My Body Fitness Evolution
I was walking into a wedding a few weeks ago, when I spotted this van (in the picture), which is owned by somebody in the appliance industry who has an awesome name. Naturally, I had to take a picture. I’ve since used my professional editing skills to alter the text just a bit, to better encompass my own purpose in this lifetime.
I’ve gone through quite an evolution in my 30+ years thus far, from unhappy control-freak to blissful surrender-er. I started out as a perfect child of Mother Nature, became incredibly disconnected from Nature in my teens and twenties, and then re-aligned my life with Nature in the past several years. (If you’re new to my writing, my own personal reference of God is “Mother Nature,” because I experience God through Nature.) This re-alignment with Nature encompasses every area of my life. It’s not just about raising animals for food, which is what I’m best known for. It’s about aligning my relationships, parenting, career, time, sleep, consumption, fitness, and whatever else with Nature. My extreme interest in physical fitness, health, and nutrition has been with me for a little more than a decade, but the way in which I operate in this area has changed drastically since becoming one with Nature.
About the time I was phasing out of the conventional agriculture world (read more about that here), I was also leaving my old exercise and eating beliefs behind. It’s not that one day I decided to stop lifting weights and started eating ice cream more. It was more of an inner shift that led me into a simpler life where I followed my own desires, instead of external guidance. I began paying attention to what I thought I needed to do, instead of doing what professionals recommended I do. I realized the significance to my own inner guidance and gained confidence in that. I began to trust in myself more than anything.
Gone are the days when I would spend an hour each morning working out in my basement gym. Years ago, when I was a serious gym rat, heavy into resistance training, I worked each muscle group three times a week. I even lifted weights through my entire first pregnancy. I ran frequently. My desire was to grow muscle tissue and minimize body fat. Because I worked part-time as a certified personal trainer and was immersed in the conventional fitness world, I believed that I had to routinely use heavy weights to maintain my strong, lean physique. I also believed I had to eat clean, which involved eating mainly lean protein and vegetables, minimizing sugar intake, and ingesting food every couple hours throughout the day to keep my metabolism high. I followed this intense and complex lifestyle for many years, and it definitely produced the body I desired. But over time, my habits evolved into something more natural, and my body became even better.
I have found that the more disconnected I am from Nature, the more my life increases in complexity. When I was working professionally for the government and for a mega-dairy, the majority of my time was spent sitting at a desk inside a building. This was one of the worst things I could do for my body, and was also in complete contradiction to Nature. Because I spent so much time sitting at a desk, I had to run and lift weights every day before or after work. I would also leave work to attend a yoga class, in order to break up my day. I needed this exercising time to relieve job stress and maintain a healthy physique. Once I quit my professional job (and quit pretending to be somebody I am not), and began spending all my time out in Nature with my animals, I eliminated the need to take extra time out of my day to exercise. My current daily laboring activities are actually my own personal form of exercise. Since quitting my job, I actually practice yoga much more frequently. But I don’t practice because I’m trying to escape my job. I practice yoga because it is so aligned with who I am. To me, yoga isn’t a physical workout. It’s a way for me to honor this body that was given to me, connect to my inner self, and maintain spiritual clarity.
These days, my daily routine begins with outdoor morning chores, which have entirely replaced my old gym workout in the basement. I carry buckets of feed and water to my animals, and I move their shelters across the pasture. Every day is new and different. Some days I’m building a new mobile pen, and other days I’m lifting and setting heavy poles in the ground for new fencing. Catching chickens for harvest requires a good amount of physical endurance, and my body goes through incredible pain the days following this activity, which is a healthy sign of growth. Stressing the muscle tissue causes it to tare and then regrow more tissue, thus gaining strength. Instead of using resistance training to build muscle, I am now doing daily physical labor that ultimately stresses my muscles in a new way each day. This, I have found, is actually more beneficial to my muscles than working out in a gym. I am stronger today than I have ever been before. I feel like I am living in the body I was always meant to live in. By doing physical labor in my daily life, my body is working as it was meant to.
When it comes to the topic of food, I am now consuming real food that either I produce or am intuitively attracted to, instead of eating food that someone else recommends I eat, or living off manufactured meal replacement powders. In my blind years, I would drink protein shakes a couple times a day, instead of eating real, whole food. I thought I was being healthful, but I was making my life so much more complex by needing yet another product, in order to create the body I desired. By needing more things outside of myself, I was moving further away from Nature.
I will never forget how awful I felt when I was using willpower to exclude certain foods from my diet. Restricting myself from cheese, sugar, and gluten (I’m rolling my eyes a lot while I’m remembering all these stupid rules I followed) produced negative energy inside of me, which negatively impacted other areas of my life. Whenever I felt bad about not being able to eat something, I was telling myself that I was not a good person. That sounds silly to write, but those are the types of feelings that are generated in restriction. Restriction disconnected me from my true self even further. It was incredibly unloving. Instead of restriction, I learned to simply follow my intuition as to what foods, and in what quantities, I should consume, and trust in that. Allowing myself the option to consume whatever I feel aligned with at the time is so freeing. The act of trusting my intuition is incredibly loving. Telling myself that I can never consume dairy products causes me to want them even more. Giving myself the freedom to eat ice cream every day will cause me to naturally consume it at a healthy rate for my own body. But here is the important part: in order to create the healthy body I desire within the space of no restriction, I must remain connected to my intuition for guidance. If disconnection exists, I would not consume at a healthy level. Operating off willpower and restriction may produce the desired outcome of a healthy-looking body, but true inner peace only comes from establishing and maintaining this connection to self (Nature).
By aligning with Nature, my body does what it was created to do: physical work to produce the life that was written into my soul. I’m doing physical work that actually produces something valuable to me, instead of doing physical work to compensate for the degradation that results from working off-purpose. My own personal journey through fitness has taught me that my body thrives in the space of self-trust, self-love, and freedom.