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I Am Not My Body, Are You?

By Marie Burns March 14, 2024 Mindset

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 the 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 person 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.”

—Peace Pilgrim

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.

Let’s Have a Converstion:

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!

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I’m 62 and doing things the way I want to and for me and not a boyfriend or husband! I will enjoy my life and good food and I don’t need their input or permission! I’m me and my God created me and I’m fine just as I am! I will eat healthy mostly and get exercise but not beat up on myself anymore!

Marie Burns

Yeah! “Just as I am”, what a great acknowledgement! It’s what we do 80% of the time that counts the most, in my opinion, anyway :)


I needed to hear this today. I feel better at 63 than i ever have but I’m also the heaviest I’ve ever been. I know society has trained me to link my weight with my worth and I’m spending a lot of time and effort to unlink those

Marie Burns

My hope is that eventually the only numbers we need to be more aware of are those health indicators warning us of impending or current diseased conditions, not numbers that feed judgement based on appearance.


This is exactly how I felt when I read that article. It was what I needed to hear even though I knew it already.

L Martina Young, Ph.D.

This, my body, is a manifestation of my soul and my spirit,—my way of being—acting, participating—in the world. Aches, pains, health challenges, laughter, weeping,—all are expressions of being a body. The point is not to IDENTIFY with any one or the other condition, but rather to access yet another mode of perception that acknowledges these experiences. Yes! I am a body—a human feeling, caring, melancholy, exuberant, responsive human body, being with all of my technologies at hand,—with heart, with mind, with soul.

Marie Burns

Thank you for that reflection! It is the “mode of perception” you mention that I am trying to remember to “acknowledge” as you so perfectly remind us.


Yes spot on

Renee Lovitz

Whatever I write usually disappears.

Marie Burns

Sorry, not understanding your comment?


having been obese all my life, and having it be the main thing that people notice about me when they first see me (including doctors), I am totally my body. Can post menopausal women have a waist measurement of 35 inches without starving themselves? Because that is what the AMA considers “healthy”. I think healthy is just a cover term for the pressure women feel to remain young and thin.

Marie Burns

Society definitely judges us (at least at first) by our body, which is unfortunately very wrong in my opinion. But my hope is that our own personal mindset can help us rise above that sad judgement call. And your point about the AMA is another disappointing fact that our medical community is still basing diagnoses and labels on outdated, inappropriate, non-personalized data. So again, we need to hold on to who we are despite the numbers and labels for healthier happiness and contentment, in my opinion. So easy to say but I know very often hard to do.

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The Author

Marie Burns, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), advocates for women’s financial health. She is an author of a financial checklist book series, speaker, podcast host and partners with clients to offer friendly financial advice in her independent practice Visit her at or

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