Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Antici....pation: Not Always The Lead-In to Dancing or Ketchup

Part of the Health at Every Size philosophy is that it is important to find a type of movement that you enjoy, and to make it a regular part of your life.  H@ES does not treat exercise as a punishment, you don't have a hooded figure standing over you with a lash to get your fat ass onto a treadmill because you ate that slice of chocolate cake and DESERVE to be punished.  That's not how it works.  You ate the slice of chocolate cake because it tasted good, and you wanted it, and you stopped when you didn't want any more.  The treadmill and that cake have nothing to do with each other.

So therein lies my problem.  I have a hard time finding movement that I actually enjoy doing.  Well, that's not really true.  I have lots that I enjoy doing when I'm actually doing it, but I don't anticipate doing it.  The distinct lack of anticipation makes it really hard to get myself out there and doing movement.  Once I'm on the treadmill, in the pool, doing yoga, or Wii / Kinecting, I actually enjoy it.  But when I think about doing it, I find all of the excuses possible to put it off.  I don't want to go in the morning, because I hate getting up any earlier than I have to.  I don't want to go after work because it has already been a long day and if I go to the gym after work, I won't get home til around 8 or 9 p.m. since I get out of work around 6.  I don't take a lunch, so that is out.  Even if I do manage to convince myself that I WILL do something after work, the truck takes over and drives straight home rather like a horse returning to the barn for evening feeding time.  Then I walk in the door and instead of doing one of the many options at home for movement, I find myself diving right into cooking dinner then a little housework, then onto the computer and oh my goodness it can't be bedtime already!

I think that is the problem for a lot of people who are trying to find their way to a healthy lifestyle.  It isn't living the lifestyle itself that is the problem, it is finding the energy to make the changes necessary to be healthy.  They always have the option to actively choose to not be healthy, and for those who do choose that option, it is not my place to judge them to be right or wrong.  Your body, your call, that's how that works.  No one has the right to tell someone else that they HAVE to live a healthier life.  But for those who want to do so and can't seem to manage it, life can get frustrating.

Have you ever wanted something so badly but found yourself finding excuses not to try for it?  Don't tell me that you haven't, because everyone does it at some point in their life.  Some people find their way around that roadblock, but some are stuck there, trying to peek around or over it to see what is on the other side, never able to get a good enough handhold to pull themselves past.  That is really bad enough, but then you get the Helpful People, who truly believe that "Anyone can do it!  Look at me!" and commence with the inspirational stories about how Aunt Millie was so out of shape that she couldn't take five steps without a respirator, but she pulled herself up by the bootstraps and just finished her fifteenth tri-athalon yesterday!  In a more detached moment I can appreciate that they are a Helpful Person, who is trying really hard to just Be Helpful.  They aren't doing it to be cruel or to make light of the roadblock, they really feel that it is just a case of mind over matter.

For some that works.  Watching back to back to back episodes of "The Biggest Loser" may actually get some people out there, moving and eating better.  (Let's not debate the merits and drawbacks of that show now, folks.  I understand that a lot of the Fatosphere hates the training methods and lack of follow-through that the show offers, not to mention the completely unrealistic circumstances that the contestants find themselves in.  Not many of us can quit our jobs for 6 months and focus on exercising for 4 to 8 hours per day, not that this would be a healthy thing to do anyway.  I get it.  Different column there, though!)  But if the inspiration is there for you, and it works for you, that is awesome!  Unfortunately, not everything works the same way for everyone. 

Hey...isn't that rather like the fact that not every BODY is the same?  So while some can lose weight following the adage of "Calories in should be fewer than calories out.", other people's bodies don't work that way.  And while some people can get up off the couch, start walking today, and do a marathon next month, not every body works that way.  While some people can say, "Tomorrow I'm going to start getting up at 5 a.m., go to the gym, and then go to work every day." and accomplish that goal, not everyone has it that easy.

And so we find ourselves back where I started:  wanting to move, and yet not wanting to move. 

I can hear you now, oh Faithful Readers.  You are saying, "Ummmmm...Lys?  You typed all of that out only to end up where you started?  What was the point of all of this, then, anyway???"

The point is that this is something that no one can really help me with, and really, it is something that no one can help ANYONE with.  You can't decide that your husband, your wife, your child or your great aunt thrice removed on your mother's father-in-law's side should be exercising more.  You can't push them to go find something active to do and use guilt or bullying to achieve that.  You can't hit them with Helpful Advice or Inspirational Stories until they fall to their knees and beg for mercy.  For a large number of people, these kinds of things only lead to that rebellious voice in the back of their mind telling them, "If they're so gung-ho about exercising, let THEM go do it. We aren't going to be pushed into ANYTHING!  Here...let's sit on the couch and watch cartoons.'

So if you really want to show your love and caring for the person in your life who is dealing with this dilemma, let them know that you are there for them.  Tell them that you support them in whatever they decide to do.  Encourage them to make their own choices, to explore their own options, and to be happy with themselves as they are.  Being happy with yourself as you are doesn't preclude making changes, it doesn't mean giving up as some folks would like us to think.  Being happy with yourself is just that...being happy.  Be happy with yourself when you are moving, be happy with yourself when you are watching another episode of "Top Chef".  Be happy with yourself, love yourself, and you will end up surprising yourself because we are much more likely to take good care of the things that we like and to ignore the things that we don't like.

Now, here I sit, finishing typing this and looking at the clock.  It is late, I am tired.  I will not get up early tomorrow and go to the gym.  I know this without question.  I think, though, that I'm one step closer to getting my head into the right place to start anticipating movement.  I hope so.  I want to feel happy with moving, I want to have the breath control that will let me sing more than a measure and a half without needing to gasp for air.  I want to feel good when I move.  I haven't felt that in a while now.

Yeah...getting closer.  I hope that you are closer to being happy with yourself too.  Because between you and me, I believe that you are pretty damned awesome right now, just as you are, and that if you choose to make changes in your life, then you will still be pretty damned awesome but will just be PDA in a different flavour than you are now.  So you go, you Neopolitan Wonder, you!  See you on the Happy, Awesome Side!

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