I started this have a lower number on the scale, lose fat, and be healthier. Nope, I was sick of how my body looked. I wanted to look good naked* and look hot when clothed. (*not sure if Mark Sisson of Primal Blueprint has TM’ed that phrase, he should!)
However in the process of this vain quest, I’ve discovered a few not-so-vain things. Eliminating grains and grain products solved or greatly eased a number of “little” problems: 3 different skin conditions, stiffness in my knees, mental fog, and morning lethargy among others. (Fear not. Evangelizing about reducing/eliminating grain will be the topic of a future post. Heh.) I loved the feeling of power, strength and ease I felt when I was briskly walking up a long incline on the way home, while carrying a 10-15 lb back pack. I’ve encountered some interesting, wonderful people who I’d never have met had we not been following the same program to our goals at the same time.
And, I’ve been spending far too much time reading weight loss forums and dietary blogs. I’m choosing to “press pause” instead of “infinite shuffle” on that habit. I’ve got my list and I’ll stick with that for a few months. New rule: no new sites or programs or …
One thing that is setting me off these days is the ubiquitous and inevitable desperation and urgency of dieting. I find my craziness starts to hum along when in the presence of other people’s craziness. I guess I’m writing this to reconnect with some compassion for all of us.
The truth is that underneath my irritation, my heart breaks a little for people obsessing about having a shred of carrot in a salad because of the carbohydrate grams. (I did that.) Or feeling that “I. MUST. EXERCISE. TO. EXHAUSTION. at least 5 days a week even though I’m eating only 800 calories a day and my program advises against it.” (Wasn’t my bag, but I have my flavour of it.) We wage war on our bodies — beat it into submission with near-brutal exercise, starve it, tell it we hate it when we look in the mirror, tell anyone who’ll listen what’s wrong with it.
Here’s the thing: Did you know that storing excess food as fat is probably the healthiest thing your body could do in response to the situation? All the other options lead to, ummmmmmm, death. Think about it. Your body did the best thing possible for your survival given the conditions it faced at the time. Again, your body responded perfectly to the conditions at the time. How do I know that? You’re here now reading this. Got that?
I actually felt a tremendous amount of relief when I finally “got” that. My body was doing exactly what it was designed to do. In fact, I had a wee moment of glee thinking about how well those extra pounds of fat might have me live longer than the skinny-minnies should there ever be food shortages. Long live the efficient fat-storers!
So if my body responds perfectly to the conditions I give it, what is there to do next? Take on the adventure of discovering and creating the conditions that will create the response that I want — burning the excess body fat while taking care of that wonderful, miraculous body that does so much more than just carry me around. I’ve decided I’m going to pay attention to how my body responds to ways of eating and exercising. If I don’t feel good, I’m going to adjust the food and the exercise rather than force myself to eat or move my body a particular way because some program or concept or theory says it’s a good idea.
What if it’s not your body that’s not working, but it’s the diet or the exercise that’s not working for your body?