Friday, 1 October 2010

How to make a decision

From the comments to this;
While there are certainly folks who may not be interested in losing weight, a decision wholly theirs to make and certainly not one I'd question, many of those who do wish to lose weight have a belief that it'll be impossible for them to do so in part because of their genes.

It doesn’t matter how much you feel you have heard one side of an argument its personification in the mind of another gives it a reality that can still throw a curve. It’s not that I haven’t heard what’s in the above quote before, it’s just it sounds a bit strange, like mishearing something.

First off, I’ve spent most of my life interested in weight loss. For 16 years solid from the age 11, I pursued a daily course of healthist eating and lifestyle goodness, in order to become the healthiest I could be. At that point I believed this was in its ultimate, indivisible with slimness.

I have been left with a fascination with how human metabolism actually functions. I suppose I have become thoroughly sick at heart with the theory that I would like to know the truth.

I was truly bad at trying to losing weight this way or to be fair; my body is gifted and ferociously brilliant at seeing off what it clearly saw as an outrageous and intolerable imposition on it. In the end the effort of it had helped to exhaust my mind first-I just hadn’t noticed-and finally my body. I actually wanted to continue my body could not, it was complete burn out.

I had to stop; I really had no choice about that. I intended to resume when my nervous system would allow it, it does recover after a while. Other things got in the way though, for me the crux was that mental exhaustion I hadn’t realised was linked to this dietary restriction had repeatedly prevented me from sorting other things out, so I decided to work on my mind more intensely during this hiatus.

The moment I started to do this, the mere thought of going on another diet was rejected by my mind out of hand. An overwhelming revulsion rose up from the core of me that I realised had always done so, but blinkered by a single mindedness to succeed and so separated from the feelings that arose –I just put anything I could sense down to ‘inner resistance’-that I just hadn’t noticed it before.

Before barely making a jot of progress, I was sickened to realise that without this high level of self contempt, loathing and distance, I simply couldn’t begin to support any kind of diet effort full stop. I’d always assumed ‘failure’, feeling negatively; about being fat were the reasons for my sense of loathing. But it was more this is what it took to hold my mind into submission enough to allow an attempt at restricting my diet.

I was appalled; I couldn’t believe it was that way around. I remembered two years in I was ready to face this, I thought how can I be making so much effort, literally on a moment to moment basis and fall so far short that it didn’t look like I was doing anything at all.

It’s difficult to describe the laser like sensation of powerlessness fused with aloneness, I was 13 years old. I carried on.

I don’t want to speak for others, because everyone has their story and in general we have so little grounding about just how bad dieting really is overall, because all the attention is focused on whatever they call success, the majority experience that stops short of that is ignored. Drug companies would be censured for this kind of cheating.

I assumed I was an outlier; the reason why I was a daily re-starter was because I was a daily failure. The longest I ever managed to sustain any diet effort was about 3-4 months and the kinds of things I had to do to manage that sometimes beggar belief. I don’t mean eating cotton wool or anything like that, I mean things like one time when I had to go into complete slow motion when I ate, literally like someone slowed the tape to a crawl. I walked for hours every day. I still remember one day feeling so surreal, almost trippy doing it, I actually was in a semi mesmerized state, laughing at myself thinking that I might not be quite sane, because I could tell how stupid this was, yet I felt too spaced out to care!

Overall I’d say this was one of the worst and most pointless beatings I’ve ever taken and frankly, I’ve been well and truly humbled by it. I just don’t understand how people can feel the incredible power of this resistance in full flow combined with its complex extraordinary subtlety and emerge with anything less than profound respect for it.

It’s hard to believe that I used to think I could just order it to do my will and succumb to a dietary plan, now I don’t even want to beat it. There is so much to it; we should consider ourselves profoundly fortunate to have something with so much capacity and variety. The potential outcomes of working with it and harnessing these abilities could be immense. There are undoubtedly ways to tweak its course, but we should work with it, not against it as dieting does. The approach has to be subtle, because the differences we think at our end are large are actually minute in its overall calculations.

I don’t feel scared or cowered by it I just admire it and the more I think about it, the more brilliant and inspiring a creation it seems along with the rest of the body and it’s a gift for us. All we have to do is respect it and notice its functioning and work with it. How the hell have we managed to make it this hard to so little desired effect? It is embarrassing, when we could be inspired to be a bit more ingenious and clever about it. The crude stupidity of dieting et al is repellent when it isn’t laughable, in comparison.

It’s not about being interested or not interested in weight loss; it’s about finally letting go of irrationality and superstition. I was perfectly prepared to believe I was a minority in being unable to force my body to submit, even the only one to this extent. But all the while it was clear that not many others were succeeding in staying thin because regardless of how far they got, almost inevitably they ended up back at the start.

This is not about personal failure; this is about dysfunction inherent in the method. There is nobody great enough living or dead to tell me that diets work it is abundantly clear beyond any reasonable doubt that they do not. Anyone who doubts that is only experiencing the tenacity of belief and has departed rationality.

They can never be clear beyond any unreasonable doubt and that is their choice, they should no longer be allowed to impose their irrationality on those of us who have paid the price of it and are ready to leave them to it. Anyone still believing they can make people slim or that it’s even a desirable way to treat the human body is in my view worse than a lot of people who believe in alt med, at least most of them try use the placebo effect positively, rather than to brutalize the body with a loathing and hatred that is almost unheard of as part of any healing process.

That is the monumental contribution of calorie restriction to our consciousness, healing through hate.

This collective denial is a big problem for those who wish to lose weight. This means people have a circle they cannot square-they are told by those they respect and trust, which combines with their own yearning desire, to believe in the efficacy of something that is almost wholly self defeating.

Being encouraged not to come to terms with this, by a lot of people who do not know what they are asking is a cruel trick. And pursuing this direction is cutting off the possibility of more viable ways. It is the refusal to let go of calorie restriction as viable that is actually permitting and supporting this abuse, numerous eating disorders, gastric butchery and all sorts of prejudice and hatreds.

Hence, genes, glands, willpower, something has to explain why the expected and longed for success has not manifested itself. People want to lose weight, I'm personally over it, along with the ability to shape the void with a surround of bad feeling has gone a lot of the false negation of being fat and the equally false elevation of being thin. It’s actually hard at times to remember how it felt to want it so badly to be thin. In itself it actually seems an absurd and empty quest.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t think viable options should not be pursued vigorously. Seeing what people prepared to do, seeing them fall over themselves to sell out deeply held beliefs merely to be able to maintain their belief in weight loss is not something I care see perpetuated. Not least those who could find relief in losing whatever amount of weight they feel they need or want to. That is not a moral issue for me that is for them, my issue is with this way of failing at it.

Just what has to happen to for enough to be enough?

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