The yo-yo diets that don’t work. The gym memberships that end up at the bottom of a bag under your trainers. The resolutions that end up at the back of the cupboard behind the wine glasses. All symptoms of the same problem – our tendency to think of things back to front.
It’s time to rethink.
Not a day goes by when I don’t see something that makes me ponder. Articles in the papers, snippets on newsfeeds, posts on Facebook. Some things get my goat, make me angry but at the weekend, I saw something that really made me sit up and take notice.
A Tibetan proverb that someone posted on line:
For a long, healthy life you must –
Love without measure
Now, I know it doesn’t sound like much but I know this works, I’ve seen it. I live in a town that is home to a large Nepalese community. Not Tibetan, I know, but by the way they live I can see there is a similarity in philosophy. The elderly walk, laugh and browse the market with a real joy and interest on a Thursday morning – you could almost believe they hadn’t seen carrots and onions before. And I was saying goodbye to my Mum as she left in the car with her boyfriend yesterday morning, when two ladies wandered past – brightly coloured, well-shod. Both easily north of 70, they jumped and laughed when we offered a Namaste. I later saw them perusing the root veg in Morrison’s – their need to walk, explore, laugh, interact is strong, inbuilt, vital.
And then this morning, someone posted something on one of the pages I follow on Facebook to remind me about a fabulous plus-size yoga teacher by the name of Dana Falsetti. I’ve known about her for years but her approach to whole body and mind connectedness served to crystalize in my mind the key reason why diets and exercise programmes don’t work for some of us. We’ve concentrated on the first two principles of the proverb for so long, we’ve forgotten the second two. And in terms of quantity, it would seem they hold more weight, as it were.
I can offer some suggestions why this might have happened. Food intake and activity are easily measured, not to mention even easier to make a charge for. But how can you eat half and walk double if you don’t laugh triple and love without measure? It’s so clear to me now, I have no idea how I’ve not seen this before.
So what does it mean? Well, what if it was more than just OK to kick back and have a giggle with your friends and family, what if this was essential to living a healthy, happy life? What if laughing and loving were treated not merely as additional elements but critical components of a health regime? What if we dumped self-hatred and body-loathing in favour of acceptance, confidence and joy?
What if we took the brave step of connecting and thinking?
Eat half, walk double are key to the commonly held notion of calories in vs. calories out, granted (and there’s enough research out there to support the health benefits of fasting). But this principle is meaningless without the second half – the balance is way too out of kilter, too many grand efforts are bound to fail, too many people lost to empty diets and self depreciation.
So, today I ate a modest breakfast and climbed a hill in the North Downs to catch some early sun. I laughed with my Mum on the phone this morning and now I’m sharing this with you.
Have a great day x
Time to breathe and think
Walk double – I suppose climbing the 115 steps and running down the sloped route would count?