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Let Your Body Be Your Guide

Episode 16 of the Fuel the Fire Podcast hosted by Shanon Safi, RD, LDN.

What do you think are the most important elements of health and wellness? Do you think about your mind, body, and soul? In this episode Shanon discusses her journey through the highs and lows of body image and how she began consciously rebuilding her mind-body connection to achieve not only her goals but also self care and love.

In this episode we talk about: Conquering shame & Shanon’s own evolution with body image & intuition (03:02) Shanon reevaluated where and how she seeked her worth but not without struggle (22:47) How can you strengthen the connection between your mind, body, and soul? (30:22) Understanding your emotions and how they tie in to your body (42:05)

Episode Transcript:

   I love the feeling of what love feels like, the way my heart beats creating this frequency that's just emitted out of my body. It sounds so funny when I say it out loud, but when you sit down and do this kind of emotional practice and you feel that you're like, Oh my gosh, now you know what love feels like.

Hello, hello. Welcome to another episode of the Fuel Fire Soul podcast with your host Shannon Safi. Today I'm going to run through kind of like what led me to this essentially like this new principle that I've really been exploring.

So, one day, I always say, if I write a book, my first book, maybe my second book, I don't know. Let's start with one. But, a book that I will one day write, I want to entitle it, Your Body is Your Guide. And this is because I think I probably spent my whole life ignoring everything that my body was trying to tell me in order to achieve things and just like fit into this mold of who I thought I was supposed to be and what I thought people wanted me to be.

And through all of this, especially like working as a dietitian and becoming known for weight loss, I think it was just like something that I was starting to like observe these patterns that were coming up with clients that I saw. So I really wanted to kind of like explore that further and better understand these patterns so that I could truly help people understand this.

And that's kind of like what led me to a lot of these realizations and why I'm kind of like stepping away from. Almost like putting out the message that like, I'm someone that helps with weight loss. Because I think if you focus on weight loss as a means to make yourself like your body, I think you tend to miss the actual solution of what's going to get you to really love the body that you currently have.

Because at the end of the day, that's why we're doing these diets. Because we want to like the way we look on the outside. The problem is, you cannot hate your body. So a lot of people use this tactic of like shaming yourself into having this better body and looking a certain way by almost just like making ourselves feel bad for any like quote unquote negative behavior.

And usually these behaviors are told to us by someone else that has said, Oh, I think this is bad. And then we internalize that and try to use that almost as like shame or punishment for doing something that's like, again, quote unquote, not good. I really don't love to put things into categories as good or bad, because a lot of things aren't inherently good or inherently bad.

They just are, and like, we as humans decide whether they're good is bad, but the thing or food or activity in itself isn't necessarily bad. It's really about how we use it, ultimately, that determines whether it's something that's positive for our health. Or detracting from our health. I want to start this off by talking a little bit, like, about My personal history and evolution and kind of what led me to this, and then we'll kind of get into how I use my body as my guide now and how that has actually changed things for me.

So essentially, I'll kind of give you like the brief overview first, and then if that piques your curiosity, keep listening, because I think this is really helpful information and can be applied to really anyone's life. So essentially. What I used to do was track and manage my macros and have certain exercise routine and regimen that I had to Hit every single day in order for me to feel good about what I was doing with my body and how my body looked.

And so, what that was, and where I am now, I mean, this is kind of like, I'm still in this evolutionary phase, so I think there's still stuff for me to learn from this, but where I'm at right now, in this evolution, So from that starting point of, again, being super meticulous with every single thing that I ate and how I moved, and now I'm in a place where I just honor what my body is feeling and I'm fighting my, I don't fight myself to do things that are healthy for me or good for me or feeling good to me, I should say, because I'm approaching it from a completely different standpoint.

I had that fear that most people do, like, if I let go of this regimen, if I let go of tracking, will I then just gain weight? Like, I'm, am I gonna lose control and just undo all of this hard work that I have done for myself to get these results? And that did hold me back for a long time, and I struggled with letting go of it, and so it was not a smooth journey by any means.

I didn't just... Stopped doing all these things and suddenly my body knew what to do. I went through, I would call it like an awkward stage or whatever you would like, almost like a period where I wasn't really feeling that good about how I looked during that time because I was still trying to figure out how to be okay with this change in my body because obviously if I change what I'm doing, my body is going to look a little bit different.

But eventually, I held faith, knowing that my body will normalize and get to a point where I felt really comfortable and happy. And through this journey, I found that I was approaching it from the wrong way. I was approaching it from the outside in, when really that healing... And that journey needed to be approached from the inside out.

So now where I stand, and you know, this wasn't even like a goal necessarily of mine, but I worked really hard to maintain my weight at a certain point. And like, it was a struggle. It was not easy. Like, I fought myself to maintain a certain weight. Now, with where I'm at, and you know, again, being almost, I don't want to say on the other side necessarily, but further along through this journey, this body journey, this evolution, my weight now is probably like 10 pounds less, maybe 15 pounds less than where I was when I started.

