I decided to discontinue the whole Strong is the New Skinny thing. I’ll leave the tag up so those posts are still accessible in the tag cloud over there to the right. When I started the Strong is the New Skinny project it was an empowering new perspective, but for me it’s run its course I think. Part of the point all along was to love my body as it is NOW, and to feel at home and at peace in this one body I’ve been given in which I get to experience life on this planet, and that was getting lost for me.
(I was starting to get all obsessed and down about the fact that I haven’t lost any weight to speak of, and hating how I look in clothes, and generally not feeling at home and at peace in my body.)
To be honest, would I still be on board with it if I’d had more success losing weight in the last couple of months? Possibly yes, but that’s neither here nor there. THIS is where I am in the journey, and I think this is actually a better place.
What I’ve been thinking a lot about these last couple weeks (while I haven’t been writing here) is how I believe a good life may contain just a few moments of epiphany or transformation or whatever you want to call those times when you have a shift in the way you think and see the world that changes things for you forever. But that for the most part a good life is comprised of a great long series of very small – sometimes almost miniscule – steps forward. Often interspersed with steps backward. If the overall trend in your life is improvement over time, then you’re doing quite well as a human animal.
Does that sound depressing? I don’t mean it to, and to me it’s actually really positive. It gives me room to forgive myself for past mistakes, because I’m only human. But I can always take the next step towards being a better person now.
I have no concrete evidence, since a person can only know their own mind and their own experience, but I believe that continuous slow improvement isn’t necessarily normal, or easy, or automatic. There are plenty of people who stay the same or worsen over time. (In fact, some people I know say that you are always moving one direction or the other, there is no holding steady – i.e. you are either challenging yourself to become better, or you are slipping into becoming worse. There’s some truth in that too, I think.)
And improvement is however you define it. Whatever YOU think it means to be a better person, to be more of the person you want to be, is all there is. There is no “right” or “good” way to be that exists as truth, only what we say is right and good for ourselves.
For me being a better person is being those things in the title. Plus confident, generous, sexy, tough, and fiercely loving. But that was a long title. And repetitive.
If you’re wondering, I’m still doing CrossFit and eating Paleo at least 90% of time, but I’m experimenting with intuitive eating. I found a really nice list comparing healthy vs. restrictive eating, so I’m seeing how it feels to take the rules off. It’s pretty easy to overindulge when I’m not paying close enough attention to how I feel, but I’m getting better at it as I tune in more, take a moment to ask myself if I’m really hungry, and to think about how I will feel afterwards, before I eat.
Jeremy unintentionally put me on this path a few weeks ago when he mentioned that he ordered french fries with his lunch and then ate 4 of them and tossed the rest. He didn’t feel like eating them. It got me thinking that no matter how much I’m enjoying my Whole30 or this or that plan of restricted eating, I’m a long way from throwing away a french fry. On the path I was on, if I had french fries it would be *Special* and I would eat them all whether I was hungry or not, because I wasn’t allowed to have them again any time soon.
But what if I can trust my body to tell me when it’s hungry? What if no foods are “bad” or off-limits, just more or less nourishing? What if there really isn’t anything broken about my metabolism or cravings (or about me!)? What if I can really want to taste the cupcakes at work, and then have a taste, and then stop? What if I can trust myself to think through how I’ll feel after I eat something, weigh it against the pleasure of eating it, and then decide whether to eat it or not?
Like everything else, this is a process, and it takes work, and forgiveness, and feeling emotions sometimes. (I’ve also been getting lots of inspiration from a blog I came across called Radical Hateloss, check it out, the chick is fierce and awesome.) And it feels like the right path for me right now. I’ll keep you posted about how it’s going now and then.
Regarding the Strong thing…
Rather than continuing to post my weekly workout log, I’ll probably just use the blog to write about occasional highlights and victories. There was a gnarly 4x max rep back squats workout this week. I only used 98 pounds but managed 54 reps in the 4 sets. But I tweaked my neck and shoulder a bit without realizing it at the time, so I’ve been taking it a little easy since then. And by taking it a little easy, I mean rubbing my shoulder a lot to get rid of the tension – I still went to Friday’s workout and loved it.
Did I tell you I can deadlift 208 pounds? I’ve done it twice now, this week on Monday I did it after lifting 198 eight times. 208 puts me in the Intermediate category by somebody’s standards, which I’m pretty stoked about it since I’d never touched a barbell before 4 months ago. (I’m solidly in the Novice category for the other lifts.)
So what do you think? What does being a better person look like to you? What are you working on these days?