The Mindset, Body Change Habit
Have you ever heard the saying, “change your mind, change your body?” You know it works the other way too,right?
I know this is a concept that gets by many people. They have heard the idea, but just don’t get it. I know, because I, too, had heard the idea and agreed in theory, but did not really have the real world experience of how it worked. Now that I do, I want to share it with you.
The forties are the decade that seem to make all the difference, good or bad, for so many people I have worked with over the years. Because of this, I have taken to calling it the “legacy decade.”
It is not that there is anything magical about the forties, per se. I am sure there are some who figure this stuff out before their forties. But, my experience tells me the forties are the decade where we seem to solidify what is worth caring about and what is not.
A wake up call
I turned 40 three years ago. I was in a really shitty place in my late thirties. Have you ever had life just sneak up on you, smack you with something you did not plan or were not prepared for, and it subsequently, changed everything you thought? Experiences like this challenge so much of who we believe we are and shake our trust of others as well. Well, that was me in my late thirties.
My business was starting to take off, my finances were beginning to soar. My relationship was solid. I had three out of three legs of life’s stool set. Then, due to choices & circumstances, which at the time seemed out of my control, my personal relationships started falling apart. I take full responsibility for this, and in hindsight, can own that I was dishonest and unaware in many ways at the time.
I am incredibly grateful for my dearest friend and life love, Jill Coleman, for standing by me through this entire process.
Life has a great way of waking you up if you choose to listen. And one personal strength I have always had is to be able to go through the pain with perspective. I can feel all the pain of loss, fear, heartbreak, and at the same time, relish in the growth of it.
The Stoic In Me
Weird, I know, but this has always served me. Later, I would realize that this is a very stoic teaching. The great stoic philosophers, like Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and Epictetus saw emotions as simply visitors or messengers.
The Stoics believed emotions could be controlled through logic, and that we should let them come, do our best to feel them completely, but not let them control us and then realize all house guests eventually leave. In this way, we can use emotions to gain insight into ourselves, others, and the nature of the world and our place in it.
I have always known, even when going through shit, I would use any pain to change and get better. I think this starts with acknowledging and accepting where you are, who you are and who you want to be. That must come before you can change anything.
Using the physical to change the mental
Many people see physical pursuits as ego based endeavors. I can see how the uninitiated would misunderstand this. It would be like people thinking a chef cooks because she loves to eat or is obsessed with others eating what she cooks. Truth is cooking indeed feeds her, but it feeds her soul, not her ego.
For me, physical pursuits have always been an extension of the psychological. My psychic state has always mirrored my physical state.
This is a skill I have tried to teach as my life’s work. For me, if I want to change my body I know I need to change my mind first. Long ago I also figured out it works in reverse.
If you want to change your mind, change your body. The two go hand in hand and are inseparable. Change one, and you change the other.
My physical and psychological journey
My late thirties saw me once again balloon up to close to 250lbs. This was a recurrent theme over the previous 10 years where my physical health and appearance mirrored my psychological health and strength.
Truth is, I have always been muscular and strong, and while not “fat” by traditional standards, I was what I call “muscle fat.” I basically had the look of a power lifter.
I say this because I know for some reading this, athletic pursuits are a foreign concept. I don’t want you to lose the message of what I am writing because you can’t relate to my level of fitness. I promise you, this is not about ripped abs-of-steal. It is about the mental elevation that occurs from such pursuits.
Ironically, I was doing my best, in my late thirties, to follow a strict diet and get my health in order, but what I was going through psychologically made that incredibly difficult.
Some, feel pain and stress; don’t eat and lose weight. For me, it is the opposite. I was not attending to my psychological health, and that was impacting my physical health.
A lot begin to change in me at 40. I began to have a small psychological shift. I was in pain, as many of us deal with in life, but I was waking up to the fact that I was truly 100% responsible for all that happened to me.
This was something I always knew logically, but thought requires action to become reality. I started to take action. Slowly at first, but those small changes have snowballed over the last three years.
I drafted an honor code. That was step one. I put together a “code of arms.” This took several years to refine, but was essentially a list of behaviors to center and remind myself of my legacy when things got tough. I wrote a ton too, mostly to and for myself.
Most recently, I decided to say, “no more.” To realize it was all on me. I cut psychological ties with the big liar & bullshitter in my life: my old self.
Perspective on suffering
I want to be clear on a few things here. I don’t want to be overly dramatic. What I went through was no different than what all of us humans go through. I don’t need to get into specifics, because you have dealt with it too, and if you haven’t, you will.
Whether it is loss of love, loss of life, loss of a dream, loss of someone’s respect, it does not matter. We humans suffer. That is what we are here for. The suffering may be the very reason we are here to begin with. My suffering is no better or worse than yours. I share it, simply to illustrate a point.
I do not believe in toxic people or toxic relationships. I determine who shows up in my life. If I have a person in my world who treats me like shit, it is an extension of me and my sense of what I deserve. It is a reflection of my lack of boundaries and I also need to always consider perhaps I am the one treating them like shit?
People can only mirror back to us what we, ourselves, already are. If you keep saying you attract “toxic people,” consider you are the toxic one, not them. I realize this is a VERY tough realization, but accepting this will change everything.
