Thursday, January 13, 2011

Please Allow me to Vent for a Hot Second...

In light of the new year and resolutions and all, much of the world seems to be in a tizzy about losing weight. On the one hand, it is nice to feel some momentum as a result of the increased WW commercials, supermarket endcaps featuring more healthy items, etc. On the other hand, it makes me sad to see how much of WL is grounded in lies and gimmicks -- things I don't think are healthy and/or sustainable. For example, the thought of the Special K diet makes me cringe and I don't think you can convince me it's healthy (or for most of us realistic) to lose 41 lbs in a week, even if you're surrounded by a team of doctors on the Biggest Loser.

More fundamentally, it bothers me when the focus is on WL not health. Admittedly, it is not healthy to be morbidly obese or 230 lbs at 5'8"; however, I think there are unhealthy people who fall into the "normal" weight category too. I am working very hard to focus on my health, and to view weight as a small piece of what it means to be healthy.

Do I have a number I'd like to see on the scale at "goal"? Kind of. I know I would like to be less than 200, probably around 160-180. I don't have a magic number, and I'm not under the illusion that once I get to some number that life will be butterflies and rainbows.

More important than any number to me is that I am healthy. Being healthy means that I want to be able to manage/prevent my back pain (which almost certainly will continue to improve as I lose weight and do yoga regularly). Being healthy means I don't want to have to takeblood pressure medicine anymore (have been off it for a few months, and doing fine). Being healthy means being able to do most any physical activity without dying (exception: running, deadlifts and other things that hurt my back -- but I want to be able to walk up a mountain or several flights of stairs without getting too winded).

Another critical piece to me is mental health -- keeping aware of how I'm feeling. This is especially a challenge with respect to how I view food, as I feel that many who are successful at WL replace an obsession for compulsive eating with an obsession over counting calories, eating healthily, etc. I do not want to obsess over food OR eating healthily: I want to relegate food to the background while placing relationships and experiences at the forefront of life. This is what motivates the title of my blog; food has been front and center for almost 20 years of my 31 years on the earth -- that MUST stop (and, to a large degree, is).

Losing weight is one step in my getting healthy. Admittedly, it is one that people focus on because it is measurable and comes with many aesthetic benefits. However, I am focusing on getting healthy and viewing weight as a small piece of that. While it is not trivial, it is one of the easier pieces of health for me to control. The mind games, at least for me, are so much harder and more important -- after all, they are what help to dictate to what degree I am successful at controlling what I eat.

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