Sunday, March 03, 2013
I don't think it is necessary to focus on weight loss every day. Yes, I want to lose weight, and I believe I will even if I am not logging in daily to track what I eat and how much I exercise.
Those things help, to be sure. But, whether I track or not, I know the difference between eating a whole pot of boxed mac-n-cheese vs an egg white omelet with vegetables (or eat the whole egg, it probably wont kill you). I know if I've moved my body or if I spent the week sitting on the couch.
I want a lifestyle that I can live with. I don't want to have to think soo hard about it. I don't want to have to punish myself over every indiscretion, or every missed work out. The idea is to do some moderate amount of moving, not to pressure myself to perform because I will stay fat forever if I don't.
It's true that lots of us stay fat forever. Or even that skinny kind of fat, where you look alright on the outside but your arteries are clogged and your cells can barely function. I'm talking about being healthy. We can be overweight and be healthy. But a lot of us aren't - or we sure don't start that way.
I read an article recently (in Huffington Post healthy living section) where an author refers to her idea of a "live-it" - the opposite of diet. I liked the idea quite a bit. She explains how she used to either be on a diet, or she'd totally blow it and eat everything that she wanted/came her way. Who can't relate to that?
What I take away from her idea is to eat what you like, but to also to eat with respect and love for your body. Move, because that is what a body is meant to do.
Changing your lifestyle is hard because it takes work. You have to think about it, you have to make choices. Being unhealthy is only easy because we are acting automatically. It is the path of least resistance. This is one way that we have set out to retrain our brains. Yes, it can be done. It is not beyond our capacity to think about it rather than not think about it.
One of the major reasons I am on a weight loss plan is because I am vain. I like to look hot, I like the attention. I also really like food, both the good stuff and the junky stuff. I also really, really like how I feel when I am fit. When I am more fit I eat with health in mind. I don't expect that I will get in that first (or second or third) workout and subsist on tofu scrambles and vegetables from now on. I will still want rich treats, but maybe just a tiny bit less.
Learning to be healthy is a habit-forming exercise. It is about giving ourselves new options and saying yes to those new options. We don't necessarily like our old ways better, but they are comfortable to us, worn in from use like sneakers and baby blankets. Being used to our old habits is not a reason to resist a new way of thinking and behaving.
Being healthy isn't a punishment (though it sure felt that way each time I quit smoking cigarettes). It's an incredible gift to yourself. Not only does it change your body but it also changes your brain. All the new experiences and choices give you a new lease on life. You find yourself doing things you've never done before, enjoying new places and activities. Making new friends. That's something I think we can all live with.