And I'm, I honestly surprised myself because my goal wasn't necessarily to lose weight through this journey, it was to just be in a place where I could appreciate my body and be happy with who I saw in the mirror every day. But again, that was a journey that was from the inside out, not the outside in, which is why I struggled and couldn't actually be happy with myself until I looked at this journey in a completely different way.

So I'll give you a little bit more of the Evolution and that little story so that, you know, if you're somewhere here or if you're starting in the beginning, or maybe you're meeting me in the middle, or maybe you're at the end, or maybe you're ahead of me on this journey, you can at least have that moment to like connect and kind of know again, that just nice feeling of being a human to know that we're not the only ones going through what we're going through and together we can create such a strong impact and really spread the love when we come together.

Through these difficult topics that I'm discussing today, and I do think it's a really challenging topic because like our bodies are definitely like a representation of our life experience. And, you know, I think one hard part about it is like, there's a lot of things that we feel shame for. And I think it's normal at some point to have shame for your body, like I think we've all have thought that one way or another, one reason or another.

And the thing about it is, is a lot of times, like, that's something that you cannot hide from people. You know, especially through the pandemic, like, I noticed that even more with clients talking about returning to the office after a year or two, or whatever that timeline is, and like, gaining weight, and saying like, I'm afraid to show myself to my co workers because I don't want people to comment on the change in my body because I am so ashamed of letting myself get this way.

Like I hear the word shame ashamed a lot during sessions with clients because that's just what it is. Like we feel a lot of shame around how we look. Some things we could control, some things we can't control. Other things we don't know how to get a grasp on. And so that's why. Like, a lot of the coaching that I do is, like, how do I get a grasp on what I'm experiencing as a human right now?

And how do I actually take myself as I am and be able to love myself for everything that I am in this moment right now? Which is so, so hard. And again, like, I struggled with this myself, and I made it, like, my mission to try to truly understand this. Because I didn't want to keep coaching if I didn't fully understand.

And again, I mean, I don't want to say fully, but if I couldn't at least start to wrap my head around the concept of self love. And I think like, you know, love is something that continuously grows deeper. So to say that I love myself fully right now, I guess like no one can truly say that because that would be dismissing the theory that you could learn to love yourself even more than you already do.

So like the same way with a relationship with another person, like the goal is to continue to grow deeper and deeper. In love with them the same way you want to feel about yourself, you know, so do I feel like I love myself more now than I ever have? Absolutely. Do I think that I'll love myself more in the future?

Absolutely. I think it's, it's just continuing to have that appreciation for everything that you've been through and knowing that you have the strength and the resilience to work towards something and be able to come out on the other side Knowing that the journey is not perfectly linear and giving yourself space and grace to know that there are going to be peaks and valleys in this journey.

Let me digress back to my little history about my evolution. So with my little history, okay, so we started I'll throw this, like, let's start with, like, college because that's when I think I really started to focus on my body, like, more and try to, like, manipulate my body into something different than what it was.

So I was an athlete in high school, so coming into college, I was like, wow, I want to make sure I keep up that level of activity because I know how good my body feels when I'm moving and doing any level of activity, really. I think initially when I was a freshman in college, I was just like running on the treadmill.

Like I would literally run for an hour and like, mind you, like, I don't consider myself a runner at this time, but I did play soccer and basketball in high school, which did require quite a bit of running. So it was something that I knew was important. Like I would say the cardio aspect I knew was really important.

And so cardio equaled running to me. That's all I really knew at that time. I didn't really have a Broad scope of fitness at that point because all of my fitness was like through sport So now I'm kind of like left to my own vices and I'm exploring this and just like everything's different so I'm trying to figure out who I am I guess at this period of time because like Yeah, just life is different and you're left to your own vices when you first move out from home and you're like, okay I need to figure this out for myself now and I have that opportunity to do so So I was running a whole bunch, and I think I like, maybe like did some lifting at this point in time.

It wasn't until the end of my freshman year. Slash like right after I finished my freshman year, or my freshman spring semester, that I started getting more into lifting. And really, the way that happened was I actually got a job at GNC, and my boss, shout out to Joe Chris, he was a bodybuilder. And, you know, like, in a job where you're working retail, you do spend a lot of time with the people that you work with.

And a lot of people that worked at GNC or for GNC. In that area in Pittsburgh, they were really into fitness and bodybuilding. So it was like a huge focus for that community. And of course, like when that's how your boss is, they're going to more likely hire people that they connect with. And so it was kind of almost just like.

Hey, this is like the atmosphere. It's a nutrition place. We want people that are really focused on nutrition and fitness because that was really the emphasis or I should say almost like what GNC was kind of known for in that area. GNC headquarters is actually in Pittsburgh. So there were so many GNCs.

It was like a huge community of us and really like everyone, I guess now looking back, I didn't really think about it until now, but everyone was basically. Into bodybuilding or some kind of athlete that I worked with and so yeah, I like getting that job there I kind of was more thinking about it from the nutrition standpoint But once I started working there I got a lot more into the fitness because I was spending time with people who focused a lot more on that and were very conscious of their bodies and trying to do the best that they could to look and feel good When I went into that my boss was just like, Oh, like you have a really great build for being like a figure competitor.

