280: Stop blaming your body.
Diet & fitness culture has conditioned women to believe that the body is the thing to fix, mold, restructure or biohack, if you want to feel better about your life. Gah!
In other words, the body becomes the thing we blame (the scapegoat) for all the misaligned ways in which we are showing up in our life. And when you focus on the wrong problem, you can’t fix the actual problem.
In this episode of the Grace & Grit podcast I talk about why you need to stop blaming your body if you truly want to improve your health.
Transcripts are auto-generated.
Welcome to the Grace and Grit Podcast made for women who want their healthiest years to be ahead of them. Not behind them. Join your host Courtney Townley right now. As she breaks down the fairy tale health story, you have been chasing all of your life, indispensable action steps and lasting change.
Hello, my friends and welcome to the Grace & Grit Podcast. This is your host, Courtney Townley, thank you so much for taking time to be here with me today. Now, I want to start today’s Podcast with a question. How would you describe the relationship that you have with your body? Would you describe it as peaceful? harmonious, loving kind? Or would you use words like frustrated? Disappointed, tumultuous, toxic?
If it’s the latter, I want to ask you a second question. How is that working for you? I’m guessing that if you’re anything like my clients, it’s not working out for you. And what a shame to be gifted a vessel like the human body to do life in only to spend your entire life being in conflict with it. I think of it like someone giving you a million dollars to spend however you want. But rather than spend the money you obsess about why it isn’t $2 million, or $3 million.
My point is the body is the vessel to do life in. It is not the point of life. But we are conditioned to believe it is aren’t we? I mean we’re constantly being sold these messages that if life is feeling lackluster, or a little dull or a little unsatisfying. You should focus on fixing your body. You should lose weight, you should shape shift, build muscle lose fat biohack your health. And in my opinion, the body ultimately becomes the scapegoat for a life not fully expressed and not fully lived.
Now let’s be clear on what a scapegoat is. A scapegoat is a person a group or an entity who is targeted for blame for something that he or she was not responsible for? A scapegoat is a character that is blamed for everything that goes wrong in the story. Even though they are not to blame. And again, I see time and time again. Women using their body as the scapegoat for an unfulfilling life. They blame their body for the reason that they are not happy and thriving, and in love with their life.
A great example of scapegoat if you remember the Lion King, Simba, the main character in The Lion King. His evil Uncle uncle Scar is responsible for the king’s death. But Simba is blamed. Simba had nothing to do with it. Your body has nothing to do with you not living life fallout. Yes, I understand that people have limitations. But I’m still going to stand by that statement. The body is not to blame.
When my son was three, I often misinterpreted what he was saying, because you know, the speech of a three year old can be a little bit challenging to understand. And to be totally honest and transparent, I wasn’t always listening. Because I was busy. And I was overwhelmed. And I was doing my best as a new mom, which wasn’t always the best. But his response when I was misinterpreting or his response when I wasn’t listening was mom. You’re not listening to my words. And that statement woke me up up every time. And we still say jokingly, when one of us isn’t listening or is making assumptions, we’ll use that phrase. You’re not listening to my words.
Your body has words, absolutely. Your body is communicating with you all the time, about how you’re treating it, how you’re showing up for it, how you’re not showing up for it. Your body is constantly giving you valuable Intel, about how you are choosing to live your life and the consequences of those choices. But a lot of times, we’re just putting on those noise cancelling headphones, how convenient for us. So we don’t have to listen to the words of our body. And we are listening, because we often are so busy blaming, blaming the body, for the things that we’re feeling or not feeling.
And I just want to say today that your body is not the problem, your body has never been the problem, which actually echoes a message of a Podcast I did all not all that long ago, which was your weight is not the problem. We love to make the body the problem, because in a way, we don’t really have to take responsibility. If it’s the body.
Yes, aging is real. Yes, menopause is real. Yes, like blood sugar is real things happen in the body. But I see a lot of people using those things as rationale for not doing the things they could be doing to make those processes easier. To make aging, and hormone changes, a more graceful experience. The body is not to blame ever. But what might be to blame are things like your expectations.
I work with a lot of people who have the expectation that they should feel awesome all the time. But feeling awesome all the time is not the reality of the human experience. And if you have the expectation that you should feel awesome all the time, or that you should feel any one thing all of the time, you are going to be very disappointed and frustrated.
What also might be to blame is your reliability. If you are not showing up for yourself on the regular if you are not doing the work to honor yourself on the regular your mind, your body, your soul, if you do not keep the promises that you make to yourself on the regular you are going to experience a lot of consequences as a byproduct of that.
