An Inspirational Quote
“There is only one disease in the universe – disharmony between yin and yang. Because there is only one disease, there is only one cure – to reestablish harmony between yin and yang.”
Pragata, Portuguese qi gong teacher
You can heal your sexuality by improving your body image.
Many women in today’s society focus virtually exclusively on their careers, only to discover in their 30s, 40s and 50s that their body has magically transformed before their eyes.
Whereas before, in their 20s, they felt intelligent, ambitious and sexy, they find themselves at later ages to be seasoned, accomplished and unfortunately severely distressed with themselves unless they have adopted a program of consistent healthy eating and regular exercise.
As their body shape changes, so does their relationship with men. If they are married, their own dissatisfaction with how they look may begin to alter their sexual relationship with their husband. If they are single, they may find themselves using the excuse of their weight and their looks to give up on finding a mate.
They may initiate a few stabs at radical change by trying what they thought used to work when they were younger – i.e., starving, over exercising or trying some radical approach like hormone injections.
Because these strategies don’t actually work in the long run, many women of these ages convince themselves that the part of their lives that included looking good and feeling sexy is over.
While some may think that much of my work is superficial, empowering my clients to regain a healthy relationship with themselves is a deep transformative process.
If you find yourself in this predicament, I recommend the following course of action:
Be honest with yourself. Ask yourself if your dissatisfaction with your own body is interfering with your sexual relationship. When you make the effort to feel comfortable in your own skin, you free yourself from stress and tension and make yourself more fully available to enjoy intimacy at deeper levels. Being comfortable with your own body actually has nothing to do with any particular dress size or the number on the scale. It means being at peace with yourself.
Find a mentor. Find a fitness, nutrition and healing expert who is roughly your age or perhaps even a bit older. You want to find a woman who is a living, breathing example of what you might like to embody. I recommend you find a woman because men are totally different in terms of their hormones and metabolism and even the way that they lose body fat. The way to be successful in life is relatively simple. Find someone who is already winning in the area of life you would like to be better at and do your best to do what they do. Good mentors will be people who are living a lifestyle you can actually emulate. I am 51, I exercise regularly, I have a healthy relationship with food and I am comfortable with who I am on all levels.
Get a makeover of your wardrobe. This may seem like a superficial approach, but I always say, “If you dress like a bag lady, you will end up eating like a bag lady and acting like a bag lady.” You don’t actually have to spend a fortune. Ask a good friend to come over on a weekend afternoon to give you psychological support to throw out your “fat” clothes or any outfits that make you feel less than awesome. If you know kinesiology, use muscle testing to determine which outfits to keep and which to give away. The goal is to keep only the outfits that make you feel fantastic. I have found this step to be crucial for women of any age who feel they have lost their figures. I advised one single client to get professional help to come up with two outfits to wear out on dates. I recommended she visit a large, well-known department store and have one of the fashion consultants there give her an honest appraisal of which styles would be most flattering for her figure. Whether you choose a trusted friend or a professional wardrobe consultant, be prepared to feel totally different about yourself once you are wearing clothes that actually fit your body in a flattering way.
Have a professional assessment of your metabolism. Here’s the facts: 75 to 85 percent of women over the age of 35 have a damaged metabolism. That means years of stress and lousy eating may have impaired your body’s ability to lose weight through normal methods. If you skip this step, you may spend a small fortune on fitness trainers who do not actually know what will help you lose weight and who may push you beyond your comfort zone without any actual results. I can run scientific lab tests that will tell you precisely what part of your metabolism isn’t working and what you will have to do to get better. Don’t fool yourself into believing that your situation is hopeless. It isn’t. You just need to work with someone who can figure out what will actually work. The bonus is that as you heal your metabolism, you will improve your sex drive. Here’s how your metabolism relates to sex. If your adrenalin, cortisol and/or insulin levels are out of balance, there is no way your female hormones can be in balance. You must heal your metabolism in order to revive your sex drive.
Balance your yin and your yang. A friend has been telling me a study of women with master of business degrees from Harvard University. Though they often reach success in the business world, they find themselves disillusioned at midlife to be without partners or children. If you work too many long, stressful hours, you deplete your yin energy. In plain English, I recommend you restore your femininity. Be honest with yourself about what you really want as a woman. That may or may not include a partner or children, a beautiful body or fashionable clothes, but it most certainly will require a balance of work, rest and play. One way to restore yin-yang balance is by practicing relaxing yoga (not power yoga), qi gong and/or tai chi. I teach a total of four yoga and qi gong classes every week, so more than likely, at least one will meet your schedule.
Hire a coach to heal your relationship with food. Many women arrive at middle age with misshapen figures because they have never gotten to the bottom of their emotional issues about food. If you have a history of under eating, emotional eating or more severe degrees of eating disorder, you will not succeed in achieving your ideal size no matter how much you exercise until you face your feelings about food. I have helped women who have struggled with food issues their entire lives. A good coach would be someone with tools who can address your psychology while also teaching you truly healthy ways of eating. Avoid any coach who tries to convince you that you must starve yourself to look the way you want to look – and believe me, there are plenty of those folks out there. As you learn how to eat like a lady rather than a truck driver, you will feel better about yourself and remember who you are.
Lift weights 2 to 3 times per week. Lifting weights will have a faster beneficial effect on your hormones and your metabolism than any other form of exercise. Many women never feel comfortable in the weight rooms of the world because they can’t find anybody there that they can relate to. Once again, hire a woman. With all respect and appreciation for my hard working and well-trained male colleagues, a woman who is uncomfortable with her physical body needs the living breathing example of another woman to lead her through the process. Ironically many women never hit the weights because they don’t want to look like a man, but lifting weights will do more for your figure than any other form of exercise.
Expect to be consistent. One prospective middle-aged client wanted me to give her a six-week makeover, thinking that losing weight and keeping it off was something she could check off her list so she could go back to burning the candle at both ends. You may indeed be busy and important, but ask yourself how important it really is for you to be truly comfortable in your body? Many women have so seriously damaged their metabolism that they will have to be consistent for a very long time to look and feel the way they really want to look.
Remember that your body is your subconscious mind. If you are walking around with excess body fat, more than likely you are living with unresolved emotional issues. Your body broadcasts these issues to others even if they are not obvious to you. How you treat your body is a direct reflection of how you treat yourself. Instead of living entirely in your mind or escaping into your spiritual self, learn how to have mind-body-spirit integration.
Give yourself permission to love yourself. Paradoxically, the more you can learn to love yourself exactly the way you are now, the more loving you can be towards others. Self care is self love. As you learn to be loving and kind to yourself, you will literally have more energy for others. Your sexual energy is about 25 percent of your personal chi. As you become more and more comfortable with your body, your personal magnetism will increase and you will find yourself more attractive to the opposite sex regardless of if or when the outside appearance actually changes.
What’s unique about my approach at Total Fitness is that I combine fitness, nutrition and natural healing. Most people need a truly integrated approach to get the results they really want.