And that got in my head and I was like, yeah, like I want to do that. Like I want to be shredded and go on a stage and look really great in a bikini. And so I started pursuing that, you know, so I only ever did one show. I did that my sophomore year of college or no, I'm sorry. I did that my junior year of college.

So I think I probably spent my sophomore year. Like lifting a whole lot. So I got really into lifting at the end of my freshman year, did that. And at that time, like I, you know, I was super focused on what I ate. And like, I probably did some like weird behavior too. I think for a little bit, I was just like, not eating nearly enough.

Like I would say I was almost like. Starving myself like I was eating so little and I can't tell you exactly how much I was eating But I knew I was very eating very very little But then I started to just like be more meticulous with what I was eating and understanding that I needed more calories So I did get a little bit better with that.

But after the show going through that bodybuilding process, I really just like Like, by the end of it, I like, honestly felt like I never hated my body more. And it's so crazy because you would think the opposite when you see someone all glamorized on that stage. Like, you want to think, oh, like, that person looks amazing, they must feel so great.

And if you talk to a lot of these professional bodybuilders, usually, like, their lowest Level of confidence is when they're on stage because you are literally being critiqued by a bunch of humans on like every step that you take and every Like serration you have and like every little shred and every muscle and every ounce of you like you are being analyzed So hardcore about every part of you, how you did your makeup, your hair, what you did with your hands your leanness, all of that.

And it's really hard. And like, you are so vulnerable in that position. Like you're literally almost naked and you're standing on the stage and people are critiquing you. Like I could not imagine a more uncomfortable scenario in my head. So I'm not sure why, you know, I think before I did it, I thought it was like.

Going to make me love myself and make me really proud of what my body could do, but instead it made me so hyper focused on my body and it, like, honestly hurt my relationship with my body and actually took me further away from, like, being happy with myself and actually loving myself. And I like to mention it was almost like I was taking advantage of my wounds instead of trying to heal them.

So, you know, I think I prided myself in my ability for being able to be sacrificial, and to be disciplined, and to be okay with being in pain, and to be okay with suffering. And, like, honestly, that's, like, partially what it does take to push yourself to such an extreme with your body. Like, you have to be okay with pain, you have to be okay with...

Punishment in a sense. It's like you had to do these crazy things to get your body to look this way and your ability to ignore your body was really key in all of this. So it was like just driving me more and more into this disconnection from my body rather than a deeper connection to my body. Now I have so much more of a deeper connection, but at that time, like, I, yeah, what I did drove me so far away from that connection to myself.

Like, my mind and my body and my soul just were like three completely separate things, it felt like. That can't actually be possible, but like, the, whatever, the wiring in my system, just, they were just not communicating. All of them had to ignore each other in order for me to get my body to do those certain things.

Even after that, I still continued to like track and, you know, I was a dietetics major, studying nutrition. So there was so much focus. You know, I felt like I have to look a certain way if I'm going to be someone that can teach people how to be healthy. So I was really focused on my nutrition and my fitness, even though I wasn't doing bodybuilding.

I did step into other sports because again, like. I had wounded myself. Well, I should say like I had previous wounds and then made them bigger wounds. I guess I was just deepening them more and more as I went through that process and. Next, I did powerlifting, which I felt like, oh, like, I'm not going to be judged on how my body looks.

I'm going to be judged on what my body can do instead. As if that was healthier, but in my head, like, during my evolution, I felt like, yeah, like this makes sense. I want to be judged on what my body can do because my body can do amazing things. And I definitely think that's true. However, again, it was just like.

Being compared to what this person's body can do versus what my body can do. And, you know, again, it was just perpetuating this unhealthy relationship. And again, further disconnecting my ability to understand my body. So again, my mind, body, soul was further driven apart because with powerlifting. You know, again, like I hurt so much when I was doing that, but I was really good at ignoring pain so that I could continue to push and excel in that sport.

And so when I look back, like my body did do crazy things. Like I was competing at 132 pounds and like my deadlift was like. I was like 4'05, and like my squat was like 3'55, my bench I think was like 2'25, and like, that was me, I was like 21, 22, so like I was just a little pipsqueak, like, throwing around big weight, and I felt really cool, and it gave me this big ego boost, and so like I guess I just liked it.

Feeling really strong and capable and, you know, that I was so competitive. I think it also was just like, it just made me feel good. Like I wanted to win things. Like I wanted to be the best because I thought it was going to give me some sense of validation or make me like myself more or make myself seem better than other people.

But I, I mean, I wasn't cutthroat about it. I would never hurt anyone else in the process, but like it definitely like I was definitely one of those people where I was almost like modest about it. I'd be like, people would tell me I was really strong. I'm like, stop. Oh my God. Stop it. No, you're strong too.

