Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Desperate Entitlement

Starting a two-week cut, today, after two weeks of maintenance. This was very first time that I've tried to simply hold my weight steady. A skill that, hopefully, I'll need to make much use of. But I'm still not down to the green zone yet, so chopping some 300 calories out of the daily regimen: expecting to drop maybe two pounds and maybe a percent from the waist-hip ratio. The green zone -- between 90% and 91.5% -- is a place I've been a couple times before: but the challenge is to stabilize that.

The main problem, psychologically speaking, is that I'm so accustomed to motivating myself with "getting to goal." I love tracking numbers, and watching them form patterns, and fluctuate. They have a compelling life of their own: and they blow through your soul like the wind, if you let them. So there's a certain amount of reconceptualizing that needs to be done. Nothing alive is actually static, of course: what I'm aiming at is... more like an eddy than a stasis. That's the right way to think of it: a swirl between the upper and the lower green lines. Dark water with glimmering curves in it: for a while. For a little while.

I was chatting with Tori about classical philosophers and eating. I associate controlling my eating with a bunch of (suspiciously gendered and denigrating) stereotypes of housewives fussing about their appearance. But, I told her, I can totally transfer over to the image of philosophers taking control of their lives: all the philosophers seem to have been notably abstemious about food. Tori asked about the hows and whys of that, and I said I guessed it was different in every case. Epicurus because the pleasure of food should take second place to other higher pleasures, such as philosophical friendship and conversation; Diogenes because, as a sort of classical Mr. Money Mustache, he thought that devotion to luxury was a form of slavery; Plotinus because the body was an embarrassment and impediment to the divine. Pythagoras because eating souls, including the souls of beans, was obviously wrong. (A diversion on Fava beans threatens there, and on the story of the ox that Pythagoras convinced to forgo beans, and which lived long beyond an ox's ordinary span. Whatever that may be. You know, right, that my name means "farmer of fava beans"? Much could be made of that.) Anyway. The point is that the unexamined diet is not worth eating. Or something like that.

But to be marginally more serious: I have been making an effort to think of this five-plus-year project as a spiritual enterprise, both because it's more motivating and because it's more true. Gluttony was simply the vice that was directly in my way. The obvious obstacle, smack in the fairway. Addressing it addresses more than my waistline. It addresses the surges of desperate entitlement, instilled I suppose as an American child: I deserve a treat, I deserve all the treats... which of course is an unsustainable train-wreck, and the basic driver of the present ruination of the environment. If I deserve anything, it's probably a kick in the pants; but surely the real project here is to become an adult, not a child, and to stop thinking of the world as a gallery of treats and punishments. I was not gaining a happier life by obstinately accumulating treats: I was making myself, and my world, sick. There are other ways to be.

This project has entailed planning ahead and shopping. It's entailed prepping my breakfast and cleaning the kitchen every night. And there's been a generalized effect from those disciplines to other parts of my life. Folding the wash as soon as it's dry. Planning my workdays so as to avoid bottlenecks. Sticking to irksome tasks, large or small, until they're done. Procrastination has quietly vanished out of my life: it's just not something I do any more. When I become aware of something that needs to be done, I do it, or plan it, and there's an end of it. 

Do I exaggerate, here? Possibly. But let it stand. It's truer than not.

1 comment:

am said...

My experience, too. An evolving spiritual enterprise. It didn't start that way but it is certainly that now.