I started reading The Gabriel Method by Jon Gabriel last night. Yes, it's a weight loss book. I know what you're thinking! These things need to be read with a large dose of scepticism. I'm only up to Chapter 2, but I had to pause to take things in a bit. Chapter 1 talked about being friends with your body, working with it and not hating it. This sounded kinda interesting, so I thought I'd have a conversation with my body:
My Brain: Halloooo, body! Hello! Have I got your attention? Hi!
My Body: *suspiciously* Hi.....
My Brain: I know this is a bit strange and different for you - it is for me too - but I'd like to sit down and have a chat with you and get to know you really well, so that we can get along better together.
My Body: Well, we are sitting relaxing and doing nothing right now, which is really nice and is something we hardly ever get to do together, so .... all right. What do you want to know?
My Brain: How are you?
My Body: *surprised* You really want to know?
My Brain: Yes! Please tell me.
My Body: Well, seeing as you asked, I'm tired, stiff and a bit grumpy!
My Brain: I'm sorry to hear that. Is that because of when we fell over and hurt ourselves last week?
My Body: Mostly. That was a big shock for me. It's taking me a while to recover. I hope you're patient with me while I heal. I'd like to say thanks for taking me to the Chiropractor straight after it happened. It really helped a lot.
My Brain: Yes, we really needed that. I'm starting to learn that it's OK to get what I need, for all of us. So tell me, Body, what do you want?
My Body: Hmmm ... brazil nuts! And dried apricots! The ones without that stuff on them that makes them taste funny. And yoghurt with banana and seeds sprinkled on top. Yum! And lots and lots and lots of water! Roasted vegetables with herbs and a little olive oil are good too. And the soup you made for us last week was delicious!
My Brain: Aw, thank you! But ... but I thought you wanted to eat chocolate and chips and pudding with cream?
My Body: Hmmm ... no. Not really. It's you that wants to eat those things. When you get really stressed. You already know that! And speaking of stress, please try to stress less. I know you have that anxiety thing, but it really hurts me when you get all worked up about things that will probably never happen. My heart starts thumping and I can't breathe properly. All I want to to is jump up and run away, and you're telling me to sit there and do nothing while you're also telling me that something really bad is happening. It's pretty scary for me. And when it keeps happening over and over, my whole body gets tense, I feel sick and my adrenalin gets all out of whack I don't know what I'm supposed to do!
My Brain: Wow, I'm getting anxious just thinking about all of that! What am I doing to myself!? Wow, I'm really ruining my body! I'm gonna die young of a stress-related disease!!
My Body: Whoa, now, calm down! This is exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about. Get me to take a couple of deep breaths. .... that's it ... do you feel better now?
My Brain: Wow, I really do. Thanks! So you have things to teach me as well. I'm really learning from this experience. So is there anything else you need, my lovely body?
My Body: More compliments, please! I want to feel loved! And.... well, do we really have to go to work and sit in a stuffy building doing nothing for so many hours each day?
My Brain: I'm sorry sweetie, but I'm afraid we do. I know that you're sitting there doing nothing, but I'm working hard during that time. We have to work so we can get money to buy all the things we need to keep us alive, happy and healthy.
My Body: Money? What's that?
My Brain: Ummm, never mind. Can I ask you some questions about yourself, Body?
My Body: Sure, fire away!
My Brain: Well, I've been doing a lot of research on Low GI foods. Will switching to a Low GI diet be of great benefit for us? I read that Selenium stimulates the thyroid gland and may assist with weight loss. Do you want some of that? Apparently Resveratrol is anti-ageing and Chromium reduces cravings for sweet food. Would it help you if we took those? Do you like the Liver Tonic we've been taking? Is that helping you? Why do we have Ulcerative Colitis? Why are your cuticles always ragged? Why do your feet smell? WHY??
My Body: *laughs* Oh brain, you're so .... brainy! I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. All I can tell you is when I'm hungry, when I'm thirsty, when I'm tense and when I'm tired. And that will just have to do.
Hey, remember the time we went to Japan? We got up at whatever time we just happened to wake up, we spent all day walking (yay!). We ate whatever I wanted, just whenever I was hungry. And you loved it too because you got to learn all those new things. And ApartmentCat loved it because it was so inspiring for her! That was the best time ever! Why can't we do that all the time??
ApartmentCat: Yeah!! I want to be on holiday all the time so I can spend all my time painting and writing and making cosies for things!
My Brain: *sighs* I wish we could do that all the time too. But life's not like that.
My Body: But I've got to have something! I want to go for walks ... and do yoga! I really, really want to do yoga! You keep saying we will and then we never do! It's not fair!
My Brain: I'm sorry, Body. I'm sorry that I'm always so tired after work and I can't give you the things you want and need. I'm sorry that I blame you for being stiff and tired when it's really nobody's fault. Is there anything else that concerns you?
My Body: Yes, I need more sleep! We always stay up late. You tell yourself it's because you're doing art and craft, but you're really just watching TV or playing computer games. It makes me tired and even less likely to want to do things the next day.
ApartmentCat: Yeah, what's the go with that?! We hardly ever do art and craft anymore because we're always so tired! I get so bored and frustrated and it sucks!
My Brain: You're both completely right. I want to give you both everything you need to be happy and healthy. Instead of being the one that's always in charge, I'm going to ask you what you want to do, body.
My Body: I want some exercise. I'd like to go for a walk today at lunch time.
My Brain: I don't know about that. ApartmentCat and I were going to sit at my desk and watch YouTube videos at lunch time.
My Body: Oh, pleeeeeease! It will be great! While I'm doing my thing, you can listen to podcasts and ApartmentCat can look at all of the beautiful autumn leaves and get inspired. And I guarantee that we'll feel great afterwards because I'll have you release some endorphins for us!
ApartmentCat: I know! Instead of "exercise" we can call it "Body Time"! That sounds a lot more fun!
My Brain: That's a great idea!
My Body: Oh... can I have Body Time every day? Please, please!
My Brain: Of course! It'll be fun!
My Body: Yay!
My Brain: Oh, I feel like I've made a new friend! I think I'm going to cry! Group hug, everyone!
ApartmentCat: Eugh! That's so cheesy!
My Brain: Emotions are part of who I am, you know. I need you guys to accept me the way I am as well!
ApartmentCat: This is great stuff! We should write this down!