In her memoir, Fit for Joy: The Healing Power of Being You (Rowe Publishing, 2018), author Valeria Teles recounts her struggles with seeking happiness through unhealthy relationships and unrealistic fitness obsessions. This is a beautiful story of Valeria’s enlightenment after years of pain.
The answer was, is and always will be love and kindness.
How much of your self worth do you derive from others?
Valeria begins her memoir with a look back on her relationships with her family as a child growing up in Brazil. Readers are introduced to parental figures and instances that many may recall from their own childhoods. Valeria is a relatable writer who makes an easy connection with her audience by writing with honesty and realness.
Her story progresses to include the relationships with her former husbands. Edward is the man she met and married at the age of 20.
Edward made me feel as though I now had someone in the world who cared about me.
With her second marriage to Vicente, Valeria describes even more unhappiness with herself and the blurring of emotional boundaries between the two.
Vicente had been one more pain I had embraced as my own. I wanted to find out the truth. What pain is real? What pain is really mine?
When with Edward, Valeria admits she used fitness and exercise as a band-aid for her unhappiness. His compliments became her motivation, rather than finding the motivation within herself. With Vicente, Valeria discovered her passion for her career as a physical trainer, but despite all her rapid success, she was not finding the happiness to go along with it.
Exercise is not a form of punishment
Valeria realized through her clients that you cannot train the body to be healthy without also training the mind. Forty, free from unhealthy relationships, and owner of a thriving training business, Valeria was miserable and fell into a depression. It was here, in these dark moments, where she began the journey of self-discovery and slowly began to understand that “joy is an ever-present choice” and a new perspective about her body, food, and exercise began to form. With the writing of this book, Valeria hopes readers will remember this in their own lives.
Every one of us has certain triggers and addictions that, even though we might not acknowledge, still exist.
Cultivating habits that distract us from understanding the real sources of our pain can be very attractive to some of us. Discovering the real sources of our suffering takes not only hard work, but a genuine intention to end suffering. Not all of us are ready to let go of what propels us into habitual ways of thinking and living.
For Valeria, her habit was excessive exercise and dieting to control her deep-rooted feelings of sadness and loneliness.
Physical and emotional health are intertwined. Fit for Joy examines three main themes: First, how do we integrate conventional fitness and spirituality? Second, how do we overcome a painful past and exercise a healthy and joyful heart? And thirdly, what does it mean to truly be healthy?
This is how Valeria’s philosophy, Fit for Joy, was born. She aims to educate people on holistic health and wellness by developing an understanding between body, mind, and soul.
Peace and joy don’t come from a healthy body or a rational mind that dwells in thoughts and memories; they come from a much subtler reality called the spiritual heart.
Fit for Joy is a beautiful memoir that readers will enjoy for its captivating tales of the past (we all have them!), its honesty, and its practical takeaways.
For more information about Valeria Teles, her journey, and her book Fit For Joy, please visit >> fitforjoy.org.