Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Reality Check

There was a great post (as usual) from the aussie motivational speaker- Craig Harper’s yesterday that inspired me to share... Its about choices and is titled ‘Fat by another name’ and begins with a funny story about overhearing a mother describe her son as ‘powerfully built’ when in truth he was, well.. fat.


He writes: ‘There ain’t too many powerfully built five-year-olds. Unless of course your five-year-old happens to be a Pit Bull Terrier. Let’s be clear, the ‘Rock’ is powerfully built. A Hummer is powerfully built. Shaq is powerfully built. A Harley is powerfully built but telling yourself (and others) that your obese child is powerfully built is like calling a donut a high-performance food because it has plenty of calories in it. It just ain’t true.


I’ve read statistics on parents presenting their children to GPs that show that parents are less likely to be aware of apparent or potential issues regarding their child’s weight if said child is a boy. That’s where we often see politically correct euphemisms such as ‘powerful’, ‘stocky’ etc. I had a couple of my own, growing up from my loving parents- my dad called me ‘solid’ or ‘his little front row forward’ while mum would describe me as ‘shapely’. (lol!) Now of course I don’t think the right approach is to start calling your children ‘fat’ either BUT I digress (Ive previously posted about leading by example but don’t have kids yet so overall unqualified to comment) :P


I do know that kids aren’t silly- I didn’t really buy into the subtlety or otherwise of my parents’ weight related comments at the time however, upon reflection I’m pretty sure that what they did do was to help me justify my weight. I thought yes,  I might be slightly bigger than my friends but that’s the way I am built and apparently there’s nothing I could do about it! I even started labelling my friends as ‘just skinny’… eh.. all of them! I ate healthfully overall but it didn’t occur to me that eating supersized portions and coming home from school and gorging on whatever was in the fridge was perhaps a little excessive and could easily be modified …


When I started dieting in late teenage years I excused away my failed efforts with the same ‘genetics’ argument and that poor me, I must have a shit metabolism. Little did I know at the time that I’m actually quite fine boned and as for my metabolism, I was doing a great job of wrecking an otherwise fine one! And there I would go from one extreme to the other- eating whatever, whenever I wanted or following an extremely strict diet. I did not recognise the many shades of grey imbetween of gradual changes I could have easily made through the many food choices each day.


I do concede that some people (including me perhaps) are genetically predisposed to gain weight and fat easier than others. But am I going to let that stop me? It still comes down to ‘genetic management’, what we do with what we’ve got. This is a hard pill to swallow in practice. If I choose to be negative and whine, I resent the fact that I can’t eat whatever I want, despite the level of exercise I do- not if I want to be lean! Failed ‘dieting’ attempts only served to reinforce my belief that there was no point trying either- why would anyone continue to restrict themselves and be miserable for mediocre and temporary results?


Craig says that the answer to our current obesity epidemic (and I would add contrast of increasing numbers of eating disorders) is simply for ‘you and I to make different choices. Consistently. And yes, some people will suggest that I am over-simplifying a complex issue (it’s often in their financial interest to do so) and to those folk I would reply, have you ever considered that perhaps you are complicating a relatively simple issue?’


CHOICES! We make heaps of them everyday and are personally responsible for and in control of every single one that may or may not get us a step closer to our goals. Craig’s post today says that: ‘For some people everything is hard. No matter how good life is. Hard is built, maintained and empowered by them. I’ve seen some people deal with cancer more easily and with less drama than other people deal with a sprained ankle or a common cold. Why? Because certain people create easy while others create hard, that’s why’.


I choose to:


·         Stop beating myself up for my past issues with food and approach each new goal with self confidence and a positive attitude- don’t make things harder than they have to be by overthinking/analysing

·         make time to cook every night and prepare healthy meals in advance on the weekend- make every effort to support sticking to the plan overall

·         eat foods that match my health and figure goals even when I’d rather eat something ‘yummier’ or more convenient (notice how almost all ‘convenient’ or quick foods tend to be fast acting carbs?)

·         politely refuse offers of food from others/’free’ food without fear of seeming rude, being different or ‘missing out’  

·         eat ‘off plan’ free from guilt at a frequency that matches my current goals (ie not for the time being!)

·         occasionally indulge my huge appetite with ‘cheat meals’ purely for taste and satiety, without guilt or being emotionally driven

·         lift weights because I enjoy it, it gives  my body the shape I want (muscular and feminine) and increases my metabolism

·         do cardio because it helps me stay leaner and the body is designed to move

·         prioritise my health and needs through my choice of lifestyle and not feel guilty, vain or selfish for doing so

·         basically, ‘own’ my choices and be personally accountable for my health, and

·         DEFY MY ‘GENETICS’!!!!!!!



Sandra said...

Fantastic post, Steph. As a mother of a teenage and almost-teenage girl, I worry about their weight constantly. At their age I led an extremely sedentary lifestyle, not by choice, but because my parents had to work and there was no time for extra activities. We lived in an apartment and I was not allowed outdoors unless my parents were home...My girls have always been active, we have a huge backyard, and they are both active in team sports (Basketball at Rep level). I am hoping to lead them by example in my quest for healthy eating and an an active lifestyle.
BTW, You're looking awesome.

Esme said...

I read that post on Craig's website. I did not have a fat childhood, (I was actually called skinny Minnie)but grew into fat middle age. My thought on it was that until I was able to call myself - fat - not chunky, buxom, well rounded or even obese, my mind set wouldn't change. I'm fat, all there is to it, but I am now able to take control and I am so much more aware of self responsibility. Es

Amanda said...

Hi Steph,
What a great post! I have been following your blog and you are really inspirational - all the best for your first comp, you are looking fantastic.
Cheers, Amanda

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