How Not Telling You My Truth Has Hurt My Health

By Darren Stehle

Have you read the book, Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert? I read it several years ago and was transported by her story.

Eat Pray LoveI enjoyed reading about her personal journey, which resonated within the rubric of my own experiences. I especially related to the experiences of travelling for months at a time, the romances that can happen so effortlessly in a foreign country, and the meditation retreat that she attended. Been there and done all that!

I also think I connected with the book so well because I’m gay. It seems like many gay men appreciate a strong female protagonist and Elizabeth certainly is that. Now I sound like a cliché. 🙂

But what does this post have to do with nutrition or fitness? You know, those articles and recipes on my site, the stuff I’ve written about for years?

Everything. Absolutely everything.

As I write I’m listening to one of my favourite trance tracks, part one of A State of Trance 2008 by Armen Van Buren. It’s called trance for a reason. Something about this 1-hour mix helps me to stay intentionally focused for writing. This track has enough of a beat without being too intense that helps my easily distracted mind zero in on what it is I want to say.

Two years ago this month I launched EatMoveBe. The name for my site was inspired by Gilbert’s book and unity of those three words, Eat Move Be, made total sense to me. After having spent a month or so determining my niche, strengths and doing keyword research, I landed upon a few variations that led to EatMoveBe.

When I went to buy the URL I discovered that it was taken but not in use. I was worried that the person who had it might want to sell it for some crazy price. I emailed and asked as nonchalantly as possible if she had plans to use it. She wrote back the following day to say she had no intention of using it and if I wanted it she’d be happy to transfer ownership. Bingo! That one felt like it was meant to be.

Since March 2014, I’ve been plugging away creating content and I’ve added more than 50 posts and recipes to my blog. Yes, but so what!? Over the course of those two years I’ve seen very little growth.

Now the growth of my website has nothing to do with external circumstances beyond my control or my skills and abilities as an exercise and nutrition coach. I know this one is all on me!

For the last month I’ve done a very deep and personal assessment of what I’m doing with my blog and how I present my ideas, my content, and myself to the world.

I feel very fortunate to be part of an entrepreneur coaching program (Todd Herman’s 90 Day Year) that I joined in January. Since then I’ve been coached by a few truly wonderful and gifted people who have reached out to help me. I’ve had many long conversations to get clear about my purpose, but more importantly, how to express my uniqueness. Even a coach needs a coach.

It all boils down to me not telling you my truth.

It’s not that I’ve been lying to you. Rather, I haven’t been fully expressing who I am or what it is I want to say, because I’ve been afraid that people might not like what I have to say. I’ve come to realize that the most profound way of affecting change is to make people think.

If you scan an article and move on to the next thing, does that affect change? No, but when you stop in your tracks to go back and reread something, now that’s where the potential for change resides.

Going forward you might think, I love what Darren has to say, or you’re going to block my emails, unsubscribe and erase me from your browser history!

How do I know that I’m not speaking my truth?

For the last few months I’ve experienced a lot of bloating in my stomach. For a while I was treating it with an extremely powerful probiotic, which definitely helped. As a nutrition coach I could write a blog post about how healthy bacteria or the lack thereof can influence mood and cause or reduce depression. This much is true!

But there is a much more likely reason for my stomach discomfort.

I have withheld what I really want to say.

Talk about self-oppression! The discomfort in my stomach starts from just above my hips and makes the area right up to underneath my lower ribs feel hard. It also makes me feel self-conscious about my appearance.

I’ve noticed that I’m constantly taking shallow breaths, which is often a sign of tension or a lack of awareness. I started meditating a week ago, again (this is not the first time I’ve started this practice). Once I’ve settled into a calm state of mind I take a few slow and deep breaths to expand my ribs out to the sides. I feel a stretch in muscles that I haven’t been actively using. It feels good and I drop even further into a calmer, more peaceful state of mind.

The Big LeapHonestly, sometimes I feel like a bloody basket case! I’ve tried so damn hard and struggling to get somewhere. In that statement alone is the nature of my problem. I need to let go of being attached to the struggle. The struggle is what’s keeping me held back from achieving my greatness, from levelling up into my zone of genius, as Gay Hendricks calls it in his book, The Big Leap.

I just want to help other people understand how easy it is to improve their health and fitness. Yup. Nothing world-changing. NOT!

It’s not far-fetched to claim that if we could help people eat healthier and exercise more often in North America alone, we would have far fewer illnesses, hospitalization, prescription and illegal drug use, greater happiness, and one hell of a sexy continent of bad-ass fitness bods!

As a solopreneur I know I can do this work, but I often have my doubts. I have proof in the form of feedback from my clients. They’ve told me that I’m mindful, empathetic, patient, constantly improving my skills, and I that I take a holistic approach, whereby I’m interested in the entire person, their experience of mind, body, and health.

