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Pillar 2: Physical Wellness

Physical Wellness

Physical wellness is one of the more well-known types of wellness. When a person hears physical wellness, they may think of working out, eating healthy, and being in "great shape". Although it is very important to exercise, eat right, etc., there is a strong misconception when it comes to the meaning of "fitness" or "wellness". A physically well person eats foods to fuel their body and foods to fuel their cravings. They exercise to celebrate what their body can do rather than punish themselves for something they've eaten. They sleep as much as they need to/can and take naps sometimes because they want to. They allow themselves to be "unhealthy" sometimes because we're all human and it would be unhealthy to expect otherwise. Most importantly, a physically well person loves their body through thoughts, emotions, exercise, nutrition, and any other way they see fit.

Four Steps Toward Physical Wellness

Step 1: Eat to fuel AND to feed. The food we eat is meant for nutrition and for pleasure. We are not robots nor are we a dystopic future race that eat soylent made of people. Food tastes good and that's ok. Should we eat McDonalds for every meal? Probably not because that could lead to serious health issues, bloating, abdominal discomfort, and possibly an early death. But is it reasonable to expect people to eat exactly five servings of vegetables, three servings of fruit, three palm-sized servings of protein, little healthy fat and six servings of grains per day every day? NO! Where's the dessert? Where's the happiness? As long as a person does not have a physical illness that requires a very strict diet, there should always be room for fun!

Step 2: Be active when it makes sense. Fitness professionals may tell you to workout at least three times per week and walk at least 5,000 steps per day. These are good guidelines to live by, but they are not the be all and end all of physical wellness. Some may also think that you have to devote one to two hours to workout at the gym doing squats and sit ups and running on the treadmill three to five times per week. If someone enjoys doing this, they should! If they don't, then their activity should include other types of exercise. Maybe your exercise is walking at the park or cleaning your house. Maybe it's chasing your toddler around or shopping at the mall. Being good to your body should be fun and if it's not, you should try different activities until it is! Being active when it makes sense also means sleeping when you need to! Rest is just as important as activity to physical wellness.

Step 3: Love yourself as is or you'll never love yourself "if only when". "If I were just ten pounds lighter, I would love my body". "If I could just run a mile, I would be fit". "If I just had abs, I would be pretty". These are not statements of self-love. They are also often going to be very untrue. If you can't love your body as it is, it will be very difficult to not only get to the "if only", but also to accept yourself once you get there. Thanking your body for what it can do is a good way to begin to achieve physical wellness.

Step 4: Practice mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness. Does this sound familiar? Well, it's very important! All four pillars affect the others and each is just as important as the last!


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