You might lack competence. Meaning you don’t go after the things that you want. Because you’re afraid of failure. Because you’re afraid of making mistakes because you’re afraid of disappointing other people. And it is so much easier to hide behind the body. All go after the thing when I lose the 30 pounds. I’ll go after the thing when I feel stronger and more confident. It’s easier to hide behind that than it is to actually go after the things that you want.
What also might be to blame for your dissatisfaction is your inability to set boundaries or your unwillingness to set boundaries. Your refusal to let go of things that are depleting you. Your use of things like food and alcohol to regulate your emotional landscape. All of these things, unreasonable expectations, lack of trust, lack of confidence, lack of boundaries. Using things outside of us to regulate our emotions, makes us feel like crap. And leaves us feeling deeply unsatisfied with life. That is not the body’s fault. And furthermore, when we feel this way, when we feel crappy and we feel unsatisfied with our life, what do we do? What we do a couple of things.
Number one We numb out. So we do things to distract ourselves from the reality of our life. We numb ourselves chemically, we numb ourselves mentally Oh, hello social media, Netflix. And we reach for things that temporarily make us feel better, but ultimately cause us to suffer massive consequences down the road, we call these false pleasures. Remember, the human brain is wired to seek pleasure.
But there is pleasure that serves our well being. And there is pleasure that costs us our well being. And we are living at a time and in a world where there are so many pleasures at our disposal that are concentrated. Right? Sugar, social media, online shopping, porn, gambling, the list goes on and on. These things give us a huge sense of gratification in a short period of time, and have tremendous consequences on the other side. But when we don’t truly honor what we are hungry, for, we will over consume false pleasures.
So another question for you. Is what are you truly hungry for that you are not giving yourself permission to consume? What are the things that would truly bring joy into your life? What are the things that would bring you a sense of deep gratification, a sense of accomplishment, a sense of confidence? Likely those things are not super easy to attain, which is why it’s easier to reach for the things that do make us feel better fast.
But it’s really important that you I do identify the things that you’re truly hungry for. Do you want to change careers? Do you want to spend more time connecting with your loved ones? Do you want to create more space in your day? So you’re not always doing? Do you want to make space for more sleep at night? Do you need more time in your life to decompress and process? What are you truly hungry for? Because once you get clarity on that, you can start taking steps towards creating that. And if you create it, if you grant yourself permission for what you are truly hungry for you will stop reaching for all of the false pleasures that can create so much mental and physical chaos.
So let’s talk about some specifics on how to stop blaming your body. And not if you’ve been a longtime listener of the show, none of this will actually be new to you because I say this in some way, shape or form in almost every Podcast episode I do. So the first thing is take responsibility for your chemistry where you can. And I don’t just mean the what what to eat, how much to exercise, how much to sleep, how much water to drink. I want you to take responsibility for why you do the things that you do. Why are you reaching for food when you’re not hungry? Why aren’t you going to bed? When you told yourself? You would? Why aren’t you making time to move your body? The why is the real problem, not the what. So take responsibility for your chemistry.
Secondly, how to stop blaming your body take responsibility for your strategies. I work with a lot of women who are moving through their life based on what they should do. Right other people’s expectations of them. Or they’re moving through their life in default mode, meaning they’re reacting to life rather than consciously choosing how they want to show up in their life. And they’re outsourcing their decision making. They’re expecting other people to know better than they do. And none of that is useful strategy.
What is useful strategy is consciously choosing to live your life by design rather than by default, to insource your decision making, to start making the best decision you can based on the best of what you currently know about yourself. And I also think a big part of responsible strategy is that we start critically thinking, rather than just buying into everything that we’re sold, really starting to ask questions, does this feel right to me? Does this feel right for my life and the wholeness of my life?
And of course, we can get really off kilter with strategy when we have no plan. No, we’re not making any conscious choices. And when we’re constantly following a roadmap that worked for someone else’s life, you need to make your own roadmap, take responsibility for that, yeah, you might take a couple wrong turns, you might end up going to a few places that you don’t want to stay at. But following your own roadmap, is such an empowering thing to do. And it’s a way of ending this obsessive focus on the human body. It’s a way to find your fulfilling path. No one else can do that for you.
