The Way We Eat

Well, it’s been more than a month since those New Year’s resolutions.  How’s it been going?  If you’re like most people, not so well.  My own life has been hectic with our move from the big city to a rural community.  Bernadette and the kids are making a longer commute and I’m left alone most days to plan dinner and this new phase of my life. We are happy though.

One thing that I bet we have in common is figuring out an eating plan.  Notice I didn’t say “diet”?  The longer I’m in this game, the more I hate the word.  I prefer to talk about “a healthy way of eating.”  We’re not going to be successful until we substitute routines and healthy habits for quick, faddish fixes.

Part of this search for a healthy way of eating involves a desire for freedom.  Freedom to wear the clothes we want, freedom gained from more energy, freedom from high blood pressure, freedom from high blood glucose levels (leading to Type 2 diabetes),freedom from cravings, freedom to be sexually attractive, etc.

The health benefits of eating right combined with this annoying tug of vanity that I can’t seem to shake, have gotten me back to a regimen of fasting.  The video below is long but worth watching.  The punchline is that you don’t have to do any of the ridiculous fasts that involve epic deprivation.

Have you fasted before?  What kind?  Did it involve enemas or cabbage?  The method I use is closely related to the one described in the video.  It’s called “Eat Stop Eat.” I have used it off and on with success for body composition over the last few years.  As I get older, I think I am going to make it more of a staple in my routine because that aging well “thing” is tugging at me almost as much as my vanity.

BTW, if you are interested in fasting my way, go to Eat Stop Eat. That’s my affiliate link and I get a couple of dollars to buy myself some sexy yoga shorts.  If you buy through that link and want some help getting started, let me know and I’ll give you a free implementation session over the phone or Skype.  Summer will be here sooner than you know it!

Lose the last 10 pounds

Things that make you say.....OMGOr… “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.

Looking for a weight loss program?

One of the first things I recommend to someone looking to improve their health or to lose fat, is that they learn how to cook. Being able to cook means that you are taking responsibility and taking control of your health.

Learn how to cook, have the right supplies on hand, and eliminate sugar, wheat and seed oils and you’ll see your health energy, and sex appeal shoot through the roof. Chef Todd Mohr’s videos are educational and entertaining. It will make you want to run to the kitchen!

[leadplayer_vid id=”511694E7C2960″]

Do you have a favorite healthy recipe?

Want To Lose Weight? Surround The Dragon.


So you want to lose weight? You’ve probably never heard of “Surrounding The Dragon.”

On a beautiful late spring afternoon, fifteen years ago, two young women graduated from the same college. They were a lot alike, these two women.

In addition to having been better than average students, both were athletic, personable, and filled with vivid dreams of the wonderful things that lay ahead.

Recently, these two women returned to their college for their 15th reunion.

They were still very much alike.

Both were married and ridiculously busy. Both had continued their exercise habits. One had children and the other was planning on having them.

But there was a difference. One of the women had the body that she had left college with – she looked like she could walk onto a soccer field right now and star. She also had the energy to match. She was on a career path that had her excited and eager to wake up for work every day.

The other was 35 pounds over her college weight. Her right knee always hurt and her lower back carried a dull ache that lasted throughout the day. Despite all her exercise and her strict diet(s), she always felt tired and couldn’t make a dent in her excess weight. She couldn’t stand her job, particularly her supervisor.

What Made The Difference

Have you ever wondered, as I used to, what makes this kind of difference in people’s bodies and happiness? It isn’t always genetics or willpower or work ethic. It isn’t that one person wants success and the other doesn’t.

The difference lies in what each person has learned about themselves since the magical years of youth and how they make use of that knowledge.

Surrounding The Dragon

Have you ever had acupuncture? I have. Many times. For about twenty years, Tom Bisio and Marshall Wood have been my go-to Chinese medicine doctors. They did something called Tui Na, a form of massage. Sometimes they prescribed medicinal herbs. Needles were always used. Sometimes they placed the needles directly into a muscle spasm. Other times they were placed in meridians to release blockages and let energy flow.

