Thursday, 2 October 2014

It's not about weight - part 2

Don't judge my posture - I'm not
focused because I am in paradise.
Go ahead and judge my bathing suit
though - it totally deserves it.
But it kind of is. 

You see, while we were in Nicaragua last winter we spent several days at Rise Up Surf Camp, with really fit people in revealing bathing suits.  I was not a member of The Beautiful Bikini Body Club.  I had my own very exclusive club - the I Just Turned 40 So I Thought I Should Buy a Modest Two-Piece At Walmart For This Trip Club.

I had no choice but to face my feelings about my weight head-on.  I was happy I hadn't tried to willpower myself into reaching some arbitrary number before the trip.   I was not happy knowing that I was not at my healthiest or most comfortable weight.  But "I was what I was", as everyone loves to say.  So I accepted that as best I could.  My sweetheart could give a more honest appraisal of how well I did at that.

The mindful eating resources that I like (for example, this one) speak directly to weight loss, and how you shouldn't get all hung up about it.  One practitioner advocates a "weight-neutral" approach.  This concept appeals to me, but I keep stepping on the scale to see if my mindful eating practice is "working".

Now, 6 months after I started writing this post, I FINALLY get it!  Mindful eating is really just about developing a truly healthy relationship with food.  Like, say, eating something nourishing to your body and soul when you are hungry, and not eating when you are not physically hungry.  You know, obvious stuff like that, that's much easier to read about than to do.  

Weight management has so much baggage wrapped up in it - physiology, genetics, cooking habits, lifestyle, unrealistic expectations, etc. etc. etc.  Mindful eating deals with the fundamentals - what you put in your mouth, and how much you enjoy that.  

In my field of work there's a lot of talk of the 3-legged stool of sustainability.  Without one of the legs your stool just becomes a tripping hazard.  The 3-legged stool of a healthy and happy body (for me), is mindful eating, healthy food habits (like making lunch the night before and having a fridge well-stocked with vegetables), and adequate physical activity.  Mindful eating on its own probably won't have a major effect on what my body looks like, and that's fine.  But I can't make positive changes to my physical health without mindful eating.  

Uh-oh - now I have one of my least favourite Michael Jackson's songs trying to sneak into my head...

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