I Am Not My Body, Are You?

by | Mar 27, 2024

National Nutrition Month

Even though I was a Registered Dietitian over two decades ago, I still remember that March is National Nutrition Month. Ironically, now instead of helping women balance their diet and exercise, I help them find balance with their finances. I have come to truly believe that the more we take care of our mind and body (aka diet and exercise), the less we have to worry about running out of money (good health costs less!). That interrelationship is a great reminder and motivator when it comes to being intentional about the lifestyle choices we make regularly.

Tibetan Proverb

Not long ago, I came across the best sentence I have ever read related to lifestyle. It made me smile and then laugh. And now I have it posted on my Vision Board, in my calendar, on my bathroom mirror, in the kitchen, in my wallet and on my computer monitor.

“The secret to living well and longer is to eat half, walk double, laugh triple, and love without measure.” Tibetan Proverb

Doesn’t that sum up the importance of diet, exercise, and relationships on our health, happiness, and longevity? What a concise piece of advice!

Aging Bodies

Once we reach the 60+ time in our lives, we may have more time to focus, be more aware, and be intentional about that advice. But as I age and those around me do as well, I am coming to a realization that I need to separate myself (who I actually am) from my body in order to maintain happiness and contentment. What do I mean by that? Several things, and maybe you can relate.

I Am Not My Aches And Pains

Even if my shoulder aches today, my knee twinges tomorrow, or I am doctoring for pain or even a serious health condition, I am not a painful person. I do not want to reflect on that pain and be perceived as a Negative Nelly or someone who only talks about the aches and pains of my life. I want to remember that my body is not who I am. My body is not my spirit, my personality, or my being.

I Am Not a Number

As women especially, we are pressured by society to strive to achieve certain numbers as if they are a valuable reflection of us: weight, body measurements, clothing size, or even age for example. Did you know that most people “feel” about 15 years younger than they actually are? Or have you ever thought about how old you would say you are if you didn’t know when you were born? Don’t let a number impact your self-worth.

I Am Not Wrinkles and Graying Hair

Crow’s feet, silvering hair, and sunspots are all perceived signs of aging in a body that is slowing down. My body may be aging, but my zest for life, love of learning, and appreciation of adventures with family and friends have actually gotten stronger! Don’t forget, we grow older but also wiser, often wiser about the more important things in life. I don’t know about you, but so far I am pushing back on society on this one with a new motto: don’t let the “old” woman in!

It’s a Matter of Mindset

I know all of this is easier said than done. Please know that I am not trivializing anyone’s pain or difficult situation. But I do know that choosing negative thoughts, about your body, aging, pain, or otherwise, is only adding to your body’s woes. Negative thoughts trigger negative chemicals to flush through our bodies (to read more, check out my blog on Positive Thoughts).

Peace Pilgrim (an activist for peace) said it well: 

“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought again.”

So during this month focused on nutrition, let’s remember that while diet is super important, we are more than our body. We should do our best to take care of our bodies because they enable us to live out our spirit, mind, and personality.

Have you experienced society’s body messages? How are you living differently with an aging body? What mindset has been helpful to you?  Let’s have a conversation!

Marie Burns is a Certified Financial Planner, Speaker, and Author of the bestselling Financial Checklist books. Find Marie on Facebook or contact her at [email protected]

This article was first published at 60 and Me – a community that helps women over 60 live happy, healthy and financially secure lives.