat as healthy as you can most of the time, get your sleep, drink plenty of water, and make time to be 'still' and commune with Source. If you are doing this, you are healthy, energetic, and happy. Now that's a realistic body image.