In my earlier post titled, Looking Good Naked, Custis wrote a rather lengthy comment because the topic clearly resonated with him. While his comments might not be considered by many as politically correct and might even be incredibly offensive to others, he makes some reasonable points. If you haven’t done so, go read my original post, read the comments, most notably his, and those that follow (at the time of this writing there are none) and then return here to read what I thought of his comments. I’ve written it as though I was responding in the post comments to him.
LOL! Custis, that wasn’t exactly PC, but it’s your opinion and you are definitely entitled to it. :) Thanks for commenting. I do, as you might expect, have a few questions for you based on your own logic but before I go there I want to clarify some things, just in case, about what all this is really about for me:
1. This is not about me just trying to obtain some cultural standard of airbrushed skinniness and beauty.
2. This is not about me just feeling fat and ugly due to the preponderance of cultural expectations for beauty which I am surrounded by and which I fear I do not measure up to. (I am surrounded by it, I don’t measure up to it by virtue of the fact that I am no longer in my 30’s, so what’s the point with that, and I really don’t care, okay, well sometimes I care, but not usually.)
3. I am the person I am trying to impress right now and no one else. I am not trying to look good naked to meet anyone else’s approval but my own. That demands a firm fit body that works and feels good (has energy and is more positive in my outlook, etc.) not simply a smaller body. If, by chance, I do end up impressing anyone else with the progress I make, that is merely gravy. It is not my goal. I’m the one I have to wake up with each morning and it is about time I decided that that is the person I’d best be getting to know and working on feeling comfortable with. So far, I’m not quite there yet, but I’d like to be.
Just sayin’ because anytime we start talking about “Looking Good Naked” or getting in shape or losing weight there’s lots of room to misunderstand motivations. Mine is, simply, I don’t feel good. I don’t like it. I know what to do. I need to simply stop making excuses and take the Nike approach and just.do.it.
Now about your comment…and back to my questions:
1. You said that I should stop eating everything that tastes good? Okay, so does this mean I must toss the asparagus and the Brussels sprouts and the avocado that I find to be incredibly yummy? I suffer from borderline anemia and need my deep greens, how’s that going to work? You said stop eating everything that tastes good?
2. If I only eat from the produce section how am I going to get my protein in order to sufficiently rebuild those muscles I’m using and working when I weight train (you know that piece of the plan you seem to have left out where I stack weights on a bar and try to then lift it, press it, squat it or curl it?) Yeah, definitely I need the protein. I also like my meat. Hee! Hee!
3. Is self-discipline in dieting all that is required? I hate to tell you and I’m not a fitness researcher or expert or anything and, while I get where you are coming from, when you "diet" your body begins hoarding stuff and stockpiling fat and then when you eat again, more of the stuff is stocked up by the body, so to speak and less of it is used. Yes, over time, doing this you will lose weight, but you also destroy your body’s muscle tissue. This results in what I like to refer to as someone who is skinny but still fat and very likely unfit. It is not healthy. That is not where I’m going.
4. Further, there is some good research and information out there on this. You can Google it. I know you like to do that kind of thing so have at it. I bet you find out what I found out. Getting fit is not simply about the foods we eat or don’t eat, it is more than that. This is why most credible sports/fitness people will tell you that it is much healthier to eat five small meals a day rather than three larger ones and yes, you need to have some healthy fats in there too, but, true, not a plateful. There’s more to it than I’ve described, and that is an oversimplification of things to be sure, but don’t throw such a theory out just because you don’t understand it.
Now, as for your “elephantine” friends, might I suggest that it is very possible that they are eating correctly all through the day and not losing the weight for other reasons than you suppose? I’m not saying that you are necessarily incorrect, I don’t know for sure, but my experience and my own study leads me to conclude that it takes more than just changing one’s eating habits in order to really lose serious weight in a healthy way and I might even go so far as to conclude that in order to really be effective a regimen of weight training is a must in addition to good diet and regular aerobic exercise.
Personally, I’ve done this fitness thing a lot in the last 20 years since I quit swimming a couple of miles a day and cycling 25+ miles too. (Yeah, I would run at least 5 miles on the alternating days when I wasn’t cycling, but then, marriage, kids, a real job came along and kinda pre-empted all that). I tend to be one of those who gained an excessive amount with each pregnancy and have topped over 213 before in my life, on not just one but several occasions (all of them pregnancy related). While I’m not there now, the same principles will apply as I seek to get my body back in shape, because, you see that is really what it is about for me.
