Saturday, August 30, 2008

Friday Fitness

I'm trying to get checklists set up for my household rotation. Here is a first try (over on my other blog).

I have been stuck around 136 pounds, give or take a few, for the past 2 months. I guess that's OK, though I'd like to lose another 5 pounds. On the other hand, I've been slightly more active, and have been eating better than usual. When I do go off track, I can usually get back on within a few days rather than starting on a wild roller coaster like I used to.

I don't usually read Good Housekeeping, but when I'm visiting my mother in law I usually skim through her subscription, and I like Geneen Roth's attitude about food and life.

The truth is that many thin people are miserable. Many of them don't like themselves. And all people -- thin or fat -- get old, have cellulite, and die. Being thin does not exempt anyone from illness, loss, or heartbreak.


But there's another way of looking at this. I spent a good deal of my life believing that someone else would have done a much better job living my life. Now, whenever I find myself thinking that the answers are out there as opposed to in here, or if I catch myself wanting what someone else has or believing that I am the wrong person to be living my life, I do two simple things:

  1. I take a few deep breaths.
  2. I turn my attention inside myself instead of outside. How do you know when you're outside yourself? The first clue is that you start to feel panicky about needing to be "fixed." You embark on a major program of self-improvement, feeling 2 feet tall, weak, stuck, and unable to move forward with anything. That's when you know you need to climb back into your own body and focus your attention on yourself and what's really important in your life.

To do this, I make myself notice simple, concrete things: the pale turquoise sky, the cool air, the crisp taste of an apple, the fact that I have arms and legs. And, oh, I almost forgot: the sheer fact that I am alive. (That last one really helps. As far as I know, there are not many opportunities for earthly happiness if you are dead.)

I have never really been overweight. I have a high-wired Scottish metabolism that can see me through a lot of indulgences. HOWEVER, I am just as likely as the next person to overeat, to hoard, to be weird about food. On a more holistic level, I'm just as likely as anyone else to feel that someone else could do a better job living my life than I could.

When I gave up blaming myself for my ups and downs and settled down to try to address them, like managing a health condition, I stopped losing pounds as fast as I was able to before. But I also got where I understood how I reacted better, and could make adjustments without the emotional drain that had attended my weight-maintenance attempts in the past.


lissla lissar said...

Anne Lammot has this theme running through several of her books about learning to be kind to herself- not self-indulgent, but trying to lose the paranoid chorus of voices at the back of your mind screaming about your incompetence. She tries to treat herself like a beloved, slightly dotty aunt. I like that. I also like Brother Lawrence's injuction to avoid berating yourself when you fall, but instad say, "Lord, so I will always do when You leave me to myself."

Willa said...

Yes, Francis de Sales says that berating yourself is a trap. Better to pick up and try again, like you hopefully would help your child move on and try better next time rather than staying locked in with accusation.