Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Grocery Store Confessional

I got into one of those random conversations with a near stranger in the local Trader Joe's that got me thinking as I walked away. The cashier was speaking to the customer on line ahead of me. The cashier was confessing her lack of attendance at the gym where the customer worked. I piped up and said I have to admit I have never had a gym membership. It's true I am not a gym person, I go occasionally but not religiously like some, I prefer my long rather meditative walks. The cashier cocked her head and said well you're lucky, you're naturally slim. I scoffed at this a bit and it got me thinking.

I am tall, at over 6 feet, I am 60% leg. I weigh between 182 and 190lbs depending on what season I am in. I do not consider myself slim, in fact I most often see myself as slightly pudgy. In reality I am not fat. I have a round belly but my arms and legs are long and fairly free of fat. I have a flat ass, I can't sit on hard chairs without my it hurting. I recognize that my perception of myself may not accurately reflect my physical reality but maybe that's a good thing. Honestly I try not to think about my body as I find my size sort of freaky.

I am not going to confess an eating disorder here, I don't have one. What I am realizing though is that I don't see food as convenient entertainment, I see it as a necessity and it's preparation an artful practice that is orderly and logical and subject to much control. I am not a faddist. I am trying to maintain a healthy body and I have strict beliefs about how to do that. I have that quote on my fridge and the fridges I frequent, "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants". I think before I put things in my mouth and there are many things I simply won't eat any longer. I buy whole foods, meat, cheeses, grains, fruits and vegetables. I have fewer and fewer presto fallback foods. I still get that feeling of wanting something naughty like a doughnut or cake, I generally want the bready or the doughy but if I can just think about it awhile in a rational way I can usually easily dissuade myself from the craving.

Consequently I think a lot about food and what I should eat to keep my intake well balanced and interesting. I have the big picture in my head of what I have generally been eating and what I have eaten on any given day. I carry the macro and the micro view around with me, always weighing the findings. Have I had enough beans or grains, enough cold water fish, too much dairy, too much salt, not enough protein? At the moment I am attempting to train myself away from white flour and sugar which when I went at it hard core before Christmas yielded a 5lb weight loss which was a pleasant side effect. More importantly I noticed that my general anxiety was much less severe because my blood sugar levels were more constant, this is what truly motivates me, a feeling of calm.

I have been accused of being controlling and it's probably true but in a world where we have so little control over most things I feel okay about controlling how I am feeling through diet and exercise. I am less concerned about how I look since my view is fairly distorted anyway it's hard to gauge. If I feel good hopefully I look all right and if my 501's fit me that's ideal. It's funny to realize that others make these assumptions about a person's body. If only that cashier knew that I spend my day weighing and considering what to eat making sure never to have too much, denying myself all sorts of things in the name of physical and emotional enlightenment.

1 comment:

Dreaming said...

Interesting thoughts about how we perceive our bodies and how others view us. It sounds like you have a very healthy outlook on what you eat and how you look. Me.... I need to get better at what I eat. I love your refrigerator saying.... but I'd cover it up and then eat the bad stuff along with a healthy serving of guilt!

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