But like, I, I freaking loved hearing people tell me that I was strong, like that fed my ego so much. And I liked that. Like, it was definitely a lot more ego driven at that time in my life and like, it's okay to acknowledge that. Like. Our egos are going to pop out from time to time, like you can't escape your ego.

It's part of you. It's okay. Embrace it. We all have a little bit of ego in us to some degree about something that we're really proud of that we can do. Just embrace that part of you. So yeah, at that time, that made me feel really great. But again, internally, huge disconnection. And then of course I switched to another sport because it was almost like I didn't like the experience of bodybuilding.

So I changed to powerlifting and then I didn't like an experience I had there. So then that led me to CrossFit. And again, like I was really good ignoring my body's pain and I was really good at disconnecting from my body. And so that allowed me to excel in that sport as well. And also just genetically speaking, like.

My family just has like some freak genes for an athlete. Like my brother was freakishly strong. My sister's freakishly strong. I shouldn't say was, they're all still freakishly strong. Both my parents are freakishly strong. It's literally like in our DNA to be crazy athletes. Which is kind of cool, which is, yeah, that's, that's always a nice plus.

But what's not in our DNA is to be naturally lean. So maybe there was a part of us that felt like we had to work really hard to prove that. to look the part of what we were doing. And so moving forward. With CrossFit, essentially, like, I pushed myself to the point where I actually had injuries. So, like, really terrible injuries that I just, like, couldn't recover from without taking extensive time off.

Like, literally doing nothing. I think I just, like, had a low point when I hurt my shoulder in CrossFit. And, of course, I know a bunch of people are gonna be like, Oh, that's what you get for doing CrossFit. If you do it safely, that's cool. If you do it unsafely, like I did, to achieve at a higher level, that's when things start to get.

Potentially ugly, or if you don't know what you're doing, obviously that can lead you to injury, but that's not the point of this podcast episode. The point was I hurt myself and it was so bad that I like, I couldn't sleep at night. I was in so much physical pain. Like I, there was no position that I could ease myself of that pain.

And. I couldn't do anything for months. So I literally, because it's your arm, like you don't think about it, but you basically use your arm, even on leg day, you're using your arm. So I guess like the only thing I could really do was do like isolation leg machines, but even then that was pretty limited because your arm does things in a lot of those.

So I was not in a great position to continue. And I just was like, again, hitting a wall at that point. Like I was just like, what, like, what am I doing? Like, I need to compete in something to feel good. And I realized like I was just doing it, like, honestly, when I stepped away from bodybuilding, I'm sorry, powerlifting, I kind of knew I was just like, wow.

The only reason I'm competing is like, it's just for all the wrong reasons. It's like to prove something that I don't need to prove to anyone. And I kind of got like looped into competing in CrossFit because people saw that I was strong and they kept like talking to me about it. And like, no disrespect to them by any means.

Like, obviously if you see someone that has a talent that doesn't see it in themselves, It's a nice thing to go to them and say, Hey, like, I think you have a lot of potential, like I want to help you like, sure. So I, like, I let that happen because I was really enjoying, like having those abilities to do those things, but again, further disconnecting me from my body.

So more or less. Going into that, or I should say, like, being on the outside of that, I was just like, wow, I need to stop competing, period. Because all I am doing is putting so much value in my body in a way that it's not meant to be. Because when I lost that thing, so when I lost the ability to work out for those three months, like, I was so miserable.

Because I put so much of my value and my worth into my physical appearance and like, what it could do. So when that was taken away from me, it felt like, Oh, like, what am I even worth if I don't have this ability and can do this thing or look a certain way? And that's when I realized like, wow, this is a huge problem and I need to fix this.

So again, like, because I was moving so much with CrossFit that time when I wasn't able to move, I did gain weight and my body composition changed and I wasn't feeling great about it. So my external body, probably also not my internal body, but I had been ignoring what I've been feeling internally for like 28 years of my life where I just like disconnected.

Like I learned to disconnect from my body as a protective mechanism or to help me achieve success. So it was really hard to say, okay, I need to undo this because it did get me really far in a lot of things in life, but at the same time, like it got me so far, but it was also the same thing at this point in my life that was holding me back.

from that next step of my evolution. So that's where I realized I really had to make that change. And it started with my food. So I, you know, after I kind of like recovered from that injury, I took it easy and I was like, okay, this time I'm serious. I'm just going to work out for fun. I'm not going to overstress or overworry about this.

So I just kind of went again. I was still like working out pretty often, like probably five or five or six days. I will say like five days a week, like I was pretty consistently still working out five days a week and doing like pretty high intensity stuff. I just had no intentions of taking it to a competitive level because I didn't want to keep judging myself on that or like limiting my value to something.

That I am more than so I wanted to focus on like, figuring out the food side of it, especially because it was my career choice. Like, this is what I want to help people with. And I can't keep helping people when I don't understand what's going on with myself. So with food, the way that happened, like my body fluctuated.

