Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it. –Plato
About five years ago I started to have severe back pain. I didn’t have an accident, nothing happened, I just woke up one morning with the most unbelievable pain in my lower and mid-back. I wouldn’t wish back pain on anyone; it is one of the most excruciating feelings, and I’ve given birth twice.
Around this time, I was going through some very difficult family issues and I had become very depressed. The depression led me to become isolated and I spent long periods of time sitting on the couch and stopped exercising. I also gained about 25 pounds. My emotional state truly affected my physical body. After x-rays and an MRI, my doctor found that I had some deterioration in my lower vertebrae and a herniated disc. After much searching, I found a great physical therapist, who gave me real exercises that got me strong and built up my core. I was able to get back into the gym which motivated me to clean up my food and I lost 40 pounds over the next year.
Two years later, I have kept off most of the weight I lost and my food and workouts are pretty good. But recently my back and leg have started becoming more painful. If I’m honest with myself, I must admit that I am not feeling emotionally strong right now and it is leading to more time sitting. The physical/emotional cycle is so insidious. I feel depressed, so I sit and don’t move myself as much which then causes the back pain to creep in again. So, I must push through this feeling and make sure I take care of my body and mind. This is just another chance for me to remind myself that I must take care of my whole self. It is a swift kick in the butt to make me remember that my emotional and physical health are totally intertwined and I can’t have one without the other.
So, if you’re trying to get in shape to lose some weight, remember, it’s not just about appearance or looking good into a bathing suit. Having a strong body is essential to keeping your mind healthy, as well. When you’re doing your next workout, remember you’re doing this for your whole self.