1. I personally enjoy food and I am not going to hurt my body or ruin my life because I’m anorexicly watching every calorie. Oh, yes, I will change what I eat and how much, but I’m not going to be sick about it if I fail occasionally. I’ve been there done that too, got down to 119 pounds doing that one summer and, yes, the world wondered if I was sick. I wasn’t bulimic (I can’t stand throwing up) and I wasn’t anorexic, but I was headed there. I was obsessive and eating about every diet pill ever invented. I went from about 140 pounds (which is a good weight for me to be) especially if it is the right amount of muscle down to 119 in a VERY short period of time. I’m told the stress that creates on the body is the equivalent of shaving off about ten years of my life. Yeah….not doing that again either.
2. I personally am not about losing weight. I really don’t care what the scale says. Nope. I don’t. I care what my jean size is. I care what the tape measure says, and whether or not the flabby skin under my arms is cut and toned (which means it is going to be really helpful when it comes to digging up yard this summer). I care how my legs look in a short skirt and heels (which right now I wouldn’t even attempt) and I care that I can do what I need to do without getting winded which is what those sexy supple legs in the short skirt and stilettos will be very capable of doing. I really care that I get those swimmer flat abs that I always had (until that 4th child came along) back. Because a strong back and abs, along with the strong legs, arms, chest and shoulders, means I’ll be able to split my own firewood (something I can’t do now) and look damn sexy doing it. I care that I feel strong and able to handle whatever might come. This isn’t ever going to happen by just eating the right stuff and less of it. Your approach will make me suffer headaches, and make me cranky, and that will negatively impact all my relationships and the next minute I walk into the school cafeteria I’ll be ordering up all that junk and inhaling faster than a brand new Kirby vacuum on a dirty floor. I’m not doing that either.
Bottom line: I have to stack on the weights. And, yes, I do mean stack them on, though not right away and not all at once. And, hate to tell all the folks out there who believe that women should only do lots of reps with lower amounts of weights because they will just bulk out and become manlike. Wrong. Myth. So not going to happen. Watch and see. Or…Google and find out for yourself.
3. Further, if I’m going to be healthy, which is really my ultimate goal here, I have to involve myself in regular aerobic activity (and this doesn’t include chasing my kids around all day).
Do you see a pattern here? In my three-pronged approach to my “physical” fitness (and this whole thing is about so much more than that for me) there is diet (meaning eating the right stuff in the right amounts, not starving), weight or strength training, and cardio exercise or aerobic exercise. Two of the three have to do with physical exertion and calorie burn only one has to do with food. Understand where my focus is going to be? It will be on all three and I won’t starve to do it either. Watch me.
Now that you’ve quite patiently endured my little rant (thank you so much for throwing that door wide open), I do agree with the main thesis of your comment which was it simply takes self-discipline. It does, though it isn’t always so simple as I know you are well aware. It means saying no to some things and saying yes to some other things and when it all gets difficult or inconvenient it means doing it anyway. It means picking yourself up when you fail and pressing on instead of caving to misery and giving up. That’s the internal component I’ve referred to so much before now. The Bible in Proverbs 23:7 states, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he”. What we think determines so much of our success and failure in life. This journey is not an easy one. I know that. It takes not only self-discipline, determination, and a whole host of other character traits I will need to draw from in order to be successful. Stephen Covey, in his book, Habits of Highly Effective people lists as Habit #2, “Begin with the end in mind”. In a sense, that is exactly what I’ve done here as I seek to envision not only me in a more fit body but me with a healthier lifestyle going on.
And, now that you’ve distracted me enough with this little topic, I must refocus my efforts and get going on that workout program. My day is getting away from me and I have a date with the produce section at my local grocery store after I get done working out.
Cheers and thanks for commenting,
The Wild Mind
13 thoughts on “Elephantine Women – Not Exactly Politically Correct”
Excellent! I truly cannot say more.
Amusing, lucid, well said, and well written. You are also fortunate that you aren’t hampered by illness or permanent injury – both of which severely limit (or prevent) the cardio or weight training components.
Oh, I agree,BLW, and I am grateful daily for that fact.
This? Wow. I wish that my ranting could be as well written. I went back and read the post and the comments. I think the only thing I can add is agreement.
I worked as a fitness trainer for a few years. Something that we often emphasized for women is the necessity of weight training. I had to assuage their fears in “bulking up” by explaining the research behind it. It isn’t about muscle building, it is about core building. Working out your different muscles, with the correct form and posture, helps build your core.
I must say, BLW responded with the kind of prose I wish I could develop. As always. : )
Right on! I was hoping someone with more fitness expertise than I might chime in. I’ve always been a bit of a competitive sort and I got into weight training when I was in college and working out with the swim team. Talk about a sexy sport!!! I got to hang with hot hot hottie men daily and they were attired in opaque lycra material that had less coverage than some boy shorts do…ahhh, those were the days.