Another technique that was used was called “Surrounding The Dragon.” They would place needles all around the problem area. This way, a number of energy pathways would be opened up. The pain would be addressed from several directions.

Look Around

The first woman had also faced some of the same trials that her friend had faced since college. But when she hit a roadblock she looked for feedback. She had also built rituals for relaxation and renewal.

She had a coach who helped her with accountability for her exercise and eating. She had also worked with him to set goals that matched her values. She came to understand that she should not be aiming for physical perfection. She stopped the body-shaming and went through a process that uncovered her power – power that had always been there but was layered over with past pain and others’ expectations. She had “Surrounded The Dragon.”

If you want to lose weight and you’re not getting the results you seek, the cause isn’t always obvious.

Call me or send an email to hans@brownstonefitness.com if you want me to help you explore ways to surround your dragon.

Toned Arms and Flat Abs? Overrated

“People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don’t find myself saying, “Soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner.” I don’t try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.”
― Carl R. Rogers

Don’t talk to Sheila S. about toned arms and flat abs. Sheila S. is about 5’7″ and she weighs about 185 pounds. She’s able to do a full split and pull 300 lbs. from the floor.  Heads turn – male and female – when she’s wearing a summer dress. The looks are admiring and respectful.  She doesn’t need help with her groceries or luggage and the guys who are fixtures on her corner know not to go too far with their comments. Her 11 year-old doesn’t understand why he still can’t beat Mom in their impromptu races in the park – but he brags about it to his classmates.

 

Give ‘Em What They Want?
You won’t find women like Sheila S. in an ad for any major gym or fitness program.  That’s one of the reasons I’m getting ready to resign from the “flat abs” and “toned arms” army.  Crazy, right? Isn’t that how personal trainers and gym owners make a living?

Do we have to be a part of that twisted cultural dream machine to succeed? After all, it’s the dream that people in the fitness profession are supposed to push.  We need to give the market what they want.  What if this isn’t what the larger market wants?

One business model signs people to gym memberships they’ll never use and promises you that Photoshop look.  We can help you get that limited cultural aesthetic but it will be a byproduct of our efforts to make you strong and mobile first.

You may have already gotten a hint of our values  if you read our manifesto (we’ve been nice enough to provide a copy below).

Please understand, I’m as vain as the next person.  I understand vanity. One of the reasons I work out is to look good.  As I’ve gotten older and wiser, my reasons have evolved.  I’m betting that there are other people who, secretly or not, train for more important reasons than looking good.  Are you one of them?

 

Does Size Matter?
It’s encouraging to see the increasing number of women who come to us to improve their running, or to get out of pain, or who just want to get stronger.

You’ve been told that “plus size” is bad. They tell you that you have to be as thin as possible to be healthy and attractive.  The research and experience say otherwise.  There can be problems that go along with being obese.  These problems are trumpeted by all the major media. You might be surprised at the health and longevity difference between overweight (vs. obese) and very thin people. It’s not what most of us think.

But have you also heard about the Female Athlete Triad? It combines eating disorders, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis.  It’s a growing problem for female athletes who want to achieve extreme leanness – the same kind of leanness that’s held up as the feminine ideal in this country. You don’t have to be an athlete to suffer from these life-shortening conditions.

Do your own survey of the fashion and fitness role models held up as paragons of beauty and health.  Bigger than size 4?  Your supposed to drive a truck instead of walk a runway.

 

The Other Way
Let’s be contrarians.  We want you to help us fight back against the lords of fashion, fitness, and diet.  There’s a larger fight (no pun intended) and a more important message.  It has to do with potency and sovereignty – please don’t say “empowerment.” Let’s demand more inclusive definitions of “sexy,”shapely,” and “fit.”

We welcome women of any size.  If you know someone who wants to be like Sheila S., send her our way. If you want to get stronger and move better, you’ve come to the right place.  When toned arms and flat abs are at the top of someone’s list, we can do that. But we’re gonna do our best to get you to drink from the cup of strength and movement first.

 

Who loves ya, baby?