And then of course, we have to take responsibility for our brain, how we’re using our brain or not using our brain? Are you being reactive to everything around you? Or are you being proactive? Are you problem oriented? Or are you solution oriented? How are you choosing to think about your body? How are you choosing to think about your life? And let’s just play this out.
So we see this crystal clear. When you think something like, my body sucks? You feel powerless, or you feel something probably like powerless. And when we feel powerless, what do we do? Well, we certainly don’t take control of our life. If we feel powerless, we’re probably going to eat all the things and drink all the things and not keep any of the promises we make to ourselves in regards to self care. And ultimately, what is the result we produce from that place?
Well, we become a self fulfilling prophecy. I prove to myself that my body sucks, I’m doing nothing to take care of it. I’m doing nothing to honor its needs. And then I stay in this vicious cycle of thinking my body sucks and proving to myself my body sucks and thinking my body sucks and proving to myself my body sucks. So not useful. And your body does not suck. That is optional thinking.
I was recently at a conference in Austin, Texas. And one of the speakers brought up to this very powerful exercise, I thought it was so brilliant and so simple. She said, find a picture of yourself as a little kid. And preferably that picture would be a little bit awkward, right? You’re not looking, you’re most confident. You’re looking like an awkward child, right? That you probably were at some point and put that picture on your desk, put it somewhere and put it in a place that you frequent.
And every time you catch yourself talking to yourself in a way that is demeaning bullying. Not nice, cruel, critical, judgmental, repeat the exact same phrase to the little girl in the picture. That experience will be very different. Because what will happen is you will immediately see the toxicity of your words how the words damage the abuse of the words. And it will help you to change the way that you talk to yourself.
The last thing I want to just speak to in terms of how to stop blaming your body for everything, how to stop blaming your body, for your unhappiness for your unfulfillment is we have to learn how to start taking responsibility for our emotions and more specifically, how to process our emotions. Are you even processing emotions? Or are you numbing your emotions? And of course this is very closely related to how you think.
So I will often when I’m coaching client, I hear them say things like, Well, I went to the party and I ate this thing because I didn’t want to upset the host. Well what would happen if you sat with the discomfort of potentially upsetting the host to stay true to yourself? The world would still spend, you would still wake up breathing tomorrow, it might be a little uncomfortable for a few minutes. But you either risk disappointing somebody, somebody else or you risk disappointing yourself.
I also hear things like, Well, I’m no fun when I’m not drinking alcohol. So when I go into social situations, I feel like I have to drink alcohol. Okay, well sit with the discomfort of being fully yourself without the alcohol. Or choose the discomfort that will surely come the next day. When you drink the alcohol, even though you didn’t want to write.
Emotion is a part of being human, we feel all of it. But when we try to avoid feeling emotion, we tend to do things that are very misaligned with how we actually want to be showing up. And food and alcohol are very easy ways to try to regulate our emotional landscape. There are very easy ways to numb our emotional landscape. But we keep doing that, not only do we not process the emotion, but there’s massive consequences to our physiology. When we consistently do things like that, and then we blame the body, and it wasn’t the body’s fault.
It’s interesting, I was talking to a client today kind of about this whole concept of how much we love to blame the body. And you know, if you think about it, the body is something that we see. It’s very tangible. I mean, you can wear a lot of baggy clothes, there’s all kinds of things you can kind of do to hide your body. But you can’t really hide the body. The body is what we always see. It it’s like the container of the human. And so I think that’s partly why we hyper focus on the body. Because it’s something we can see.
But the real work of health, the real work of life satisfaction is inside the container. It’s the stuff you can’t see. But it’s the stuff that you can hide. You can put on a game face. To make sure nobody is seeing the suffering behind that face. You can mold your body in every way possible. And still be deeply unsatisfied internally.
So the body can really hide what’s happening on the inside. But I want to invite you here now to stop blaming your body for how you feel about yourself about your life. It’s not your body’s fault. But the work that needs to happen inside the container, the inside work has the potential to change everything. So I hope you will consider embarking if you haven’t started already on that work.
You all know because I say this at the end of every show. This is why I created the Rumble & Rise. It is literally a space where we do the inside work we work on respecting chemistry, developing smart strategy, managing our brains and processing emotion. So if you need a little help with any or all of those areas, come join us at graceandgrit.com/readytorumble.
Have an awesome day and I’ll see you again next week. Take care.
Thank you for listening to the Grace and Grit Podcast. It is time to mend the fabric of the female health story. And it starts with you taking radical responsibility for your own self care. You are worth the effort and with a little grace and grit, anything is possible.
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