Welcome to Body & Weight Wednesday. Are you ready for a happy body? I certainly am. Two weeks ago I talked about my goal of improving my body composition. A body composition scan at dexafit revealed that I was 28% body fat with almost 40 pounds of fat on my body. At that time I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it, but my desire was to lose about 15 pounds of fat – which meant I also needed to gain about 8 pounds of muscle to stay at my preferred weight.
The body composition scan gave me a lot of insight into how I could feel so weak while staying the same weight. For whatever reason, I had been losing muscle and gaining fat. My husband has been losing weight and gaining muscle following the The 4 Hour Body Program by Tim Ferris. However, since I like “slow but sure” methods he suggested I read his copy of The Happy Body. When he told me that the philosophy was to not overwork, I thought it might be fore me.
I was taught that the fastest way to improve flexibility and strength is to not work out at 100%, but instead aim for 70%. This is certainly in contrast to most physical trainers I’ve encountered that seem to think that if there is no pain there is no gain. Indeed, I remember seeing a chart at the gym once that had a column for 110% effort. How crazy is that?!
I picked up the Happy Body book and scanned through. I was shocked to see that they considered a healthy body for females to be 13% body fat. This seemed way to low. A quick google search confirmed this. In fact, I was already in the healthy range of 25-31%. However, I think that range has slowly shifted up in the last 20 years as our society has become more overweight and obese. You can see a nice chart of the progression of obesity in the US at my website thedietmind.com. Fitness was considered 21-24% and anything under that would be underfat. Unless you are an athlete and then the range is 14-20%. So by most standards 13% was way too low. In fact, it would be considered unhealthy by most standards.
I was a little skeptical but I started to read and by the end of the book with the testimonials of people reversing osteoporosis, curing chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, and everyone getting is shape and feeling better, I wanted what it had to offer. I decided to start a journal. And here is my entry from Day Zero:
Just finished reading the Happy Body Book.
Excited about the promise of greater health. Incredulous of the idea I could be 13% body fat and look healthy. Unbelieving that I could start to weight lift and stick to it. Unwilling to commit to sticking to their plan, but willing to be willing to commit to get to 125 pounds and 20% body fat – which means losing 15 pounds fat and gaining 8 pounds muscle. Wondering how I will ever do it. Always wanted it, but never have achieved it for longer than a year. Crying over the prospect. Tears of… fear that I am unable to do it… fear that it will be too hard… fear I will fail. What else is possible here? Is there an easier softer way to optimal health?
Go onto Facebook. Post from a woman with a fractured vertebra. Osteoporosis? Another woman complaining of post-menopause fat. Lack of exercise?
I believe that behind every body are subconscious beliefs that create it. I do believe in magical change. However, I also know that some beliefs are more entrenched than others. For instance, do beliefs create our biological sex? I believe that possibility, despite the fact I don’t know of anyone (besides certain animals) that have changed their biological sex spontaneously. Magical thinking is the idea that I would be able to change my biological sex just by thinking it so and without directly discovering what creates my body. Likewise, wanting and wishing for a different body type has not resulted in change. I face the stark reality that I either have to do a whole lot more work with my subconscious or I can adopt traditional physical means such as diet and exercise.
I have struggled with the urge to overeat for decades. In fact, the drive is so persistent, I have wondered if my body just wants a whole lot more fat on it then I find comfortable and I should just let it have its way. I’ve tested that and found the cravings are really related to my emotional state and unchecked my weight continues upward, while I still never feel satisfied.
In contrast, my dislike for eating has lead me to wonder if perhaps my body would like to not eat at all. Some people do live without eating and I’ve tried that as well. My weight plummets downhill without stopping. So, that is not a solution either.
I am attached to food and to being able to eat when and what I want. My tears at considering the Happy Body plan is giving up that freedom. Or maybe I should say the illusion of freedom. This won’t be the first time I’ve eaten on a schedule or plan. In fact, I once adopted a plan where the food was not only weighed and measured, but was also eaten on a time schedule. Sounds like a tight box, no? Instead, what I found was freedom. No longer was I contemplating what to eat and when. It was defined and that left me free to just live life. It freed up brain space. My old way was keeping me chained to food. The food ruled me and I was always looking for the right food for my mood, as if I could ever be satisfied. Still, I feel sad in letting go of the illusion.
I am getting ready for Happy Body Day One. The book gives testimonials of people reversing osteoporosis, getting rid of chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, eliminating aches and pains, losing lots of weight and getting down to 13% body weight. The author says you need to determine your “why” and think about it 24 hours a day in order to make the plan work. The authors say that only 5% of the people that read the book are ready right then to make the change. I am not sure I am ready, but I know that I am committed to greater health and disease, degradation of the body and death are waiting for me if I don’t make a choice to do more than I am.
However, health is not my only motivation. I want to stay in integrity with my words. If I say health is what I desire and I am not willing to do what it takes to be healthy then I feel like I am a lie.
I have a friend that is 77 years old. When she was younger she talked about how she was going to stay healthy. I remember the picture on her fridge of a healthy elderly woman speed walking past a bent over unhealthy elderly woman. She also balked at the number of prescriptions older people take. Now she is borderline obese, just had a double bypass surgery and is on high blood pressure medicine. Her mother had Alzheimer’s disease and she is showing signs of cognitive decline, despite her knowledge that dementia is treatable with diet and exercise.
She is also my motivation. She reminds me that wishful thinking is not enough. In fact, she seems to have embraced the degeneration process which she calls aging and I call lack of maintenance. I argue that what our society calls aging is really just neglect. The only way for me to determine if my theory is correct is if I do the work and demonstrate that getting older is inevitable, but aging is optional. This is really my strongest motivation. My passion in all things is to let people know that all change is possible and here I have an option to demonstrate this and inspire others to choose health.
This is my choice. It is personal. And this is the other thing I cry about on the eve of Happy Body. What if I am unable to do it? I long to demonstrate that it is possible, but what if I don’t have what it takes. My friend had the desire, but, somehow, she failed to maintain health. I think she really choose something else instead, but how can I be sure. What might I be choosing that will block me from creating a healthy, happy body?
Step one is done. I know my motivation.
Step two is the food plan. It is simple and tailored to your weight and body type. For me, with my weight and a type 7 body, it is two meals with about 4 ounces protein and 8 ounces vegetables and then three snacks or about 125 calories that also contains some protein, like protein bars. The food is eaten every three hours.
I hate to make modifications, but I am very familiar with my food requirements and I went ahead and modified the food plan. I figure if my modification doesn’t work then I can adjust it after my February body composition scan. I decreased the time between meals (book specifically says this doesn’t work as well) and I increased size of snacks.
Step three is the exercises. I was really scared these would be too hard. I went through them, just to learn the movements and was surprised they were all doable. This lessened my fear some.
I am ready to go. Day one starts tomorrow.
Its been two weeks since I started the program. It is going better than I imagined. I’ll give you a full update when I’ve done a month. Stay tuned. Next week on body & weight Wednesday, I am going to broadcast my interview with Jerzy – The Founder of the Happy Body program. It should be an amazing show. I can’t wait to talk to him directly about this amazing program. How does it get better than this?
If you have enjoyed this podcast take a moment to give it five stars and write me a review. If you are feeling stuck and would like to have a session with me visit my website at changeanythingnow.com to find out more. I teach how to change the subconscious in a weekend workshop only once a year. There is one coming up soon. Visit changeanythingnow.com If you mention this podcast you will get a discount. At least a couple hundred dollars. What could a weekend with me change for you?
Cheery Monday by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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