On learning to work with your body | The JOLT

Alexis Rae Baker

By Alexis Rae Baker

Dear Lexis,

I’ve worked toward weight loss all my life, but I don’t seem to be getting anywhere. I’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work. Now I’m at the point where it’s hard for me to just keep going. I’ve had small successes, but nothing seems to stick.

Do you have any advice for me, either how I can actually achieve this goal or how I can accept myself where I am right now?

Thanks very much,

~ Frustrated

Dear frustrated,

I can definitely understand your fight. It is one that I share and that I have been concerned with all of my life. Staying motivated when your body just won’t react is a challenge. And while I don’t have a silver bullet or ideal answer for you, I’ve come to the conclusion that weight loss is at least in part a mental game.

Why is it a mental game?

I say it’s a puzzle game because when I was working as a truck driver I lost a lot of weight. Everyone in my family commented and complimented me – but I was completely confused. Although I knew I was gluten intolerant, I ate mostly McDonalds chicken nuggets throughout my absence. Not exactly foods that you would call weight loss friendly. Now, the weight loss could possibly be due to eating mostly Smart Popcorn and Rice Crackers with Laughing Cow cheese the other half of the time, or possibly the vibration of the truck, but I suspect the weight loss was because I was having to first time in my life really didn’t think about it. People say that you will gain weight as a truck driver and I just accepted that fact and when the opposite happened I was really surprised.

I have found that making some lifestyle changes will improve my health and, provided I can stick with them over the long term, slowly reduce my excess weight, but it is possible that these methods will work because I am tricking my brain. But as I work to recover from childbirth and the preeclampsia that preceded childbirth, I am reminded that weight loss should always be the secondary concern. Focus on mitigating or improving your body’s overall health for your own sake, then worry about weight loss.

More fruit, more vegetables

A simple change I recently made in response to advice on lowering blood pressure is to have 4 servings of fruits and 6 servings of vegetables a day. I always knew that it was important to eat fruits and vegetables, but I had never really worried about them until now. And although I haven’t noticed a big difference yet, I feel more in control and more relaxed mentally than before.

Keto eating has also been of great help to me when I can take the time to put so much effort into food preparation. As a gluten intolerant, avoiding wheat is the biggest factor, but if I eat a low-carb diet, I’ll notice a difference in my waistline over time.

A new daily practice

But the most important suggestion I have for you is to meditate. Prepare your brain to help you create your ideal life and body. As you build your meditative practice, you will notice subtle changes in your behavior over time.

There are millions of diet plans out there for heavy humans to play with, but no one can give you better advice on what your body needs than your actual body. Through meditation you will begin to realize the specific desires of your body and the specific needs it has, and you will begin to unconsciously consider them. And if you listen to your body, it will respond better to you and possibly adapt to your ideal.

A change in how I see my body

In a way, I look at my body like a pet. It is a gift that I received at birth that I now have to take care of. It has rules that I don’t really understand, but when I take the time to listen and understand its needs, it does more of what I want.

When I look at my body in this way, I find that I treat it with more respect and appreciation than I saw it as a kind of physical shell that I was stuck in. And although I may not have reached my ideal weight yet, my body is serving well and maintaining a high level of health that I could not have achieved otherwise.

While I can’t tell you why some bodies hold weight and others don’t, I can tell you that appreciating your body and changing your mindset toward health, both physically and mentally, is the way to go. Look for things that you like about your body, meditate and focus on wellness and I am sure you will find your way to either acceptance or the body of your dreams.

Much luck,

~ Lexis

Lexis is Alexis Rae Baker, who writes from her home in Olympia. What would you like to ask them to comment? Write to her below Lexis@theJOLTnews.com

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