This picture was taking on our honeymoon, when we adventured to Asheville, NC. I chose this picture because it relates to this post. I’ll come back to it.
I think I was pretty late to The Body Book party, but when she recently realized The Longevity Book, I was too curious not to pick it up. She basically goes through all the basics of the human body (specifically us girls), good health, the value of exercise (which she calls movement), even our mind and soul. It’s an easy read, but quite the book. I don’t want to spoil it if you do intend to read it, but below are some of my favorite passages, and the occasional thought.
“Your body is your past, present, and future. It carries the memory of your ancestors, because you are made up of the genes given to you by your parents and their parents before them. It is the culmination of everything you have ever eaten, all the physical activity that you did or didn’t do, all the efforts that you’ve made to understand and take care of it. And how well you care for it will determine how well you are able to live your life.”
You must act as a nutrition delivery system for your cells, finding and consuming the most nutrient-rich foods possible, so your cells can do everything they want to do: protect you, energize you, heal you, as well as enable you to keep thinking and breathing. Because you are what you eat.
I like Cameron’s overarching theme throughout the book is that health is your body working at its optimum, with the energy to do all that you desire to do in a day, a body to fight off sickness and keep you strong. Health is not a size zero or the ability to run a marathon. I like this idea a lot, because everyone has a different body build, unique genetic makeup, and different passions. Some hate running, so they swim for exercise. Some bodies are meant to be a size 6, that’s where they thrive, not at a size 2.
When we think about fitness, we don’t think about playing. We think about lifting weights at the gym, running on a treadmill, and hiring a personal trainer. We think about calories burned, sweat sweated, time spent. But that kind of movement is only part of the equation. If you want to be a healthy person, you much move ALL OF THE TIME. You must remember what it feels like to move for the JOY OF IT. To move because you can move.
Your bones rely on your muscles to help keep them strong, and your muscles rely on you to make them strong. Building your body just means creating strength in all parts of your body in order to create a structure that will be able to carry you through life so that you can be strong and capable.
The joy of it. Fitness is a lifestyle decision. Even though I’ve been an athlete since 7th grade, I’m only just now realizing that good health is an overall attitude, not just one “let’s exercise for 6 months to lose 5 pounds and then eat whatever we want” season. It’s more enjoyable, I think, to give ourselves grace on days we can’t exercise, because we know that overall, we are active people. Finding an activity that makes you happy, challenges you, and strengthens you will help make fitness a lifestyle instead of a chore.
Reading this book gave me a new perspective about exercise. Exercise builds muscle, which strengthens bone, which will help me do all the things I love to do! Strengthening my bones and muscles now will help me enjoy life even more later. I kept thinking, ‘Chelsea, stop limiting exercise to only being something to help you lose weight. It’s so much more than that, so much better than that!’
The alternative to not aging is as grim as it gets, because if you’re not getting older, you are dead. Taking good care of yourself is a wonderful way to slow down the rate at which your body ages, because at some point, how old your body feels is not a question of years, but a tally of habits and choices and chance. But no matter how much we exercise and how much we moisturize, it is the law of nature and the journey of being human that our bodies are aging and changing every single day. Instead of obsessing over staying young forever, isn’t it better to want things that we can have, to aim our energies at achieving results that are actually achievable?
Health is not about depriving yourself. It’s about giving yourself everything that you deserve. And that begins with being kind to yourself, and gentle, because everything takes time — but if you persevere you will get there.
I really admire her opinions on aging. She talks much about aging gracefully, and joyfully, and peacefully. At some point, how old your body feels is not a question of years, but a tally of habits and choices and change.
In the ‘dieting world’ today, if you’re trying to lose a little extra, or train for a an event, or if you simply feel pressure from our culture to look/be a certain way, the overall attitude is that you must restrict your diet and activities. You must abstain from X, and only eat Y.
This is sometimes difficult place to live. It can be stressful, discouraging, and honestly, a bummer most days. Health is not about depriving yourself. It’s about giving yourself everything that you deserve.
How well we care for our bodies will determine how well we are able to live our lives.
Overall, The Body Book is informative, insightful, challenging, and encouraging. Pick it up if I’ve piqued your interest.
PS – I chose the above photo because the month leading up to our wedding, I was so busy I hardly had time to truly exercise. But I walked a good bit, with my future husband, and friends. During out honeymoon, we did a handful of challenging but rewarding hikes. We walked around Biltmore House and downtown Asheville, exploring the area. For about 8 weeks, I didn’t consistently exercise, but I felt good because I didn’t let that stop me from being active. I knew activity would help me release tension, it would clear my mind, it would remind me to choose joy.