It’s 6am as I open my eyes to be greeted by the familiar sight of the back of my eye mask. Melissa is already out of bed, and once again I have to rely on our sun clock to gently stir me back into consciousness. There is a strange taste in my mouth, almost like ammonia. I try to make a fist but each finger acts like they are being held back by some invisible force. I roll over I making a pained face as my body creaks and grones. Sitting up, I do a couple of gentle side twists which sets off a series of crackling sounds, much like bubble wrap. Reality strikes me yet again as I face another day feeling flat, like I am the only one in the world who feels this crap.
Then, it’s showtime. I make my way to the bathroom, not for the normal bladder emptying, but for an explosive bowel movement. While washing my hands in a zombie like state, I notice some brown spots on my face. I swear these were not there yesterday? What the hell is going on?
This was my norm. Often on our ‘healthy’ journey we can feel like we are doing ‘everything’ right, only to take two steps forward and one step back. Yes, there is progress. There always is. But when will I wake up feeling and looking as fresh as Melissa does? What the hell am I doing so wrong to feel this way for so many years now? Clearly I have missed the point somewhere along my obsessive health perfection quest.
Fortunately, I now know at least part of the puzzle, and I want to share with you what for me has been my big lesson.
But first, let’s talk about the buzz word right now… Protocols. It’s incredible that everywhere you turn now you can buy organic food, see a functional medical practitioner or alternative health therapist. This movement in body awareness signifies a general ‘waking up’ in our society which is exciting to watch. But what I have also witnessed, and am very guilty of myself, is this general approach of what I call ‘smashing’ the body.
A well meaning health consultant puts you on a ‘protocol’ which pushes your body to the limits. But here’s the problem, rarely does a protocol actually treat you holistically. Whenever you focus on one area of the body, you are bound to cause imbalance somewhere else.
For me it started with wanting to clear up a few niggling gut complaints which I hoped would strengthen my immune system and lead to greater overall health and longevity. But what started with the gut, ended with the liver. The spots on my face were a clear sign that my liver and body was struggling to deal with the ‘smashing’ I was putting it through. My face no longer had that radiant glow. My eyes had lost their white spark only to be replaced by angry red itchiness. My heels were cracked.
Was I clearing up some gut stuff? Maybe. Probably. I guess my bifido count had increased, but at what cost? Was it worth not being able to go rock climbing with my son because I had zero energy? Was it worth not being able to wake up fresh and make love to my wife (the best way to start the day)?
Your body is an incredible vehicle that has a level of innate intelligence we will never truly understand. It’s so easy to get caught up in labels…
I am paleo.
I am vegan.
I am a raw foodie.
I am fruitarian.
I am keto.
I am low fat.
I am high fat.
I am vegetarian, but I eat fish (love hearing that one)
Mixed amongst most health labels there is inherently some sort of extreme. Whether it be too much animal protein, too much saturated fat, too much coconut oil, too many raw veggies, too many omega 6 fatty acids, too many nuts, too many lectins, too many oxidised or trans fats, not enough fat, or too many natural sugars.
Personally I have learned to look at life with an ‘extreme’ filter on. Whenever something is clearly extreme in one area, then should we not look at where that will push something else in your body to the extreme?
Perhaps we need to question if the body ever needs anything extreme.
What it needs first and foremost is not just respect, but love. Would I have experienced my health challenges if I had started with love and respect for my beautiful earth suit? I am still learning this lesson the hard way, bit slowly I am ‘getting’ it.
The label I want to embody is simply…
To be able to master…
And, to be…
Gentle with my Self.
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