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Learn to Speak Your Body's Language

Text by: Jessica Ceason

I'd gone to the gym, faithfully every single day for as many years as I can remember. Push-ups, squats, lunges, biceps, elliptical, spin class, yoga… I was slave to a regimented routine of mundane exercises for specific body parts and muscle pairs, and cardiovascular torture. "Torture" is what I ultimately began to call my 4:00 pm routine. There's little motivation to engage in something with such a negative connotation.
© Jessica Ceason Photography

It was time for the inevitable change. Only this change was due to occur not just within my body, but within my mind and soul as well. I couldn't seem to lose "the last ten," or find time to "stop and smell the roses," or bring myself to respect my own hard, physical work, because indulging in heavily sauced pad Thai once a week seemed far too comforting for the soul. My body showed signs of exhaustion, and I was rudely ignoring it. I was completely out of balance, the mind, body and spirit scale wildly tipping in all different directions.

I started paying attention to myself, I mean really paying attention, to the red flags, pains, inflammation, and wrinkles. Physical signs I noticed became, to me, my body's language. I experienced depression and angst, which my body communicated by way of acne and red inflammation, hiding my smile. My hair and skin, noticeably dry, my knees creaked and my abdomen, bloated. I was in a state of perpetual discomfort. My body was in pain and screaming for attention.

© Jessica Ceason Photography

I purged my house. I rid my cabinets of all things factory farmed, boxed, canned, and unnecessarily processed. If it wasn't organic, I wasn't eating it. If it was meat, I was boycotting it. If it contained even a fragment of hormone, it was my enemy. I went cold turkey, organic vegetarian practically overnight. In a fit of complete withdrawal rage, I found myself standing at the kitchen counter at 3:00 am, loading spoonfuls of honey into my system hoping for a sugar rush, much like a quitting-smoker might attempt to lick a nicotine patch. And I survived.

My body's language became louder, with a happier voice. It told me to run, so I did. I ran a half marathon. It told me to bike and breathe air, so I biked 60 miles one day, up hills and through my beautiful neighborhood. I felt the necessity of stretching and moving and breathing, feeling wind, of challenging my endurance. The heavy clank of steel barbells became far less tempting. The sound of birds and the occasional rosiness of windburn on my face became a mantra.

The "last ten" is long gone, my face, hair, and skin better represent my age, and my belts are much too large. I started paying more attention to myself rather than others' suggestions as to the "best" ways to improve one's health. My body knows what's best for it. My body, mind, and soul have learned to speak the same language.