For the last 4 months I’ve “gotten in touch with my body.” Better late than never I guess. Up until 4 months ago I really just took my body for granted. It more or less did what I asked it to do (up until the last few years – when the back aches and knee pain became chronic daily events – and the March 10th heart attack said loudly and clearly, “Whoa! Dude! What the hell?”
So over a period of 4 months I’ve lost 22 pounds and gone from an inability to walk a half mile without excruciating pain to walking 2 miles in 32 minutes – without pain. I owe much of this to simply focusing my attention on listening to what my body had to say – for the first time in my life. I also have to put a good word in for a few tools that also come in very handy.
First and perhaps formost a great little online app called My Fitness Pal. This tool allows you to very easily count every calorie in and every calorie burned; thereby allowing you to truly shed excess weight. It also allows you to monitor fats, protein, sodium, sugar, etc; so you’re aware of your nutritional intake.
While talking about dietary, nutritional and caloric needs I must also mention a wonderful little book titled, One Bowl, A guide to eating for body and spirit. While the book does not mention Zen Buddhism it certainly speaks to the Zen spirit. Don Gerrard, the author, suggests letting go of the math and experts and simply tune in and listen to what our body has to say to us through some simple, powerful little exercises which honor the food, the body and the very process of eating.
I very much appreciate and enjoy “one bowl” eating (whenever possible).
Though I also appreciate and enjoy the caloric math; and the science of nutrition. My inexpensive Timex heart monitor allows me to track the actual calorie burn of my daily aerobic walks and bicycle rides.
I also give credit to my old Leki nordic trekking poles (which had gone unused for over a decade) and a pair of minimalist “barefoot” shoes for aiding me in walking ever greater distances and increased speeds without pain. A friend has suggested that losing the weight is the reason; except that when I was working out the right shoes I hadn’t lost the weight yet. The shoes, along with the poles, made a significant difference in lessoning knee pain — as steady weight loss also helped increase strength and endurance. One thing I’ve learned — it all matters.
I also have to thank Humana (along with other insurance plans) and the Silver Sneakers Program. Together they offer wonderful programs in cooperation with the YMCA (and other participating gyms). My local YMCA and their staff are just super and membership with Silver Sneakers is free (or rather it’s a service you can take advantage of at no additional cost – depending on your insurance company’s participation).
Finally: I have to acknowledge the importance of maintaining attitude — to truly honor thoughts like, “… don’t drive if I can walk or pedal. … don’t eat if not hungary. …get to yoga class because it makes me feel good. … I don’t need more than a cup or cup and half of food at any given time.”