I had every intention this week to write a quick quirky post poking fun at the fact that it seems all I talk about these days is food, food, and more food. And posting pictures of said food. It hasn't happened for various reasons and I make no apologies. I like food. Its yummy. Its gorgeous. It goes in my belly. And today, yet again, I'm talking about food. Or rather our collective obsession with eating, not eating, dieting, excessive exercise, and attitudes towards weight. How did we get here, to this place? A culture that bombards us with unrealistic ideals of beauty, where you can belly up to an all you can eat $4.99 buffet (Tuesdays, kids eat free!) and then be chastised everywhere you turn for being too fat. TV channels filled with infomercials on the latest and greatest diet and exercise fads, celebrity endorsed lifestyle plans, and quick fixes. What is wrong with us?
Today was one of those moments where you look yourself in the mirror and ask "What are you doing?". You know what you have to do to lose weight but you're not doing it; snap out of it. Those kind of moments. And then, I realized something. I don't want to be skinny. Or buff. Or ripped. Whatever the cool kids are calling it these days. I asked myself "Do I want a lean mean fat burning machine for a body?". The answer I gave myself when I really really put some thought into it ... NO. Sure, I would like to be slimmer, have a flat tummy, higher, perkier breasts and and ass you can bounce a quarter off of but I don't want a six pack, bulging biceps, or buns of steel (ok, maybe the last one).
Like millions of my fellow North Americans, I put a half hearted attempt into working out. I hop on the treadmill a few times a week. Sometimes I even walk up the big hill to my office rather than taking the bus. And I try to go for a short walk on my afternoon break. I could join a gym; I could use the weights I have in my apartment; I could do a lot of things. I don't want to. I like that I have breasts and hips and curvy bits. I don't want to lose them. People's bodies shouldn't be rock hard and 1% body fat. Its not natural. That's not to say I can't lose a few pounds but the minimal effort that I DO put in has been paying off slowly but surely and I'd be positively peachy if I only slimmed down by another 10 - 12 lbs.
My mother doesn't have the lean body of a marathon runner but I've never considered her fat. When she hugs and squeezes me tight, it feels comforting that there's a little bit of squish (on both of us). My sister in law has a beautiful figure - strong, confident, curvy - and she's popped out two amazing kidlets. Guess what? She's not a size 2. I want a body that gets me from point A to point B without breaking down (sounds like a car). A body that will last me into a healthy old age (but not too old - finish me off by 80, 83 at the oldest). A body that I love. A body that is curvy and yes, slightly squishy.
This obsession we have with spending hours of our time in a gym and working out is crazy. We should be leading more active lifestyles on a permanent basis rather than struggling to find the time to do pilates, powerlift dumbells, or hop on a stairclimber. We don't even climb real stairs. I'm going to do something which might seem a bit whacked to some but it makes a lot of real-life sense to me. I'm taking a clue from my European friends and will be walking more. That means NOT taking the bus up the hill to the office unless I'm carrying something heavy or awkward. Walking to the grocery store whenever possible. Walking to the library. Going for a walk, just because. Yes, I'll still be using my treadmill - I live in Alberta for Pete's sake! We have something called WINTER!!
I recently wrote about finding the time to cook. And I know I've talked about eating "real" foods in the past (althouth I'm too lazy to try and find the post). My big focus will be on food (yes, that means more food posts and a lot of food pics!). I'm not going to obsess about counting points, calories, fat grams, or sugar content but I will be making a concerted effort for real, fresh foods. I know I've said this before and I've made some great improvements but I still need to work on it. We've become too focused on eating a certain amount of calories, limiting our intake of fat (even the good stuff), banning all the deliciousness that we love, just to lose a few pounds. No more I say! Real food for real people.
On a sort of related note, I started rewatching the Supersizers series (Supersizers Go... and Supersizers Eat...) on YouTube this past weekend. Oh how I love Sue Perkins and Giles Coren together! My favourite episode I think will always be the Supersizers Go ... Wartime. Not sure why but I love it. While watching it again this weekend (and getting a coworker hooked on the series!), I heard something that I really didn't pay attention to the first time around. Both Sue and Giles were healthier after their week of ration books and deprivation. You see, they ate a lot of vegetables (these weren't rationed during the war), less meat, and miniscule amounts of fat and sugar, both of which were strictly rationed. They ate real food, became healthier and lost a few pounds. I'm currently enjoying watching the two of them try to become completely self-sufficient in Giles and Sue Live the Good Life.