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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Moderation is a Bitch

I don't have to lose weight. But I should.

In my mid-40s, things don't work the same. I need glasses to watch a movie and I read notes like Redd Foxx. I don't sleep through the night without a trip to the bathroom. If you're 40+, you know there are other things.

My son could eat lard for breakfast and still be a rail. He'll  burn it off with 19 year old metabolism and a weekend of skating. I exercise five days a week, but I can't eat lard. In fact, the older I get, the less indulgence I can afford.

I was listening to the audiobook The Mindful Way Through Depression that introduces the practice of mindfulness by eating a raisin. By engaging all the senses, he transforms the simple act of eating one raisin into something exquisite. I eat my food like a desperate wolf. When my wife made vegetarian burritos, I stared at the lone burrito on my plate, aware of my thoughts.
  • This isn't going to be enough.
  • I need chips.
  • I just want to be happy.
What was interesting was that these thoughts were non-negotiable. I WILL eat another burrito. I WILL eat chips. And, later on, I WILL eat dessert. This, by the way, did happen.

I had lunch with a friend who recently got into shape. He described his process of slowing down when he makes decisions, pointing out that we tend to rush our actions when we know they are compulsive so we can't change our mind.

Eating is challenging, no doubt about it.

Things like cigarettes or booze, we can cut those out. Not eating. Eating presents the challenge of self-deprivation and self-control. It's not just being fully present with my dull oatmeal, it's being fully present with hunger. Saying no to an awesome dessert. It's one burrito, not two. It's being fully present with life as it is, regardless of how I feel about, with no guarantee I'll lose weight or reduce my nightly trips to the bathroom.

Moderation is a bitch. I think the Buddha said that.

Clay (Sequel to Halfskin coming this spring!)

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