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gothick_matt

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Random ramblings of a programmer, photographer, journalist and runner


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gothick_matt

Of Weight And Zen

So. Definitely time for me to lose some weight. I will be weighing myself sometime at the weekend (when I've been on diets in the past, I've found that weighing once a week works best) and trying to think of some exercise that doesn't involve putting weight on my foot. Hrm.

Of course, being me, I couldn't do this without throwing an odd idea into the mix. Principally, this time I'm going to try to help myself lose weight by the process of sitting very still.

A lot of things recently have pointed to the idea that I should take up regular meditation once again -- a practice I've had a few flings with at various points in my life so far. Bearing in mind (no pun intended) that the meditation practice that seems to suit me best is zazen, I'm going to start easing gently back into zazen practice over the next week or two.

The reason I battle with my weight is that I really like eating, plain and simple. Whether I need to or not, and whether I'm full or not. So, perhaps it's time to have another go at getting to the bottom of that -- and after all, one of the points of traditional Buddhist meditation is to understand better the nature of desire. So, with that rather loose connection, my plan is to kick into meditation and weight-loss at the same time, with a view to a bit of self-analysis.

Plus, of course, it's difficult to get to the fridge when you're in the lotus position.

If witterings about either meditation or weight-loss are going to perturb anyone on my flist, please leave a comment; I can always start filtering, or at lest lj-cutting.

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Zazen, eh... I can't even get into the position. My brother used to do it when he was doing aikido, which might be a bit less active than karate? Or else something stretchy like er, stretching, or pilates/yoga. Won't burn many calories, but does tone you up and counteract some of the been-at-a-desk-all-day feeling. Cycling is probably a classic for not putting any weight on your feet as well.

I absolutely agree with you about the 'why' of eating. I have my own list of reasons other than hunger. If you can get hold of it in the local library, the intro to 'Neris and India's Idiot-proof Diet' is very good. It's all about the cause, not the symptoms. I think you're doing it the hard way, but you'll get all the more out of it for that!

Only thing that works for me is environmental - the only times I've lost weight is when it's been so hot I lose my appetite, in Japan or recently here in Frankfurt. We got Wii Fit which is how I realised I'd lost a few kilos, which I promptly put back on being stressed, sleepless and eating out constantly at my MA residential in Sheffield. Swings and roundabouts.

I shall be cheering you on, and pusuing my own battle against the choccie vending machine!

(I would offer you the same carrot/inducement as I did ree_, one piece of jewellery per stone, but I'm not sure it would work as well. Hmm.)

You don't necessarily have to get into a particular position for zazen. At the best of times, I can manage half-lotus for a reasonable period; this is not the best of times. People (especially with back problems) will sit zazen in a chair, some will even lie down. I believe the main reason for the upright and cross-legged traditional posture is mostly that it's embarrassing to be caught snoring during your meditation :)

Yoga has possibilities, and at least isn't high-impact. It's probably a long way out of my very un-stretchy comfort zone, but I'm sure there must be a beginner's class around here somewhere.

I will have a look for the Neris and India on LibrariesWest later on. I do think it's time I got my head around my appetite; it'd be nice just to understand myself a bit better in that regard, even if it doesn't magically translate into shed poundage.

Unfortunately, I can't really pin down the things that have helped me lose weight in the past. There doesn't seem to be much commonality between the times I've managed to shed the pounds, although I suppose the times I've put most weight on in a hurry have probably been the times I've been unhappiest. Hmm.

And yes, not sure the jewellery incentive will work for me :)

Anyway. Back to a different self-discipline, and carrying on my weekly review (as usual, about a fortnight overdue, but at least I have the excuse of having been on holiday!)

1: Swimming

2: Am going sailing from Plymouth 25th-29th sept, with a mr Marvell and A mr James. You in?

Urgh. Erm. Will have to have a brief ponder before I get back to you on that. Depends on my remaining holiday allowance for the year, which partly depends on whether I'm going walking, which depends on whether my plantar fascia seems to recovering or not over the next few days. Sorry I can't be more together than that. When do you need to know by (apart from "as soon as possible", that is...)

go swimming - no weight on feet :-)

Yes, this is a thought. I've just got to get over the whole appearing-in-public-in-swimming-trunks-while-feeling-very-fat issue; I was a lot better at going swimming when I was skinnier, ironically.

Getting to the bottom of your eating habits is key to developing a longer-term solution.

I had several lightbulb moments when on the drastic diet two years ago (One was the unearthing of a incident in my early teens - in the days when I was string bean - when I was mistaken for a boy at an athletics meet. Though I didn't realise it until two years ago, at that age, this had a very deep impact on me and one of my mental battles has been a fear of losing so much weight that somebody could possible do that again. Stupid, I know, but a revelation nonetheless).

Given that I put the weight back on, I didn't identify sustainable resolutions to my over-eating but it was still good to understand some of the drivers towards my attitudes to food:-)

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