Luckily I had very good friends who stuck by me through most of this. We walked this path together, each of us teaching the other. I am eternally grateful to these friends, the ones in my life still, and the ones who are more distant now. I am grateful for all these lessons. I could not have grown to where I am today without them.
I also began to double down on my values of kindness, generosity, communication, and honesty. I watched closely to see, who in my life also exhibited these traits, and who did not. Fully owning who I wanted to be created the perfect vetting process for people in my life.
A funny thing happens when you fully declare who you are and what you will, and will not, tolerate. You start to repel certain types, and attract others. Again, there is no judgment here. We are each doing our best, but there is indeed a huge discrepancy between those who want to evolve and get better, and those who don’t.
Psychologically, I made a switch and slowly, but surely, have solidified those changes. And guess what, as my mind changed my body changed as well.
I used fitness to propel my mind forward and solidify mindset shifts. I used those mindset shifts to tie fitness and health closely with my legacy and values. It is a magical feed forward process most people misunderstand.
I am writing this blog on my birthday
I am sharing this post with you on my birthday for a few reasons. First, my birthday is a time of reflection for me, much like other people’s New Years. There are no parties or cake. In fact, I am in a city where I know no one and locked in my hotel room writing. Austin, if you are wondering. One of my fav cities. Later I will go for a long hike.
I am also sharing this, because since I started blogging on JadeTeta.com, I have been a bit overwhelmed with the feedback. It has been almost a year now.
Unlike Metabolic Effect, my health fitness business, my personal brand resulted in less public likes, shares and comments and far more private messages of people reading my blogs and saying, “Oh my god, it is like you are talking directly to me. Thank you for writing this.”
And also, unlike Metabolic Effect, these messages were equally from men and women.
It is almost as if people are a little embarrassed about personal growth. For some reason, they see the pursuit of a strong fit body as normal and desirable, but the pursuit of a strong, resilient, generous heart and mind as somehow self-serving? I have always found this weird.
For those who get it, I thought it would be interesting to catalog my psychological changes with my physical changes.
When I turned 40 I took a picture shortly after I had, once again, let my weight balloon. That picture is below. It is not my body that I want to draw attention to. It is my mind. I know what I felt like in this pic. It is one of the few times in my life I remember looking in the mirror and not liking who I was inside, and what I had done and been.
Now remember, I am someone who knows ALOT about fitness, fat loss and body change. Even at this point, I had written a best selling book on the topic and helped thousands change their bodies and their minds.
Yet I found myself unhappy and unhealthy. It happens to us all, doesn’t it? It may happen again, to me or to you. That is life. This blog is a reminder about what it takes.
A mental shift. A physical shit. A mental shift. A physical shift. One feeding the other again, and again. If you want to know the science of how I did this from a physiological perspective, then check out this blog on the reverse yo yo on metabolic effect.
My physical changes
On my 41st birthday, I took a selfie. I did it again on my 42nd and then again this morning on my 43rd. In addition to this yearly practice, I measure my waist almost every morning. I do blood labs quarterly.
I also do something psychologically. Weekly I do a sort of gratitude/attitude assessment where I expose myself to old wounds by forcing myself to replay them and then, I rank the charge. An example would be something like this:
Imagine you have an old lover or friend that you felt wounded by.
Rather than avoiding thoughts of him or her, you go back to the wound and replay it in your head. Let it sit and stir inside you. Feel it. Don’t judge it, watch it. Try to understand what it tells you. Pay attention to how it builds inside you, where it hits, you how long it stays and when it dissipates.
Doing this, you learn a lot about the stories you tell yourself. You realize how much can be self-generated pain. You get perspective. You eventually get to see how, one day, you can’t generate anything from the wound except indifference or understanding.
You know how they say, “You know you are over something when the memory, person or place results in no reaction, good or bad?” No judgement, just a happening? Well, this process helps you get there.
These objective psychological, physical, and physiological assessments are just my personality. I value growth and objectivity. It’s just the way I am built, but I have also come to see them as the missing link in many people’s lives.
I don’t want you to think my progress in fitness and life is this linear. I am sharing this with you because it is not, and that is why it works.
In fact, I purposely gain weight each winter before coming down again. I also, purposely, expose myself to uncomfortable experiences through travel, seminars or other means.
I even send out surveys to friends, family and even, past relationships most people may avoid. I do this for the lessons.
I live a very cyclical life in terms of eating, training, learning, creating and living now. I have come to see this as the way the world works. We have the winter of our minds and bodies. We need the suffering to capture the joy.
My best relationships, and the people I trust the most, are the ones I have been through winter with, but have chosen to meet me in the spring.
I share all this with you, not as much for the physical changes, but for the personal growth. I realize many equate physical pursuits like this as shallow and attention seeking. That is just silly. That is their own weird issue with their own body and mind.
I am no longer twenty. I have long lost my need for female attention in that way. It is nice to hear of course, I am human, but the only person I need to see me that way is the woman I am with.
These pictures are a physical representation of a psychological state of personal growth. I speak from my own experience and other’s, and maintain, that one follows the other.
I wish you health and fitness in body and mind, and hope this blog provides some clarity and direction toward both.