So so much during that time, you know, once I started to change things and you know I there's definitely times I got like I guess almost like scared Like I would start to gain weight when I wasn't tracking and then I would like run back to tracking after a few months and it was kind of like a little bit of that roller coaster ride for a while probably like like a year or two of like trying to let go and then feeling like I needed to come back to it to get my body feeling good again.

So it was just like, it was ebbing and flowing. And I was just like, Oh my gosh, like look at this cycle that I'm running. Like I need to change this pattern because it's like something is still not right internally. So then I really. You know, with COVID happening in the quarantine, I think that was time for me to really sit down and take a, like, a deep look at myself.

So, in ways, I'm, like, grateful for the shutdown that we had because that was, like, the first time in my life I think I ever slowed down like that. Genuinely, I've always been someone that's just like, I will wake up at 4am and I will operate until I pass out at 9pm. Like, I was just go, go, go to an extreme.

And, you know, it was probably like an avoidance tactic where it's like, if I stopped and slowed down, you know, I just like, I didn't feel good. So I just wanted to stay busy so that I could achieve lots of things and continue to show people how good I was at. Self sacrifice. Again, now I see, like I was seeing that needed to change and I really was just like, okay, like if I'm going to do this, I'm going to just like, I'm just going to let go.

Like, I'm going to really start to pay attention to what my body is saying and feeling, but that takes, it literally takes practice. So I've been practicing, I guess, since 20, when did, oh my gosh, was it 2019? Yeah, I guess. Yeah, 2019, 2020. Yeah, I'm starting to lose track of the years. 2019, right? 2020, honestly, I'm really confusing myself regardless whenever the pandemic started.

That's when I really started this journey and I really was like, okay, I'm letting go of What I want my body to look like, I'm letting go of these expectations people have on me. I'm letting go of the expectations I placed on myself and I just want to flow like I just want to, you know, allow myself to be happy and feel good.

So with food, again, like I said, it really like went up and down, but I just kept trying to ask myself every single day, every single meal. So it was literally like a one meal at a time. So it used to be all about like. Meal prepping, which I think was really like, I still do prep things, but I had to step away from it for a while to understand, like, and give myself that choice to say like, okay, I'm going to choose what I actually want.

I'm going to choose what my body is asking for right now, because I didn't know what it wanted. I didn't know how to hear it. So I really, yeah, it was just like, we're literally taking this. One minute at a time, so I'd wake up and like, I'd be like, okay, what, what am I? Am I actually hungry right now? Like, let me wait until I physically feel hungry next.

I would just be like, okay, what am I in the mood to eat? And I would honor that. So even if it was something that was like fast food or take out, like. I was honoring it because it was in my body. My body wanted it for a reason. A lot of people sometimes are like afraid to let themselves have that or ashamed that they're letting themselves have that.

But again, to me, it was part of the process to like honor what I wanted. And the further along I got through that process, like I was seeing that naturally, like it leveled out. So yeah, like the first few months, like I was picking. Things that I restricted from myself for so long, or I had so many rules about like, okay, I can only eat out once a week at most.

And I can only like eat this food every once in a while. Or I can only eat this volume of it. Or if this meal doesn't have X amount of protein, I cannot eat it. All of these things. And. So yeah, that those first few months where it was just like me, just like getting all of these things out of my system to just like do and have, because like I wasn't allowing it for myself for so long.

And so through that, like, yeah, of course, like I gained some weight, but I had to be okay with it because I knew it was part of the process. So I just embraced that. And I was like, okay, like, I'm not going to look the way that I used to look, but that's not the goal. Like this healing, I need to allow this healing.

And this trauma to, like, work its way out of me. And so, I, you know, that, that was really the hardest part, like, I'm not gonna sit here and tell you that it wasn't easy to look at myself in the mirror those days, but what got me through it was that reminder that, like, one day, I'm, I, like, I'm going to, going to look in the mirror and like be so enamored by everything that I am.

And so the more I reminded myself of why I loved myself and gave myself, like spoke to myself in my own love language. So like words of affirmation is my number one love language. And so I had to really tell myself and like talk myself through these things and say like, Hey, these are the reasons I love you.

These are the reasons I appreciate you. These are the reasons why you're great. Like all of this. And. It sounds really silly, but you really, you really have to be able to do that for yourself because you can't expect anyone else to do that for you. Like this journey connecting to your body, like people can give you guidance, but no one can tell you exactly what you feel.

You have to be able to identify what you're feeling internally and truly believe that. Because no one else can make you believe that. You know, no one should have the ability to control how you feel. So all of that really had to come from within and so, now, I mean, it's so crazy to me the way I just like wake up and it feels good to not have to wonder how many calories are in a certain thing or like stress about that the way I did before and like overanalyze like everything that went into my body now.

I just like it just naturally I crave. Fruits and vegetables. Like I crave things that feel good to me because I'm finally checking in with my body. But it took so much time, like I said, to build that connection. So asking myself what I wanted was a big part of it, but there's other things that really helped me strengthen that like mind, body, soul connection.

