This past Friday a colleague of mine and I got into a great conversation about nutrition, which then morphed into an even better conversation about emotional health.
More specifically, it turned into a conversation about how we need to focus more on our emotional health and recognize it as the foundation upon which our physical health is built.
See, when we head to the gym our objectives are almost always physical and often surface level objectives. (There is absolutely nothing wrong with this though. I’m merely pointing out that the vast majority of fitness objectives are inherently physically focused. Looking better, performing better and even having better health all require us to focus on, change and improve our physical structures.)
Then, in order to achieve these physical objectives we use physical solutions. We use exercise programs that tell us what exercises to do and how many times to do them, and dietary programs that tell us how much of what foods to eat.
But we need to go deeper. We need to invest time and energy and examine our deeper emotional well being.
Why We Need To Invest in Our Deeper Emotional Well Being
So often what holds us back from building and maintaining the body and the health we want is not our exercise program, or our dietary program, or our even our drive and our desires.
What really holds us back is our emotional health.
Perhaps despite our best efforts we were just never able to have a strong and positive relationship with a parent.
Or perhaps we recently went through a very difficult and emotionally upsetting break-up or divorce.
Or maybe there is some other factor that is having a significant impact on our emotional health.
Off the bat you wouldn’t think any of these situations would directly influence our ability to get and stay in shape.
But they do.
When our emotional foundation is unstable we often lack the strength and fortitude to maintain our workouts and healthy eating habits during emotionally difficult and logistically chaotic times.
And when our emotional base is unhealthy and when we make mistakes we come down too hard on ourselves.
We are unable and unwilling to forgive ourselves and unable and unwilling to move past our mistakes.
We beat ourselves up, we drive ourselves down and we become our own worst enemy.
And critically, when we do this, we often stop exercising and turn to food and alcohol for comfort. And in turn these choices directly undermine our ability to get and stay in shape.
However, if we have taken the time to build a strong emotional foundation we build the ability to acknowledge our mistakes and move past them without engaging in self-destructive behavior.
This is why it is so important to build a solid and stable emotional foundation when you’re trying to improve your physical health.
Take it From Me, I’ve Been There.
I know everything I am saying here is true because I’ve been there.
There was a time in my life where my emotional foundation was not solid.
I was insecure, I did not like the person I had become and I did not respect myself.
And during these times I would exercise and eat well for short periods of time before a hurdle threw me back into behaviors that were undermining my health and physical abilities.
It wasn’t until I took the time to focus on my emotional well-being and face the situations that had caused me emotional strife, that I was able to handle life’s unavoidable obstacles and maintain my exercise regimen and healthy eating habits.
Always remember this: your emotional health is the foundation upon which your physical health is built.
So take the time to build a strong emotional core. It will be the best investment you make for yourself and it will lay the groundwork for long term physical health and happiness.
Your exercise and dietary coaching team.
Zach Moore Training.