Archive | April, 2013

My Body is Functional, NOT Decorative

20 Apr

This could be a long post, because this realization was a big Ah-ha moment for me.  Have you ever gone to someone’s house and seen a beautiful sitting room that no one ever sits in?   It’s the room that has furniture that has never been used.  That room is totally decorative.  And it has always struck me as odd, because let’s face it, furniture is pretty much made to be used.  The same can be said for our bodies.  Despite what our culture seems to believe, the purpose of our bodies is to allow us to do the things we have to do in order to live.  And not just breathing, but lifting, walking, pulling, hearing, smelling, seeing, wiggling our toes, feeling the warmth of the sun.  Even our hair keeps our scalp from getting sunburned.  The way you look has nothing to do with your health.  Don’t get me wrong, I understand that physical beauty does matter to us, I’m just saying that it isn’t the primary purpose of the body.

You may be asking, what’s the big deal?  For me, it was this.  I have to stop critiquing my body based on how it looks and focus instead on what it can do.  Suddenly it helps me realize that the purpose of getting healthy is not to lose weight, but to keep my body functioning well for as long as possible.  And while this may seem like a “duh” statement, I have found that the world has a different idea.  Every time I look for fitness or nutritional information, weight loss is the primary focus.

My first step along this journey has been to stop hating my body.  I truly believe that you can’t get healthy if you start from a place of hating your body.  Being healthy requires you to do the things that are best for your body.  It means you have to decide to love your body enough to keep it functional.  And has anyone ever been truly, deeply loving to something that disgusts them?  Heck no!  It’s like cockroaches.  You see one and you either want to run from it or stomp on it.  Basically you try to get rid of it as quickly as possible.  Same thing with your body.  If it disgusts you, you’ll just want to “fix” it as quickly as possible.  It won’t matter to you how you do it.  You’ll just pick whichever way seems fastest and you won’t be able to sustain it.  You’ll think things like “I can’t stand to look this way one second longer” or “I can’t even look in the mirror”.  We are kindest to the things we adore.  It is what has allowed me to start thinking about how certain foods make me feel.  I’ve also decided to eat cleaner, because I believe it is best for my body.  If we adore ourselves and our bodies we will want to do what is best for it.  So love your body.  And thank it for all the things it allows you to do and experience.

 

Dieting is Making Me Fat

16 Apr

It’s true.  The more I diet, the more weight I gain.  I reached my highest weight only after I had been on the diet train for years.  It doesn’t seem to make sense, but a lot of evidence backs me up.  Even your body’s hormones work against you when dieting.  So just to be clear for those folks who will tell me I shouldn’t diet, I should just make a lifestyle change, I’m not talking about fad diets here.  Quite frankly I’ve never been on a fad diet, unless you count the two days I tried Atkins in college.  Every time I’ve tried to lose weight, I take the time to examine my numbers and count calories, carbs, protein or points.  I tell myself that no food is off limits as long as it fits in my points/calorie range.  I’ve tried Weight Watchers as well as a doctor prescribed lower carb/high protein diet.  But every time I do this, I get obsessed with the scale and frustrated if it isn’t moving quickly enough.  And even if it is moving quickly, I end up feeling deprived or just plain aggravated that I have to count and measure everything.  And that’s when the bingeing starts.  I never binged before I dieted.  But since then food means something entirely different than it did before dieting.  I have the luxury of remembering what life was like in high school and my early years of college before dieting set in.  Back then I ate like a normal person.  Sure I overate sometimes.  But usually I ate when I was hungry and stopped when I was full.  I was higher in weight than the weight charts said I should have been, but that was mostly because I ate too much fast food with friends.  

So what’s my solution?  I’m going back to normal eating.  I’m putting away the scale, examining my relationship with food, eating when hungry and stopping just before full.  I don’t usually have a problem identifying hunger because my stomach actually growls when I’m hungry.  I will have to pay close attention to when I am approaching full though.  This is not about weight loss.  This is about getting back my health and sanity.  So this journey is changing.  Wish me luck.