Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Let's Get Physical

This is the title of Elizabeth Gilbert's article in the March 2010 issue of Yoga Journal (the one with Trudie Styler, Sting's wife on the cover). In the article, which is well worth reading, Gilbert chronicles her discovery of yoga fifteen years ago. What struck me from her writing was this description of her awareness (or lack thereof) of her body:

Do I need to say here that I was just a tad disconnected from my body during those years? Perhaps a better way to say it is that, up to this point in life, I had been treating my body like a rental car -- a mere loaner, a beater, a lemon that existed for no reason whatsoever except to transport my head from place to place so that I could see things, worry about things, think about things, and solve things. And my body got that job done, even though I never took care of the thing.

Hmmmm. I know that I've kind of got the exercise thing down, and that certainly falls under the "quality self-care" category, but boy did this strike a chord when it comes to food. I've been pondering the difference between using food as fuel or stuffing, very aware that stuffing would be an accurate label for how I'm eating these days. You'd think that with the miles I've run (16 on Saturday, 15 on Monday) that I could literally eat anything I wanted to. But there are a few problems with that assumption. First of all, I'm almost 50 and I can absolutely out-eat my metabolism and the miles I run. But even beyond that, is it good or desirable or right to just eat food because it's there? For me, the answer is no. NO.

Today I was at my parents house for 3 or 4 hours. I left feeling frustrated, sad, and STARVING! Not a great place to be when you're stopping by the grocery store. I got a small bag of chocolate raisins, which was a very good choice when compared with some (to my way of thinking) very viable options: frosting and a spoon, all the donuts, many cookies. And none of these options involve treating my body like what it is: a precious gift that I have the pleasure of having for THE REST OF MY LIFE.

I've heard this analogy before. What would happen if when you were born, your parents put a brand-new car in a garage, unveiling it when you turned 16. WOW! And then they told you it was the only car you'd ever have for your whole life. Chances are you'd treat this car with a great deal of respect and do your very best to preserve every single part of it.

That's it for now. I'm hungry, so I'm going to drink some of the green smoothie I made this morning, which definitely qualifies as "quality self-care!"


Eileen said...

I just love Elizabeth Gilbert. We should go on a girl trip -- me, you and Liz!

You've got things going on...I'd suggest cutting yourself a *little* slack (though not completely abandoning healthy eating). A perfect diet is not going to make everything ELSE perfect, you know?

Diana said...

"frosting and a spoon"......NICE!

Love the E. Gilbert speech!
I've got 50 just knocking on the door as well, it sucks. Eating is a whole different ballgame for us!

ATOM ANT said...

If you're eating healthy Monday to Friday, from Friday night to Sunday night you could eat anything you want and there won't be any negative effects.

Chocolate raisens are an excellent quick booster.

Colette said...

It's nice to have you back my friend :)

Nope, not good to stuff yourself (which may relate to stuffing your problems), but it is good to not restrict food either. You know what your body feels good on (and I'm not talking about Tim LOL...couldn't resist...sorry) and what your body feels like when you eat to much junk. To me, you are still the healthiest person I know, and I will always look up to you.

Anne said...

I'm going to have to read that article for inspiration. Like you, what I think and what I do with food do not always synch up. And an empty stomach in a grocery store is a dangerous thing. I would not have been able to resist the donuts. Good for you doing just that.

Anonymous said...

Love the rental car analogy. When you first mentioned it, I thought long and hard about it, and this week, it has stayed with me. I did bring some chocolate kisses in the "car" with me last night, but other than that, I really focused on what I was putting in my mouth and have had a pretty good week. And wouldn't you know? I feel so much better than I did last week.