And these things kind of like built up slowly over the course of time through trial and error. So kind of seeing like, Hey, did this work? Did it not work? Did I like doing this? Did I not like doing this? You really, like, you can see what people have in their arsenal, but at the end of the day, you choose what to put in your toolkit and you get to choose how you use it, when you use it, in what way you use it.

So other things that really helped me strengthen that connection between my mind and my body and my soul exercise is a really big one. The way I looked at it before is like, I definitely did exercise that like literally hurts. It was almost like, oh, I need it to hurt to know it's working. But now I approach movement very differently.

Like I want to feel my body with my exercise. So with my exercise, it's much less extreme than any of the sports that I did before. So it's more about like me feeling good as I'm doing it. Like, yeah, I think naturally you're gonna push through a little bit of discomfort with exercise because it's good.

That's how you, that's how you grow. Like you need to, and when I say discomfort, like I don't just don't mix it up with pain, right? Like discomfort would be like squeezing out an additional rep or like holding a plank for a little bit longer, like pushing through that little bit of shakiness. Like that's natural.

Okay. That's normal. But it's like that sense of accomplishment and that release that comes from it. Right. So you need to kind of like push yourself in those ways. But if you're like, my arm's going to fall off if I do another rep, because I pulled a muscle, like that's, that's not, that's not what I'm encouraging you to do when you are moving, you want to think about the muscles that you are activating.

And that really helps you to connect. Back to your body and having that mind muscle connection will also help your body look better. So it works both ways. So there's a benefit. So if you focus on feeling good from the inside out, what the outside looks like will eventually match the inside, but the outside.

Will not seep to your insides and make you feel good. So it only works one way You can only work from the inside out in this case So just trust that as you're going through this you'll have ups and downs, but eventually it there will level out But you have to show yourself love and compassion through every step of this process Okay.

That is so key to this because if you're like still thinking like, okay, one day I'm going to feel good. One day I'm going to look good that that's not a good source of motivation. Your motivation needs to be deep internal healing and happiness and feeling good because that as long as you're honoring that and honoring what your body is trying to tell you, you will have those external results.

So a little bit more on movement. So another movement I really love that has helped me with this mind body connection is booty yoga. I know you guys, if you follow me on social media, you're seeing that I'm getting a little bit more into it. Booty is a very different type of yoga. I'm going to go more in depth on this on another episode, but just to briefly talk about it, this form of yoga is really meant to promote self love and trauma healing.

So there's certain movements within booty, like the spiraling and the shaking movements that actually help. Release trauma that's stored in the body and it allows you to activate muscles in a way that most other forms of movement don't do or cannot do. So I love Booty because it is so focused and so internal and very much so, like helps you truly love yourself and.

That's really, like, it's opened me up to so much more, and has awakened me to so many things through releasing that trauma that was stored within my body. So, a really good book on that, I know I haven't done a book reference in a minute, but another good book would be The Body Keeps Score. So, it's about the brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma, written by Bessel van der Kolk.

I don't know if I said that properly, Bessel. Shout out though, good book. It's definitely a very dense scientific read in the beginning, but I think it's definitely worthwhile. It's definitely one that I think it's like, you know, I read it in small chunks because it is a lot to process, but it is a good one.

If you don't choose to read it, what this book is really talking about, kind of like I said, it's like how you can actually, like the principle's all about... How your body stores this trauma. So your step, your cells, your physical cells store this trauma. So even if you mentally have blocked out memories or repressed memories from traumas, your body physically, your cells physically still remember it.

So it's important to do things like movement or massage or walks, things like this that actually give space to release that trauma that is stored within the body. And in the book, he goes into a lot more different methods about other ways that you can actually release trauma that is stored within the body.

Like I said this episode, I'm just telling you the ones that I have chosen to use because I really stand by them and they have worked so well for me. So yeah, just general exercise, booty yoga, walks, massage. The next one, so floating and meditation. I'll kind of put those like they're two separate activities.

So like meditation, I do much. More frequently, like that's a daily practice that I have meditation really allows you to start to allow things to come through. So when you're sitting with yourself, a lot of thoughts will come up. And I think sometimes some people don't want to sit with themselves because it's uncomfortable sitting with your own thoughts, because that's when a lot of our wounding comes up or things that need to be healed come up when you have that time alone to sit with those thoughts.

Those thoughts are scary. I'm not saying they're easy. Like this work is not easy. This is challenging work and sometimes emotionally it's very turbulent and it hurts. But it's something that's really important to the healing process and to be able to really allow your body to guide you and never have to worry if you can trust yourself or not.

Like self trust is like a huge part of this process because again, I think your body is able to tell you So much of what you need to know, but we just don't know how to listen to it. And that's what these activities help us do. So meditation you can do so many different forms of meditation. So meditation, just sitting and allowing thoughts to pass and observing what's coming up or meditation through like body scans.

That's another really good mechanism to help with that mind body connection. You're actually taking the time to think about every single little body part. And. Asking yourself, like, how does that body part feel? How does this body part feel? And, like, we never do that. So that's why I think that form of meditation is so good and so valuable, because it gives you that space to do so.

fLoating, if you guys haven't heard me talk about this in person. So floating, this is like a sensory deprivation tank. So you go into this, like, it's like a sealed tank, and it's filled with water. Well, it's like half water, half air, right? And the water is highly concentrated with Epsom salt. And you lay in the water.