Yeah, so back to the fitness thing and being competitive…I ended up lifting with a few of these sexy beasts as my workout buddies and learned pretty quickly that no matter how hard I tried, I wasn’t going to get quite the same effect that they had going. And I lifted (back in the day) according to their rules not the “women’s rules” so I was tanking it on. (I also played Rugby if you can even believe that!) Thank you, estrogen! LOL!
Anyway, Ambrosia, I’m glad you mentioned the whole focus on core, because that is definitely something I left out but it is really a huge focus. When I was swimming my core was in excellent shape, especially my lower back and abs. Four children and nearly three decades later, I look a lot better than I otherwise might due to that early training and, though sporadic, intermittent training since. I understand, correct me if I’m wrong, that the core is the essential piece…this is where we gain stability, flexibility and maintain our coordination as we age. I come from a family that has osteoporosis running thick and I’ve also heard that strength training like you mention will help prevent the damaging effects. Am I accurate in my thinking there?
Loved your comments and your “voice” is terrific! We can’t all be BLW’s. She totally rocks, and much as I’d love to be like her when I grow up…I’m afraid I just won’t ever be…quite. (Though I love it that I can read her and be inspired to the next level!) I loved your prose equally as much. Going to visit your home blog now! Thanks for chiming in.
Rather than repeat what you have said: Yes, yes, and yes! It is so easy to get sucked into “toning” your arms, abs, or whatever that we often forget how important the core is. It is kind of like a scale. When you work out all of your muscle groups (free weights are the best) than you are making your body more balanced. If you only work out one part, you are off balance. Make sense? (I am sure another Metaphor might have worked better…oh, well.)
You played Rugby?! That is amazing! My husband and I watched a movie about a Rugby team and now want to attend a game. It seems exhilarating!
Now, as for osteoporosis, strength training (i.e. weights) is so important.
And, four children? Wow. I am impressed. (I want four children! So, I love reading about moms who have them!)
P.S. Your blog was somehow taken off my subscription list! I am so glad I found you, again, through BLW!
Oh, shoot. I meant compose, not “develop.”
Bravo! If only it were as simple as not eating that which tastes good. We would all look good in a short skirt!
The issue I had with the comment left by Custis was that he was assuming that what worked for him would work for everyone. It is dangerous to make assumptions about such an issue.
What works for him or you might not work for me or someone else. There are things to take into consideration…age, health, injury. The worst thing any of us can do is push our way as the only way.
It is about getting healthy and not just skinny. As individuals we all have to find our own way to good health.
Yeah, that was my contention with Custis’ comments too. Fitness, health…heck…dating, love, and life are so not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Every body is built and composed differently. We have different heredities, health issues, dilemmas and schedules. For me, the actual ability to workout and respond to the workouts is not going to be much of an issue. My dilemma is in taming my insane schedule so I can be mommy and take care of me. I’m so with you on that point. It isn’t excuse making…it is factoring in our very own real life context that we have to be realistic about.
And…yes…while I have to admit… I have the ulterior motive of seeing if my 45+ year-old body can still look great in that little black number with some of BLW’s shoes, the real goal for me is health. That’s the bottom line. I’m an older mommy. I want to be around to enjoy my children as they grow into adulthood and if I’m fortunate their children as they enter the stage we call this world. 😀
It is true that it is a complete fitness/health/training plan that is key. I was 210 pounds back in 2003. Once I started running I dropped quickly to 190 but then stalled. After studying nutrition and the concept of eating many smaller meals a day rather than 3 large ones – as Cat mentioned – I quickly dropped down to 170. I swear I eat more than I did before, but more nutritious “fat burning” foods and in small quantities throughout the day. I am never hungry (which is actually a signal that you are storing fat) and I have energy throughout the day.
It is a ‘win win’ situation.
I think one thing most of the readers missed was that my post was not meant to be as serious as it was taken. But nonetheless, everything I said in it was basically true. And Wild Mind, I do not consider you overweight in my book. You are GORGEOUS! As for how you will get your protein, beans my girl. Beans. Of course, you may not want to live in an echo chamber during this period, but,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Yeah, Custis, beans…LOL!
I get one ten minute break to go to the bathroom during the work day besides my 30 minute lunch. How’s that going to work? It’s the same reason I will have trouble drinking the amount of water I really need to be drinking.
And, thanks for the kind words about my appearance, but no matter how it looks, it isn’t feeling quite up to par these days. 😀
I get all my water in the form of coffee. Oh, and while having supper at the Casino last night I probably consumed three quarters of a gallon of diet Pepsi. Just come mountain climbing with me and we will have you feeling great in no time.