If I had to choose another name for my profession, it would be 'balancer'. As each patient comes and goes, I relish in the honour of watching the full array of humankind appear before my eyes; some tormented, some calm, some energetic, some lethargic, some positive, some negative, some open, some closed and so on. What jumps out most acutely is that we seem to find ourselves stuck in spirals of behaviour, and this tends to be when negative habits, and neuroses (such as obsessive healthy eating), kick in.
One specific patient type, who I'll call the 'self punishing pusher' - ever so popular in high achieving places such as Cambridge - will have the perception that all achievement (in my profession's case: body image, energy, immune function) must be won through pushing ourselves to the point of exhaustion. So yes, even if we're completely kaput, attending a specialist hot yoga ballet endurance class is a must or we're 'weak/giving in'.
Well, actually it is not. Human progress, both physiological and spiritual, is often won through striving for balance and stopping to smell the roses, not pushing ourselves to the edge and beyond. If you're tired, sleep. If you're hungry, eat food (not food-like-products). If you've been running around like a headless chicken, do slow yoga. If you've been lazing around on the sofa all day, go for a brisk walk and a high energy class. Balance: don't keep pushing in an exhausting direction. Stop, feel where you are, and do the kind, balancing thing. Health is something which organically occurs if we're mindfully engaged in aiming for balance.
I recently found this video about the metabolic power of slow - and how slowing down actually creates a positive impact on our health (yes, including body weight!). It's definitely worth a watch (cover your ears when he says that 'slow is the new sexy' - cringe!! Bit too cheesy for me) but forgiving the man that sentence, his message is important.
You don't need to suffer or feel strain to achieve your health goals.