And the temperature of the water is the same temperature as the air, which are both the same temperature as your body. And then it becomes pitch black in there. And you also really can't smell anything. So essentially you're depriving yourself of all of these senses. And it simulates this feeling of floating.

And it's really cool. It's one of the Just like that is like my deepest level of meditation when I go floating So actually I've don't laugh, but it's called a frequent floater membership at my favorite float spot. It's in Westchester I really love it there. They do such a great job. And yeah, so it's to me It's like some of my best thoughts have come from that and realizations or business moves and things like that like that really You really are like forced to completely disconnect from the external world.

And in a sense, like you're losing your sense of like where you are in space and it kind of leaves you to really only be able to feel your soul and your brain power, which I think is really cool because you can like, that just, like I said, allows so much to come up that when we have all of these other stimuli.

It's hard to allow space for things like that to be processed and to come up because our brains are distracted by all of these things that are going on around us. I have no screen time on here, so that comes to that point where you need to disconnect from the external world sometimes to hear yourself and to connect to your body.

Because with all of these distractions and things that are taking our attention and impulses, it really detracts from our ability to slow down and connect to ourselves. The last couple of things, so like journaling again, that kind of goes with the meditation. So starting to observe your patterns and reflect on what you're internally feeling.

And then sleep, that one's just really important in general because your body regulates so much during your sleep. Quality sleep is really important. And I do think dreams can sometimes highlight things that our conscious brains aren't aware of. So I think dreams, they come from our subconscious. So even though they're super like cryptic and weird and don't always seemingly make sense to our conscious mind, I do think our subconscious pours into those dreams so they can tell us things.

But regardless, even if you're not thinking about dreams or if you don't have dreams, sleep is so crucial to this process. So practicing good sleep hygiene is going to allow your body to work better and allow you to connect in a more healthy way. And you're going to be able to sense things within your body a lot better.

When you don't sleep properly, your body is not as regulated, and therefore, you're gonna get some, like, misfired signals from your body, and you're not gonna be able to connect in the same way. So naturally, like, you know, I talk about this with food, so like, your hunger hormones, leptin and ghrelin, are regulated during your sleep.

So if you don't sleep well, what happens is the next day you start to feel hungry when your body doesn't really need food, or you don't feel hungry when your body does actually really need food. So it really just throws off your ability to perceive what your body actually needs. Like your body's going to just, like I said, give you the wrong signals just because your hormones are a little off balance.

Oh, one more thing. This I can't believe I almost forgot. I do want to touch on one last thing, and this is emotional practice. So, a lot of trauma that we store, or I should say trauma that we store, is unprocessed emotion. So, when there is emotions that we need to, well I shouldn't say, I shouldn't to find trauma in such a limited view, but part of what trauma is, is unprocessed emotion within the body.

So it's really important to allow those emotions to come through. So this can happen during your meditation. This can happen during your journaling. This can happen during your exercise. Whenever you're really taking that time to focus on your body. You physically feel emotions in your body, and this is so important to know there's so much science to back this.

I actually have this like little chart pulled up on my screen and I love this little chart because it, it kind of like highlights the body. So it took I don't actually know the word. It's like, maybe I should have more deeply analyzed this, but essentially it's like a little chart and there's different colors, right?

So it's like different parts of the body, I guess, like at neutral, the body is black and then there's blue light, yellow light, red light. So again, I'm forgetting what exactly these lights represent, but it's. different emotions and activation of the body when you're experiencing these different emotions.

And so as you further connect to your body, you're going to be better at processing your emotions more rapidly and knowing what you're feeling if you can connect them to your body's sensations. So this was like a huge part of my process is being able to start with like, like I almost, I called it like a little trigger journal, right?

So it's like when I felt An emotion coming on, I paused and was like, what are the physical feelings I have within my body? Or sometimes I would have physical feelings in my body and I'd have to work the opposite way and be like, okay, what emotion is this linked to? And again, like, you know, you can look at other guides as reference, but I think you also have to acknowledge your body is going to react in a unique way compared to anybody else's.

So just because your body does one thing when you're angry, someone else's body might do something different. So this is like a huge part of that mind body connection is because like when you have all of these unprocessed emotions that need to be processed for you to feel lighter and for you to like move on and expand and evolve from these things.

You need these ways to help you better understand what you're experiencing. And so you need to actually strengthen your ability to identify emotions and to be able to articulate them. So that part, that's a really important part of this process in allowing your body to guide you, because when it comes back to self trust, especially, you know, With me, like I had a really tough time trusting myself because so much of my life was spent around humans that kept making me not trust myself.