I’m taking a holistic approach with myself now. I don’t know where I’m going to take EatMoveBe. I do know that I making a significant pivot, today, with the publication of this post.

I’m still going to write about mindset, health, nutrition, and meal planning. I will create more recipes, more videos and possibly a podcast.

I Am What I Am.

I’m not a food blogger, but I have a chef training background and I have recipes on my blog.

I’m not just a personal trainer, I’m a movement and exercise coach. I also became a Precision Nutrition Level 2 Coach this month after a year of intensive study and testing.

Those are all individual skills. Add them all up and certainly I have a lot of knowledge and ability. I’m like an  intellectual, post-graduate, mindfulness health and fitness coach, deep thinker and writer.

But what’s My Niche?

This is the sort of question that many people I know in business ask me when they want to know who is my target audience.

My niche, or my audience, are people who want holistic health. They want to work with someone who’s mindful, intelligent, empathetic, and can pull together all kinds of information to help them see what’s most important, and most importantly how to easily get there. They don’t need all the details, but they might appreciate a good story and a handful of techniques and practices that will dramatically improve their health.

Be the Change That You Wish To See In the World.

I love that quote from Mahatma Gandhi. This is the change I want to see in the world:

I want people to think for themselves and to justify their opinions, to justify the choices they’ve made.

This change is not just for making better health choices. I’m appalled by people taking the sides of sociopathic, bigoted right-wing politician,s whose soul purpose is to incite mass hysteria, creating a radicalized conservative movement that’s only going to result in an American fascism. Be careful with your choices!

I refuse to silence my voice when people are oppressed, in particular, when people say that gay is wrong. In particular any fundamentalist religion that tells people they need to follow “The Word” of some book and are brainwashed into not thinking for themselves. No one is superior to anyone else. No one is better than anyone else just because they believe in the “one true god.”

To be entirely transparent my sister is some form of a fundamentalist Christian. Every year at Christmas and sometimes on my birthday I get a horrible message telling me that I’m a sinner, because I have not seen the light of Jesus Christ our Lord. She also tells me that I will burn in hell for my sins because I have not opened up my heart to the light of Jesus Christ.

What a bunch of crap!

How can people have such shortsightedness and limited intellectual abilities to think that some power up in the sky would be so vindictive as to make people suffer an eternal fire of damnation because they didn’t believe in “him.”

I’m done ranting now. These are only some of the things I’ve wanted to say for so long but I haven’t felt like I’ve had a platform to speak my thoughts.

So what does my rant have to do with health and fitness?

Health starts with focussing on what’s most important to me so that I can take care of myself. If my mind is not at ease my body will respond by feeling unwell. And I have felt not quite right for a long time.

I’m feeling a lot bit better having got all of this of my chest (or should I say, “off my stomach”). If I haven’t completely offended you by now I do hope you’ll stick around.

Expect Different of EatMoveBe

I’m going to make a lot of changes to how I communicate with you. If you’re on my email list I’m not going to inundate you with emails. I’m also going to dump activities that are not serving me or serving you.

To wrap here’s what EatMoveBe is about:

Eat

Eat well: meaning look at what’s in front of you. You know if it’s healthy or not. If you’re not sure, ask me. I’m here to help.

Move

Move often: you know if you’re sitting too long behind that desk. You know if your back, neck, and shoulders are hurting because you’ve been hunched forward at the computer. I know. I feel the same when I put in long hours writing at home. Just get up every 30 minutes! Walk around for two minutes. The financial world isn’t going to crash around you because you need to stand up and stretch your body and breathe deeply. YOU will feel better for it.

Be

Just be! Figure out what that means to you and then be it! I hope my openness in this post has shown you the importance of being who you are meant to be.

Now it’s your turn: what’s being true to yourself look like to you?

Darren

  • What a transformative year, and a courageous post, Darren. I hit a similar spot in my last career several years ago and it’s how I ended up being a fitness and nutrition coach. The stress of not being your authentic self is real! And now I’m finding myself post Pn2 struggling to learn about business, websites, blogs, platforms and more, while holding tight to my vision as a million other voices are telling me how it “should” be done. The sweet spot is letting go of the struggle, working only with our ideal clients, staying focused in the moment, turning off Facebook, and building in enough outdoor time to restore my spirit. This summer we are moving to the mountains where I know my heart will soar daily, sleep will be sound, and all the random work pieces will fall into place. I love your posts, Darren. I feel like a kindred spirit on the other side of the continent.

    • Debbie, thank you very much! And I would love to connect via Skype and learn more about you and your business, especially post Pn2! I will contact you via your website, which by the way is beautiful!