Or… “Honey, who shrunk my pants?” All of a sudden, my pants weren’t fitting so well. I normally resist doing it for a number of reasons but I stepped on the scale. I was 12 lbs. heavier than the last time I had stepped on the scale a few months ago! I’ll admit it – i have my “fat clothes” too. The good news and the bad news is that I have them in storage. I don’t do self-loathing too well but I went through my own brief version. I had kind of noticed the problem over the last few weeks and I had asked Bernadette if she thought I was gaining weight. What I hadn’t been paying attention to was that she hadn’t really given me an answer. I cornered her at lunch and insisted on an answer. She looked away, held up the index finger and thumb on her left hand about two inches away from each other and mumbled, “I guess you’ve put on a tiny bit extra.” Ok. Even more damning than the scale. It took me a few days but I gave myself a hug. “The body is solidified mind.” The extra weight was not goingto be a source for harsh self judgment. It was a call to awareness. I reject the binary fat/not fat, pain/no pain. I needed to figure out what was happening (notice I didn’t say, “what was going wrong”?). My workouts haven’t changed much and I do a lot less walking since we moved upstate. I was on my feet at the studio the majority of my waking hours. I would walk a couple of miles to pick my son up from school. We have a creamery here which has ice cream that is sourced from grass fed cows. I used to never eat dessert but, hey, this stuff was grass fed! I’ve been frustrated at the pace of a couple of work projects and that has effected my sleep. I also haven’t made the same time available for meditation. The thing is, look and perform better than 95% of the people in my age group and better than the majority of those over 35. I’m married, so who cares if there’s a few extra pounds? (just kidding, ’cause I’ve seen how Bernadette looks at some younger, fit guys). Is this vanity? Orthorexia? Maybe, but I’m also fascinated by body hacking. I know that fulfilling my body potential is limited by how much I am living up to my psychological potential. The extra weight is a message. I haven’t fully figured out what that message is but I’m going to walk the dog more, eat more slowly to gain something called “parasympathetic dominance,” cut down on the ice cream to 3x per week, the two glasses of wine down to one, and I ‘m going to undertake a carb-backloading strategy where I et most or all of my carbs at night (it’s a little more involved than that and I can discuss it in another newsletter or email if you like). I also purchased something called a “Five Minute Journal.” I also bought one for Vidar and one for Bernadette. Vidar rejected his and Bernadette rolled her eyes but took it anyway. The gratitude thing has been HUGE for me in my life and I’ve gotten away from it. Let’s sees what happens. If you see a sexy, Speedo-wearing, middle-aged man on the beach this summer, check twice before you start whistling. You’ll save us both a bit of embarrassment.
There’s a principle of physics called the “principle of least action.” It kind of says that Nature will find the most efficient path from one point to another. This concept is easy to ignore in our workouts and as we make our way through the world. We look for quick fixes in every area of our lives. There are all sorts of “bright, shiny objects” in the worlds of diet and fitness that distract us from the most efficient path to wellness.
I received an email a little while ago from a distraught teenage girl desperate for help with her weight. She had stumbled onto the Brownstone Fitness website and is courageously reaching out for help. There are so many conflicting messages that this young lady has already received about what she is supposed to look like if she’s going to fit in and be popular. At times like these I am reminded that exercise programming and meal planning are only small pieces of the puzzle.
We pay for diet and exercise systems that we hope will get us where we think we want to go. There are at least two problems with this. One is that the conditions and environments that surround us (work, family, media messages, etc.) don’t allow us to work the systems.
A bigger problem is that a slavish adherence to a system blocks our awareness of the wisdom inside and around us. Find a time and a place every day to be quiet and listen for this wisdom. Accessing this wisdom calms the mind and allows the body to realize the healthy and vigorous state it was born for. Some people call this meditation.
Prayer happens when we talk to God. Meditation allows the space for God to talk to us. These may not be easy things but they are simple. You can discover for yourself the principle of least action.