Gwinganna - Nourishing Mind, Body And Soul.

In October this year I was fortunate enough to go to Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat in QLD and my experience has inspired a change in the way I live and approach my life.

I’m a self-confessed over-thinker, over-doer and I must admit over drinker, but since returning from this beautiful place I’ve decided to change my act.

Although this wasn’t my first trip to Gwinganna, both of my trips so far have drastically changed my attitude towards health, diet and mental attitude. What I’ve learned is that we cannot pick and choose aspects of these and be happy, healthy and content. Rather, what we put in our mouths, what we do with our body, and how we treat the thoughts that pop into our head each day, impact one another; nothing works in isolation.

For example, it wasn’t until recently that I thought I was ‘relatively healthy’ with my diet despite binge eating on chips, cheese, alcohol and CHOCOLATE (which were my most my gluttonous binges) and because I was exercising 2-3 times per week, I thought this was ok as it’s just what you do on the weekend- right? Wrong.

What we do and eat everyday has a huge impact on our mood, behaviour and our wellbeing and in order to be healthy and happy, we need to give our bodies what they deserve; respect. We can’t put crap in our mouths for 2 or more days a week and expect to feel great- it doesn’t work like that. In order to function optimally we need to give our bodies optimum nutrition, our minds compassionate and gentle thoughts and our ego a rest. We need to eat for nourishment, not just for taste, exercise because it’s fun and treat ourselves as our own best friend with kind thoughts.

Since returning from Gwinganna I’ve cut down on dairy, gluten (wheat only as I still eat oats, barley, rye, etc), refined sugar and eat local organic produce as much as possible. The biggest changes I’ve noticed in myself since returning have been,

  • improved mental clarity

  • ability to manage stress- not what I was expecting

  • less bloating

  • and more energy

When you think about it, it’s not surprising and not rocket science that I’ve felt generally better since making these changes. But why is it that so many of us struggle with these basic concepts when we know the only outcome from them will be positive?

My answer to this question is this:

Health doesn’t just happen on its own.

It requires constant effort. Effort to go to the gym and move, effort to make your own food so you know exactly what you’re eating, and effort to choose positive thoughts over negative ones. All this effort might sound like a lot of work, but in truth we make these choices everyday with little or no conscious effort at all. We form habits, give into cravings and forget that taking care of yourself and your needs isn’t selfish but essential to wellbeing.

Change comes from making good choices day in and day out whether they be food related, or simply managing the obsessive thoughts in our heads, we have a choice to engage and give into that craving, blame others or procrastinate going to the gym…. Or, we can take responsibility for our own actions, thoughts and behaviours and choose to live with more awareness.

So you’re probably thinking what’s this got to do with training and fitness? Everything! I truly believe in a whole body approach and that we should eat and exercise to feel good first and look good second. It’s about moving our bodies in a way that agrees with us on that day alone and not beating ourselves up if we have a bad day, a bad week or a bad month. All you can do is choose the best option for you on that day whether it simply be stretching, a walk around the park or a Strength46 class.

So what I’ve learnt since Gwinganna and what I hope you’ve taken away from this piece, is to treat every part of yourself ‘mind, body and soul’ as the most important thing in your life. Take care of yourself and make choices with the goal to nourish these three important aspects of your life because at the end of the day, your body will thank you for it.

Written by Jess Mulquiney - Fitness Coach

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