I was recently introduced to the book The Exuberant Animal by Frank Forencich and whilst initially I wasn’t sure now I completely love it and would recommend it to everyone who wants to change their life and their world.
The concept is simple and straight forward and like most pieces of good advice you recognise instantly where it is coming from; that movement, exercise, physicality should be above all else, fun and should reflect not the constraints of the gym (cardio machines, resistance machines etc) but the actions and functions our bodies were designed to do.
Why is it that we all find change so difficult? What is it about change that scares us so much that its easier to stay where we are rather than do something that we KNOW is good for us.
I guess none of us likes the idea of doing something scary, outside of our comfort zone – it makes us feel not quite in control, as if we might not do something perfectly, that we might actually fail – and none of us really likes to think we might fail, especially if someone else is watching! So we carry on eating too much, not exercising, smoking, in a job that makes us unhappy or in an unhealthy relationship rather than take the risk that someone else will judge us or even worse, we will fail to life up to our own expectations.
We all have that little voice in the back of our minds that says “you can’t do that” “I don’t like that it doesn’t feel right, so stop” “who do you think you are thinking that” ” you will fail” “you are useless / fat / stupid etc”. The voice doesn’t intend to be mean, it’s there to protect you, to keep you safe but the negative sound track to your life holds you back, makes you doubt yourself and to doubt what you can do.
There is so much information available to us all these days; we are bombarded by newspapers and magazines extolling the virtue of the latest diet or fitness plan endorsed by some super skinny celeb, there are TV programmes on almost every day with tales of obese / morbidly obese people who went on drastic diets / had gastric bypass etc and you only have to type in ‘diet book’ into Amazon to get 47,285 results! And all of that is before we search the net (Google search for diet reveals 589, 000 000) or speak to family and friends!
In short, everyone has an opinion on diets, weight loss, exercise etc and no one is backwards at coming forwards – we all cant wait to tell our friends when we manage to lose some weight and how we did it and we are all equally as quick to say that something didn’t work and it was a waste of time!
But what is a healthy way to lose weight, what is a healthy diet and what is healthy for me, is that right for you?
Ok, so after my complaints at the media and the portrayal of weight loss, I thought I would at least address the balance a little.
I mentioned previously Jessie Pavelka and the Sky TV show “Obese, a year to save my life” and whilst I didn’t necessarily agree with some of the editing or the portrayal of those taking part, I did find Jessie Pavelka interesting (yes that does mean interesting in a ‘ooh look he’s taking his shirt off again kind of way’!) and inspiring. So, take a look at his blog and the message he has posted about extreme weight loss;
“… we are all human and we all want the same thing: to be happy and to be fulfilled. I can promise you this, if you think for one second that going back to where you were will give you those feelings, you are gravely mistaken. You will soon find that all you where doing was covering up the truth….”
“…never give up, never be too afraid, too complacent, too closed up…”
I think many of us can take his sentiments on board and apply them to our own lives. Never give up. Never be too afraid. Never be too complacent. Never be too closed up. We all have the capacity to change, today, tomorrow, next week whenever and we don’t need to accept that where we are right now is where we will stay – grab hold of your life today and make one simple change and see where it takes you….there is a whole world of possibilities out there!
Yet another interesting article from Charles Poliquin article detailing the many negative effects of aerobic training such as running and how to counter their effect.
It makes you think -or it does me anyway!
A good friend of mine has done some informal research into the effects of hormones on weight loss – including cortisol and insulin – and its made me think about how my body reacts and what we all do every day that slows down or stops our ability to lose weight.
In case you hadn’t noticed I’m a woman and that puts me in a great position to understand the changes that take place in women’s bodies from the time of puberty, so with apologies to all the men I’m going to talk about “women’s stuff”!
One of my pet gripes is with the continual somewhat exploitative media around obesity and weight loss. I understand that this is serious issue in today’s modern society but the unrealistic way in which these issues are portrayed, the gratuitous exposing camera angles and the high levels of emotion (just make sure they cry on camera seems to be the message!) just continue to perpetuate the myths around weight loss and fitness.
The Biggest Loser is, in my own opinion, one of the worst culprits, continually focussed on losing pounds without any of the explanations behind why any of the “contestants” – lets not forget this is an old-fashioned reality competition – are on specific diets, how their exercise routines are worked out or how much warm up, stretching etc goes on behind the scenes. All we get to see are humiliating intense routines where someone always has to fail, public weigh ins and eviction for those who don’t do well enough. Whilst, for those who take part it may seem like an extreme but effective way to lose the weight, I would question how many of those people are happy with the way in which they are portrayed on camera.