glow notes

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

on fat and love

Sorry I've been gone awhile; vacation, then had a bad cold. Here's the post I promised:

On the subject of fat, I have mixed thoughts, but it's actually just one message in the end.

I have been fat and I have been thin. I have never been, like, Oh My God fat. I looked chubby, but in reality I was 32% body fat and that's edging on clinically obese. So yeah, I was fat. I felt like hell. I was tired all of the time, had terrible PMS, often had really painful and chronic but minor injuries, and caught a lot of colds, flus, etc. Despite that, I was never totally out of shape. I could still walk a long way and exercised on occasion - though often as not I talked myself out of exercise because I was tired. I went to a cardio kickboxing class and nearly puked one day.

As a fit person, I feel great. I want everybody to feel this great. I want everybody to feel this empowered, this strong, this full of life, this energetic, this vibrant. I don't do cardio kickboxing much any more because it doesn't get my heart rate up the way running does. I look forward to exercising. Truly.

As a fitness professional, I know the wages of poor nutrition, lack of movement, and an unhealthy body composition. I know far too much about what saturated fat does to the insides of a human and how being overfat correlates to cancer, heart disease, hormone-related illnesses, and other such bummers. [nb: I do not believe that you must be at an 'ideal' body weight or body fat percentage to be fit. Every person is different.]

I also know that knowing about the dangers of poor fitness and nutrition habits doesn't make people who aren't quote-unquote perfect in their habits love themselves. All too often, it makes them angry and hateful toward themselves. And if you don't love yourself - and your body - how in the world are you going to do all those things that are required in order to be fit?

Effort has to be balanced by love, not hate.
Hate robs us; love feeds us. Hate is draining; love is energizing. Hate is out of balance with the Truth and thus makes every small thing sooo hard; love makes everything easier. Not effortless, but less like dragging a Jeep by your ear.

It breaks my heart to hear people talk about their struggles with weight loss, going hungry, depriving themselves of foods they love, doing exercise they hate, failing yet again, and how helpless and frustrating it feels. From my perspective, that seems like being at war with our own bodies. Ouch!

I'm also affected by this. Like many women I speak to, I can see the beauty in a women who is not at the 'ideal size' but *I* sometimes feel like pushing the panic button when my jeans are too tight at the waistband.

For the record, I was a hottie at 172 pounds, no doubt about it. But feeling fat frankly sucks.

On occasion I still slip into the 'diet mentality,' where I forget that the habits of health are about feeling good and aren't an end in themselves. Inevitably, this kind of thinking leads me to overeat or get depressed or give up nurturing habits, or all of the above.

When this happens, I counter that self-hating behavior with love. I give myself hot baths and walks in the park; I treat myself to yoga classes and the occasional massage; I rub my body with mango scented cream while telling my thighs "thank you, for carrying me here and there, I know it's hard work;" I cook delicious, nutrient-rich meals that I also love to eat. I care for my body like the precious gift it is.

Just as soon as I remember.

And it always works. Because love always works. Love always brings peace and balance.

In between these rememberings, I live in hell. Truly. What else can you call a war zone? Blessedly, that's not very often any more.

Because I know how hell feels, it breaks my heart to see people living in this hell most of the time.

What if?
What if we were told from birth that we are perfect, that our bodies are miracles and worthy of tender love and care; that we as humans can have different shapes of bodies, just like the dogs at the dog park - and nobody expects an English Bulldog to look like a French Poodle, do they?

What if exercise and eating well were taught, not as punishment or chore, but as nurturing and fun. What if we were never told that chocolate is 'bad,' only that too much chocolate slows you down, and that's no fun, is it?

What if we were taught about love instead of fear?

What if we start now?

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