Underneath my yellow skin

Tricking myself into being healthier

I’m fat and I know it. Don’t like it, but it doesn’t bother me as much as it bothers my doctor. Which is a lot. I’m going to have to change my doc again, sigh, because she is way too fixated on weight, pushy on me taking drugs I don’t want to take, and just not great in general. I had to pick a new doc during the pandemic and I basically closed my eyes and threw a dart. I chose someone I thought might be more holistic and compassionate, but, no. I’m not too mad at her because it’s so endemic in our society (thinking being fat is the worst thing in the world and morally wrong), but I’m certainly too old to put up with it.

At any rate, I want to lose weight because I hate the way I look. That’s it. I don’t care about the health implications and I never have. I know it’s all the vogue to say that I’m getting in shape for my health, but that’s just not true for me. Except one thing. I want to be sturdier and not so out of shape. I hate losing my breath just from walking more than I’m used to so I want to work on that. A few problems. One, My lung capacity isn’t great. Two, I have never been good with walking up and down stairs, probably because of aforementioned bad lung capacity.

I don’t do well with putting myself on a diet because I tend to become obsessed, much to my detriment. For me, the line between diet and eating disorder is exceedingly thin and easily crossed. Even when I know about the dangers, I feel myself getting pulled into it and am helpless to stop it (I know I’m not actually, but it feels like it at the time.) The way I trick myself is to focus on eating better, not specifically looking for weight-losing foods or diets. I can’t count calories or weigh myself because they become obsessions in and of themselves. I tried to do inches as a substitute for pounds, but I know the conversion and that didn’t work, either.

If I do anything that smacks of dieting, I start spiraling. How do I get around that? By focusing on the foods themselves.

Side note: It seems that the lactose-free foods I’ve been imbibing are no longer sitting well in my stomach so I’m going to have to go completely dairy-free, sadly.

I started the journey by cutting out dairy and gluten. Caffeine is up and down, and I’m still not sure if I should imbibe it or not. I don’t want to talk about it again because I’ve nattered on and on about it, but there are pros and cons to me drinking caffeine that have to do specifically with my migraines. Anyway, eating vegetarian/vegan doesn’t necessarily mean eating healthy because a lot of the subs have oils and such, which means calories. I’m trying to cut out on plant-based mayo, plant-based cheese, plant-based butter, etc. It’s not easy, however, because there’s a part of my brain saying, “You can eat so little, why not gorge on the things you CAN eat?”

I need to cook. I really need to cook because it’s easier to be healthy if I cook than if I continue eating premade foods. But I hate cooking, especially for one, and therein lies the dilemma. Even something simple as making spaghetti seems too much an effort. It’s five minutes to let the water boil, a few minutes to cook the pasta and heat up the sauce. It’s literally less than ten minutes and yet, I still can’t be arsed. In my defense, it’s been ‘feels like’ over a hundred degrees more often than not for the past several weeks, which makes the thought of turning on the stove grotesque.

I will say that making rice and steamed veggies in my rice cooker is easy enough and something I do on the daily. That’s another thing I’m trying to do: substitute foods rather than simply cut them out. So, mustard for mayo and veggies for meat. I’m trying to cut down on sweets, but it’s hard. Also, chips. I have a feeling once I get rid of chips and limit myself to one chocolate treat a day, I’ll feel better about my diet.

On the exercise side, I am a firm believer in not exercising to simply exercise. It was always torture when I tried to exercise in conventional ways and I was always counting the minutes until I could stop. With taiji weapons, it’s different in that I’m eager to do more each day and have to pace myself so I don’t hurt myself or burn out.

I cannot stress enough that the one good thing about the pandemic is that I started focusing on taiji weapons. It wasn’t a conscious decision; it just happened. In that time, I finished learning the Sabre Form, 4/5ths of the Karambit Form, some spear/staff drills, and the first 1/3rd of the Double Sabre Form. Oh, also, some Deer-Horn Knives, too. In addition, I’ve taught myself the Wu-Li Wudang Sword (right and left side), the left side of the Sabre Form, and another third of the Double Sabre Form. I want to teach myself the last row of the Karambit Form, but it’s very complicated. It’s not a taiji form so I can’t rely on the classics to help me. My teacher said to wait until we can meet in person (which we might be doing this week if it doesn’t rain) and she has a better handle on it herself.

This is now my thing. Taiji weapons, I mean. I love them and I want to do more and more of them. They are definitely weight-bearing exercise and my arms ache pleasantly when I’m done with the double sabers every day. I also like that I’m experimenting with music for the different weapons form. I used Sir Mix-A-Lot’s Baby Got Back for the double sabers and the Seattle Symphony version for the cool down (doing the double sabers at a slower pace).

What I like about this is that the exercises have a purpose and are not simply exercise for the sake of exercising. I’ve done plenty of that, which never went well for me. With taiji weapons, not only am I getting exercise, I’m learning something tangible that isn’t just measured in better breath control or some such. My biceps are now becoming a point of pride for me–and that’s a good thing in my book given how much I don’t like my body. I’ll take the good when I can get it.


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