Self help

Between aches and minor injuries I have been feeling rather battered since I returned home from our camping trip last week. This could be a hangover from sleeping on an air bed and sitting on uncomfortable chairs for five days, although I have not suffered in this way after previous trips. Perhaps the aches have been my body fighting some minor illness; perhaps it is just a sign of old age.

I rarely consult a doctor when I feel unwell. The human body is such an amazing thing and most infirmities will self heal given time. Doctor’s seem to think that, if they are consulted, then they have to offer some sort of medicine to relieve symptoms during the time it takes for the body to sort itself out. Given the cost of a prescription, I prefer to cope as best I can without.

To clarify, I am not talking about serious illness or injury here, but rather the minor ailments that can cause misery and inconvenience only for as long as it takes the body to mend itself. Science has shown time and again that the placebo effect is as powerful as drugs for these sort of complaints. I believe that I will recover without medication so it is as likely as not that I will.

None of this helps me to feel less bothered by my aching shoulder muscles, tired legs and damaged foot. Having spent too much of this week resting up and comforting myself with food, I now feel bloated and cross with myself for the unnecessary indulgence. I may not be capable of tackling an invigorating walk in the countryside but I do not need to remain quite so sedentary.

I rather like this quote: ‘You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.’ It reminds me that we have a responsibility to look after the vessel in which we exist. When people complain about how they look (and yes, I have been known to do this too) I am reminded that, whatever we have been given, it is all we have and we should be looking after it and appreciating the wonder of the way it operates. There is an implicit ingratitude when we obsess over how others view our vessel’s external appearance.

I have lost count of the number of days I have woken up determined to do better; this is another of those days. The sun is out and I am once again determined to show my body a little more respect. I do struggle with self control as regards food. I mean, I derive so much pleasure from just eating. If I am to regain my feel good self then I need to show a little more sense in this area.

It is tempting to consider all the people I know who suffer from illnesses and issues that cannot be cured by lifestyle changes and positive thinking, and to try to pull myself up on the fuel of guilt. I have never found this to be very effective. Sure I can be grateful for what I have, but guilt is a destructive emotion. I have found that persuading myself to change because it is right for me will lead to longer lasting and more effective results. I guess this shows me up to be a selfish creature.

Perhaps for the same reason I do not read self help books, which tend to focus on how amazing someone else has been at orchestrating change in their life. You know what? That is their life, not mine. I need to work this one out for myself.

Just as advice for mothers is too often veiled criticism of how they are behaving, so lifestyle advice can too often come across as blame. Knowing that I put on weight because I eat too much is not going to help me to lose weight; I already know this is my fault. What I need is a strategy that will work for me, that will allow me to live my life while eating less.

I have no idea if I will manage it this time. Whatever the outcome, I will not beat myself up over failures, I already feel battered enough. From past experience I know that my general health and well being improves when I am fitter and leaner; that is my focus. If I am to recover from these aches and pains then I need to show my body more respect, but I need to do this in a way that suits me.

Onwards and upwards then; wish me luck!

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