Making long-term lifestyle changes that gradually but continually result in a significant altering of the physical form has been accompanied by, for me, a sort of existential soundtrack that I hadn't really considered at the outset of my process. As above so below, they say, or perhaps as below so above. So it goes. I relish the swirl of all things, as much as I'm horrified by it, so I welcome the mental bewilderment associated with the physical disorientation. I'm prone to believing that the only version of you that really matters--if any version of you really matters in truth--is the one happening right now, because any past iteration only exists as a memory, yours or someone else's, and any future version of you is as yet a projection of the mind. Frankly I could, but I won't delve into existence as a projection just now. But, there does appear to prevail a cumulative element to life--a spiral, not a circle, I would posit (although it has been said that time is a flat circle)--albeit I think some of us find it easy to get used to being inside of the "same" fleshy body day after day, while I find it hard to forget that I'm temporarily inhabiting this space, spinning this blood. Recently, many people have commented on the significant change in my appearance, often saying, "I hardly recognize you," and the truth is I hardly recognize myself, but that is nothing new. Yet hearing it never gets any less strange. Oh friends, paradox abounds!
In any case, I've been asked over and over what the big secret is, so now that the conjectural musing portion of my post is a distant memory, diary, I'll provide some practical insights I've accumulated along the way while achieving and continuing to achieve significant weight loss and increased physical health, along with maximum grrrrrr, baby (to boot!). This is what works for me.
Godspeed and all that.
- Eat good food, hard. I'm talking lean meats, non-starchy veggies, and healthy fats, and a lot of it. Eat food that is high in water, fiber, and protein. Cut sugar, starch, and grains. Ain't no body got time for that. Learn the difference between food and edible products. Shop around the edges of the grocery store. Learn how to cook things. Don't you dare whine about how much it costs.
- Move your body. It doesn't have to be hard. You don't need to spend hours in the gym. You don't have to hate it. Just do something. Literally anything.
- Make it personal. What works for everyone else may not work for you, so experiment a lot in order to understand how you tick. Try out mantras, seek out partners in crime, write about your experience, whatever. Don't be afraid to dig around in your brains to figure out what you need.
- Don't bother counting calories or weighing yourself. Those numbers are bullshit. Cutting calories, in spite of what we are told, isn't the best method of burning excess fat and staying healthy. The quality of the food you are eating is the absolute end all be all of what matters in regard to your health. Thus spake Zarathustra.
- Sleep. If you don't have time to sleep, you're doing it wrong.
- Listen to your body. This is a lot easier to do when you're not distracted by the numbers. Your body is like a machine with specs, and it requires the best input in order to get the best output. You'll know when you're eating too much or too little, moving too much or too little, sleeping too much or too little. Just feel it out. It is as organic as that.
- Don't feel guilty at all about having tasty treats now and then. It doesn't mean you've failed. Unless you're trying to be a fitness model, there's no call for total deprivation.
- Don't pay attention to hype. Crazes are just that. There's no mysterious formula. Resolving to take care of yourself, forever until you die, is the hard part. The functions required to take care of yourself are truly simple.
- Practice self-compassion. This makes everything (EVERYTHING) in life easier, and the more you can employ it, the more you will learn.
- If you need a break, take it. Grit and persistence is important, but even better is being able to be honest with yourself about what you need, even if what you need is a bit slovenly. There's a place for that if what you wish is to walk the middle way.
- Find resources that inform and inspire you. I recommend sticking with those that reference actual scientific studies on how the body is impacted by food and exercise, not just relying on anecdotal evidence or marketing. I like The Calorie Myth (formerly known as The Smarter Science of Slim).
- Taking a general interest in gradual self-improvement, overall, will aid in your success.
- Do. Or do not. There is no try.