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Switching to a Slower Gear

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

As I explore and participate in the SparkPeople community, I am frequently inspired, amazed, and encouraged by how we find our way. Some swear by tracking food intake religiously while others take a very different approach, finding that other methods and tools serve them just as well (Iím in this camp). Some people are steadfast, remaining very true to their health plan while others continuously fine tune and tweak their approach in order to find what works best for them. No two of us are exactly the same. Our paths are different but our goals all point to one thing: better health.

Iím a fine tuner. I donít give up or give in and I donít start over. I simply modify, evolve, and keep going. I try new things and then attempt to discard the failures and integrate what worked into a very personalized plan. Basically, I keep riding the bike, but I switch gears. A lot.

This drives some people crazy and, frankly, Iíve been getting kind of tired of it, too.

Everybody changes. As we get older, we may not tolerate the punishing cardio we did in our youth or we find that we suddenly love some food we used to spit out with a dramatic ďpth, pthĒ when we were kids. Iím not talking about evolution. Iím talking about the constant search for ďthe thingĒ that rings the truest for us, the holistic approach that elicits that deep and meaningful ďAmenĒ that you hear inside when you know your actions are aligning with your spirit. When you are aligned mentally, physically, and spiritually, you can feel the vibration of inspiration. Thatís what Iíve been searching for, and thatís what I havenít been able to pin down.

But Iíve come close.

Last year, I absorbed two books that changed my thoughts and my life. These were Marc Davidís Nourishing Wisdom and The Slow Down Diet. Written by a nutritional psychologist specializing in the connection between food, mind, and medicine, these books gave credence to what I feel to be true: that we are so, so much more than just the physical components of our bodies. We are psychological, biological, chemical, emotional creatures. We are not just parts. We are a whole, and we are connected. There is so much more to nourishment and satisfaction than can be derived from a calories in-calories out scenario, so much more to living than just food and exercise. Things like metabolism, digestion, and a feeling of spiritual connection should be factored into the equation of what makes a human body work the way it does.

For several months I used what I had learned in those books and experienced the most exquisite feelings of freedom that Iíve ever known. How exhilarating it was to be at peace and to shut out all the chatter of the experts telling me what to eat, what not to eat, how much to eat, when to eat, when to exercise, how to exercise, how not to exercise, why to exercise, how much to exercise, etc. I was listening to my body for a change and it felt awesome.

I should mention at this point that Iím easily distracted by shiny objec---- Oh, look! A squirrel!! --- and, unfortunately, this distraction led me away from that place of awesomeness. I began to drink the Kool-Aid again. I cut out sugar. I cut out wheat (again). I perturbed my boyfriend with the amount of time I spent on the treadmill. None of these things are bad, but they werenít sustainable and they didnít make me feel that vibration of inspiration. While I had been living free from the chatter for several glorious months, I went off my noggin and cranked it back up.

What I want to do now is get back to that place where I am aligned mentally, physically, and spiritually, and I know this takes work, practice, and commitment. The first time I read The Slow Down Diet, I read it like a book (as you do), not like a workbook. I just read it cover to cover and did not participate in the tasks and journal assignments at all. Re-reading the book the other day, I considered how the message of the book rings so true for me that I ought to give it (and myself) the effort and time to really participate in the process and, indeed, to cement the process in my life so that shiny objects (squirrel!!) donít lure me back to the chatter.

So, hereís my latest switch of the gears. Iím going to re-read The Slow Down Diet and Iím going to participate in the activities and journal exercises meant to help me get the most out of the program. Itís an eight-week program so each week I will have homework. Iíll read one chapter, do the exercises, and report back at the end of the week how things went. The eight weeks are about the metabolic power of:

1. Relaxation
2. Quality
3. Awareness
4. Rhythm
5. Pleasure
6. Thought
7. Story
8. The Sacred

Iíll explain a little about each chapter in my report. In addition, meditation is back on the menu and I will continue, of course, to use tools like SparkPeople (no, Iím not calling anyone a tool!) to help keep me mindful, connected, and engaged. Iíll report on how Iím feeling and if and how this program is helping. (Up until I made this decision to tune back into myself I was feeling SUCH brain fog it was pathetic, but now I feel somewhat inspired again Ė yay!). If I complete the program and decide itís all a bunch of hooey, I promise to be honest and cop to it. I promise to tune back in to the chatter. For now, though, Iím giving this my attention and am looking forward to the shift to a slower gear.

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
BLESSED2BEME 3/20/2013 10:39AM

    I am intrigued. 'Self-Help' books have never worked for me. I lose interest too quickly. However, I'm looking forward to following your journey and learning more about this.

I've not even come close to 'fine tuning' my journey. I no longer start over so I suppose that is progress but I still feel lost in the sea a lot of times.

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FRAYEDLACES 3/20/2013 1:58AM

    Sounds like my kind of book! Will have to read it. It sounds like you've got a great idea going. I'm in northeast Illinois and it seems like there's no such thing as slow around here. Slow seems to equate to lazy in too many folks' minds. I prefer to see slow as a beautifully contemplative lifestyle. ~~Cindy~~

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