When Duckfish and I went kayaking it took us a while to get the hang of it. We were total beginners and needed some time to get our stroke, timing and steering sorted out. But even after we mastered the art of paddling, we weren’t going nearly as fast as the other people in the group.
It turned out that our rudder was dodgy which meant we weren’t ever going in a straight line. Our equipment was faulty, and although we would eventually get where we wanted to go, it would take a lot of extra effort to cover the same ground as others with better boats.
When we have bodies that are prone to carrying more fat than our naturally slender sisters (and brothers) we are not paddling in the same kind of kayak. We can slim down, but it takes a lot of effort We have to restrict our calorie intake and perform large amounts of exercise to burn off the energy that our body, when left to its own devices, wants to store. Our equipment is faulty.
So instead of putting in all that extra effort (and complaining about it), why not upgrade the equipment?
The tendency to store fat has its foundation in our physical, mental and spiritual life. By focussing on these three pillars (head, heart, health) we can improve the way our bodies work.
I have a problem with carbs. When I have a high carb diet, I get hungry, eat more and lay down fat easily. This may be something to do with the way insulin works in my particular body but I don’t really know. All I know is that I eat less, have more energy, have fewer cravings and lose weight when I limit my carb intake. This may not be the case for you. You might thrive on complex carbs and not do well with animal products. You might react badly to gluten. A little bit of sugar might be too much for you.
Same deal with how often you eat. I mostly only eat twice a day and it suits me fine. You might need six meals a day, or you find intermittent fasting works for you. What is important is that you need to be aware of how you react physically to the variations in your diet and make decisions based on that data.
And then there’s the hormones. How much stress do you carry that is producing cortisol? Have a stress relief strategy. If running relieves the pressure then do it, but if it is another stressor in your life, then walk or do yoga instead. Actively pursue endorphins on a daily basis. Watch an inspiring movie, read a good book, have earth shattering sex. Coax your body into flooding your system with the good hormones and not the bad.
Meditation, affirmations, positive self talk are all ways you can ensure that you don’t suffer from faulty thoughts. You attract what you think about. Where do your thoughts run? Do you feel disgust when you look in the mirror, do you judge yourself as a failure, do you scour the internet for the latest weight loss strategy that will work this time, do you hang out on forums that glorify the diet endeavour?
Do something to clear your mind and stop that critical voice in your head. Think about something else besides how out of shape you are. Smash your limiting beliefs. Stop trying to control things by hanging on with a tight grip. Relax, breathe, let it go.
There are as many way to grow your spiritual life as there are people in the world. There is no absolute way, just your way. But if you only live in the physical and mental world, then your equipment will never operate at its optimum.
Nurture that part of you that is not how you look or what you think. Find something that inspires you and gives your life meaning. Write, paint, take photos, knit, sew quilts, sculpt, scrapbook — engage your creativity. Find your passion (other than how much you can dead lift). Welcome everything that comes into your life, the joy and the sorrow. Embrace love in all its guises. Connect with a higher power if that is your thing, or connect with the true essence of yourself. Strip away the mask of your social self and reveal your true self to the world. Search for your truth and take back your power.
Eat less and move more will work if you have Herculean discipline and resolve. But when the day comes when you are exhausted by paddling twice as hard as everyone else to get to the same place you will probably give up, take a nap, and then eventually summon up the determination to do it all over again. There is a better way. Focus on making the equipment function at its peak so that your efforts are rewarded. Weight release and maintaining your ideal body should be easy and effortless, not debilitating hard slog. It’s time to upgrade.