And that was just, again, I don't, I didn't see that then, but now I see it was really a reflection or a projection where they must have not felt that internal trust or didn't want to own their actions. So it was a projection onto me and I absorbed it. I was just like, Oh, I thought that you. Or like, I felt physically in my body this anxiety, and you're telling me that I just created it, and so I would believe it, and so then it just, again, it was further and further disconnecting me from my body, but now, I look back at those moments almost like studying them through my journaling and seeing like, Oh, I remember feeling this feeling at this time.

And that's what it was telling me then. And it holds true now when I feel that I know what that feeling is. And I don't let people pull me away from what I knew that I felt, but I didn't, because I didn't trust myself. It was so easy to forego that. And then just continue to not be able to trust myself because I couldn't put the pieces together.

But through this practice and through, you know, what I call emotional practice, which is what, you know, when I have those moments, when I feel some kind of emotion that I can't identify, I pause, I sit with that. So I actually let myself feel it. Even if it's uncomfortable, I let myself feel it. And I think about what is my body currently experiencing?

Is my chest tightening? Is my heart beating faster? Are my palms sweating? Am I shaking? These are all signs for different emotions. So depending on what I was experiencing, I was like, wow, this, the, this is starting to line up with when I was angry, or this is starting to line up when I was really sad, or this was starting to line up when I felt like something was untrue with me.

And through that practice, I really helped build that trust back in myself, which I'm like. That is, like, one thing I am so freaking proud of myself for. Like, I, I can't imagine, like, the way I trust myself now. Like, I was so afraid to trust myself because I had made mistakes or, like, I had been wrong about things for many different reasons.

Like, I think I was just really blind to certain things because I lived in this, like, fantasy perfect world. And once one bad thing happened to me, it was almost like I held on to that and was so afraid to move forward. Because I was like, what if I don't see it coming again, but now that more I pay attention to my body, there are so many internal cues that guide me.

There are so many internal cues that signal when something's not right. And being able to trust that has made me such a more confident person and so much more secure, and I feel so much safer. And, you know, like I enjoy spending time with myself now because. I've created a space to really let myself be who I am, and I'm happy with who that person is, instead of letting, you know, society's expectations dictate how I felt about myself.

I was really taking that time to heal from the inside out, so that I became... More confident in who I am. And like I said, it's just like this deeper sense of self love. And now I, like, I love the feeling of what love feels like in my body. Like I feel this like huge, warm expansion of my heart. Like my chest is like So warm and like the way my heart beats is like this, like it's creating this crazy frequency that's just emitted out of my body.

And it sounds so funny when I say it out loud. But when you sit down and do this kind of emotional practice and you feel that you're like, Oh my gosh. Now you know what love feels like, and you don't mistake it for hate, or anxiety, or trauma bonding, or whatever we mistake love for. Like, love is not comfort.

We can get comfortable with things that are not good for us, like unhealthy behaviors. Love is its own feeling, and once you know what it physically feels like in your body, you're gonna know if you're really there or not. But I can't tell you if you're really there or not, that's... It's something for you to experience for yourself and start to learn.

And once you know the feelings that you want to call in and you know what they feel like in your body, you're naturally going to let yourself gravitate more towards those scenarios. And that's where it all comes full circle to the self love. If you, what you want, you can't get more of it until you know what it feels like, right?

And you need to let yourself feel it. And that's the hardest part is we don't let ourselves feel things because we are so disconnected from our body. And so the only way to call that in or like manifest things into your life or whatever phrase you want to use, or like attract law of attraction, like a healthy body or law of attraction, self love or whatever.

And that comes from getting comfortable with sitting in every single emotion you experience. That is so key to all of this. Like if there's one thing you take away, it's allowing yourself to sit with your emotions, whether it's a positive emotion or a negative emotion, you need to sit with it, you need to experience it.

You need to understand it, what it feels like in your body, because your emotions are going to help guide you through this whole process. You want to know what feels good to you. So you need to check in with your body. You want to know what doesn't feel good to you. You need to check in with your body, but you need to be honest with yourself.

Even when it's uncomfortable, you need to still sit with it because even good things can come from these uncomfortable. Situations of sitting with your emotions. That is the only way you can truly learn and truly figure out how to love yourself and bring in more positive emotions into your body and know what situations you need to be guided away from in order to make choices that.

Align with who you are and your higher self. Whew, oh man, I really, that was, that was a good one. I really felt that in my body. No pun intended there. But yeah, I hope that you guys really use this as like something to help propel you into the direction that you've been wanting to evolve or are currently evolving in because your body is your guide.

Loving yourself is so important. That is going to help you feel happy earth. And you can start today, like literally right now, you can start loving yourself and showing yourself a little bit more compassion, giving yourself some grace and treating yourself the way that you have always wanted to be treated.

It starts with you. All right, guys, if you like what you heard today, I would super appreciate it if you wrote a little review or shoot me a message on Instagram. If you don't follow me, follow me at fuel the underscore fire and I love to hear your feedback. I love to hear your thoughts or if you guys have breakthroughs or anything that comes from listening to these podcasts, share it with your friends, share it with your family, share it with someone you want to see grow with you.

Thanks so much for listening. Love you guys. Bye.

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